The Lighthouse 5K, held every Wednesday from Memorial Day to Labor Day in Corolla, is just one of many races put on by The OBX Running Company. I had the pleasure of meeting Matt, the race director, when I ran the race in 2015 and to say hello to him again on Tuesday when I registered for this year’s race.
With registration I received a cute race shirt made out of that poly/cotton blend that feels so soft – if only it weren’t unisex… Anyway, I wore it all day after the race and love the way it feels even if it isn’t the most flattering look for women.
We also received this handy little bag, a duplicate of the one I received two years ago, and use all the time. No doubt, this bag will be come in equally as handy and will be well-loved.
After a incredibly fitful night’s sleep (what is it about this race and me not sleeping well the night before), I got up early so we could get to Corolla by 7:15 for the 8 AM race. On my training plan was a 6-mile tempo run bookended by a 1-mile warm-up and 1-mile cool-down. I had decided to go on an easy 2-mile warm-up prior to the race, run the 5K, and head back out shortly after completing the race to run my final 3-mile tempo portion.
The temperature was already 77° and humid when we arrived at the WhaleHead Club and parked. I headed out at a very comfortable pace, completed my 2-mile warm-up, hit the restroom one final time, and got to the starting line with about five minutes to spare. I had just enough time to send Bill a Glympse so he could track me while he was out on my rental bike (he rented a fat tire bike, but brought mine to the race to ride).
After recognizing the veterans in attendance and playing the National Anthem, the race was ready to start. With a 10, 9, 8… 3, 2, 1 countdown, the horn blared and we were off!
We ran under the start/finish arch with a view of the beautiful Whalehead Club mansion on our right and ran through Historic Corolla Park with views of the Currituck Sound inlet as we made a loop in front of the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education. As we headed out of that first loop, we were treated to a view of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.
Once we left Historic Corolla Park, we turned left onto the Route 12 (Ocean Trail) concrete walkway where I saw Bill cheering me on for the first time. After running a little over a mile north to our turnaround at the Currituck Banks Reserve on the North Beach Access Road, I saw Bill again, this time riding along Route 12 and grabbed this quick selfie with my favorite biker.
By the time I got to mile 2.5 I was no longer smiling and had handed my GoPro to Bill to carry. He captured this hilarious picture of me which says it all about how I was feeling at this point. The heat was getting to me and I couldn’t wait to finish, yet didn’t have it in me to run any faster.
Bill rode on to the finish line to wait for me and after turning back into the park, I pushed as hard as I could down the park road until I turned onto the grass and sprinted as fast as I could toward the finish line.
I finished in 27:26 (8:51 pace), one of my slowest 5K’s, but good enough to earn me a first place in my age group. My split paces were 8:29, 9:01, 9:08 and 7:42.
As soon as we crossed the finish line we were handed our finishers medal, a cool wet towel, and an ice cold water bottle. At first I turned down the towel because I didn’t want to wipe my sunscreen off, but quickly changed my mind and took one to use when I finished my final 3 miles.
Next I headed over to the food table to check out what yummies were available. In addition to watermelon and cereal, there were the typical post-race refreshments of apples, oranges, bagels, and breakfast pastries.
After chatting with Matt (the race director) for a few minutes and thanking him for putting on another great race, Bill took a picture of me in front of the Whalehead Club holding my medal before I put it in the car and headed out to finish my tempo run.
I missed the awards ceremony while out running; but wanted to share that the overall winner was Romain Mareuil with a time of 17:56 (5:47 pace)…
And not too far behind was the women’s winner, Karina Lubell with a time of 20:02 (6:28 pace).
Despite not running the race I’d hoped, I had a fantastic time and was incredibly pleased that I completed my scheduled workout for the day as planned, even if it meant adding some miles before and after the race.
If you happen to be vacationing on the Outer Banks and are looking for a fun early morning family event, I highly recommend running the Outer Banks Lighthouse 5K! Running a race in the middle of the week while on vacation sure is fun!
- Have you run a race while on vacation without it being a racecation?
- Have you run a mid-week race?
- Have you added on mileage before or after a race to comply with your training plan?