Getting up before dawn might not seem like fun to a lot of people, but when the end result is bling, it's well worth it!
My daughter's and I had the opportunity to participate in the Women's Running Series 5K race in St. Petersburg, FL on November 24, 2013. It was a chilly morning, and Haley was tired! Ella was excited and ready to race.
I have done this race twice before, but the 1/2 marathon and I did it alone. I had made a 2013 New Years Resolution that I would run more 5K races with my kids and this was our 10th race together THIS YEAR!!
The race started at 7am, and we arrived by 5:30am so we had quite a bit of time to wait. We parked a little distance away so we could warm up our legs (and kill some time!!) then we walked around the grounds.
We found this super fun sign and I made the girls stand in front of it. They have no idea who Ryan Gossling is.
We worked our way towards the start line and I was happy that we were placed in Corral 1. There were THOUSANDS of women behind us, and being up front gave me hope that I wouldn't lose my little girls among the throws of people. Haley was finally awake and excited to start the race. Ella was excited, but not to have her sister hanging on her!
I reminded my girls about the rules of the road and to stay to the right so that the faster runners could pass us. We were literally right up against the fence. Too bad a lot of those runners didn't remember the rules themselves as we got bumped and pushed despite there being plenty of space for them to pass us the proper way. #racefail
We warmed up quickly and I heard "Hi Jenny" from Genna Beth from R is for Running. She was running the 1/2 marathon and quickly passed us.
The girls and I made a pledge to stay together for as long as we could, though we promised if we got separated we'd stop and wait at each mile marker sign for each other. Ella loves to run, Haley loves to walk, and I'm a wogger (walk/jog.) It wasn't long until Haley started walking, Ella started running, and I was wogging. But we all met up at Mile 1.
And then we got split up again, but I was in the middle so I could see Ella in front of me, and when I turned around I could see Haley behind me.
There was a water/gatorade/GU station just after mile 1 (why GU on a 5K course??) and since I knew my kids would be thirsty, I also ran with a water bottle. And I'm glad I did. They needed more than just that one water station.
We saw our friend Raffi from Running Betty around mile 1.5 and she snapped photos of me and Haley. We weren't together, but we posed alike. I have taught her well.
It was shortly after this that I noticed Ella was on the ground about 400 meters in front of me, holding on to her knee and crying. I ran to her as fast as I could, where she said through tears "mama, I tripped and fell and I really hurt my knee." I rolled up her pants, looked at her knee, and thankfully there was no blood, but I could see a little bruising. I kissed her knee, and asked if she needed me to carry her the rest of the race. She stood up, wiped the tears from her face and said "NO MAMA, I GOT THIS" and off she went!!
And then we all met up at Mile 2. Haley sprinted when she saw Ella and I waiting there for her. She was pretty winded!
It was after this mile that the girls and I gave each other a good luck hug and kiss and said we'd wait at the finish line for one another. And off we went! Ella and I paced each other, though Ella sprinted the last 1/4 mile and crossed the finish line first, I was second, and Haley came in 6 minutes behind Ella and I.
I love this photo of Ella. You can just see the determination on her face. And I'm pretty dang proud of her form, too. Not bad for an 8 year old.
Here I am beaming with pride that Ella has done so well. I had crossed the finish line a few seconds behind her.
And my sweet Haley. I've taught her that no matter what, she always needs to run across the finish line. And she did. With a smile on her face and air under her feet.
We all earned our bling and we were so proud of one another!
The girls earned their cookies and I earned my bubbly!
The little ones also wanted a post-race massage (their first one ever!!) and enjoyed having their muscles worked out!
The girls and I had a great time doing this race and will certainly do it again next year. I love that more and more races are giving medals for 5K's. Though my girls wanted to know how old they had to be to earn the "big bling" for the 1/2 marathon. I thought that they had to be 14, but I saw some young girls (and boys) on the course that couldn't have been much older than my two. Perhaps next year we'll attempt the 1/2, though I imagine we'd walk most of it.
Have you ever done a 5K with your kids?
Disclaimer: Women's Running Series compensated me with 5 registrations for this race. 3 for me, and a pair that I gave away to a reader for a mother/daughter team.