2015 Firehouse 5K -Recap

After 3 years of running this race, I can say with absolute certainty that moving my long run to Thursday was the best decision ever.   Not just because it turned out to be a great run but because per usual, I feel a little broken after this race.   Yesterday’s easy, hoped for 6 turned into a slow, limping crawl for 4 miles.  But I still love this race!  🙂IMG_0049The race touts itself as the toughest 5K in the county.   Not sure if that’s true but it’s the toughest 5K I have run.   So of course that means I have had to run it 3 years in a row.  The course starts at the firehouse then runs .5 mile on the street before hitting the trails and heading up for 2 miles before heading back to the street and returning to the firehouse.

My mom and I were planning on spending the day in SLO afterwards so we headed out in the morning.  I had picked up my packet the day before and parking was a breeze.  We’ve parked in the same spot the last 3 years.   🙂   She stayed in the car where it was warm and I headed to the start line.  The morning was kind of chilly so I wore a long sleeved layer over my tank.   I would later regret that.  A lot.  I ran into an old coworker so we chatted for a bit.  The starting line is under a large flag hanging from the ladder truck and the mayor blows the truck horn to start the race.    I was super relaxed going into this race and that may have given me some problems.    IMG_0056I started way too far back in the pack and had trouble getting out of a cluster in the beginning.  The mountain starts with a series of switchbacks on the trail that usually slows to a single file walk.  I was prepared for this but not for how crowded it was farther back.  I passed people when I could but was hung up a few times.    Once out of the switchbacks we had more single file climbing to do.    The top is kind of a false summit so after reaching the top, there was still a little more up.   I finally got past a few people and was looking forward to cranking it on the way down.  I love running down a mountain.  🙂

But I got hung up again!   I had to bob and weave to get around people and it just took longer.   😦   I ran past a teenage boy who I thought was going to fall off the side of the trail, he was wobbling so much.  I started to wonder if I was gonna have to help him.   Once past him, I ran on down to the bottom and back up another hill.   Once again, I was stuck.   I was behind another teenage boy who had no concept of pacing himself.   He would haul ass for 30 feet and then just stop.   Every time I got past him, he would sprint to pass me and then just stop.   Finally I just sprinted past him and kept going.   We had one last trail downhill and I was able to pass a few more people.    I was sucking air, seriously thirsty and so hot.     I pushed for the last .5 mile and crossed back under the big flag.  First 5K of the year done!IMG_0065Apparently  I should have pushed a little harder, I finished in 33:56.  My slowest time on this course.  Waah.  I said I was relaxed but that still stung a bit.  Oh well, I still love this course and careening downhill so it was an awesome morning!   Starting so far back and getting hung up a few times probably contributed to the extra time but in reality it was only a minute off my best outing on that course.  IMG_0070The race is always well staffed and has volunteers at every point making sure no one makes a wrong turn.  Other than some interesting trail etiquette I observed, I only had one issue with the race this year.   Water.  Or lack thereof.  In the past 2 years, there was a water station at the junction where the road meets the trail.  You would pass it on the way in and on the way back out.  It wasn’t there this year and it hadn’t been mentioned anywhere.  I ran without water since I thought it would be there.    Boo.

All in all, I still love this race.   Even though, it still hurts to move today.  My calves are pissed.   There was no way I was able to do my long run yesterday.   Knowing that I had already done it was kind of awesome.   🙂

Ever run a trail race?  Or a race without aid stations? 

How do you get past people who just don’t want to move?

29 thoughts on “2015 Firehouse 5K -Recap

  1. It sounds like an awesome event. I love that the fire engine horn starts the race! I’ve had that same problem before, starting out way too far in the back for a trail race and then getting stuck. People are supposed to let you pass then on the side, even in single track. If you ask nicely! There’s no good way to do it though. Also seen this happen with teenagers. I was running a half marathon once and there was like an 11 year old running. He hauled ass for the first half, then barely made it through the second half. Maybe all our years in running has taught us something!


    1. I love the fire engine horn too but it still makes me jump every year. It’s loud! I usually try to stay in the middle of the pack but for some reason I ended up at the back this time. Passing was working out so well, and some people were kind of snippy about it. The kid actually finished not too far behind me but he looked completely whipped.


  2. Wow, this sounds like a crazy difficult race! That elevation graph is nuts. And I can’t believe they didn’t have any water! That’s unfortunate. And even though it was your slowest time for this race, considering the course and the hang-ups you had, that’s an incredible time!! Congrats! 🙂

    I’ve done a few races without water, and I was not happy about them. One was a hybrid road/trail race in Los Angeles that had some of the most ridiculous inclines I’ve ever come across. It was right around Christmas, but it was still warm and there was no water until the end. That was crazy! If a race isn’t going to have water, it would be so nice if they said so beforehand!

    And getting past people who don’t want to move… ugh. That’s a tricky one. Part of me wants to yell at them to get out of the way – especially when it’s a line of people taking up the width of the street right at the finish line – but then again I feel like that would be jerkface-ish, especially since I’m pretty slow and clearly not winning anything if I get to the finish faster. But still, it’s bad race etiquette to block someone off, especially if they’re making a move to go past. Usually I just wait until I spot any kind of opening and then gun it.


    1. Haha, looking at the graph makes me laugh. I didn’t realize it was going to look that crazy. 🙂 Thanks!

      This was the first race I’ve run that didn’t have water. Even the poorly organized ones where the runners got lost, had water. The race info page said they would have water so I assumed it was true like always. Oops.

      I wanted to pass more but was passed by a woman at one point who did it very crankily. She snapped it out at me and the 4 guys right in front of me. After that I didn’t want to sound like that. Or let her finish before me, I passed her on a downhill. Petty, I know. 🙂

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  3. Holy moly – you weren’t kidding about that elevation! That’s such a tough course. I’m glad you had a fun time with it 🙂 Sorry the kids got in your way. I’ve had instances where people get in my way before but it’s not usually for very long. I usually pick up speed enough to dodge around and pass them and try to stay there.
    Hope your legs recover soon!!


    1. It’s such a fun race, even if I still hurt today. The race is growing more popular which is great but I think next year, I will have to make sure I am way closer to the front. But then I worry about who I am holding up.


  4. That elevation looks killer!! I’ve learned to start up closer to the front than I would think because people tend to seed themselves higher up than they should! Lesson learned.


  5. 2 miles uphill sounds pretty tough to me!! Getting stuck behind a bunch of people on a downhill sounds frustrating too, sometimes I have a hard time slowing my speed! Great job though, it sounds like you still had a good race! 😀


  6. Fun! Bummer about the water station though. I’ve run one race that was primarily on trails, it was awesome except for getting trapped behind crowds on the narrow stretches – I feel your pain!


  7. Nice job Fallon!!! This looks like a race I would enjoy doing … after all firetrucks are cool!! and you are looking like a total boss in your race pic … doing “slacker style” 😉


  8. Holy crap, that elevation profile is INSANE! I’ve never done a trail race before, but I’d like to. I’m just nervous about tripping.


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