Signing up for an evening race means a definite good thing and a possible bad thing. The definite good is avoiding a way-too-early alarm clock for the start time. The possible bad thing (especially in the summer) is a way-too-hot temperature outside. For the Sunset 5K this year, I scored the good and just a little bit of the bad.
The Sunset 5K/10K started at 7pm on Friday evening, as part of the kick-off of to the Columbia River Triathlon weekend at Frenchman’s Bar. Since I was driving up from Portland, we tried to hit the bridge before 4:30 with plans to get dinner in Vancouver. A Burgerville combo meal before a 5K was a brand new adventure and I was all in for it. With the temperature in the low 80s, I wasn’t worried about messing up a PR with a couple more fries.
My husband came along to enjoy a rest on the beach while I wandered off for my adventure. Once we found parking (I’m pretty sure that field was a legal spot), we headed over to watch the kids’ triathlon already in progress. Watching those little ones jump off their bikes and head out on the run was so inspiring. I had an hour until my start time, and hopefully a few less degrees on the thermometer to help me out.
5K and 10K participants used the same out-and-back course for the run. The announcer at the start line highlighted that if we didn’t follow the turnaround signs, then we would be going a lot farther than we planned. There was a slight breeze coming off the river at the start line that would pick back up occasionally during the event. Not enough to really help, but enough to be hopeful. The entire course for the 5K participants was on a paved pathway with minor hills (which, of course, felt like mountains near the end).
Less than half of the course had shade to help with the temps, so I was grateful that I carried a water bottle and that there was an aid station at the 1-mile mark to refill. The volunteers at the road crossing and station were all very kind. I appreciated that they were super energetic; they were hot like all the runners and walkers so we were in this adventure together.
The flat course, and simple focus on finishing, helped to make the race go by quickly in my mind. After earning a finisher’s medal and another water bottle, I stopped by the after party for a hot dog, chips, and (of course) more hydration. I overheard some participants talking about being back the next day other events and just marveled at their resilience in the face of 100-degree temperatures in the forecast. True warriors were at Frenchman’s Bar that night. And this wanderer was headed back over the river for a shower and a bed with no alarm clock going off in the morning.