Bonus points to anyone who can tell me who sings the song from my blog title… go!
Friday afternoon, Clay and I traveled to spend the night with his family. My sister-in-law Jelenna got married a few weeks ago, and his mom hosted a get together/reception at her house for them on Saturday afternoon.
Since we hadn’t seen Clay’s family in ages (we hadn’t been to their house since Memorial Day) and Charleston is a pretty long drive, we decided to just spend Friday night at their house to break up the drive and spend some extra time there. Conveniently, I found out the Hartsville YMCA was hosting a Back to School 5K race benefiting the Hartsville High School Cross Country teams. Since it was a nice 3-4 miles from Clay’s parents house, I decided to go out and run with all my local running peeps and the Fitness World Run Club.
After spending almost 45 minutes just getting out of Summerville due to a wreck, then an hour and a half driving up, we stopped at Rebel Pie to get dinner. It’s Clay’s favorite pizza place (he used to help out there occasionally because we know the owners) and a nice treat. I like pizza too and was definitely hungry after that long drive, and it’s light enough to eat the night before a race without feeling extremely full or risking a digestive disaster. We really enjoyed it.
We hung out with Clay’s family that night and I got up the next morning to drink coffee, eat oatmeal, and run. I ran the Arthur Ravenel Bridge (known to locals as the “Cooper River Bridge” or just “The Bridge”- there are tons of bridges around here, but this is “THE BRIDGE”) Thursday morning and biked a little on Friday to get a light workout in, but my legs were pretty rested. I think doing some yoga stretches at night, and doing yoga at least once a week for an hour, helps too- yoga is a runner’s best kept secret .
It was mine and Lee’s first race in awhile (well, my first Pee Dee race in awhile) so we even had spectators- Nick and Buddy came out to hang out and cheer us on. Buddy even wore his shirt with “THE BRIDGE” on it in my honor- did I mention he gave me the nickname “The Tiny Terror” after the Hot Dam 5K last year and it’s stuck? Always great to see him and Nick whether they’re running or not!
I also had a nice time hanging out with Lauren, Ashley, Reika, Barbi, Becky, Kayce, and Stacy from Fitness World, and a few other familiar faces like Jay, Romeo, and Lee. Seeing Belinda and Greg is always awesome too- some of the local Charleston races need to use Carolina Running Company and they would be a lot better- like the July 4 run where the organizer literally drew the start line in the sand… hmm…
The race itself was really nice, and you could tell the Hartsville YMCA has hosted races for a long time. The police blocked the main roads off for the race, and volunteers pointed out the other turns, along with arrows on the road. My cousin Cheryl is a police officer there so she cheered super loud for me twice during the race! The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and most of this course is shaded and through neighborhoods with a few hills, but nothing too major- the lack of humidity was great.
I think increasing the distance of my longer runs has helped me speed up. If nothing else, it’s psychological. Toeing the line Saturday morning, I kept thinking about how I only had to run 3.1 miles. I ran 10 last Saturday and 8 the previous two Saturdays, so 3.1 miles was a major cutback- I did complete my 6-mile “long run” on Wednesday since I knew I’d miss it for the race.
Standing at the start line and not feeling intimidated by a distance is huge. I passed a lot of people and stayed with the same people most of the time (only a few passed me), noticing I was around some faster runners who are usually ahead of me.
I finished in 23:35, feeling fast and strong the entire race. Only 12 seconds off my PR.
I won my age category and got a big basket of peaches. Pretty cool race prize .
Our spectators took a finish pic too by the new signs.
After the awards ceremony, a bunch of us went to the Midnight Rooster coffee shop across the street for breakfast and coffee.
I ate before I raced, but I had a delicious iced mocha- gotta treat myself to tasty coffee, especially at a local dive. Pretty much everyone in there walked over from the YMCA and we took lots of pictures and hung out.
There’s something comforting about a warm welcome back and always feeling like you belong to a community of runners and a run club. I love running with my friends here in the Lowcountry and the Believe/Achieve run club, but I’m glad I was able to have that in Florence and bring it with me here to Charleston. I felt right at home, and after 9 years of living in the same area, I’ll always feel some sort of connection, that it’s like home.
In case you missed it…