Oh, hey! Look who ran a 5K this weekend (with my lil’ sidekick).
There’s a race organizer in the local running community who’s pretty brilliant. A few years ago he started an event series called Best Damn Race (past recaps here , here, and here). It started with a “for runners, by runners” philosophy and has a great reputation for its post-race party atmosphere and creative pricing structure. 4 years and so many events later, the organizer’s storage unit was filling quickly with old medals and shirts. Instead of tossing everything, he came up with the clever concept of a “Leftover 5K.” It’s basically a super-cheap 5K where instead of receiving a new shirt or medal, you receive a leftover shirt or medal from a past event. It’s still a timed 5K on a beautiful closed course, and you still get the famous post-race party, but your shirt or medal may have a different location/year/distance than what you actually ran. As an event organizer myself, I’d say the event is pretty brilliant. Clean out your storage closet while making money at the same time? Genius.
I laughed out loud when I read the event description a couple of months ago, then figured “why not” and registered myself. They really won me over when I saw in the event description that strollers were allowed. I could care less about the shirt or medal, what I really cared about was giving myself a little motivation to run with Annalynn in the stroller. I’d love to do more races with her in tow. I think “allows strollers” may be a gamer changer for all races I register for in the near future.
Getting out the door on Saturday was a challenge. I was up at 5, got myself ready, and waited until the last possible minute to wake Annalynn. She really fought that wake-up. She kept rolling over, as if to say “five more minutes, mom!” I eventually got her up, changed her, and fed her right before we left. I had packed the car with the jogging stroller and diaper bag the night before so all I needed to do was get her in her carseat and out the door.
Annalynn slept the entire drive to the race, then woke when I moved her to her stroller. Finding parking in downtown Safety Harbor wasn’t terrible. I had every intention of parking in the nearby middle school, which was supposed to be a mile from the start, but ended up easily finding a spot on a side street close to the start.
We walked to the front, met up with friends and watched the first wave of runners fly by us. The start was divided in two waves: everyone expecting to finish under 35 minutes in the first wave and everyone expecting to finish over 35 minutes (and strollers!) in the second. I found a spot towards the back and waited my turn.
Considering this was a “leftover” 5K in June in Florida, the turnout was pretty great. I think there was around 2,000 runners. Not bad!
When the second wave started, I immediately took off and felt great. My running has seriously, seriously been lacking lately (especially with a stroller). I had no idea what to expect and was pleasantly surprised how effortlessly it felt to push Annalynn.
While pushing the stroller wasn’t terrible, navigating it in the crowd was horrendous. I followed the directions and started in the back-of-the-pack with the other strollers, but that also meant I was behind all of the walkers. The course was super narrow for the first mile or so, which made weaving around people (while trying not to catch any ankles!) super challenging. Thankfully it cleared up around mile 2 and I didn’t have as many issues moving forward.
Annalynn fell asleep almost as soon as the race started and stayed asleep until the finish. I’m not sure what it is about bumpy roads, loud noises, and crowds of people, but that’s basically sleepy dust for my baby. I’m really going to miss the days when she just passes out in the stroller pretty much every time we run together.
There’s a reason why there are no 5Ks in Florida in June, it was freaking hot. The heat and humidity were already in full swing when the race started at 7:00am, but it was absolutely horrendous by the time I hit the final stretch of road with no shade and tons of direct sun towards the end. So. Hot. However, a big bonus to running with the stroller is the handy dandy water bottle attachment. I brought two water bottles and chugged both throughout the race. I’ve never been more hydrated than since I became a mom.
Also, I need to give a shout out to Brooks for my new favorite running outfit. The Chaser 3in Running Shorts are a new release and perfect in every way. They’re so soft, light, and have a great wide waist band that is really flattering and comfortable to run in. I also love the Women’s Ghost Racerback Running Shirt. It’s very light and breathable, which is a MUST when running in Florida. I also like the flattering fit and cute pattern. Finally, the Neuro is my new go-to running shoe. I received so many compliments on my shoes on Saturday. They have a fun, unique look, but they’re also a great neutral shoe with a bit of a bounce to them.
I always enjoy running through Safety Harbor. It’s an adorable quaint town right on the bay and has really great running paths with beautiful views of the water. The Leftover 5K followed a double out-and-back course that really highlighted the water views, while giving you a tiny tour of the town. The race seemed to fly by and before I knew it I was heading towards the finish line. With a time of 39 minutes, I was happy with my finish time. I stopped multiple times for photos, to check on Annalynn, and for walking breaks, so I wasn’t expecting to break any records. This was my true running “race” with the stroller and it was a good experience I can definitely learn from in the future!
After the finish we headed to the medal distribution, where all of the “leftover” medals were sprawled over several tables in a free-for-all distribution style. I chose a pretty 5K medal from the inaugural Cape Coral Best Damn Race.
Can you tell she just woke up before this photo?
Mama made a beeline for the Bloody Mary tent (#priorities) and Annalynn got a well deserved post-race banana.
The girl loves her bananas.
So, new mission, find all of the stroller friendly races in the Tampa Bay Area. 🙂
The race was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to do it again. In the meantime Annalynn and I need to make a point to spend more weekend mornings together running. I’m sure we have plenty of running adventures ahead of us as I train for the Walt Disney World Marathon next January!