The Evening Race - Run Leelanau
True to its name, the Orchards at Sunset 5K starts just before the sun goes down

Ah, the evening race. As most of you know, most races take place in the morning. This usually requires getting up before the sunrise, commuting to the starting line in the dark, and beginning the race before your body fully wakes up. Now, I am a morning person. I get to work at 5AM and (usually) love it. So morning races are my jam. However, I’m also quite fond of sleeping in on weekends and enjoying a slow cup of coffee before starting life full speed ahead.

When the Orchards at Sunset 5k came across my radar, I was excited for many reasons. 1: It is three miles from my house (!) 2: It takes place in apple orchards, vineyards, and trails. 3: It starts at 5PM. That means I get to sleep in on Saturday morning.

However, what I forgot to take into consideration is my typical ‘race day anxiety.’ I get anxiety about races no matter the distance or how many times I’ve run them before. The thing about running morning races is that I only feel my ‘race day anxiety’ until I’m at the starting line. Once I’m running, I am fine. So with an evening run, I had to deal with my ‘race day anxiety’ Additionally, I had to plan more for an evening race. Normally a race is the first thing I do in the day, then I’m free to do (and eat) what I want. I actually had to make sure the things I ate that day were going to feel good while running that evening.

A positive about running a race that starts at 5PM is that it was warmer than those 7AM race starts. And going back to my race day anxiety, I kind of like it. It provides the adrenaline that I need and gives me focus. Obsessive focus, sure, but still focus. Also, it was actually light out when the race started. I’ve toed many a starting lines in the dark. So while I do typically love a brisk, early race, I thoroughly enjoyed the change-up of an evening race.

And PS: If you’ve never run this race, I insist you put it on your calendar for next year. The colors are stunning this time of year. During the entire race you are surrounded by¬† changing trees and the bay. You run between grape vines, through apple orchards, and all over some beautiful farmland that is not usually accessible. It is an all-around delightful race.


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