I was excited to run the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k. I love aquariums, but I also love big races, and this seemed like a fun time. Getting to Long Beach the Friday before was a nightmare. (But maybe that is the rural desert girlie in me). There was a ton of traffic followed by long lines to park. Finally, I made it around 5 (when I left around 1, I figured I would get there 3-3:30 LOL). I picked up my Aquarium of the Pacific 5k and half marathon bib and then went and relaxed at my hotel.
Before the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k:
Two nights before the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k, I slept terribly. I woke up around 1 am and couldn’t fall back asleep until 3. The thought of driving anywhere did not excite me, let alone into Los Angeles/Orange County. When I hit my hotel on Friday night, I was exhausted and I crashed hard. Then when my alarm went off around 4:30, I could have definitely used more sleep (and I got around 9 hours).
The other thing was, my first 20 miler the weekend before left me tired. It took me most of the week to recover and I just didn’t feel great running. I was fairly beat up. Getting to the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k was a bit of a nightmare as well, and it took me a long time to get parked. It left only 15 minutes to warm up so I got about 1.4 miles. (usually, I would have preferred 3).
Aquarium of the Pacific 5k Race:
I knew the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k had a lot of turns but I honestly didn’t really know much else. The Aquarium of the Pacific 5k started promptly at 6:50 am. There were a ton of small children, especially at the front, so I attempted to line up behind someone I knew would go fast and lead the way. It ended up being a good move and there were no small child collisions. I’ve also had a habit of starting too far back in bigger races because my confidence that I should be further up hasn’t been there. Should I be on the front line? No, but usually, I shouldn’t be 15 rows back.
During the first mile of the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k, I found myself as the first woman. I was shocked, to be honest. I knew I was running fast, but I didn’t really know how fast. There were a few turns as well as running onto a curb and I ran a 6:16. Wow. I felt good and not like I was going to die. I thought: maybe this would be the time I would break 20 minutes.
Sadly, I didn’t realize both miles 2 and 3 go over a bridge and there is 120 feet of elevation gain at the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k. That might not seem like a lot, but running hard over a hill is never fun. I ran a 6:42 second mile and was tired between the hill and turns.
Around mile 2.5, a woman passed me and I tried hard to keep up but couldn’t. We were climbing the bridge again, and after a 6:16 mile, my body did not have it in me to run hard. I pushed as hard as I could and ran a 6:39. I thought: it’s all downhill from here.
At the end of the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k, you get to go into the Aquarium. It was super fun to be by the seals but it was definitely more than .1. When I popped out, I crossed the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k in 20:59. The Aquarium of the Pacific 5k course was long (probably all in the last .1). A few people told me it was between 3.2-3.25. My watch said 3.2 but also didn’t count the mileage spent running through the Aquarium. I’m not too concerned, other than it was long. Not just because I didn’t run the tangents well, but because it was actually long.
Aquarium of the Pacific 5k Thoughts:
I’m happy with my race at the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k. It was likely around a 20:20 5k on a really challenging course. This might have been the most challenging? I’m proud of how I took the race out because I haven’t run a 6:16 mile in a long time. I really do need to do a flat, fast 5k so I can break 20 minutes again.
Plus, I won a toothbrush which is honestly the coolest race prize ever. It’s right up there with an ice pick and plunger.
Questions for you:
Have you run the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k?
What is your favorite 5k?