This was my second year running in the Twilight 5K. There are also half marathon and 10K distances, but I like to follow the word of last year’s announcer and be among the “smartest runners” (aka those who would be back to the food and beer first). The course is primarily an out and back near Vancouver Lake Park, with the last half mile or so in the park on some little rolling and curvy hills. The rest of it is on the sides of roads and paved trails that are super flat.
This year I got to run with my friend Yevette who was back in Portland for a short trip before moving back East. With the temperature in the 70s at our 6:30pm start, we both packed water bottles and restocked at the aid station halfway through our course. The patches of shade or breezes of the lake were always welcome. The 5K, 10K, and half marathon courses all overlapped our part of the park, so it was fun to see so many walkers, runners, and just rockstar speedsters out there on a Saturday night.
My favorite part of the course is that final patch in the park. And not just because it’s the final patch. I love getting to run past all the families and friends out picnicking or enjoying time together. One group had lots of balloons set up around the celebration. Some kids were running into the water, just close enough to get their knees wet. And some drool-worthy barbeque smells wafted our way. It was just a perfect summer evening.
The final sprint to the finish line is from a gravel path over a grassy hill. Volunteers handed us beautiful stained glass owl medals after the finisher’s arch. The beer line was long, but luckily the food line was really quick. It was a big meal of tamale, rice, beans, tortilla chips, and cookies. I have to be honest that my stomach and the tamale were not the best combination after the hot race. Next time I’ll have to take my meal to go and enjoy it after cooling down.
We walked past the vendor booths on the way to the parking lot, missing the car on the first attempt because post-race brain is not the best. Back home in Portland, I was able to get to bed at a decent time and had a lovely new medal to hang on the wall.