Monument Avenue 10K: race recap

I used to run the Monument Avenue 10k every year, but I haven’t run it since two years ago when I was pregnant with Anna.

Coincidentally, I also haven’t run six miles since two years ago when I ran the 10k, pregnant with Anna.

I hadn’t trained and I had no one to run with, but I was excited to run the 10k. I knew it was going to be a tough six miles, but I love this race.

And so there I was on race morning, circling downtown Richmond for 25 minutes looking for a parking spot. The only moment I regretted signing up for the race was when I surrendered my search for street parking and decided to park in the parking garage. The attendant told me it was cash only. Pay in advance. $10. TEN DOLLARS CASH!? I’m not a pirate! I do not carry that kind of money on me in CASH.

Eventually, thankfully, I found a street parking spot. I jumped out of my car and started hustling (Not too fast! People who don’t train have to conserve energy!) to the start.

It was raining, I wasn’t ready for the distance, and I was alone. My perennial running partner had plans on the morning of the race, and I hadn’t found anyone to run with. I started shivering and so I picked up my pace and tried to remind myself why I signed up for this race at all. Why did I want to do this? Because I was clawing for this part of myself. Despite my many, many efforts, maintaining a running routine has been hard. This race was just one way of saying I’m not letting this part of me go.

Even if I’m not running regularly or racing well, I’m not letting ago.

I ended up walking with another woman on her way to the starting line. She told me that she was late to her wave start because she had to take her 16-year old to a PSAT class. And the moment she finished running, she had to go pick him up.

Meanwhile I was exhausted because I’d been up with two of my kids the night before — one who decided to break her sleeping-through-the-night streak, and one who happened to have a hard time sleeping so he decided to read a book AT 4 A.M.!

Just that morning I’d told myself, “This will be easier when they’re older.” Then I met real-life proof that I was wrong. Racing will never be free of complications. Even when they’re older, I will always toe the starting line as a mom.

The 10k was everything it has always been — crowded, fun, full of energy. It was raining but besides that, the weather was perfect (and I might DEFINITELY argue that running in rain is better than running in the fog of pollen that has been hanging around Richmond).

At the halfway point I saw Tom. He gave me a kiss, and I let my three oldest kids run bit of the course with me. It slowed me down by two minutes (TWO MINUTES!!) but David and Mary are still talking about how they ran some of the 10k. Worth it.

I ran an ok pace (about 10:15/mile), and  I felt good enough to push my pace just the slightest bit after mile five and finish strong with a 1:05.

Running the 10k without training for it was sort of like seeing an old friend who’s just a bit miffed that you haven’t returned any of their texts. They’ll forgive you, of course, but not without letting you know they noticed.

What I’m saying is this: the race was fine, but after my relatively easy effort, I wasn’t able to walk down stairs for three days.

I could call the race unremarkable except that it serves as a marker of where we are as a family. I’ve run this race single, engaged, married, pregnant, postpartum, and now with four kids and a creaky hip to show for it.

It was a reminder of how much I love this sport. Running alongside all ages, levels of fitness, and abilities is a unique experience afforded by running. We are all different, and all have the same 6.2 miles to cover.

It was a reminder of how much I love this city. Richmond was undeterred by the rain, and Monument Avenue was lined with people cheering, brunching, doing tai chi, and playing music. I was running by myself but I was entertained and encouraged the entire time.

I snapped this selfie at the finish line. I was done! And smiling! I sent it to my mom and to Tom and immediately got responses cheering me on.

I’ll be back, 10k. And I might even get around to training one of these days.



  1. Gayle Ann April 18, 2019

    Do you have one of those strollers people use when they are running?

    I have NO endurance. I’ve been trying to do the recumbent bike, and I do have three dogs of varying ages. The 11 year old likes to walk, and behaves. The 5 year old likes walking, and her step is a bit brisker. She doesn’t do the Hoover vacuum thing, but she is taking everything in. And, then, the puppy. He is still learning to behave on a walk, and I come back exhausted.

    I do best in the water. I can swim, but laps aren’t my thing, and the way one kicks kills my knees, both replaced. So, I tread water, or water walk, or walk in the lazy river, against the current. I also like the water treadmill. I can go for longer periods of time, have more flexibility, and not feel like I need to immediately take a nap. The pool does a 15 minute adult swim on the odd hours, which is great, as I can work out during each period. I started doing water for a surgery about 12 years ago. I had to be totally off my right knee for 3 months, and the surgeon insisted on the water, so when I could walk, my muscles wouldn’t be atrophied as much. I’ve done water PT for 4 rotator cuff surgeries, two tennis elbow surgeries, and 7 knee surgeries, three of which were replacements. It is SO MUCH less painful than traditional PT.

    I admire you. I’ve tried, and running is just not my thing. I’m a whale, not a roadrunner. And, I’d NEVER look as great as you do at the end. I wouldn’t look that good at the beginning.

    PS for the muscle cramping, drink dill pickle juice. It takes 20-40 seconds, yes, seconds, for it to work, Not bread and butter, it has to be the dill.

    • amandakrieger April 19, 2019

      Yes! At first we had a single stroller for running, but since Mary was born we have a double. It’s huge and amazing, the most-used baby item I own.

      I also really, really love to swim. One of the reasons we have a pool is because I grew up with a pool. That made me really comfortable in the water, and I hope for the same for my kids.

      I’ve always been of the opinion that you should do whatever works for you and whatever you enjoy!

      I’m not running far enough to need pickle juice. Did you know they hand out shots of pickle juice at some races?

  2. Val Kovalcik April 18, 2019

    I resonate with this so much , Amanda!! Running is the one activity I do that makes me feel like myself. I just started back since Levi , and even though I’m slow and ridiculously winded , I can’t help but smile the whole time Good for you getting out there!

    • amandakrieger April 19, 2019

      way to go val! it’s so much harder with each subsequent kid, i’m cheering for you!!


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