We conquer the 5K -- with one pit stop

We conquer the 5K -- with one pit stop

On Sunday, in the most perfect running weather possible, I finally tested my running (er, jogging) abilities on the actual Illinois Marathon 5K route.

I was a bit apprehensive, given that my son and I hadn't quite made the full distance during our training run at Meadowbrook Park earlier in the week. My 6-year-old daughter had to come along, riding alongside us on her scooter, but she tired (understandably) after a couple of miles. Frankly we did, too.

My son wasn't too concerned, as he'd already run the full 5K a couple of weeks ago, but I had missed that session.

So we set off Sunday from the I Hotel parking lot, full of anticipation and (in my case) anxiety.

After about a block came the words every parent/runner dreads: "Mom, I have to go to the bathroom."

You may recall that bathroom breaks have been an ongoing issue with our young runners. At one point we even had to employ a tree at Hessel Park (apologies, park-goers).

In this case, my friend's daughter made her announcement as we ran through a sea of parking lots and fields. No public potties in sight. We had to run about a mile before we hit a gas station on the route. Luckily, she made it.

On the bright side, the bathroom break gave my son and me a chance to catch our breath before the rest of the run. We sailed through the last two-thirds of the course with little trouble -- other than the obnoxious students who shouted something at us from a pickup truck. (Hey role models, way to motivate the youngsters.)

So it wasn't an all-out run with no stops, and we couldn't get inside Memorial Stadium for the final tenth or two. But we felt pretty good about it. Our times weren't too horrible, either, compared to what we expected.

Next week, though, we'll have a new game plan.

a) Run early in the morning, before the college students wake up.

b) Require everyone to take a pit stop IMMEDIATELY before we start running. (What time does the I Hotel open ...?)

Previous entries on our road to the 5K:

Does frozen custard count as running fuel? (4/12)

Countdown to the 5K: Part 2 (3/29)

Whose idea was this anyway? (3/12)

Photo:  Runners start the 5K run/walk in the 2009 Illinois Marathon.

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