It’s funny; I was on the fence about doing the base 5k on May 26th. In fact, I actually thought it was the 27th until my good friend Brittany texted me saying it was Thursday. After the Carlsbad 5000, I felt super defeated. I knew the reason I had run “slow” was coming off the flu, and my body was not feeling well, but it didn’t make it any easier. Outside of the flu, my body just hasn’t felt great. That’s a combination of upping my mileage and the summer weather that has come to the desert.
Anyway, I decided to run the base 5k because it was half a mile from my house, and if anything, it would be a good workout. The day of the race was windy, but that’s unsurprising in the desert. The races on the base are super low-key. Sometimes I wonder if a race recap is necessary, but it’s a race.
The race started at 6:30. I woke up around 4:30, got some work done, and then jogged to the start around 6. When I got to the start, I found Brittany, but there were no signs of any race starting in 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes before the start, we were the only ones and had no idea if anyone else was running or even if we were running. Someone from the base drove by and said they moved it down the road—no big deal. I ended up getting about 2 miles before the start.
Base races are typically free, and this was, too (like the 10k I did last month). There are no numbers, and you just write your name and contact information. Ultimately, five people (all women) and two walkers showed up. I’ve done base races where there were 100 people, and some were around 10. The weather wasn’t great (hot and windy), so it was unsurprising that less people showed up.
The race director went over the course, which seemed confusing. He then said he would bike in case there were any snakes. Despite running the trails and paths several times, I didn’t have any confidence I would go the right way. He said this was the toughest 5k course at Edwards as it went uphill, but also, over half was on sand.
They set up the clock and said: “ok, you can go.” That was it. I was not ready and didn’t start my watch until around .1 later as I was running. The first mile went on a bike path and climbed 58 feet. A good portion was also into the headwind but it was the only full concrete mile. I’ve run on the path before and typically try to go the other way since the way we went is uphill. Immediately I found myself in first and luckily the cyclist to showed us the way.
The next mile headed on the sand and towards the flight museum. Desert sand isn’t “fast” or even to run on, and there was a lot of uneven terrain. Finding your footing is tough and there are plenty of potholes and uneven portions. Unlike dirt, the sand causes your feet to sink it (like running on the beach). I’ve run the trails before, so I was fairly familiar with them. I hit the next mile at 6:55 and was surprised to maintain the same pace but also we had a nice tailwind with the trails.
The final mile was back into the headwind and the sandiest and most challenging trails. We were also going into the headwind, and I just wanted it to be over. I just tried to finish but 5ks are like that. Finally, we hit the pavement around 2.6, and I just tried to pick up the pace. I didn’t feel as awful as Carlsbad, but not great, either. I finished the last mile in 7:18 and crossed the 5k finish in 21:15.
I can’t really complain since the 5k was on a significantly more challenging course in harder weather conditions. Hopefully, I’ll be back in under 20 minutes soon with some speed work.
You can see all race recaps here.
Questions for you:
What is the smallest 5k you’ve done?
Do you run on sand?