Waking up in 5am predawn darkness isn’t my favorite way to start a Saturday. But I managed it this weekend to support the Conquer Our Run 5k, a tiny race that fundraises for Lupus LA. Additionally, a running friend of mine had organized a newbie run/walk group for parents in her neighborhood, with this being the goal race. Piling onto the race love is the super low $21 registration price. With all that going for it, this is an event worth waking up early.
By So Cal standards, it was a pretty frigid morning! My car dashboard reported 47 degrees just before the 7am start at Dockweiler Beach. I bundled up in running tights, long sleeve top, vest, hat, and gloves. Admittedly, I got a wee bit warm mid-race. Since my training was minimal, I figured that bundling up would be OK if I needed to go at a slower pace or take walk breaks.
Of the 40+ running events I’ve done, this was one of the smallest. There were about 75 runners at the start line in anticipation of the 5k, 10k, or 15k courses along the beach-front road. After a five minute warm-up led by a local fitness instructor, the race director said a few words about her challenges living with lupus, counted down from three, and we all started running.
The course was lovely being right on the beach, but also kind of boring since it followed a completely flat, straight service road. Four teenage volunteers manned the halfway point, where runners turned around sharply to head back the way they came. I ran as fast as I could maintain for the whole distance and managed to fight off the powerful urge to walk. I left my Garmin at home and paced by effort, which ended up being about 9 minutes per mile. Finishing felt good, even though I didn’t manage to catch the 10-year-old boy I was chasing the whole 3.1 miles. That kid was faster than he looked!
When I received the results email a few hours after finishing, I was shocked and delighted to see my name in the top five female 5k finishers!
Best aspects of the event:
- Cheap registration
- Plenty of free parking close to the start
- Supporting local, community racing and charity
- Finishers dog tag
- Goodie bag with some snack samples and coupons
- Fun reason to get to the beach in winter
Runners who usually participate in bigger races may miss some of the extras they get with higher registration fees, such as:
- Finishers medal
- Tech shirt
- Chip timing
- Spectators, fanfare, beer garden, post-race festival, etc.
Even if you’ve never run a step in your life, I highly recommend trying out a 5k in your city. Walking, jogging, skipping, and moonwalking are all acceptable ways to reach the finish line – just getting out there is what really counts!