Pick a Place to Race – Carlsbad Midseason Race Recap
By: Laura Mitchell
Well, the summer is in full swing in Austin and while it’s been humid it hasn’t been nearly as hot! This all bodes well for training, right everyone?
With the increase awareness of Rogue Expeditions floating around town, the curiosity of racing outside of your hood is becoming more and more popular…but before I introduce you all to a great destination race…let me catch you up on all things running and racing for Laura and just how that race fit into the schedule.
I finished up my season at the end of June. The goal was to get my 5k time down to a personal best since training with Carmen. Steve put to me one day: When one has been racing as long as I have, where do you mark your PB at this point? Is it when you ran in High School or College? Where’s the statute of limitations for still claiming that sub 5 minute mile time or that fast clip you could run 5Ks in weekend after weekend? So I guess to each their own, but I decided that a good starting mark was when I started training with Carmen. Five years ago…I think? So now that was settled; I created my goal for the season. The goal: To get a 5K PB.
Finally this was the year. The year when I started my base phase early enough to put in the work. This was the year where I put in more gym and core sessions that I ever had before. I really felt that I was strong enough to handle putting on more mileage at a faster pace during the winter, so once 5K season really started I would be fit and ready. I ran about five 5K races with a mid-season goal race and a final goal race to peak for. I wanted to first tell you about my favorite mid-season race spot and then in my next blog discuss the outcome of my goals laid out this season.
The mid-season race I do on the regular is the Carlsbad 5000. I recommend this race if you are looking for a relaxed destination coupled with an exciting race. At the beginning of every year, I think about the 1st weekend of April and save it for the Carlsbad 5000. It’s in the cute little town of Carlsbad, CA, which is about 35 minutes north of San Diego. It is deemed the World’s Fastest 5K. They call it the fastest because several people have ran crazy fast times there. It’s been running since 1986 where Steve Scott won the 1st three races setting World and American records in ‘86 and ‘88. To this day, the elite races never disappoint! So you may be thinking, “Wow, it must be super flat!” The race course is great, although it’s not flat all the way as you would expect.
It actually has a slight uphill start for the first 600m, but you never notice it as the adrenaline from starting a race is in full swing and all you are worrying about is not getting sucked into going too fast too soon. Then it turns left and is pretty flat along the beach boardwalk for the next mile. The course follows the shape of a track with two hairpin turns on either side. When you get to the first flip-turn you follow back on the opposite side of the road closest to the Pacific. Best to practice a few of these hairpin turns beforehand if you are taking this more seriously for course becomes slightly uphill for the next 50 meters and it helps to get an advantage here. The last mile is slightly downhill before coming to the 2nd flip turn. Just like after the first one, it’s slightly uphill and this is where you have to dig deep. For the last 600m or so you head right into the most exciting downhill finish you will ever experience in a road race! Don’t just take my word for it, go and race it! It really feels like you are flying.
The atmosphere pulls you along. There are timer clocks at every mile marker. People are cheering constantly, the weather is great, you are by the beach, what more could you want? If that doesn’t totally convince you, there are accommodations right on the race course, with fantastic beach views, a beer garden celebration afterward (just like our famous www.zilkerrelays.com -which I hope everyone attends Sept 5th), AND medals to the first 250 participants! There are several great eats and a great outdoor coffee shop to chill at all within walking distance.
Oh and there are 2 elite races afterward. I have witnessed some of the fastest runners race there pants off. From Olympians to NCAA National Champions, they come from all over to test their wheels in an early 5K race. We as fans can watch for free. It’s very inspiring. I’ve been 5 times and it’s always a blast. You can make it a nice long weekend. It’s always on a Sunday morning. I highly recommend it. www.carlsbad5000.com.