Last weekend, my husband and I were looking for a fun 5k to do. Then my in-laws came into town and wanted to find a race too. After a little research, we found the Sunrise Serenity 5k about 45 minutes away. We didn’t know anything about the location of the race and as you can imagine that came back to bite us in the butt.
The course was located deep inside Ridely State Park. To be honest, there were no other cars on the road, and we wondered if we were even going the correct direction. All we saw were miles of trails and an extremely hilly road. Once we made it to the start, we saw a few other people.
We signed up for the race course and warmed up. We didn’t know which direction the race ran, and we warmed up in the wrong direction. During our warm-up, we ran down a giant hill. After about a half mile down the hill, we turned around because we realized we would be climbing back. The first warm up mile was 11 minutes and had an elevation gain of 300 feet. It made me dread racing. The next mile was a little better, and I found myself a little more confident in the race. I told myself it would end up being a workout and not to worry about it.
The race started at 8:30. We got to the race start at 8:30 but they called everyone back to the DJ booth to do warm up stretches. After the delay, we were off at 8:45. Got to love small town 5ks…
After the start, I found myself as first woman overall and something like the 10th person. The first mile went downhill. Since I knew the course was out and back, all I could think about was running back uphill. I saw my husband way out in front, and I found myself running alone. I crossed the first mile in 6:29 and I knew I was in trouble. Running the first mile, which was net downhill, in a 6:29 meant I was probably going to ride the pain train home.
The pack separated, and I found myself running alone. I spotted my husband at the turnaround, and he was second overall. I was excited for him to have such a good race. Being the serious person I am, I winked at him and said you’ve got this. After the turnaround, we began climbing the hill we just ran down. To be honest, I felt better running uphill. I crossed the second mile in 6:33 and was pleasantly surprised. I hadn’t fallen off as much as I anticipated.
Like many 5ks I’ve run, the final mile was just spent focused on the finish. I was approaching two racers, and I wanted to pass them. The first, a middle-aged male, I caught while weaving around runners going the opposite direction. For the rest of the race, I ran nearly side by side by a 10ish year old who ultimately outkicked me. Running with someone was nice. I ran the final mile in 6:31 which I was shocked and pleased with.
I crossed the finish line in 20:14 and as first female overall. With the course terrain, my fitness level, and the heat I was very pleased. Actually, I was more shocked than anything.
As I mentioned in my training log, I am happy with how my running is progressing. I do believe if I raced on a flat course I’m in 19:30 shape. I have no complaints, and I’m feeling extremely motivated and excited to run healthy again.
Questions for you:
What is the hilliest race you’ve done?
Do you generally check race courses and elevation charts before signing up?