I decided to do the Arroyo Creek 5k on a whim. When in Santa Barbara for the swim meet, we saw a 5k race that was “kind of close,” and thought would be fun. It was low-key. There is a half marathon, 10k, and 5k. As I’ve decided to do as many 5k as possible this summer, I opted for the 5k. My friend decided she would do it as well.
Before the Arroyo Creek 5k:
The few days before were BUSY. The Thursday before, I ran a 5k on the track. Then Friday, I drove to Santa Barbara and did a long-course swim meet on Saturday. This meant by Sunday, I was tired. (and that didn’t even include real-world responsibilities). But I knew it would be “fun” to run a 5k on tired legs. I wasn’t expecting to be fast but to have fun and get a good workout.
We arrived in Simi Valley the night before. The morning of, we woke up around 5:30 and headed to the Arroyo Creek 5k around 6. The 5k started at 7:30, but the longer events began earlier. They said there would be “a lot of traffic,” so I was paranoid about that. There wasn’t, and I had one of the closest parking spots to the finish. I warmed up about 2 miles before the Arroyo Creek 5k. I didn’t feel great and wondered how it would go. My first mile was 10 minutes, and it felt like I was working too hard.
Arroyo Creek 5k Race:
The Arroyo Creek 5k started on time, and at 7:30, we were off. Almost immediately at the start, I found myself as second person overall (first woman) and stayed the entire race. I ran the whole race alone, so it was a hard effort. The first mile had a couple of rolling hills and a steep decline (unpleasant as the last .1 uphill). The downhill made me slightly nervous, so I took it easy. From there, we continued on the local running trail.
The course was out and back, and I hit the first mile in 6:56. My goal was to run a hard effort for the day, which is what my body had. The trail was uneven during the second mile of the Arroyo Creek 5k. Several parts were rooted up, and it was hard to gain any “speed.” So I didn’t worry about it and just ran hard and focused on not falling. The halfway point went up a small hill, and I was confused about where to run around. I came to a stop but then quickly figured it out. From there, I turned around and headed back to the start. It was a nice little downhill at the midway point.
I thrive on out-and-back courses because I get to see other racers. I saw my friend just a minute or two behind me and was excited for her! I cheered for everyone going in the opposite direction. I was working hard, but I wasn’t above my means. With my full stop at the halfway point, I ran the second mile in 7:13. I was slightly bummed but focused on the end.
As we headed into the third mile, I knew there would be a steep uphill back to the end. On any regular run, it wouldn’t be wrong. But at the end of a 5k, it feels terrible. I ran a 6:52 3rd mile and crossed the Arroyo Creek 5k finish in 21:30. I was also pumped for my friend Kristen, who ran an 8:45 pace 5k. She hasn’t run that far in years.
Arroyo Creek 5k Thoughts:
It was one of my slower 5ks recently, but it felt more like a workout than a race. My body was tired, and I never felt like I was going all out. It’s nice to know my legs can handle 7 min pace on tired legs now. I’m enjoying running a bunch of 5ks this summer.
Questions for you:
Have you run the Arroyo Creek 5k?
What is the hardest 5k you’ve done?