Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Right to Birth 5k!

Today, I ran my first-ever 5k. As I've noted before, I've always thought that people who run 5ks are a bit odd. Why willingly run more than a couple feet? Why pay to run and put yourself through that torture? Well, I jumped crawled onto the running bandwagon this summer, partially in preparation for an event: The Right to Birth 5k and Womb Walk. 

Hosted by a local doula and a birthing center, this 5k was organized to support the right of parents to choose where to give birth. Last spring, there was anti-midwife legislation being discussed in the state government, and events like this 5k have sought to bring awareness to the importance of midwifery care and birthing options. I gave birth in a hospital last year and had a great experience-but that does not mean that everyone should give birth in a hospital. There are a variety of responsible choices that can be made (and should be available!) for women preparing to give birth. I feel very passionate about this cause, and so I was excited to support this event.

In the light drizzle and gray skies, I drove out to Lake Hefner today, uncertain of what to expect. I parked, checked in, and excitedly started looking through my swag bag. I put on my new t-shirt, pinned on my number, and sauntered over to the vendor tables and booths for a few minutes (unfortunately, I did not remember to charge my camera's batteries, so I didn't get any pictures at the event to show y'all). At the announcement for everyone to "come over to the flag pole!" excitement and hesitance gripped my stomach. Soon, it was going to begin!

Swag bag + prize bag for showing up early = lots of cool free stuff.
And usually I'm not into "participation ribbons" and all that,
but my sparkly "finisher medal" is pretty sweet :) 
 An instructor led us all in a fun dancey warm-up for about twenty minutes or so, which was a great way to get energized and excited for the run (and the Womb Walk, which was taking place once all of the runners set off). Then, we lined up, I breathed deeply, and I was off and running down the trail. I am very slow, so my running today wasn't particularly impressive (I was getting passed by people who were pushing double strollers), but I was satisfied with how I did. I ran the whole distance, and managed to sprint for the last hundred or so feet, which felt really good. It was challenging to run on a trail where I had never been, since I'm used to running one specific route where I know how far I've gone as I see different landmarks, but this was a good challenge. I was energized as I completed the run, and it was a lot of fun to spend more time chatting with friends and visiting the various booths afterwards! There were tons of great resources pertaining to midwifery, childbirth and pregnancy, but there were also people representing other services that had to do with kids, like a drop-in childcare business. There was a food truck selling donuts, and lots of really friendly people. There was a kid's area and music for dancing, and it was a great family event. It was a wonderful chance to exercise, meet awesome people, and support a fantastic cause :)

This kid was very happy to have me home after the run ;) 
Someone did complain to me that she wished it was better-organized, since she knows someone who runs lots of races and knows how they work. I know nothing about how these types of events are usually held, so I think I have a fairly objective perspective on how the event was run (though I could not stay for very long after the run, due to our family's schedule). I think that the people who hosted the event did a really great job. This event was a grassroots effort, with time, energy, and brainpower offered by many different individuals-some of whom may or may not have experience hosting 5k events. I am overjoyed that the organizers did not let any imperfections stop them! So yes, it was rainy at the beginning, which caused the run to be delayed a little bit. And not everything planned on was able to occur (according to the event page, the organizers  initially planned on having a memorial set up for people who have experienced infant loss, but supplies didn't arrive in time). Personally, I think the event being spread out-having vendors under the pavilion while announcements and dancing took place over by the flag pole-felt a little weird, and while the pavilion was nice (especially with the rain), it might have worked better for everything to be closer together. But these are just minor things. It was the first year, of course there's room for growth! And everyone will have different opinions on how they think an event like this "should" happen. 

Overall, I thought that the Right to Birth 5k was a fantastic event, especially considering that this was the first one. I greatly enjoyed myself, and I'm hoping that this event will continue to be held! I also think it'd be cool if more areas across the U.S. could hold events like this. Even if people prefer to give birth in hospitals, I think it is so important that they are educated about the wonderful world of midwifery and support those who do desire out-of-hospital births. 


  1. Congrats on completing your first 5k! And that's really an accomplishment that you were able to run the whole time (I did my 2nd time, not first). Midwifery seems to be foreign to many Americans, so I get why it might weird some people out. But it's so dumb when people try to outlaw it. It's a legitimate way to care for mothers and deliver babies, and aren't we all about "choice"? Sounds like a great cause to support at an event like this! Would go do a 5k again?

  2. I've gone to a lot of races and I'm still not really on board with the whole "pay to run" thing, but I enjoy race mornings, and all the excitement and the post-race activities, and leave the actual running to Angel.

  3. Way to go! Have you read Born to Run? I read it hoping it would turn me into a runner. It didn't, but it was still a really good book.

    1. I haven't read it, so I just put it on hold with the library-thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Congrats AnneMarie!!! What a great cause to run for and a wonderful way to promote the various options women have for giving birth. Love the swag bag too! :)