I ran my first official 5K — the Carlsbad 5000.

The race is touted as the “world’s fastest 5K” because 16 world records have been set on its course. According to Wikipedia:

The course records of 12:59.5 minutes for men (set by Sammy Kipketer in 2000) and 14:46 minutes for women (set by Meseret Defar in 2006) are the fastest times ever recorded for the 5 km road distance.

Now that’s speedy.

I wanted to break a record, too: my own.

Carlsbad 5000 - 1

When I go out for I run, I usually maintain a pace of 8-9 minutes per mile for four to eight miles. Fast 5Ks aren’t my normal gig. (Nor is ‘fast’ in general.) The week prior, just to see what I could hope for in the race, I ran 3.1 miles as fast as I felt comfortable. I completed it in 24:01 — an average pace of 7:44 per mile.

Eric, one of my customers at RELM, both an avid runner and past participant in the Carlsbad 5000, let me in on a secret: “All those people cheering you on, and that downhill sprint to the finish line… You’ll run faster than you think.” With that, I decided I’d try for a pace of 7:30.

At the start line I felt a bit jittery. I really wanted to break my PB. Two guys — the one running just in front of me (see below) with white shutter shades  and the other behind me on my left wearing a bandana, crop t-shirt and yoga pants — kept cracking me up. “Clearly, you can see we’re taking this race very seriously,” they had said.

Seriously fun, in fact. I decided to loosen up.

Look at that goofy grin on my face:

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One mile in and still smiling:

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Other runners dressed up silly, too. I spent most of the race following a pair of bananas and a Santa Claus.

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Kirk rode his bike up and down the route getting photos of me at all the best spots. Look at that ocean view!

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Below, I’m two miles in. I felt like I was going pretty fast, until I realized I was getting my butt kicked by an 8-year old.

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Oh well. We all need to run our own races (sage advice given to me by Kirk before my first half marathon last May).

Here, I’m already nearing the end. Crossing the railroad tracks… less than 100 yards to go!

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Sprint, sprint, sprint!

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As I crossed the finish line, the time clock read 22:59. Ooh, that’s good right? I tried to calculate my pace in my head, but free samples of energy bars and sports drinks were being handed out, and when I’m walking on Jell-O legs I’m not much of a multi-tasker.

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Later that day the results were posted online, and I received my official chip time:

Finisher_Certificate

Hell, yeah! For this newbie runner, an average pace of 7:16 is one for the books. ☼

My next race: San Diego Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon.