2018 IRIS Run for Refugees 5K

February 10, 2018

A Quick PT Update

PT continues to kick my butt (in a good way); I’ve progressed onto more challenging strengthening & stretching exercises… but progress feels slow, and my knee is still acting up.  I’m finding myself getting more easily discouraged these days.  But, I had a race last weekend, and that helped give me a little boost of enthusiasm to keep working to get my IT band sorted out:

2018 IRIS Run for Refugees 5K

When I signed up for the IRIS Run for Refugees race late in 2017, I was pretty psyched.  Welcoming refugees to our country is something that is incredibly important to me, so not only was I excited for my first race, I was also glad to be supporting a cause that I am passionate about.  IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services) does a lot of great work in the state of Connecticut, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to run alongside some immigrants & refugees living in communities near me.


The weekend before the race, I did a trial run to see how my knee was feeling… unfortunately, I only made it about an 8th of a mile before the pain started setting in.  It was a difficult day for me because I realized not only would I not be able to run the full 5K for the IRIS race, but also had me questioning my ability to run in the half marathon coming up in April.

I decided that even though I’d spend a lot of the IRIS Run for Refugees walking, that I wanted to go for it anyway!!

Race morning we got up early because we had a bit of a drive to get to New Haven.  I had my kit set up the night before and took my time getting dressed.  Had a hearty bowl of oatmeal with a drizzle of maple syrup and some toasted pecans for breakfast, and then ate a banana in the car about an hour and a half before the race started.

The Race

I joined about 2,700 other runners at the starting line, and made my way toward the back—even when I am running, I am a bit of a slow-poke!  There was a lovely opening ceremony, and the Governor of Connecticut spoke, along with the Director of IRIS.  Following the singing of the National Anthem, we were off!!

I started out relatively strong, with a pace that I was hoping I’d be able to keep up for awhile.  The first leg of the race is through a quaint park that even in the dead of winter was pretty.  As I was running out of the park at the start of mile 2, I saw the lead car coming from the opposite direction, and was able to cheer on the man in 1st place as he looped around on the final stretch of the course!

At about that same time, my knee started getting cranky, and I realized it was about time to switch over to walking.  I was able to alternate walking/slow jogging on and off for a little while, but I spent the majority of the last 2 miles doing about a 15:00 walking pace.

Given the way the course was set up, my husband was able to cheer me on from the street a couple of times, and that was awesome!!  Although I was “in the zone,” the first time and almost missed him!!

The Finish Line

By the time I got close to the end, I had decided I wanted to close out the race with a little running—mostly because I wanted my finish line photo to look cool.  I was smiling when I was done, but my knee was angry!!

They had some post-race festivities planned, but with a finish time of about 45 minutes, most people got in ahead of me, and the lines were LONG!  I decided I didn’t want to stand around waiting for the food trucks, so I hobbled the quarter mile back to the car where I had an ice pack waiting in a cooler!  Sweet relief to sit and ice that burning knee!

I still wanted a proper celebration (and some post-race chocolate milk), so we stopped by Insomnia Cookies in New Haven.  Brian and I each picked out a couple warm-n-gooey cookies, and grabbed some cold milk for the drive home!

Overall, I was pleased with my time, considering I’d not be able to run for a big chunk of the race.

Future Plans

Since progress on my IT Band is going slowly, I’m not sure where that leaves me with my short-term running plans.  Currently, my physical therapist, has me taking another couple weeks off of running which is seriously cutting into my training time for the half marathon.  Even if my knee feels better in a couple of weeks, that only leaves me 8 weeks for training, and I don’t know if I can go from 0 miles per week, up to 13.1 in that amount of time.

The cut-off time for the half in April is 3 hours—however, if you need more than that, you can keep going.  If you do go past the 3-hour mark, your time will not be recorded, and the support stations will close down.  So, I should be able to take it as slow as I want.  So, at the moment, I am still planning on doing it, knowing that I can take my time (even if my time won’t get recorded).  I’ll make the final call closer to the race, once I see where my knee is at.

I’d love to know—how was your first race!?  Have any interesting stories??


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  1. Carl Wright on February 10, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    So well done Kate, and I am sincerely sorry this knee is still causing you grief. A great cause and I love the smiles at the finish line. That is a lot of runners starting at the start line.

    Listening to your body is very important, and you have much to be proud of. My 1st race was a half marathon and ironically I struggled with knee issues, specifically my meniscus that entire 1st year (5 years ago). My meniscus was why I stopped running when I was 20, and did not try again until I was 55. It was a run/walk during that race. My plans were to just finish the race, hang up the shoes, and retire from running. But it ended up being just the beginning.

    You will do well on your half marathon. It will be unnerving thinking about it, knowing your training might not be what you hoped for. Just go out and have a good time. Pace yourself with how you are feeling, just like you did with the IRIS run. 🙂

  2. Dodie on March 3, 2018 at 10:35 am

    I’m so sorry to hear your knee is giving you grief! If it comes down to it I’d skip the half. You may be able to finish it but it may cost you running for the rest of the year =(

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This was my first official half marathon: The Flower City Challenge-- I also PR'd my 5K time!

April 22, 2018

Distance: 13.47

3:22:17 // 15:01 split

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