Monday, September 6, 2010

Guy Runners Didn't Quite Know What to Say: Labor Day 15K Race Report

Today, at 6 1/2 months pregnant, I ran a 15K! No, this wasn't my first rodeo - I have done a 15K before - but it was my first one while pregnant!

The Fort Worth Runners Club Labor Day 15K is a great race, organized so well by my friend Elizabeth, and the last two years has been privileged to be chosen by the Road Runners Club of America as a championship 15K race.  2009 was a Texas 15K Championship, and they did such a good job, they were easy to select to be the 2010 15K Championship for the entire Southern Region of the US!  As the RRCA North Texas State Representative, I was there to help support the race and assist in presenting the special RRCA Championship Awards to the top winners.

The race starts and I'm having problems already.  About 1.8 miles into the race, I realize my Garmin was never reset after my last training run.  This is only my 3rd or so run with my new Garmin Forerunner 405, so what can I say, I'm still getting used to it!  So I waste a little time there on the course panicking and restarting the workout, now having no clue what my cumulative pace is, but at least feeling better about the fact that my average pace kept seeming so slow (last training run was a slow 10K, I couldn't figure out how I was going that slow this race based on perceived exertion, LOL).

3 miles in, and I'm just hot, especially thanks to my "kryptonite" (high humidity).  The mostly out-and-back course along the Trinity trail is a nice one, but most of it is unshaded and there's direct sun today.  Add to it that while the temps were low at the start, low 70s, the humidity was 75-80% when we started.  At Mile 3 I throw my modesty aside and did something I had really hoped to avoid, but at the end of the day, I need to keep my core temperature in check, so off came the shirt.  Yep, if you were running back on the course while I was still running out, you may have been blinded by the reflectively white "babygut" I was sporting, LOL.

For around miles 3-4.5, the runners on the back portion of the course run along the top of the levee, while the runners still heading out, like me, are down at the river level.  I tried my best to yell words of support to the fast runner friends I could identify.

I have to say I loved miles 4.5-5.5.  This is where the course is truly out-and-back, running into the crowd of runners heading back from the turnaround.  I had not expected what happened along here.  A few guy runners would shout "Good job!" to me as we passed, but many seemed to eye me like they didn't quite know what to say.  I also got the feeling that some were not quite sure if my specific area-targeted fatness wasn't reflective of a severe love of beer, and not the pregnancy.  For fear of saying the wrong thing, I think some just thought it best to say nothing.  I can't blame them!  But the female runners were awesome.  You can't even imagine the "Go, girl", "Good job?!?", and especially a lot of "Way to go, momma!" and "Good job, momma!" with the incredulous tone of even seeing me out there.  I also have to say I ran some of my best run splits at this point, spurred on by the support. 

It was fun, looking down and seeing this protruding belly but also the occasional flash poking out below of the showy lime green and royal purple of my Brooks Launch racing shoes. Love those shoes - they weigh in at about 7.5 ozs (compared to my Brooks Ghost training shoes which are 9 ozs) but they still have enough cushion..

I raced hard as I could under my heart rate restrictions, and may have pushed the envelope just a little on my heart rate a few times (for example, my kick at the end of the race to the finish line).  I had finished 2009 (a hot year!) in 1:53:35, a 12:12 pace.  This race I mostly stuck with the doctor-ordered 5 minute run (@ heart rate 160) / 1-2 minute walk (recover to heart rate 140).  But here's what I'm happy with - my run splits were strong, right around or just about 15 seconds slower than the average pace of last year's race.  5 miles in, I even managed a half mile split with an 11:21 pace!

At the end, I had a 0.15 mile kick to the finish with a pace of 11:15! I finished to lots of friendly cheers with a chip time 2:01:59, a 13:02 pace.  So basically, I was 50 seconds per mile slower pregnant. :-) In fact, only 1:21 per mile slower than the 15K PR I set last November. :-)

I'm not trying to brag, and I know I'm still awfully slow (47th out of 49 in my age group today, LOL).  I'm just happy with the fact that I've pushed hard to stay active in this pregnancy, and I'm excited looking forward to Spring 2011 to see if I can recover quickly and perhaps set some new PRs!

Presenting an RRCA Championship Award to one of the female overall winner of the 15K

It was great seeing all sorts of friends this morning too, it's one of the best parts of racing!

Happy Running!


  1. Way cool, Libby! Wish I coule have been there!

  2. Great job Libby!! Both with your race and your blog!

  3. Way to go! You are a great example that fitness can continue despite pregnancy. I am sure that the looks on people's faces were priceless. How fun!