The Bumble Bee Seafoods 5k was my final race of 2015---and one of my most special. It was my daughter's (A's) first-ever 5k! I got the idea several months before that she should walk a 5k with me. I knew she wouldn't be able to actually RUN 3.1 miles, but her walking has gotten so strong that I just knew she could handle walking the distance. And it fell on December 30, which is A's half birthday. She would turn 9 1/2 that day. I've never done this 5k before, and heard it was fun. It precedes the Holiday Bowl Balloon Parade, and is supposed to be a huge crowd. I also signed up my son, D (my husband had to work, so couldn't join us). Initially he was going to run it and wait at the finish for A and I to finish, but since there would be 100,000 people there for the parade, I didn't feel safe with that option, and he ended up walking with us.
Bibs were mailed to us at no extra charge (!!!) so that was easy! No packet pickup! As the race was downtown in conjunction with the parade, I made sure to leave VERY early. The race started at 9:45, but I left the house at 7:45. I'm glad I did! We made it easily to downtown, and parked in the suggested lot at Pacific and Broadway, but we had to wait over 20 minutes in line to get our parking pass at the kiosk. Then we had to make our way to the start. We ended up getting there early, but I would have been stressed had we left later, as the line for parking kiosk got VERY long after I got in line!
While waiting we had fun watching weiner dog races and seeing some of the big balloons that would be in the parade. Soon it was time to start---and off we went! The first 3/4 mile or so was fantastic---we were on the parade route, which meant that there were TONS of spectators on either side of us cheering! In fact, several people called our names, friends that were down for the parade. That was fun! We gave kids high-5s and did a fast walk during this part.
After the crowd, we slowed down considerably. The race loops around some of the downtown area by the Convention Center and Petco Park, then the Embarcadero and Seaport Village. A was getting tired, but she never once stopped, and never once asked to be carried. I tried to keep her mind occupied by talking about our upcoming Disney trip and anything else that would get her excited. Toward the end, a policeman suggested we cut the course (this would cut our course by over half a mile) but of course we refused---we don't quit, we don't cheat, and we could do it! Most everyone was done by this point, but there were a few women right ahead of us that were also cheering her on.
Finally, with the finish line right ahead of us, I had A run on ahead. She did, and crossed the finish line victorious! D and I crossed right behind her. They didn't have medals, but I had something even better for her---a 5k charm and personalized note charm from my dear friend Erica Sara (seriously, check out her race bling). We got our finisher's shirts at the end, and watched some of the parade that was still going on (D especially liked the USC marching band, as he's playing baritone in the middle school band). I splurged on a pedi-cab back to the car, as it was several blocks away and I didn't want to make A walk more.
I'm so proud of my little girl. With all her medical challenges....with the fact that she didn't walk unassisted until she was 3 1/2....with all she has going on....she did a 5k. Better yet, she wants to do more, so I need to find another walker-friendly one (or two) for 2016. I'm more than happy to oblige.
Safety First (and second and third)
2 hours ago