Monday, July 11, 2016

Dennis Krzykowski Memorial 5K (aka DK5K) Run 2016: Race Recap

On the Fourth of July I ran a hilly race called the DK5K in Cedarburg, WI. I've entered the race several times over the past seven years and it's the hilliest 5k I've ever run. The first mile has an uphill start then a long descent before another uphill jaunt into mile two. Mile three has several steep uphill climbs lasting a few blocks which lead back to the start. In any case as I've mentioned before, this race is a treat -  it's undulating terrain is a welcome change from flat-as-a-pancake courses. The race also pays dividends to runners who play it smart the first two miles in order to keep some fuel in the tank for the final uphill mile. I didn't have much hill training prior to the race but I hoped that the high mileage training I had done over the previous two months would pay off for me.
Cedarburg Mural
Elevation Chart: Note the two big hills in mile 3
The morning of the race, I drove from my hotel through downtown Cedarburg where residents had lined the streets with hundreds of empty lawn chairs in order to reserve spaces for their three hour 4th of July parade spectacular. I parked about 100 yards from the start line and went for a 4.5 mile warm-up run. During my warm-up I ran part of the course and tried to take the downhills and uphills gradually to condition my legs for the race. After I started to work up a decent sweat, I slowed down and ran up to the registration desk where I plunked down $30 in cash for my race entry and t-shirt.

This is a no-frills race and as such, there were no timing chips. So in order not to give away seconds - I lined up right at the starting line. The gun sounded and we were off!
Balloon start line at the DK5K. Yes, it is an uphill start!
Mile 1:
The first two hundred yards is up a steep hill, followed by a long descent of about a half a mile. A few high school speedsters shot out in front never to be seen again. Another seven runners were between them and me. I had to be careful and hold back once we started downhill because I did not want to over pound my legs (especially my shins). I injured myself in the 2010 version of this race by flying too fast on the downhill portions. I was in tenth place. 5:59/mile.

Mile 2:
This mile is the flattest on the course, and actually probably a net downhill. I began to slowly hopscotch a couple of runners. I may have sped up just a little too much at this point, wasting energy that I should have been saving for the big inclines ahead. But since this mile is relatively flat I didn't fear pounding my legs into an injury so I let them fly. I was in sixth place.  5:48/mile.

Mile 3:
This is the "Mile of Doom" as it's 3/4 of a mile of uphill running. There are two uphill stretches - one 1/4 mile and the other 1/2 mile that take runners near the finish. There was a group of four of us running dead even as we turned up Spring Street for the start of the final half mile of the race. I knew that it was going to be a war of attrition up the hill. As a confidence boost I told myself that I would beat the other three on the hill because I doubted that any one of them had also run 100 miles the week before. Advantage = me! I contemplated when I should make my move and try to shake the other three. I slowly sped up at the halfway point of the hill and only one of the three guys answered my surge and he kept right along side me. I didn't want to chance a finish line sprint with him, so I mustered all of my fading energy into a second surge and turned on the jets right before the top of the hill. Then I kept pouring on the speed when things flattened out. Suddenly I was alone. I couldn't hear the footfalls of the other runners. I had passed an intersection so I thought maybe I had mistakenly made a wrong turn!?  If I had taken a wrong turn, it was too late to go back, so I kept chugging along. 6:01/mile.

Mile 3.1
Still by myself, I made another turn and saw the finish line ahead. The last 175 yards are entirely downhill. I made a mad dash down the hill lest someone come out of nowhere to challenge me. I crossed the finish line and I handed a race official the strip from the bottom of my bib and was done!  5:05/mile.

My Results: 
  • Official Time: 18:20
  • Age Group: 1st out of 12+
  • Overall: 3rd out of 183
This was by far my fastest DK5K since the I started running it in 2010. This isn't a PR course so I was basically gunning for overall placement and I did well in that regard by coming in third. I'm also happy that my fitness basically carried me up the steep hills despite have little or no "hill muscles". I guess having lots of endurance training can help conquer hills. Anyway, I love this race just for the challenging topography alone. It's fun to mix things up (occasionally) when racing!

Post Race:
After stopping momentarily in the finishing chute to hand a race official the strip from the bottom of my bib, I continued to run. In fact I ran another 3.5 miles as a cool down. By the time I stopped for the awards ceremony I had logged a total mileage of 11 miles for the day. At the awards ceremony, I got my age group medal and then went back to the car to return to the hotel. All-in-all it was a great way to kick off my Fourth of July festivities!

Next Up: Rock 'n Roll Half Chicago on Sunday!


  1. Great job for such a hilly course! Actually, great job for any course! Those hills sound intimidating. Says the runner who ran Big Sur. It's all about the downhills, isn't it?

    1. Thanks! Yes, it's all about the downhills!

  2. Wow Pete, just wow! That high mileage is certainly paying off. Congrats! See you Sunday! :D

  3. WOW, congratulations Pete! That's an amazing time esp with all those hills! Good luck in Chicago this weekend! I'm not running it this year but I am working the expo. If you're visiting it on Saturday morning from 9-12 stop by and say hi at the Fort2Base table! :)

    1. Thanks and thanks! I may go to the expo on Friday, but if I make it there by noon on Saturday, I'll stop by and say hi!

  4. That is a crazy elevation map for a 5k, I love it! Congratulations on the overall placement - sounds like you ran a really smart race!

    1. Thanks. Yes, the elevations make it interesting! Thanks again!