I’ve just now recovered enough from Saturday’s 5K to write about it. When we first signed up for this race, the fact that it was called ‘The Grueler’ and featured a trail portion- where the world was NOT guaranteed to be flat- gave me pause, but I figured, and was backed up by others with whom I discussed the matter, how grueling could a 5k be?
The answer, turns out, to be relative.
If you enjoy running up endless hills under the hot Polynesian sun, ‘The Grueler’ was probably not all that grueling, but if you don’t enjoy running up hills and actually haven’t seen a hill since you moved to Hawaii almost three months ago, then the run was very grueling. When we picked up our race packets on Friday, I learned that the course, unlike the 5K on Independence Day, would feature several hills… Ick.
The first half of the race was almost entirely uphill with an occasional small plateau. After about a mile, the course wound through the woods on a narrow, single-file-only, trail. It turned out to be pretty great that the trail was so narrow because it provided for the occasional walk break when I got stuck behind someone else who was walking! About halfway through the run, I was cursing myself for not seeking out some hills to practice on, and I was figuring that Don must feel pretty smug about going in early to work every now and again so that he could practice on the enormous hill atop which his work sits. After the course came out of the woods, it was all downhill. Thank god.
Even with practice, Don still found the course pretty tough and admitted that he walked in a few places too. He managed to run well enough to get a medal for third in his age group with a time of 27:29. I didn’t get a medal, but was pretty happy to finish with a time of 35:13. We were both slower than in the last 5K, but those hills meant business! There was a group of local high schoolers who are part of a cross country running team and who ran the race as practice. Their coach, who ran the race with them, said that the course was hard enough to add 7 minutes to their average 5K running time- which is 15 minutes, yes, FIFTEEN minutes- so that is a good indicator of how tough it was. I was relieved to know that it wasn’t all in my head, and I was even more relieved to cross the finish line. I’m still in love with my Topo sneakers and Don is falling more in love with his Hoka sneakers every time he wears them. He said the extra cushioning was great for the steep downhill after the trail. I don’t see any more 5Ks on the horizon in the near future, but you never know when they’ll pop up!