Last weekend I chose not to run my first postpartum race. I had prepared for it and was ready but in the end decided not to. It wasn’t due to lack of preparation or desire but because of the course.
Neil and I had registered for a local Earth Day race back in February with the plan being that he would run the 5 miler and I would run the 5k while pushing Edith in the BOB. Since I am also training for the Hippie Chick Quarter that is Mother’s Day weekend I needed to log some extra training miles so the weekend before the race Neil and I decided to run the Earth Day 5 mile loop. We downloaded the map headed out to the starting point and started our run.
The race map showed that both the 5-miler and 5k had the same starting point but broke off shortly after so we headed on our way with the plan of doing the 5-mile route. Just pass the point where the 5-mile route broke off from the 5k there was a few pretty huge hills that even without the BOB would have been a struggle for me but add the BOB and a baby and it made it at least 5x more challenging. I said to myself okay no big deal it’s good for you to get these hills in and don’t worry you won’t have to do this ever again.
As I made my way along the course things were going pretty well. There was a gradual incline which anyone who runs knows that they can be at times even more challenging than one big hill because you honestly don’t know when its going to end. It finally did end though and I met back up with the 5k course and ran along a section that had a nice gradual decline for a bit. Then we headed through a neighborhood where we were to catch back up to the paved nature paths which would lead us back to the park where we had started.
Just before reaching the path I had taken a short walking break which I am glad I did because when I hit the path I was greeted by a drop off. Okay not a total drop off but I am talking like steep decline which without the BOB would have been a challenge but with the weight of the BOB pulling me forward I had to use all my strength not to let it pull me head over heels. Once I made it to the end of this drop off all I could think was never again.
Things didn’t look up much from there either. Unlike the path we started on this one was uneven with lots of cracks in the path. My legs were already feeling strained from going down the steep hill so every bump, sharp corner and crack in the path made me cringe and say never again over and over. Finally the path smoothed out and I saw Neil who of course asked if I got his text about the hill and of course I didn’t because I hadn’t bothered to check my messages. We both agreed that if that really was the race path that we both had no desire to run it again especially with other people on the path with us. Honestly, it just didn’t seem safe at all.
After our run I went home and contacted the organizers to ask if we had indeed ran the same course that the race would be the following weekend. I also told them about our experience on the path and how if that was the correct course that it was not stroller friendly. In the end I didn’t ever get an answer to whether or not it was the correct course I can only assume that it was based on the map that was up on the race website. The only response we received back was to say that they would be happy to switch us to a different race, which we both did.
Race day came and I have to say that I was pretty bummed that we didn’t end up running. I had worked hard to get to that point, running 3-4 days per week with Edith in the BOB in preparation but in the end the race course just wasn’t the right fit. Part of me is glad we did a practice run of the race course before the actual race because it would have been quite the surprise to come up on that spot on the course mid race but I also wish we hadn’t because I really wanted to run a race.
Q: Have you ever ran a race course prior to race day? If yes, did it change your expectations? Have you ever decided not to run a race?