408K: A Family Affair

IMG_2213Last year, I ran the entire Represent Running Run the Bay Series, taking on the Let’s Go 510 and Marin 415K in person, but because of timing around other events, had opted to run the San Jose 408K remotely. A month ago (how time flies!) not only was I given the opportunity to run it again – in person – as part of Represent Running’s Team Run the Bay, my parents had signed up to run.

After running four Bay Area Title 9Ks with my mom and cherishing every single one, there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to run not only a first race ever with my father, who has cheered us on at every TItle 9K, but with both of my parents. They’ve toed the line together at many 5Ks and 10Ks. The choice was obvious: despite being in corralled in the first wave, I was going to hang back and run with my folks. This race wasn’t about time for me, nor was it about adding another race to the count of my long-ago declared “run 103” mission in honor of my grandfather. The San Jose 408K was all about time with my family. (Somehow, despite the fact my parents registered themselves with the exact same prior 10K finish times, they were placed in two different waves. We’re apparently a three-wave kind of family! I wonder where my sister would have been placed had she run with us.)

IMG_2142Knowing ages ago that the 408K included what has been dubbed the “Mariachi Mile,” when an all-too-appropriate INKnBURN performance tee went on sale, I snapped it up. Since donning my first Sparkle Athletic-laden outfit at Tinker Bell Half Marathon in 2013, I’ve only participated in one event without some sort of run costume.

Clearly for this event, I went all out. The arm sleeves were a bit of overkill. It wasn’t as cool out as I expected, but that’s the beauty of running with sleeves: I push them down when I get too warm, and if I start to get chilly again like the scrawny chihuahua I am, I have the option to pull them up at any time. And yes, I know for a lot of folks, running an 8K with a Hydraquiver pack would sound like overkill, but I had a plan! How else was I to carry my phone sans pockets, and make sure I had some Skratch on hand for both my parents and myself? (This turned out later to be a very good thing; my mom sometimes gets muscle cramps, and I’m trying to help my parents use something besides Gu when they run.)

IMG_2161One of my cousins, Dan who is both quite tall and fast, lives very close to the course with his family. We got lucky and were able to park at their house and get dropped off a short walk from the starting line by his wife. We were separated thereafter, but met up with him later, where we celebrated his course PR.

My parents usually take a pre-race selfie, a habit that perhaps has only been made worse by the fact we kids gave them a GoPro for Christmas. Why stop the tradition? And if anyone ever had any doubts, photos like this one prove yes, I am clearly their daughter. (Yes, they’re essentially wearing matching jackets. My parents are cute like that.)

Our goals for the race were pretty simple: stick together, have a good time, catch some video of me with the various bands performing along the Mariachi Mile and, according to my folks, keep about a 12 minute pace. Even as the clouds pulled away and the sun came out, this all stayed very possible. I had a wonderful time chattering away with my dad, my mom trucking along strong on our heels. (One thing I did observe, speaking of heels, is that both of my parents are heel strikers. Thus, we’re still unsure where I got my midsole-to-toes stride from.)

130398-029-014h (2)The 408K had many perks for me: I was raised in the 408 and still rock the area code on my cell phone. I got to run with my parents while serving as an ambassador for Team Run the Bay. Select race photos, like the one above from the finish line, were free, which is unheard of at most events these days. It also had an added perk for my parents, one that none of us were aware of when we first signed up to participate: not does this image capture me crossing my first finish line with my parents, it also commemorates the first event they ever got to participate in with a grandchild.

That’s right: at the race, I was 14 weeks pregnant! This is my first pregnancy; I had never run a race pregnant before. Thankfully, my stride had only changed minimally due to bodily changes at the time of the race, and running a slower-than-normal pace also made it easier on my changing body. Scoliosis hip tilt already makes me have to remain conscientious of engaging my core and shortening my stride as overreach is the basis of my previous knee issues. Weight shift and the like has made this more important than ever, but not until recent weeks.

All in all, definitely a good day. Shout out to Represent Running for putting on a great event, to all the volunteers for helping make it happen, to every band along the Mariachi Mile, and of course, to every service member along the Memorial Mile and all over the country.

OH – and of course – props to my parents for helping make this one of my most memorable races to date! (Video courtesy of my pops, his GoPro and a monopod. Like father, like daughter. If you’ve ever wondered, “Is Christina like her parents?” this video should answer that for you!)

Race to the Row 2015 video by A.I.

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