I had my first race since I broke my leg. And it was on the trails. To say I was nervous is an understatement.

I was getting ready to leave while my dog was screaming at me. Shadow was very upset she wasn’t going. I gathered up everything and headed out the door. I went to check-in, got my bib, and realized I forgot my bib belt. DOH!

Of course, since I got a new vehicle, I didn’t have my spare safety pins either.

I sat in my truck and tried to figure out how to attach my bib to my hydration vest. I eventually realized I could tie it to the back of my vest. It stayed on! I only checked once in the middle of the race.

The Estrella 5k is done twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. It’s the same course, but it reverses for the fall. This October, I finished in 40:10 and a year ago 41:34. WOW! And here I was worried that I would be super slow and shakey on my return! (For reference I did the course in May in 38:10).

So even though I started off a little anxiety-ridden, I had a pretty good race!

As I was running the course, I was thinking about things I would want to write about in my race re-cap. But can I remember any of them now? Nope. I started out in the third wave. There are usually three or four waves, and you just go in whatever wave you want. The race coordinator sends them off every 30-60 seconds. I typically go in the second wave, towards the back. I figured I’d do the third because I didn’t know how my race would go.

I probably would have been ok in the second wave. I was at the front and passed several people immediately. I then followed another woman (maybe a bit too close, but she was running the exact pace I wanted). The first part of the 5k was pretty even elevation wise, not too much up and down. I ran the first mile and had no issues.

It started to get a little more challenging in mile two. I ran most of it but walked a few of the inclines. This was also the point I made the observation that I need to eat more before a trail race. I had a bowl of picky oats (half serving), and four Gu chews about 10 minutes before the race. It was not enough.

I think I walked most of mile three. It had ALL the elevation. I tried to run on the declines and more flat parts. This is probably why I’m faster in the spring… we get the elevation done early!

I had one moment of panic. I was running down a decline and felt my right ankle/leg twist. For a second, I had sheer terror of re-breaking my leg. Thankfully I did not break it, nor did I really do any damage at all. It was fine, and I continued on.

Do you have races you do every year and can compare your performance to? If so, which races?


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.