Monday, August 11, 2014


After years of being too afraid and too attached to longer distances, I ran my first 5k on July 4.

I walked into a running store a couple weeks before the race and they were promoting the race with a $30.00 registration.  I rationalized it was the perfect time to run my first 5k.  It was conveniently located; I needed something to jumpstart running faster after a long period of taking it easy; I could test out the progress of my ART/Graston/training treatment; and I had no pressure to run anything spectacular, so my automatic PR would set a nice high bar to allow the opportunity to knock out new PRs if it turned out I enjoyed this whole 5k thing.

Plan: go out at a 6:00 pace, hang on to that pace.

Actual: 5:58; 6:02; 6:21 (this is approximate based on my memory; it has been over a month after all).

The course is officially a 3.22 course, which is almost spot on with what my Garmin clocked me at.  Official finish time 19:43, 6:07 pace, 2nd place woman.

From the course website

It turned out to be one of the most economical races of my life.  For $30.00, I was lucky enough to get a 2nd place-women prize of a $100.00 gift card to Sports Basement, a store we were already hooked on.  We've been there all summer, and we bought our bikes there, so I was ecstatic to cash in for some new camping gear before we went to Lassen.

before the race. my eyes stay sleep-squinty until I run

The course wasn't particularly easy; there were a couple decent humps to climb, and some cars parked in inner-tangents to maneuver around.

I saw a girl with a sponsor tattooed on her six-pack at the starting line, and thought to myself, "second place will do."  She did indeed win, and was lovely to talk to after the race. 

 You can see her up front in the photo below; and you can see me with a look of terrified despair at how to run a 6:00 pace in a clump of arm swings, far right of photo in the same pink/red shirt I have worn for my last 3 races, I now realize.

I knew that a 5k would hurt, and specifically it started hurting right around mile 1.5.  It was a pure, grunt and sweat countdown from there.

I learned that a 6:00 minute mile is reasonable for 2 miles, but impossible for 3.

I learned my treatment wasn't a miracle yet; in the last half mile or so my left calf was angry and tangly, further substantiating that this cramping issue isn't electrolyte related.  I mean it was hot, but it was mile 3.

With no speed/track work under my belt, my leg turnover felt sloppy rather than snappy, as it does after a few weeks at the track.  I'm excited to run a 5k later this year after some track work to see how much better I can do.

The last 0.22 of pure pain


One thing I loved about this race is that it was presented by the local police association, benefiting crisis centers.  Uniformed cops running the bib pick-up and race course? Yes, yes, and thank you.

That's about all I've got for a 5k recap.  It was over right after it began.  I think that made it my husband's favorite race so far; he got a coffee after the start, and then there I was back at the finish.  He rode his bike to/from the race with me while I jogged there (4 miles each way) which also made it a really fun morning for me.


AND NOW my favorite kind of giveaway: a race entry!

The only things most runners really "need" are shoes, shorts, a sports bra (women), and an occasional race.  Come jump for your chance to get one of those essentials.

I apologize in advance for making you act fast, because the race is THIS SATURDAY.  It is in Oakland, my very favorite city in the whole wide world (depending on my mood).

I'm feeling particularly wistful for Oakland lately so I really, badly wanted to run this brand new race that mimics my old running routes, which I stomped over hundreds of times over the course of 6 years.  So badly that I contacted the race director, and here we are.  Me and one of y'all get to run it in just a few days.

The race: The Town's Half-Marathon.

The descriptionThe Town’s Half Marathon—Run 13.1 miles throughout the best of Oakland.  Start at Tribune Tower, wind your way through uptown, downtown, Jack London Square, around glistening Lake Merritt and finish to a concert on the steps of City Hall!  Join us at this hyper-local event and stay for the RunOak local wine and beer festival.

To enter: leave a comment here, or on one of my forthcoming tweets about the giveaway.

If you enter and do not win, or if you want to bypass the giveaway, use this 10% off code: THETOWNSROSERUN at this link.  It is good through August 15, 2014. 

I will contact the winner by the end of Wednesday, since odds are 100% I won't be putting up a blog post by then to announce a winner.  If you don't comment with your blog or twitter name, leave me your email in your comment. 

There will be a few more half-marathon race entry giveaways in the next year, and next time I promise to post them with more advance time.


  1. Maybe I'll put my name in the draw to run one of your next half marathons. Then I would have to come over.

    Anyways-I think the 5k is a compressed version of the half. It's the same amount of pain, just in a shorter period of it feels like the worst thing of your life.

  2. Can I comment without entering the drawing? Or maybe this is the universe telling me that I *need* to run this half marathon (since I already gave up one free entry). ;)

    Congrats on your first 5K! Any thoughts on running more? The Lake Merritt 4th Sunday ones are cheap and easy -- only $5 in advance/ $7 race day with chip timing and everything. No $100 gift certificates to SB though.

  3. 2nd place??? That's awesome!! You kick butt so hard. Sorry to hear it was not really pain-free though. I'm thinking good thoughts about the upcoming race!

  4. Ehhhhh worth a shot. Oakland half marathon pleaseeee

    1. And my email...

  5. Definitely get the 'favorite city depending on your mood' and would like to enter the 1/2 giveaway. I actually wrote to the director about volunteering in exchange for a bib but didn't hear back...

  6. I also didn't realize that my profile wasn't public. Oops, sorry about that. Janet

  7. (don't enter me for giveaway)
    nice job on the 5K! I recently did a 5K for the first time ever competitively, wow was it painful. I went out too fast, and the 3rd mile was like death lol. Your paces look pretty good, but maybe just start out a little bit slower, like I should have done haha. And that guy in the red is smiling way too much for running a 5K!

  8. Way to kick butt in that 5K! They are always tough races and despite the trouble with baby cow, you did good. ;)

    Well, if the giveaway is still going on, you can put my name in the hat. I was pondering a last minute entry into this race anyway. I don't have a blog but my email in case I win is Please don't spam me anyone!!

  9. Thanks all! There were only five entries total and I contacted the winner this morning, she's good to go. Let me know if any of you sign up with the 10% code and I'll look for you there! I'll have entries available for the Livermore Half and the US Half in SF coming up :)

  10. I used the 10% code. Thanks! Bonnie

    1. Awesome! Come say hi if we bump into each other Bonnie

    2. My stupid f&*((ing car broke down on the way to the race!!! Driving on 880 from San Jose...nice place to break down. Anyway, I just stalked the results looking for one of my friends and noticed you rocked it with a 2nd place OA female (at least I think that is you). Great job. Hope your leg didn't give you any trouble. Later-

    3. oh no....that's terrible. That's one my many race nightmares. Sorry, hope your car was fixed without too much $ damage.

      That was me in the results, it was really fun! Hopefully we both get to run it next year

  11. Congrats on your performance at both Concord and Oakland! Great 5k debut, you could definitely knock some time off if you got used to the distance and the almost-puking pace. I always regret signing up for a 5k while I'm running it; I would much rather race a marathon. It was also pretty warm and not flat so there's that. The SJ Turkey Trot would be a great test of your true 5k ability because it is super flat and usually cold. Anyways, great seeing you out there! I'm glad you got through your running slump.

    1. It's been great seeing you at these races, even if you only "used" to read my blog. ;) Thanks for volunteering at Oakland! Will you be at San Jose RnR again this year?

      I'm signed up for the WC 5k on September 7, and I'll think about the turkey trot although if it's actually on Turkey day, that might be too much driving in one day (lots of families to visit around the bay).

    2. I was actually running the timing mat in Oakland but I did hand out a few cups of water. I won't be running RnR due to the cost and because I'm concentrating on ultras this year (or the end of it at least). You should try out a 50k like The North Face SF in December if you don't do CIM; I think you would really enjoy it based on your previous trail run results.


we have a strict no-word-verification policy. Comment away!