race reports running

Lacamas Hop Hop

Distance: 5k
Chip Time: 36:57

The Hop Hop had a petting zoo. That’s all you need to know.

This marks the beginning of my “race season,” in which I run … far too many 5k races than I should. This morning I drove out to Camas, Washington, my nemesis, to partake in the Lacamas Hop Hop, hosted by Foot Traffic, a local running store. The name annoys me but god damn was it not the cutest race so far. Petting zoo! Cute artwork! Old men playing golf! Yes, the 5k took us around the Camas Meadows golf course, while those running farther went … farther. I don’t know this area very well.

My morning began with me waking up at 5:30 am, realizing that if I got up when my actual alarm went off, 6:30am, I probably wouldn’t get to the venue in time to secure a parking spot. There wasn’t a lot of parking and Foot Traffic was basically pleading with us to carpool. But as we all know, I have no running friends so I wanted to get there early, so I compromised with my brain and slept in until 6am. Then, I got up, got ready, took a shit (taking a shit before a run is VERY IMPORTANT okay), and was off by 6:30am, reaching Camas by 7. Drive was fine except when I took a wrong exit and went the complete opposite direction, towards Vancouver instead of Camas. It wouldn’t be me driving if there wasn’t a wrong turn somewhere!

Fun fact: the place where we parked had two buildings: Logitech, and Oregon Ice Cream. Those two must have a fun parties together.

The Swag

Honestly there wasn’t that much swag for this one. My bib pickup was just the bib and my t-shirt. After the race there were little things to pickup, like treats, a free mimosa (this was a bougie event, see Atmosphere), and some baubles and doodads like those annoying bells, cups, etc. There was a booth for what I think was window painting service? Not the window itself, but the trim and all that. Very strange, nobody went to that booth. Why would you? Are people thinking about their windows before a race? I think every race has one sponsor who gets bamboozled into sponsoring, and this race was the window painting place.

I didn’t snag much (aside from the food of course) because it wasn’t that appealing to me. I did keep the mimosa flute, and I can’t tell if I was supposed to or not. The flutes had the Hop Hop artwork on it, I presume we were meant to keep it. I also grabbed a snood/headband thing from the Why Racing Events booth (they did the Clover Run) which, now that I’ve taken it our of the packaging and looked at it, is from their Reflection Run, which honors military for Memorial Day. Now, I’m not here to slag on military personnel1Except those who are bad and have done bad things, fuck those military personnel. Fuck you Andrew Jackson!, but wearing a thing that says “sacrifice,” “freedom,” and “bravery” all over it is … not my style. No offense!

The Atmosphere

Camas is bougie as hell. We’re running a 5k at a golf course. The porta potties were well kept. (I took another shit at the actual event.) There was a big event tent that wasn’t a blustery, cold, muddy mess like the Shamrock Run. The drive to Camas was an exercise in the nuance between “rich” and “kinda rich.” Big, expensive houses on one street, then expensive looking duplexes and triplexes nestled in a walled off complex on another. And then you’ll drive by and see some shitty houses with people who refused to take a payout to move. Good for them. Houses in this city can get into the millions of dollars range, especially around Lake Lacamas. (The highest I’ve found is $8 million, which is a 3 bed, 3 bath sitting on 18 acres of land.)

So there were mimosas because of course there were. Runners are alcoholics. It was a pretty great post-race recovery drink though, I gotta say.

The Race

I feel kind of on the fence about this race, honestly. On the one hand, I did good! I ran fast! I believe this is my fastest 5k to date, and is about 13 seconds faster than my parkrun last Saturday. I’m also 30 seconds away from my absolute fastest time (based on my 8k pace of 11:44/mi). When I am running, I am running pretty fast.

On the other hand, I’m walking a lot more than I’d like. The most frustrating thing about it is that if I had run a steady 12:00/mi pace the entire time, I would’ve been a minute faster overall. But I don’t want to be a 12 minute miler, especially now that I know I can run a 10:33 mile according to Strava. Let’s go to the tape, Ted.

The cool thing is that when I do run, my cadence is unfaltering. I don’t think I dropped below 150spm the entire time I ran. My upper limit was around 165spm–lower than the recommended 180, but the difference in speed is something. 150 is around an 11:30/mi for me, while 165 is about a minute and a half faster. My average stride length was .93 meters, or slightly over 3 feet. I suspect that’s the upper limit to my stride; any longer and I might be overstriding. In fact, I think once I am able to sustain 180spm my stride length might go down a bit. We’ll see.

I’m coming to terms with the fact that it’ll be a lot longer before I can fully run a 5k at a pace that I feel good about. (Faster than 12 min/mi.) It’s not that I’m distraught about it or anything, it’s more a reminder that progress is not linear, nor is it always what you are expecting. I am running faster, and better, than I was even six weeks ago, and my new shoes are killing it and besides some knee fatigue, the IT band issues I was dealing with recently are all but gone. That’s progress! It just doesn’t feel like it during the race, when I’m constantly walking, and now where I can see that if I continued running, I would shave minutes off my 5k time. Ah well.

The course itself was interesting. Mostly road with a bit of gravelly trail (and I suspect trail runners wouldn’t call it a trail). Some brief but sharp inclines, and the starting point itself was on an incline, which was a first for me. It meant that the finish was on a decline though, so you could really speed through to the end. Some of the race was on the shoulder of a road, which was weird, but thankfully there weren’t a lot of cars coming through so it wasn’t a big deal. It was also a bit narrow at points, which made it hard to pass people. Again, nitpicky kind of stuff.

Overall, this was a fun race with a chill atmosphere and mimosas and goats. What else do you need?

Next week is an impromptu 5k I picked up that benefits mental health services. See you then.

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    Except those who are bad and have done bad things, fuck those military personnel. Fuck you Andrew Jackson!