A Very Honest Race Recap: Palisades 5K

I ran a 5K this morning, the Palisades 5K.

I have run marathons that have felt shorter.

Comebacks are TOUGH, man! I have an email chain with a group of friends I met through running and the Internet, and we talk about looking for upcoming SoCal races. (Honest question: do real Californians spell it like that? Or even call it that? Please advise.)

Everyone said that the Palisades 5K/10K in Pacific Palisades was a great small-town feel race, so I signed up for it even though it was dumb expensive. $70 for a 5K, wtf? My coach thought it would also be a good excuse for a time trial to assess my current fitness level to plan other workouts and told me to push but not go all out. (I think tempo effort, basically.)

Before I go into anything related to the actual running, I just need to tell you that one of the (very smart) sponsors had boxes of Sidecar Doughnuts, and I fell in love.

This was the 42nd running of this race, and I was just so spoiled by NYRR races. This race had signs for your paces for corrals, and clearly most people don’t line up by their actual paces. There were also strollers and dogs in this race, and I got stuck in the back with them and couldn’t move up so I started the race feeling squished and frustrated, but I’d moved past them about half a mile in.

It’s the two-year anniversary of my mom’s death next Monday, so I’ve just felt a little extra sad and heavy this week and felt that this morning as I lined up. Oh and why not also throw some PMS in?

My goal for this race was just to work on being gentle with myself…and I had a hard time with that. I started out way too fast for my current fitness level (8:30), but the first mile had tons of downhills and it was hard for me not to get swept up by, well, gravity. At one point, the course rounded down a hill, and I caught a glimpse of the ocean, and I felt so incredibly grateful that I’m living in California and casually seeing glimpses of the ocean during races. I really hope that feeling never, ever gets old. (As I write this, I can also see the ocean out my bedroom window.)

(Oh, but I did run with a dinosaur and Elvis impersonators, so there’s that.)

The second and third miles just fucking sucked, though. My legs already felt really fatigued, and I didn’t want to continue. I tried to tell myself not to take walk breaks, so of course that just made me want to take walk breaks even more. I took a handful of them over the course of those last two miles, and I wish I could tell you more about the course, but I was not at all present and was entirely in my head, missing the days when running felt easier. Thinking I’d never get back there. Wondering how the eff I’ll run 26.2 in November. If I’ll even run 26.2 in November. (It is my goal to and I am going to train like fuck, but I’m also nervous I just won’t be ready.)

The only other things I can tell you about the race are that there were some gorgeous homes along the course, and one of the miles had an uphill. (I was contemplating the 10K, but I heard the course was a beast. And also let’s be real, if a 5K feels so hard right now?!)

I’m working so hard on my running mindset, and while overall I can see payoff, today was just not my day. I tried to pull out every trick in the book: telling myself I’m a good runner, reminding myself that it’s great even just to be out there (my therapist reminds me of this one all the time), that I can do hard stuff. But I just wasn’t buying my own lines today, and tomorrow is another day.

I know what I need to continue to work on: not going out too fast and not sabotaging myself with my mindset.

I came home, honestly, feeling super down. From already feeling sad to then getting all up in my own head, I was just feeling really lonely, ashamed of my current fitness level, and sad. The beach is very clearly my happy place, so I immediately went to sit on the beach and listen to the ocean. I laid down in attempt to be present and feel the sand under me, feel the breeze on my skin, hear the waves…and I fell asleep. I woke up feeling like a new woman. (Did I get a brain transplant while asleep?!)

And then I watched the parade on Santa Monica’s Main Street with my friend Daria, who also just moved here from NYC and lives around the corner from me. We are both currently obsessed with where we live: proximity to the beach, this adorable walkable area and an amazing community feel. Santa Monica feels like a small town to us coming from NYC, but apparently its population is around 90K!

Comebacks are fucking terrible, but I’m going to just keep fighting, even if my brain tells me otherwise. If you have any comeback words of advice, I’m all ears.

7 comments on “A Very Honest Race Recap: Palisades 5K

  1. Mandy

    I just want to say that I really love hearing about you running again and welcome more posts like this (well, you know, I hope it starts to get better for you!). I’m just in the same place – running at a much faster pace used to feel so much easier, but right now, for many reasons, it’s just not happening. I’m trying to make my own comeback and you are right – it is hard. So hard! But hearing someone else going though it gives me motivation and helps me feel like I’m not alone and can do this. Best of luck in all your running adventures – and otherwise.

  2. Beckett @ Birchwood Pie

    Thanks for the honest recap. My last two races sucked, mostly due to hot weather but also due to me not being willing to adjust my goals for the conditions. We all have bad runs and we all have bad races, it just part of the package. Keep on keeping on!

  3. Ashley

    Comebacks are hard. Doing one myself and running my first full marathon in October. I’m mad at everything esp wishing I was in better (read: my previous) shape. It’s embarrassing but I just keep telling myself not to give up, no matter how long it takes. Training is just that, training, and eventually you won’t need to take as many walk breaks.

  4. Colleen

    I’m new to your blog so I’m not sure what you’re “coming back” from but I’ve been there. Come backs from injury, from pregnancy, and from laziness. Lol! Keep on keeping on and I promise it will get better! Try giving yourself some sort of little treat whenever you achieve a new milestone. Works for me!

  5. Jamie

    I am also trying to get back to my old running shape after a back injury has sidelined me on and off for the past couple years. It can be so discouraging, and so easy to be mean to yourself! I love following along on your journey, and am sending lots of support your way! My advice would be to try to be kind to yourself, what would you say to encourage a friend? It’s so so easy to get into negative self talk (I do it all the time), but that doesn’t accomplish anything other than making you feel like shit. Good luck!! 🙂

  6. katie

    I’ve only ran 1 marathon, and my time was 5:59, so I’m pretty sure you can muscle through it. But I’m curious if you have any plans for an annual tradition related to your mom? Maybe always be traveling, or write a letter each year, or something? I avoided two different 5ks this weekend because I am not in the running a race mood, but I do enjoy orange theory, so I’m hopeful running races will come back to me some day.

  7. Becky

    Not a runner, but as I’m getting older (turning 48 later this month) I find I have to give myself grace for the things my body doesn’t want to do/can’t do anymore. I’m also struggling with the mental aspect of it – I have arthritis in my hip and I think there’s a subconscious side of me that holds back out of fear or anticipation that I might not be able to do something or it may hurt. The mind is a funny thing, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing your experiences – the one thing I thought of at the end of your post was to just keep moving forward. Keep on keeping on (my grandma used to say that! ). AND I’m a big fan of the thought that we always have the ability to begin again. The past is the past. The cool thing is, when you begin again, you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience! So while your body is catching back up, remember all the things you know now that you didn’t when you first started out running. You’ve go this!! <3 Sending you love this week.


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