It can go unsaid that lately I’ve been hooked on running.

After recently completing the NJ Half Marathon, I continue on my race streak which has helped me stick with running and stay dedicated to reaching my goals. The trick to fill the void runners often feel after completing major running goal like my half. To do this,  register in advance for various other races of difference distances so that you won’t never fall off the wagon sort of speak and loose motivation to keep running.

Its no exaggeration that pretty much every week I am signed up for a race. And I am enjoying every single event, and loving the amount of progress I am seeing along the way.

This past weekend was Run the Hook 5k and 10k race that kicked off in Guardian Park, Sandy Hook. It was my first time running this course, and if only the weather was a sunny and warm spring day, it would’ve been perfect. But a little rain never stopped us runners. I actually do enjoy running in a light drizzle. However, since I had my little guy along for the ride on this one I prayed to the running gods that the weather would hold off. Luckily, the light rain cleared up and the weather felt much milder once the the race began.

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Sunday was Mother’s Day, so it seemed fitting that I bought along the jogging stroller to enjoy this event with my son. And since it was all about ocean conservation, passion of my younger sister and former running buddy, I am so glad that she completed the race as well.

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He loves racing with Mommy, I swear! He just didn’t want me to put him down. LOL

The furthest thing from being alone in this race, I also met up with the ladies of the running group I belong to, getting our pre-race photos in and cheering for each other on the course.

10k was the distance I ran, whereas my sister did the 5k. I love when the courses for both events are the same for the most part, allowing us to run together for the first half. I will admit that my sister started off a little fast. I knew that I should’ve told her to slow down or else she would burn out since she doesn’t run that often anymore. I let her rock, but half way through we slowed down and regrouped mentally. I tried my best to push her gently, but also didn’t want to pressure her too much with my competitive nature. I wanted more to do it together than worry about time and running fast.

I just let go and stopped caring about the ticking of the clock waiting for me at the finish line and became present in the moment. It felt great to be doing it together, despite her pleading with me to go on.

The game plan was to hand off the stroller to her at the 3 mile mark as I continued on and she could finish with my little guy. The switch off happened much earlier than this after lots of back and forth about me going on and giving it my all. “You’re going to have to run faster now to make up for this time,” she kept telling me over and over again. I didn’t want to run ahead without her, but since I would have to eventually I reluctantly agreed and took off.

I am so grateful to have family like my sister who supports me in my passion for running. Not only did I drag her butt up early in the morning to run when she was tried, pushed her to really run it, but also I then made her be my babysitter. Without her encouraging me to go on ahead I would’ve been okay with settling for an okay run. I am so thankful she was there for me, and she is one who wound up being the one to motivate and push me to finish strong.

After I set off on my own, I really kicked it up a gear. It felt like I was flying past others, zig-zagging through the sea of bodies with the ocean waves crashing to my left. It was grey out, but I felt warm as I pushed on ahead. I tried to think about form and lead with my hips, but realized now was not the time to make adjustments once my body found a really good rhythm.

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Before I knew it I was back at the beginning of the course for the loop, passing my She Runs! ladies who were on the final mile as I whipped around the bend past mile 5.

Overall, I am impressed with how well my body can handle my now faster speed for longer distances. I know I can push a little harder, and kept telling myself I have a little gas saved for the end instead of asking myself like I would in the past.

The 6.2 miles flew by and felt like a breeze. And despite a slower start I managed to PR for my 10k, finishing at 1:06, which is four minutes faster than my previous 10k with a stroller. Granted this was a flatter course and I only ran the first mile with the baby, but I wasn’t expecting to crush any goals, but being faster is becoming my new normal. (11 mins per mile might be slow to some, but considering I walked in the beginning and had to really speed to make up for time, I am happy with this.)

I still have more work to put in to reach my sub hour 10k goal, but with each race I am one step closer.

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I plan on signing up for this race again next year for sure. It was a scenic course that was well organized and participants received cool shirts and a glass for completing the event. It was a great way to start a Sunday, and an even better way to celebrate Mother’s Day doing what I love with those I love—plus for a good cause!

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Congrats to all finishers at Run the Hook, and to those who completed other races this weekend.

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