Double the Race, Double the Fun? No, This is Why I Don’t Do 5Ks!

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In racing, you could say there’s a distance for every runner. From marathons and half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks, to the fairly odd 4-milers, 5-milers, 10-milers, 8Ks… there’s even a 1.7-mile race held in New York City’s Central Park each year (and yup, I’ve run that too).

But today’s race was something else. A 10K, followed by a recovery break (how long depends on how fast you ran), then a 5K. The Double Road Race.

Who is the genius to come up with that, you ask? Why, Bob Anderson: the man who started publishing Runner’s World back in the 1960s and sold it to Rodale Press in 1984. Count on the mastermind of our sport’s monthly bible to come up with what could possibly be the oddest race we’ve seen just yet.

The Double Road Race is still in its infancy (the very first official one took place in Pleasanton, Calif. last December), but is quickly growing. Check all upcoming events here.

Fast forward to 7:30 a.m. today, an impressive field of elite runners (including a 1:04 half marathoner!) and your average 6-minute-mile speedsters converged upon San Jose, to line up at the start with us mortals:A slight delay, the national anthem (always nice to have that kick off a race!), and we were off.

The weather was perfect for running and the course was flat and kind of boring. The 10K was two loops, the 5K: one loop of the same. Basically, the opposite of distracting — made for speed!

And so I don’t have any photos of the run, what with trying to keep up with people who are way faster than me and not die.

Mile 1: 7:42

But then, right after the first fast mile, surprise! OK, so the total elevation of this thing was 90 feet. Just a wee little incline, isn’t it? Well yeah, but it still sucked.

Mile 2: 8:23

The downhill couldn’t come soon enough. Except right before the 3rd mile marker, I twisted my ankle. Crap.

Mile 3: 8:13.

Mile 4: 8:37. Had to slow down till the pain went away. [I was lucky it wasn’t that bad and I could run through it. Count your blessings!]

Mile 5: 9:16. Remember that hill? Bitch. I walked it.

Mile 6: 7:58 This is where my stomach starts to hurt and I remember I didn’t eat anything. Stupid. I barely survive another 0.2 miles and cross the Finish for the first of two times today.

10K result: 52:39. Pace: 8:29. Rank: 116 (out of 314)

The recovery time was fun! The first thing I did was walk to the car, drink some energy drink and eat a banana. What was I thinking, not eating breakfast?? Then I got two ice packs for my ankle (thanks, medics!), sat down on the ground with Melissa, a fellow Mom who Runs This Town, and enjoyed the action:Some people recovered with upper body strength exercises (not me, thank you). Others, by jiggling their butts on these strange machines:Yet others just stretched:There was also an area with foam rollers and at least two separate zones with massage therapists working their magic. I guess if you ran the 10K in 40 minutes or less, you had time for one of these, too. Those of us mortals would have to wait until after the 5K to be pampered and stretched. I might have lined up a wee bit too close to the start for the 5K, what do you think? Yup.And once again, we’re off and I’m trying to keep up with people who are too darn freaking fast.

Two minutes later, the husband calls me. I briefly consider ignoring it, but can’t. What if something happened? I pick up, panting through mile 1 still.

Him [sounding chipper]: “Hello!!”
Me [breathing heavy]: “WHAT?”
Him: “I just wanted to tell you that so and so are coming on a play date.”
Me: !@#$%$%#$%%^&*!!!!!?????? [and you call me in the middle of a race, why???] “Let’s talk in 25 minutes, K?” End of conversation.

Mile 1: 7:53 I could’ve gone at least 15 seconds faster… well, at least my ankle doesn’t hurt.

But the damn hill. It’s still there. I hate it. I hate 5Ks. I want to walk. But I don’t. Take that, stupid little hill!

Mile 2: 8:38

[bleep], [bleep], [bleep].

Mile three: 8:21. I feel like death and I don’t understand why. I’m running so slowly.

I suck at running. I just suck. Everything sucks. I want my mommy.

But most of all, I want the Finish line. I want this to be over, I hate it.

I remind myself why I don’t do 5Ks.

Not because they’re easy. Oh no. Because 5Ks are hard! too. damn… hard!.

And then, mercifully, I am done.

Just like that, all the drama goes away. I’m happy again. I let myself feel the endorphins in my body and take it all back. I love running! I love it! Oooooh, that was awesome! When can we go again?

5K result: 26:02. Pace: 8:23. Rank: 109.

Overall result: 01:18:41. Rank: 111.

I’m even happier once I get the best damn massage in the world. My legs and IT bands are in heaven. The End.

A bit later, I find out that I placed 6th in my age group, only 5 seconds behind the 5th. (The top 5 in each AG “podium” in this race.) I’d like to blame it on the externals. The phone call? The ankle? But who knows. Maybe it was all in my head. Maybe that’s the best I could do.

We’ll find out next year, of course!

The bottom line? I hate 5Ks. I’m not too crazy about 10Ks, either. But put them together, and you’ve got one challenge worth taking!

See you there next year?

Moms Run This Town San Jose represent! And yes, they had Starbucks coffee before the race!

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