I can’t believe this was a whole month ago already… it actually feels like a lot longer than that! We put another Monument Avenue in the books, and this might have just been my favorite one yet.
We drove down to stay with my parents on Friday night, and I woke up at 4:30 am on race morning. We didn’t need to leave home until around 7 am, but I’m always a little too excited to sleep before a race, so I got up and started getting things ready. I was less nervous than I usually am for these types of events, but I definitely still had some pre-race jitters.
Kaya had been talking about “running a kid race” for months, so I had signed her up for the Virginia529 Kids Run, which started about an hour and twenty minutes before my wave. We drove into Richmond, pinned our bibs on, loaded the two littlest girls in the stroller, and hustled from the parking garage to the start line.
At the last possible moment, we decided to register Michael as a “companion runner” for Kaya, since there were so many more people than I had even imagined, and I didn’t feel comfortable sending her out on her own (despite the security measures they have in place). I’m so glad they did this together.
I wasn’t sure how long it would take her to finish, but Kaya shocked us all by running the mile in about 13 minutes, which I think is really great for a 5.5-year old! The look of pure joy (and the hug she gave her dad) as she crossed the finish line was so memorable and sweet. Her excitement was contagious, and actually brought me to tears because of how much joy and pride I felt seeing my baby want to do something that I love doing. I also love knowing that she likes running because she knows it keeps her body healthy and strong.She smiled all day long! Did I mention how proud I am?She now has her medal hanging from her bunk bed!We had three of the four grandparents at the race this year! My mom had never been before, so she rode down with us, but seeing my in-laws was a complete surprise. They met up with us right before Kaya started, and I am so grateful for all the support and love these three (plus my Dad, who stayed home to watch the dogs), give us.I had enough time before my wave started to sunscreen up, use the bathroom, put on my pregnancy support belt and find Lelia! Do you see us in the starting corral?We started off in a slower wave, because when we signed up (back in December), we had predicted that by this point in my pregnancy, I wouldn’t be moving so fast. Surprisingly, I haven’t been as slow as I thought I’d be, so we ended up passing a lot of people, but we really got into a great rhythm.
Lelia and I are great running partners- we just match each other so well as far as pace and stride. Look how synced up we are here! This race was a little extra special, because at Christmastime, I told Lelia we were pregnant by saying that we’d have another “Monument baby” (Nella and Bryce both did this in utero!), and she was instantly willing to run with me. I was super grateful to have her as a buddy/bodyguard.I knew the miles with Lelia would just fly right on by, and they did! It was a gorgeous day, but a little warmer than I’m used to running as of late, so I definitely appreciated all the water stops, and Lelia pouring the rest of her drink down my back at one point. I started to feel tired around halfway through, but I honestly couldn’t believe the splits we were getting, so I didn’t want to slow down. We finished with an official time of 59:52, which put us at a 9:38 min/mile average. My goal going into this was an average pace between 10-10:15, so I was ecstatic!Sweaty hugs all around! We did it! I think I cry every time I see the finish line in a race.Finishers with our “Monument babies”! I can’t believe two years ago I ran this with Nella in my belly, last year Lelia did it with Bryce, and now our newest princess has done it, too. I hope they’ll all look back on these pictures one day and think it’s as cool as I do.27-week bump!When Lelia did this last year at 30 weeks pregnant, she had said she wished she had a sign on her back so that people wouldn’t get too close (this is a busy race, and some people are absolutely crazy when trying to pass you)! I printed out this little sign, laminated it, and brought it to wear on race day. I was so glad I did, because I felt like I had a little extra security with this on.Another one done!Of course, there had to be donuts afterward! We headed to “The Treat Shop” in Richmond for these.And because Kaelyn was at the race, but didn’t want to be in any pictures, here’s one of how she eats a donut. Frosting first!Adorable even when she’s a total mess…I’m so thankful for all the family time we got to have that weekend, as well as the love and support I feel from all of them. Completing a race wouldn’t mean half as much to me without having family waiting at the finish (or running alongside me)! This is it as far as racing goes until after the baby comes, but I’m already looking forward to a postpartum comeback!