Run the Runway 5k (20:54)
Last weekend my husband decided to do a 5k that started and ended on a runway. When you think of a runway, you think of a flat, straight, wide piece of road and for the most part that is true. At major airports they are flat but small, local, airports might have a few inclines on the taxiway. “Lucky for us,” this was not the flattest runway out there. But that’s fine, just a surprise.
We saw the race earlier in the week but wanted to play it by ear. Neither of us knew how we would feel (especially me). The night before we decided we would do it. Of course, I “slept in” until 5:30 when we needed to be out the door by 6. After scrambling around and making breakfast, we were out. That was a miracle by itself.
We arrived around 7, signed up and did about 2-mile warm up on the runway. We noticed the taxiway (not the actual runway piece) had a bit of incline. It didn’t matter much to me since I wasn’t looking for a showstopping PR. Just to run faster than normal.
The race started at sharply at 8, and we went off. The first mile went the same way we had warmed up with a few small inclines. We turned around and headed down the half mile runway (which was completely flat and straight). Since you could see everything, the race felt like it was taking forever. I kept looking at my watch thinking “why haven’t I reached the first mile.” I ran a 6:25 which felt as though I was working much harder than that.
The second mile left the runway and went up a steep hill on the local road. I had thought the entire race was on a runway so wasn’t expecting to have any significant hills. I powered up the hills but was running alone for most of the race. During the second mile, I was running alone. There were plenty of people ahead of me (including my husband) and plenty of people behind, but no one with me. I focused on the people about 30 seconds ahead and wanted to pass them. I hit the next mile in 6:36. I thought perhaps I could run a flat mile and break 20 minutes if the course was a perfect 3.1. Neither of which happened.
During the third mile, we wrapped along the local roads and headed back on the runway. Half of the mile was hilly and the other half was flat and straight. Around 2.6, we headed back towards the finish. Since it was a runway, you could see the finish line from that point forward. I thought it might never come. I powered through the third mile in 6:33 and the finished the race in 20:54. I believe the race was a little long (maybe about a tenth) but no big deal (which I think they had mentioned beforehand). My husband finished in 18:22, which was decent for him on a long course.
As I went to cool down, I promptly tripped and fell. I have a bunch of surface wounds on my knee, elbow, and shoulder which are more obnoxious than anything. Luckily it’s not a running injury, just as a nasty surface wound. The staff was friendly and cleaned and bandaged me up. We cooled down and watched the airshow for a bit, which was fun!
The first race back is humbling and adding a fall made even more so. I’m happy with my results, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to consistently build upon my results. I don’t plan to integrate a lot of speed workouts right now but find local 5ks for speed. That was my plan in June, but life took over. I can’t say I’ll absolutely have the time to train but I do believe I’ll have more time this fall.
Questions for you:
Have you ever run a race on a runway?
Do you like flat races or hilly?
I like hilly half marathons but flat 5ks.
I’ve never run one, but there is one at a closed NAS in Maine I’ve thought about trying.
That runway may be longer, but it probably has some off runway miles also.
I did an 8k race last November on a runway! It seems to be a very similar set up to yours: partially on an incline and encompassing local roads. It was a lot of fun though! I think a part of that is the novelty of running in an airport.
Congratulations on your first race back! For the heat and base building/no real speedwork, I think you did an excellent job (plus it looks like you placed from the pic, which is great!). Your splits are nothing to be ashamed of, that’s a very fast 5K considering the circumstances. Everything here is flat, but I like some slight inclines… believe it or not we have routes that have not even a foot or two of elevation change total, and I would rather not run on something as flat as a runway. Seems like a few inclines/declines engage different muscles or something?
I hope you have a good recovery from the race and the fall.
Never on a runway, but one on a horse track. It was weird — perfectly flat, of course, but the running surface was synthetic horse track. That meant you had to get really on the inside, where it was pounded flat, or it was like running in soft sand.
That’s so interesting. I’m not sure how I would feel about racing on a race track especially on dirt. I guess with the exception of the an actual running track, it would be one of the fastest ways to race!
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