10003912_10202308657692788_1836788637_nLast Sunday I ran the Carlsbad 5000 for the first time. This race is known as “The World’s Fastest 5k,” not necessarily for the course but for the crowd of runners it draws.

Getting to any race in North County now takes a lot longer time than it used to. That’s because I’m already positioned 30 miles away. Anyways, it was nice that my race wasn’t until later (around 9:22). Our coach instructed us to arrive in time for the race prior to ours (about 8:46), so I got there around 8:20.

Parking was pretty easy because Graham ran around searching for a spot prior to my arrival (thanks, G). Anyways, we were both running the same race, so we jumped into the back of the 30-39 men and women’s heat (the race before ours) for a warm-up.

By this time I was already complaining that it was HOT. I had no idea what to expect for the weather. Originally I thought it might be kinda cold, especially because it was raining when I left my house. However, it ended up being a beautiful day, and pretty warm.

Even though I made the effort to buy a disposable water bottle before the race, I left it in the car. Now I was wishing I had it with me. So for the entire warm up I was searching and praying for an aid station.  Around mile 1.5 we came across one where I grabbed two cups and walked through.

Even after my aid-station replenish I was still pretty parched. And to top it off I had to go to the bathroom. I was lucky to be granted permission to pee in a restaurant/bar nearby the start. I was still thirsty and even contemplated drinking from the sink (ok, it wasn’t really that bad, but the thought crossed my head and I quickly shook it off).

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Graham and I lined up towards the front, in the sub-6 min section, because, you know, I was going for 18 min 5k or bust :-P. No, but mainly because we started right in front of the People’s 5k walk.  For the first time, I feel like I started off right. I didn’t go out too fast. Instead, I settled into a pace that felt easy, but was still driven by adrenaline. I didn’t run into any area where my legs felt like “oh my god, you went too fast.” I hit the 1 mile mark at 7 minutes flat. Perfect.

We turned around at mile 1.5 and headed up a slight incline. There was a small group of 3 people pacing one older gentleman. My goal was to try and let them pull me. They seemed a little far off, so instead I decided to keep it with the pre-teen boys.

By mile 2 I just felt like, I don’t know what I’m doing, why am I doing this? But then I ran by my coach and other people from my running group and I instantly felt motivated and refreshed.

By the last turn around point, around 2.5, I finally caught up to the pacing group mentioned above. The older gentleman was tiring, and mentally I was like, I’m not going to let him beat me.

So I picked up the pace kept moving up this second stretch of incline. I told myself once it flattened out I would pick up the pace. When I saw myself coming up to an intersection, I started to really pick it up, thinking I was coming around the last corner. I quickly realize, no I have about at least a quarter mile left. However, I just kept my legs moving. I finally looked down at my watch and realized how little time was left. I just thought, only ~2 more minutes until I’m done, I can do this. I thought, I’ve already put in some hurting to get to this point, I’m not going to let it go to waste. So I stopped looking at my watch and just ran.  As I was coming in I saw on the timer that I was in the 21 minute range. So I pushed it as hard as I could, finished, and then posted up inside the “secure exit zone,” throwing back 2 mini bottles of water.

For this race we were tasked with estimating our time for a fun little competition. However, I had the hardest time predicting what time I would run. Me me, math and running do not mix. Actually, math and I do not mix in general. Anyways, I hoped it would be somewhere in the 21 min range, but could not figure out how much time the last .1 would add on. My coach suggested 21:45, and in the end, I think this helped me visualize where I needed to be.

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I also ran into Stuft Mama who I saw before the race started, during the race, and then finally after. I knew she was doing the 20k, and even though we’ve been at some of the same local races, I’ve never actually run into her. It’s so fun to meet the bloggers behind the blogs — I like her even more now.

The one race issue I heard: I guess for anyone sub-20 ran into the issue of being blockaded by the 5k walkers in the last little bit. Thankfully, by the time I got to this point, they had them held off to the side, waiting.

I ended up with a time of 21:43 and got 13 out of 111 in my age division, 53 out of 933 for women, and 216 out of 1776 overall.  This was a PR for me by about 30 seconds (28 seconds to be exact).

Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (21:51 – I had a hard time stopping it after the finish line):
1- 6:59
2 – 7:05
3 – 6:58
Last .15 – 0:47

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We hung around for the elite races which were so amazing to watch, and sooooo fast!  We followed everything up with breakfast at Cafe Topes. It was off the main drag, but super busy! I couldn’t decide what I wanted so I kinda went with it all. Power granola, fresh fruit and potatoes. The food was delicious and the decor was super cool (e.g. wall planters, lots of rustic wood, retro touches).

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Oh ya, and I can’t forget the liver shirts (from the Pizza Port Beer Garden). I’m sorry, but they look like running turds! However, I think this is one of my favorite new lounge shirts.

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