This past weekend Sean & I kicked off our four races in April with the Carlsbad 5000. This was my first time running this race and Sean’s second.
The nice thing about this race is that since it’s a shorter distance you can pick up your packet the day of the race vs. having to pick it up at the expo the day before. This was a huge plus for us because Sean was doing trail work the day before and we live about 40 minutes from the race.
We registered when the price was really low, I think we paid something like $15/20 each which was a great deal since I believe it jumps up to $50 as you get closer.
The fun thing about this race is that it is called the World’s Fastest 5k because they do the elite races after all the other age group races and a bunch of world records have been set here. In fact both the current 5k road records for men & women were set here at the Carlsbad 5000. Sammy Kipketer holds the men’s record set in 2000 with a time of 12:59:50 and Messeret Defar (who also won this year’s race) holds the women’s record set in 2006 of 14:46.
They also have a thing called the All Day 20k (it used to be 25k when Sean ran it in 2012) where you can run all 4 5k races and get a special medal.
We decided to just do our age group 5k since we had a lot of other races coming up. The waves are split up into 4 age groups, Masters Men 40+, Masters Women 40+, Men & Women 30 – 39 and Men, Women 20 – 29 and Walkers in the last group, followed by the wheelchair athletes and then the Elites.
So that meant that our wave didn’t start until about 8:40am. We got there around 7am, picked up our packets, which was set up a bit strangely. You pick up your bib over by the start line and then you have to go down 2-3 blocks to the Expo area to get your shirt and bag.
I didn’t see any signage except a hand written note saying that bib pickup was on Harding St so that was a little confusing. They probably should have had a bit more directional signage.
Parking: Parking for this race can be a challenge because it’s pretty much all on residential streets. We found parking a few blocks away in a school parking lot so that worked out nice.
Expo: It was a decent size considering that this was a 5k race. There were a lot of vendors including ProCompression, Nuun, Sweaty Bands to name a few of the more recognizable vendors.
Race Shirt: We got a nice tech shirt, I always get a medium with the Rock n’ Roll shirts because they run a little small and they always do a crew neck which ends up being really tight around my neck. This years is brown, which is an interesting color choice, but with it went with the Endless Summer theme graphic.
Course: This was a pretty course, during the middle part of the race we ran right by the ocean. And then towards the finish you go under the Carlsbad sign and then down to the finish.
My race: I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, 5ks aren’t really my favorite because you are supposed to go fast the whole way. I just decided to run and started out a little ways back where I ended up weaving in and out of people for the majority of the first mile. They don’t have a corral system for this race, it’s all based on the honor system.
I started out feeling really good, I was breathing normally and while the legs felt a little tired, they weren’t sore or anything from the trail run/hike the day before. I looked down at my watch at one point and I was running at a 8:12 pace, which is a lot faster than I have been going.
It was a bit warm in this section of the race, but it was short lived because as soon as we made the turn to be on the ocean side it got really windy. I just kept chugging along feeling pretty decent. And then we hit mile 2 and I started to feel the lack of speed work. I was still passing a few people, hearing Carlee McDot yell my name when she saw me, she and her husband were just a few seconds behind me, but I was starting to feel a little sick. I got a cramp in my side and my breathing was starting to get off. I slowed down significantly during the 3rd mile and fought to hang on to the finish without getting sick.
I did however manage to finish in a decent time of 26:52 which is 6 seconds off of my current PR in this distance. I thought my PR was 26:12 or I probably would have run just a little faster at the end to break that. Lesson learned that you should probably look at the actual PR prior to the race so you know what it actually is! Lol
But I’m extremely happy with an 8:39 avg pace – I haven’t run that fast in quite a while so while I didn’t hit a new PR, I know with a little more speed work I definitely could.
I’m super proud of Sean, he totally killed it on his race running a 6:45 average pace to finish in 20:59!! I saw him way up ahead of me on both the out & backs.
Medal: Rock n’ Roll had a special medal for those runners that finished in the top 250 in each race. I really thought that it was the top 250 overall runners and so I told Sean that he should push it so he could get one since I knew I wouldn’t be in the first 250 total runners. But apparently it was top 250 men & women in each age group because when I finished, they were saying men to the left, women to the right and I got one of the special First 250 medals. So we both got one! I finished as the 209th female in my wave.
The First 250 medals have world record holder Sammy Kipketer on the front and then a little info about him on the back of the medal. The medals that the runners after the first 250 got were life savers with a bottle opener in the middle.
Post Race Snacks: Rock n’ Roll had a lot of good snacks for after the race. We got bottles of water & Gatorade. On the food side we got Kind Bars, Dole Fruit Cups, Oranges and Corn Thins (kind of like a corn rice cake).
The only downside to this race is all the time between events. The Elites didn’t run until 11:15am so we had a while from the time we finished to the time they ran so we took our snacks back to the car, got some Starbucks, took some photos, met some friends and then it was time to watch the elite women run.
The elites run a different course from the rest of us. It is a 2 loop course that finished at the same place we did. We got to see them pass us 4 times before heading to the finish. We watched the women do both loops before heading to the finish line.
World Record holder Defar won easily and had the best fans. They were so excited! When we saw her after the race her smile was electric.
We met up with Sarah and headed back to the start line to watch the men. An interesting thing about this race is that it goes over some railroad tracks so each race is run between the trains. Which means some odd starting times.
The men got started and we ran down to get a spot by the finish before the men got there. They were flying although they were significantly off world record pace with the winner at 13:24. However, the US’s own Bernard Lagat broke his own Master’s World Record by 2 seconds with a 4th place finish in 13:38.
All in all this was a pretty fun race and I’m glad we had the opportunity to run it. I’m especially happy that we got to meet so many instafriends like Melissa who crushed it coming in just behind Sean, Kristina, who I’ve been seeing at all the races (we chased her down for most of the Old West 50k), Paul, who ran all the races that weekend. I ran into 2 fellow Bib Rave Pros, Sarah who I already mentioned and Haley, who despite an ankle injury crushed her race!