Throo the Zoo 5K

This morning I ran the Throo the Zoo 5K at the Louisville Zoo! I signed up for this race a couple weeks ago when I received a discount code with my virtual race bag for the KDF half marathon. I knew I wouldn’t be very competitive in this race after recovering from my spring half, but I was drawn to it because of the chance to run through the zoo. The proceeds of this race support the zoo and the care of the animals.


I picked up my race bib and t-shirt on Thursday at the race’s booth at Whole Foods. I love when there is a Thursday pick up option; it keeps me from feeling too rushed the evening before a race.

When I woke up this morning, it was in the mid-50s and drizzling. I was pretty happy with this, since 5Ks feel easier the cooler it is outside (at least in my opinion.) Even though I wasn’t planning to push myself today, I still wanted to be comfortable no matter what happened once I crossed the start line. On the way to the zoo, a shower passed through and the temperature actually dropped to 50 degrees, which made me even happier.

At the start line, I decided I would just run what pace felt good to me, whether that be fast or slow, and not keep an eye on my watch. The race started on the road next to the zoo and went around the backside to enter. The course essentially made two loops within the zoo: the first one larger, the second one smaller.

I knew from having visited the zoo a couple years ago that it would be hilly. All the 5K races I’ve done (and really all races except the Urban Bourbon) have been flat, apart from one or two inclines/declines. There were just two hills that were steep, which had been marked on the course map sent out via email so I was mentally prepared for them. None of the hills were very long, so it rolled along and I really enjoyed it! It gave my legs the opportunity to switch up which muscles were used dominantly, giving the opposing ones a break.

Rolling hills within the zoo
Rolling hills within the zoo

I maintained a comfortable pace throughout, giving some effort without pushing myself as hard as I would if I were truly racing. On the last uphill, I held back a bit thinking I would kick in the last tenth of a mile, but when I got to the flat, the finish was right in front of me (my Garmin watch had the course as short – 2.95 miles – maybe I was just too good at running tangents.)

In the end, I finished fourth in my age group; how many times in the past year have I been one spot away from that top three?! If I had pushed myself, I bet I would have gotten there. None of the women finished under 20 minutes, which made me feel even better about the time I ran. This was a great race because I enjoyed myself, felt great, got a big confidence boost coming off a break, and am now hungry to run another 5K soon!

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