On paper, the Corona Del Mar 5k is 3 seconds faster than the Menifee Memorial Day 5k just a few days before. But the courses could not be more different, and the Corona Del Mar 5k was a lot more challenging. So it’s a more significant improvement than what it “looks like on paper.”
Before the Corona Del Mar 5k:
I went down to Corona Del Mar the night before. It’s roughly 2.5 hours from my house, and to get there means going almost directly through Los Angeles. I didn’t hit much traffic, which was great because I didn’t need more stress after a stressful week at work. After eating, I decided I had time to pick up my packet, so I went to the Civic Center. I hit the most traffic on the way to my hotel. When I finally got to my hotel, I fell asleep around 7.
I woke up around 6 am, ate breakfast, and headed to the race. I was concerned with the road closures and parking. The men started at 7:55, so I didn’t know how much space there would be for parking. There was plenty of free parking for the Corona Del Mar 5k, which was nice. The only problem I learned was you aren’t able to get out until 9:30, and leaving Corona Del Mar takes a lot of time (due to traffic),
I warmed up about 3 miles. I learned the night before that the Corona Del Mar 5k is very hilly. I think I already *knew* that but had just forgotten. Warming up reminded me of that, and I was tired. I didn’t feel especially great but also not bad either. I ran about 3 miles on the course, noting some serious hills, then watched the men race. By the time I knew it, it was the women’s turn.
Corona Del Mar 5k:
As we lined up, I decided to get as far front as I could. I’ve had several races I *should* have been up further, and it makes it hard to run the first mile because it’s more congested. So I seeded myself as far up as I could without being rude. I ended up in the second row. By the time I knew it, we were off.
As the Corona Del Mar 5k women’s race took off, I was somewhere around 10th woman. I was honestly shocked. I didn’t really anticipate even being 10th in such a competitive race. But I told myself, it’s literally a quarter of a mile into the race.
The first mile of the Corona Del Mar 5k has some rolling hills and a few turns. I made it a point to run the tangents as well as possible. I knew that was a big deal in a race with 8 or 9 turns. I hit the first mile in 6:30 and was honestly surprised. During that time, I had passed a few women and was 3rd overall.
I knew the course was only going to get harder. The second mile has a good amount of downhill, and I told myself to push it on the downhill. I did, and I ran a 6:29. I also passed one woman and found myself second overall. I was even more shocked.
I knew the third mile of the Corona Del Mar 5k is the hardest, and while there is some small downhill, it’s almost all uphill and has a few turns. It feels like every turn you make; you see another steep uphill. I could feel myself getting slower, but I pushed as hard as possible. I ran a 6:52 final mile and crossed the Corona Del Mar 5k finish in 20:30 and was second woman overall.
Corona Del Mar 5k Thoughts:
I am proud of this race as it’s no secret that my last almost two years of running have been hard. I’ve run some personal worsts and slowest times. It feels good to feel like I’m on an upward swing finally. The Menifee Memorial Day 5k had 10 feet of elevation, whereas the Corona Del Mar 5k has 170 feet of elevation gain. (Whew, that’s a lot for a 5k). I’m looking forward to racing more 5ks and hopefully getting under 20 minutes in the 5k this summer.
Questions for you:
Have you raced the Corona Del Mar 5k?
What is your favorite 5k?