Spoiler: I won first overall female.
Saturday, I ran my first 8K- the You Can’t Run From Love 8K here in West Ashley.
The You Can’t Run From Love 8K was an inaugural race from OnShore Racing, which is a running community that my friends Virginia and Rocky started last year. After seeing the need for affordable, fun races here in Charleston, they ran with it (pun intended), and this was their second race- the first being December’s Winter Solstice 5K in Hampton Park.
OnShore Racing’s events and group runs are actually held *in Charleston* and are cheap enough to bring the whole family out. Instead of offering t-shirts, they spend that money on post-race parties, refreshments, party favors, and drinks, while donating a portion of all proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as well as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
I was super excited about the You Can’t Run From Love 8K for a number of reasons:
- I’ve never raced an 8K. Insta-PR, anyone?
- The race was held 5 minutes from my home in West Ashley Suburbia by the Swamps. I normally commute 20-30 minutes to the peninsula or Mt. Pleasant for races or group runs.
- You could run as a team, and Clay agreed to be my teammate.
- It was Clay’s first time running an 8K (4.98 miles?), so insta-PR and insta-PDR (personal distance record) for him.
- The post-race refreshments included pancakes. I am a pancake fanatic.
We slept in until 7:15 Saturday morning, and I got up and ate my traditional pre-race Pop Tart and coffee. I’m sure the healthy living police don’t like that I eat pop tarts, but it works for the Wando XC boys and it works for me too. I need simple sugars, okay?
Clay and I arrived at West Ashley Park and it was chilly. Winds gusting up to 20 mph, and I kept my gloves on the whole race. Fortunately the sun was out, so today’s conditions were better than any other 2014 race. I did a little warmup jog and my usual drills, then headed to the start and well… started.
The course ran through the park, an adjoining neighborhood, and a side road with some businesses. Parts of the course were trail and a few areas were muddy, and I think it helped me because I got a little recovery and slowed down a bit for these parts, then sped up on the pavement.
I settled into a pace and stuck with it, passing a high school girl who I thought was a boy. It’s hard to tell from behind when you’re racing, and she had short hair and lots of clothes on. She was a sweet kiddo who runs for a local high school, even though I didn’t realize she was a she until after the race. It’s okay- people always think I’m a high school cross country runner too. After passing her, I dualed it out with a couple guys for the rest of the race, including a very strong headwind.
Miles 3.5-4 was an “out” and miles 4-4.5ish was a “back”- perfect for seeing other runners. At mile 4, I was about 90% sure I was in the lead for the ladies, but seeing the other lady on the “back” showed I wasn’t super far ahead of her. I recognized her from the Pajama Run and remembered passing her there, so I knew I could hold her off- I just had to follow through. The tailwind was a nice bonus.
The last half mile, I thought about how cool it would be to win overall, especially in my community. Rarely do we have races in West Ashley- the only two others I know of are the Avondale 5K and the Race the Landing Series. We get very little love here, including from the running community, and I wanted to win and represent West Ashley.
I crossed the finish line in 36:26 (7:20 mi. pace).
Instead of finisher’s medals, the organizers handed out roses and told me I won. My prize included a bouquet of roses, a container of candy, and a $50 gift card to Fleet Feet Mt. Pleasant, who sponsored the race.
I took off to cool down and run in with Clay, who I met just past mile 3 where he was cramping bad. Clay and I ran in for about 2 miles together, stopping to take a few walk breaks when he needed to. I enjoyed the cooldown and encouraging, then let him run to the finish. My handsome husband has quite the finishing kick. He finished in 1:06:50, beating his 2 goals for the race (under 1:10 and not finishing last).
After finishing, I hung out with my friend Liz, who lives in my neighborhood and also teaches BodyPump at my gym. Despite feeling tired last week, she met her running goals too and finished in just under an hour. She also won her age group- congratulations Liz!
Everyone enjoyed the Smores, pancakes, hot chocolate, and beverages at the post-race party too. 3 coolers of booze and 1 cooler of water? Priorities.
Overall, this was a great local race- the inaugural event had 88 runners, and I heard lots of positive comments on the after party, course, the neighborhood, and the park.
Lots of people haven’t heard of or visited West Ashley Park, so hopefully they’ll come out now. Most runners didn’t seem to mind the lack of a shirt, especially considering the cheap entry fees ($15 a person or $25 per team).
Kudos to OnShore Racing for bringing a great running event to West Ashley!
Special thanks to Chandler Meadows of CBM Photography, official course photographer. All CBM Photography photos in this post are used with her permission. Check out her Facebook page here.