Race recap: IOP Connector Run 5K - The one where B was waiting at the finish line for the first time

My first race post-baby is in the books and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to rewrite it. It went okay and I didn't have any major disasters, but I was definitely disappointed in my time. It was by far my slowest 5K ever, clocking in at 28:02 (9:02 pace).

I ended up 7th out of 46 in my age group (first race in the 35-39 age group). Interestingly, if I had still been in the 30-34 bracket, I would have been 3rd in my age group - just goes to show that while age group wins are nice and certainly something to be proud of, an AG placement really is more about who comes out that day (and who doesn't). I'd much rather take a PR over an age group win any day because when I PR, I've actually improved and beat myself.

So about the race experience...

I woke up feeling...not great. Allergy congestion, a massive headache, and nauseated. Not really the way I wanted to feel the morning of my return to racing. For a hot second I thought about bailing, but I really wanted to race, so I got myself out of bed and got ready. Since my stomach wasn't really feeling right, I couldn't eat much (and not eating is not the best thing to do pre-race). By the time the race started, I was feeling a little better, although my stomach didn't settle much and even after the race, I wasn't too hungry.

The course (as indicated by its name) goes up and over the Isle of Palms Connector. There's a 5K and a 10K option. I did the 5K, which turns around halfway and heads back while the 10K-ers keep going over the entire length of the bridge. It was pretty windy yesterday (although not as windy as the 

Charleston Half Marathon back in January

 and definitely not as cold), and I wasn't really prepared for that. And since it's a bridge, there were some long inclines.

The course itself has pretty waterway views and a start and finish in downtown Isle of Palms, just a block or so from the beach. I can't really complain too much about a course that's so close to the beach! However, I'm not sure I'd really enjoy the 10K option since it's such long stretch on the connector. I was glad I picked the 5K this year.

Even without all of the stomach/head/allergy issues and wind, I'm not sure my time would have been much better. Maybe by 30 seconds or so, but that would have still been disappointing. I feel like based on my current weekly mileage (10-12 miles per week) and current paces, what I got for this race was what I was going to get regardless.

And so, I have my new baseline. It's slower than I was hoping and I may need to revisit some of those previously mentioned goals for other races because getting back to (and exceeding) my former paces might take a little longer than I'd like.

One thing to note - this race does use chip timing but only tracks it at the end. Since there was no chip time in the beginning, that did end up tacking a good 10 seconds onto my time just because of where I started in the pack. Since I knew I wasn't going to be even marginally fast for this race, I started back farther than I normally would in that situation so as not to frustrate the faster people.

Okay, enough negativity. The cool things about this race (other than its proximity to saltwater)? My little boy was waiting for me at the finish line for the first time ever and seeing his cute little mug at the end made my disappointing finish time not matter. My mom was also in town for a visit to meet Baby B and she got to see me race for the second time (last time was the Friends Run back in Charlotte).

So overall, a good finish because of the people who were there, but not the results I was hoping for. But this happens with running. Not every run (or race) is a good one and I did just have a baby. Considering that, physically, I felt great. At the end of the race I could tell there's still some recovery going on with my body, but overall, I'm feeling as close to normal as one can at three months postpartum. So now it's time to concentrate on the next race and hopefully, I'll pick up a little bit of speed over the next month so I hit my goals for that one.

Results: 28:02 (9:02 pace), 7th out of 46 in AG, 111 overall

Weather: 70 degrees, 94% humidity, windy

Health: Not sick, but meh