Carlsbad 5000 2019 Race Recap

For a while it looked like Carlsbad 5000 might disappear.  Competitor Group sold the Rock n Roll series to Ironman and last year, Carlsbad 5000 was interesting, especially in regards to the elite races.

But after what seemed like forever, it was announced that Meb & a group of local San Diego investors had purchased Carlsbad 5000 and in December they opened up registration to the race.  We immediately signed up only to realize that Leona Divide was the day before.  For some reason I had my dates wrong and thought it was later in the month.

In any case, we decided we would still run, especially since the Arete ladies were doing a big meet-up where we would get to meet one of the founders, Mary before the race.

So when I left off on my Leona Divide recap, Sean had finished and we were high-tailing it out of Green Valley.  Well it got dark not too long after that and I don’t enjoy driving in the dark, especially when I’m tired. Plus getting out of Green Valley/Palmdale requires driving on a very stressful two lane road with a ton of traffic.  We finally made it to San Bernardino and found a place to have dinner.  By this point I was so exhausted I couldn’t drive the 2 hours home so we got a hotel near the airport in Ontario and decided to drive to Carlsbad in the morning.

Sean’s wave started at 6:53a and mine at 7:55a.  We decided to shoot for my wave and left the hotel around 6am I think.  The sun was just starting to come up when we left the hotel.

It was a pretty easy drive, we ended up on a toll road that was so incredibly beautiful, unfortunately no photos, I was driving, but it was almost empty and I kept thinking how lucky we were to get to see these beautiful mountains.

Eventually we made it to the 5 and then made our way south to Carlsbad.  I was starting to stress out, would we find a parking spot, get our bibs & hit the port-o-potties and be there in time to start the race?

We found a parking spot, jogged over to the starting area, I picked up the bibs for Sean & I, he was jogging just a touch slower than me ;), understandably so after finishing a 100k less than 12 hours before.

We then jogged over to the start area, where we immediately saw Kristina & Josh, we said a quick hello & headed immediately to the bathrooms.  We made it & even were there in time to hear the National Anthem.

Last year Kristina & I were racing around this course trying to get PRs or close to them.  I managed to go under 25 minutes for the first time last year.  This year we were both like, I don’t know how this is going to go.  I told her I might not be able to keep up and she said the same thing lol.

But off we went.  I started out really easy at least compared to last year, lol, when I was weaving in and out of all sorts of other runners.  This year I didn’t have a real goal but just wanted to do my best.

The first section has a few little bumps that feel like hills and then you make the turn.  I was feeling pretty good as I made my way down to the turnaround.

I hit the first mile then made the turn to go back the way I just came around 1.4 miles.  I missed the aid station, I was pretty thirsty, but it was only 3 miles so I just kept moving.

I started to feel like my legs were really tired so I know I started slowing down around the 2 mile mark.  We eventually started seeing the leaders and I was just saying to myself, keep moving, it’s only 3 miles, don’t walk.  I was waiting for the next turn, where was it? Finally we came up to the turn.  I made it and felt like I was going soooo slow, willing myself to keep running, not much longer now, less than a mile.

Then I heard Sean call my name! I turned, thinking I probably looked like death & Sean took my photo.  I thought these photos were going to reflect how I felt, but they actually didn’t look too bad, lol.

Seeing Sean gave me a little boost and I continued moving towards the Carlsbad sign and the final turn.  I hit the turn and did my best to speed up, it was tough, let me tell you.  I don’t believe I’m smiling in the photos at the finish lol, which was a shame because they had free photos!!

But I did managed to hang on to get a 8:31 avg pace which for these days was a significant effort. I was about 3 minutes faster than the LA Big 5k so that was a good sign.

For the second year in a row, Kristina finished just behind me.  I kept thinking she would pass me, but she was hanging on just like I was, lol.

Sean finished a few minutes later, I was able to wait for him & see a few other friends in the meantime.

We got a quick snack, some coffee & then headed to meet the Arete ladies by the packet pick-up.  Most of them were running in either the 30 – 39 or  2o – 29 age groups.  I think I was the only one who ran in the masters group this race.

We got a few photos & then they took off for a quick warm-up run.  We headed to the finish area to wait to watch the next race.

It’s pretty exciting and we would have loved to have stayed to watch the elites but we were exhausted so we said good-bye to all our friends and headed to Plant Power for some lunch before heading home.

Some of the cool things about this years race, free photos, Meb was taking photos with runners at the finish.  I wish I had know there were free photos because I would have gotten a pic but I didn’t really want to pay for them.  We didn’t pick up our shirts, although they were  a nice design, we just have so many race shirts we don’t wear.

March Run All the Races: Carlsbad 5000

And here we are, the last of our 5 races in March.  The shortest & the fastest, the Carlsbad 5000.

It’s been a few years since we ran this one, we ran back in 2016, last year we just came over to see some friends and watch the elites.

We don’t run a lot of 5ks, mostly because they are so expensive for only 3.1 miles.  This year, I believe we registered on National Running Day for about $25, which is a lot more reasonable than the $50 they charge if you wait until a month or so before the race.

Carlsbad 5000 is unique in that they have different races for different age groups.  They have Masters Men, Masters Women, 30 – 39 and then 20 – 29 and walkers.  There are also men & women’s elite races too.

This year I was in a new age group, Masters Women so my race time was 7:55a.  Sean was in the next group, 30 – 39 at 9:15a.  I really wanted to run in my own age group so I made him get up early to drive up to Carlsbad around 6:15am.  It takes approx. 45 minutes to get to Carlsbad & then you have to find parking, etc.

We were running a touch late so Sean dropped me off near the finish.  I left my bag with him but still had on my track pants and sweatshirt.  I found the race bibs, note that they are not next to the shirts, but instead near the start line.

I got my bib, used the bathroom and then waited for Sean.  I ran into Mick, from #Run619, we chatted for a bit and then I found Smitha & Kristina.  We got a few photos, saw a few other friends and then Sean got there so I could give him my clothes.

My goal was to try and PR.  My previous official 5k PR was 26:45 and I knew I could beat that. By how much would remain to be seen.  I always start out way too fast in 5ks.  You would think I would learn but most likely since I run approx. one 5k every two years, I always forget, lol.

Anyways, Kristina & I were going to start together and see what happened.  Neither of us had any idea what our bodies were capable of at that point.

The tough part about this race is that they just line everyone up together, it’s an honor start so you just pick a mile pace and then line up.  I spent a good portion of the first quarter mile weaving in and out of other runners.

I finally settled in and just was giving it all I had.  I made the first turn and was just trying to keep my breathing even.  Smitha yelled out to me & I waved back.  All I kept thinking is my new mantra, I believe in you, I can do this and just kept chugging along.

We made the last turn & I remember looking at my watch, I could do an 11 minute mile and still PR, of course I didn’t want to slow down that much, but I struggled that last mile.  Just get to the Carlsbad sign & then you’re in the home stretch I kept thinking.

Finally I made it to the Carlsbad sign & made the turn towards to the finish.  I saw a photographer over by the rail road tracks, I tried to smile but I was breathing too hard.

By the time I saw Sean, I was giving it all I had to get to that finish line.  And there it was!  I crossed the line in an unofficial 24:55! a PR by almost 1m50s!

And then Kristina was just a few seconds behind me, having run a much smarter, negative split race.

We caught our breath, got some water and some photos.  A few of our friends came up so we got more photos and then it was time for me to get changed so we could wait for Sean to start.

Sean had a fantastic race, he finished in a blazing 20:32, pretty amazing considering he has been nursing a foot injury and not doing much in the way of speed work.

We got some coffee & then went to watch the elites.  Interestingly, they started in the same spot as us this year, after doing a different loop course for the last few years.  Doing the same course as us, isn’t quite as exciting for the fans because you don’t get to see them as often.

I felt like we had an interesting mix this year.  Both the fields were very small, under 10 people in each race and there were no Africans in either race. I’m not sure if they were running other events or if they changed how the elite program worked now that Ironman bought Rock ‘n Roll but it was interesting & somehow not quite as exciting.

While 5ks aren’t really on our radar often, it is fun to do one every now and again to test yourself.  Seeing as I’ve now gone under 25 minutes, I’d really like to try and see what I could do if I really put my mind to it.

We hit up one of our favorite vegan restaurants, Trilogy in La Jolla, to fuel up after the race & had a great day!  It’s funny, after all the longer runs, it felt weird to not be tired & sore after the race, lol.