Trumbull Sunset 5K Race Recap
I signed up for this evening race a few weeks ago. It had been on my radar since last year, but schedule conflicts prevented me from doing this one. I haven’t ever run an evening race before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Luckily, the heat and humidity from earlier this week broke and we ended up with a low humidity 80 degree day. That being said, that’s still pretty hot to be running. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do with this one. I haven’t run distances of more than five miles since the half, and my running has been sporadic because of the heat; three miles here, four miles there. Nothing like the frequency of my runs before the half, maybe three times a week. They haven’t felt bad or anything, but still. It was my first race back.
And, I heard the race was hilly. I posted about it on Facebook and several friends chimed in who’d done it last year: “Oh, that’s a hilly one. Pretty much all uphill. Have fun.” Yikes. I set myself a very conservative goal of under 38 minutes for this 5K. I know that is a very crap time, but with the heat and the hills I just knew I wasn’t going to break any records. My friend who helps set up the race told me to just go easy for the first 1.5 miles, and then after that, it’s overall downhill (a few hills but net downhill from there). I figured that sounded good.
The race started and ended at a lovely park only about five miles from home. I arrived around 5:30 and parked. The park was already crowded, even though we were over an hour out of the race.
I didn’t know a soul at this race. That’s often the case for me; I didn’t know anyone at the half I ran either. But somehow, in this smaller setting, I was really feeling the being alone thing. No one really to talk to. Not much to do. I used the bathroom a few times. Maybe it was because everyone else there seemed to be with friends or partners or families, but I really felt alone for this one. Boring wait for the start.
Finally, it was time, and we all lined up. I took my usual spot in the back of the pack, just near Really Old Guy and People Who Look Like Me and Double Stroller Dude. After the instructions that no one could hear, we started.
Actually found a shot of me at the start of the race on the race website. Shocking. I’m wearing my new favorite running shirt, which I made myself on one of those T shirt websites: 13.1, Only Half Crazy. Only one person asked me about it. 😦
Started out in a relatively flat section, and I felt fine. I’d placed myself well, very few people were pushing past me. The park was really pretty, but you had to dodge the goose poop as we started near the lake. The sun was indeed starting to set, and it was fairly shady, so the heat wasn’t terrible.
Sure enough, the hills started in that first mile. I ran them slowly, but ran them. I was kind of amazed to discover as they kept coming that I still had the juice to not drop to a walk. That has to be my half training still in effect. Sure they were hills, but only one seemed really major; the others were manageable.
As the hills picked off people all around me, I found myself playing interval tag with a few women. One was this high school girl next to me in this photo and her pal, another was a woman probably about my age, and another was a gorgeous thin runner looking woman. I would have been all puffed up about that until I saw her whip out an asthma inhaler.
I hit mile 2 feeling really strong. I stopped for a sip of water at the stop just because I was sweating so much and breathing through my mouth. There was a bit of a hill after that, and I told myself I could walk it if I needed. But shockingly, I didn’t. I kind of marveled about that as I kept going. I kept waiting to feel that bonk that I’d felt in the second mile at every race last summer. And it never happened. My RunKeeper told me I was increasing my pace now that I was past the worst of the hills, and I wondered how I would finish.
We entered back into the park around mile 2.5 and the path was flat. I tried to push it as much as I could. I felt strong, but I knew the heat was taking its toll because of how much I was sweating. I got back near the lake and could see the finish line around the bend; further than I wanted it to be, of course. I heard 35 minutes tick off on my RunKeeper and cursed. I knew I wasn’t on pace to PR and with the heat and the hills it wasn’t at all likely, but I felt so good that I’d somehow hoped I was making up the time. Still, as I rounded the bend I saw 36:xx on the clock. Still ahead of my goal and for all of the hills and the heat? I couldn’t complain about that.
I crossed at 37:09, feeling fast and fantastic. Yes, they took a photo and no I won’t post it because it looks god awful. I knew the guy was there, I’m not sure why I didn’t smile for him. I thought I was looking fierce but instead I look totally crappy. In my defense, I was trying to sprint and no one really looks great doing that.
I’m glad I did this race. I honestly didn’t know what to expect going into it, and I surprised myself with how good it felt. As soon as I was done I wanted to sign up for another race. I loved the fact that people told me this race was hard and I never felt that it was. I felt good, the whole time. I mean, I was still pushing, don’t get me wrong, but I never felt like I ran out of steam or couldn’t keep going. The post race endorphins were fantastic on this one. I had been worried that I had lost a lot of fitness in the last month, but I haven’t. And that was a huge relief.
Now I just have to find the next race!