Return to Racing: Southern Napa Beer Run 5K

I made my triumphant return to racing this past Saturday!  It was my first race back since the Wine & Dine half last fall, and the first race that I haven’t started with the intention of using run/walk intervals*.  So yay for me, and for you, because that means no more 8 month old race reports to read!  But since it’s my first one back, it’s gonna be really long, so hang in there!

 The Southern Napa Beer Run 5K wasn’t a true beer run, just a 5K preceding the Southern Napa 99 Bottles of Beer on the Lawn festival, and yes, I realize that both my last 2 races have alcohol in the title, and no, I don’t always run races with an alcohol theme, but yes, that does help.

Technically, I won’t finish Couch to 5k until Friday, and I know there’s no way I’m running 10 minute miles even if I was done with the program, but I decided that I’d run at least my scheduled 28 minutes and push as much as I could past that.  I mean, it’s not like I’d break my foot or something.  Probably.

And really, I shouldn’t have gone into this race gunning down a PR.  Coming back from an injury is goal enough.  But I’ve got this damn competitive streak, so I wasn’t gonna be happy unless I got not just a PR, but like, a 5 minute PR.  I should be committed.

The run started at noon, so my body was already not liking that, and it was hard to fuel the morning of without making myself sick.  And for you it might just now be spring, with bunnies and flowers and 60 degree highs, but here in the Deep South it is nearly full on summer. It rained all Friday night and Saturday morning, but lucky for us the sun came out just in time for the race.  Full sun + wet asphalt = full on sauna.  It was 80+ degrees with 80%+ humidity.

It was a very small local race, just Mark, me, and 73 of our closest friends.  Very fast friends, by the way.

 I’ve run this area of town before, and I knew there would be hills, but I forgot just how big those hills were.  The route was a net uphill.  It might not seem like a lot to you, but I’m from Flatlandia, people!  These are mountains!

I planned to walk the hills, since my legs haven’t seen a hill since October.  That didn’t stop me from getting a calf cramp in the second mile.  I’m glad I wore my ProCompression sleeves, or else I might not have made it the rest of the route. I walked more than I wanted to, and really just wanted to go home and take a nap around mile 1.3.  Every time I’d get into a decent running rhythm, I’d have to stop and walk another hill.  But I put out my very best effort.  Mark did great too, coming back from his ITBS issues.  He beat me, again.

It is just mean to make you finish a race up hill.


Mile 1 was mostly downhill.  Very much uphill over the next 2 miles.  And yes, the course was short.  I am irrationally angry about this, since I was well on  my way to at least a 2 minute PR.  At least Athlinks will forever think it was a PR that I will take years to beat.

I mentioned the field was a lot faster than me.

12/12 Female age group 36-45
36/41 female

Official time: 39:46

And then it was time for recovery.

*I’m not giving up on run/walk intervals.  They are still part of my long run plan.  But I want to be able to run a 5K without walk breaks and to run longer intervals for longer distances.

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