Trailbreaker 5k – Race Recap

How is it already Wednesday? A few days have already passed since the Trailbreaker this past Saturday.

My comments about the logistics of the race are all over on my BibRave review, so you can check that out there. This will be my recap of the actual race.

The trend of cold weather here in the Midwest continued (we’re finally bucking that trend this week), and temps were in the teens when I woke up. Fortunately, the 5k didn’t start until 10am, which ultimately gave the weather the chance to rise into the low 20s; which I know isn’t awesome…but it’s something.

Throw in the wind, and you were looking at a “feels like” around 10.

Despite all of that, I opted for tights, a singlet, and arm sleeves. You can tough out anything for three miles right?

Overall, the Trailbreaker is a smaller field size, but it does offer the four major races: Full, Half, 10k, and 5k, with the Half and 5k being the largest.

Quick side note before diving into the 5k race. I had been under the impression that all of the races started on each hour. When my Dad and I arrived at Frame Park around 9, we saw a race getting underway, which we assumed was the 10k. So you can imagine my freaking out when I saw a group of people (and a lead bike!) start running around 9:30! Did I miss the start? Nope…just had the schedule wrong. THAT was the 10k. The Half is what started at 9.

Ok, now to the race. Overall, it’s a simple course. Two laps around Frame Park, with a different Start and Finish line. You can see that (kind of) from my Strava map below.


I lined up at the front along with one other guy, and a runner who ended up being the first female. The airhorn blew and away we went.

I got out in front with the guy who lined up next to me following me stride for stride. That didn’t last until the first turn, as he quickly faded back.

We crossed the river and made our first turn along the NW side of the river in the park. Here I’d like to point out some turns were dicey on that side of the park. Only because there were no signs, course marshals, or lead bike. All we had were pink arrows on the ground…sometimes.

Anyway. We made the turn onto the back stretch, which was with the wind. I could hear someone coming in hot behind me, and assumed it was the first runner who lined up with me. Nope. It was some other guy who I hadn’t seen before. He blew past me, said “Nice work man” and away he went. Or…well that’s what I thought. He topped out at a few strides in front of me. Just after the first mile, I surged back in front of him and back into the lead.

We made the turn back over the river, and had to weave around some ducks who really didn’t care they were sitting in the middle of the course. Yes, you read that right.

We passed by the start finish to complete the first loop, and it was on to loop two. I was able to keep my lead, which I’d estimate at maybe 10-20 meters over the guy in second. Although we were heading into the wind, forcing a bit of a slow down as we navigated the river walk.

The two mile mark was heading back over the river to the back stretch where we’d again be with the wind. It was here that I expected the guy tailing me to make his move, a lot like he did on lap number 1. I was waiting for it, but that never happened.

Here is where we started to weave around the 5k walkers, which at times involved going onto the grass.

At the turn back across the river to the finish, there was the most crowd support from the volunteers and police working the course. Of course, I was worried a little about getting outkicked, but knowing we only had a solid .25 I thought I had a good chance to effectively go wire to wire.

Shortly after making that turn I heard someone in back of me say “They’re coming for us,” and that coupled with more cheering from the volunteers made me think someone was surging in the 5k. My very first thought was “F that.” I wasn’t leading 3 miles to get kicked off the lead at the end.

And that didn’t happen. I kicked it in to get the win by about six seconds. As it turned out, the guy who was “coming for us” was the leader in the Half. So, irrelevant, but it was some good motivation.


In a vacuum, I really wasn’t that happy with my time. It was actually the slowest 5k I ran since that adventure at the Icebreaker Indoor 5k in January 2017. But I got the win, so I can’t complain one bit.


What races do you all have coming up?

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