{Race Recap} Run for Brighter Days 5K/10K

So, a couple weeks ago, my running friend Colea and I decided to train for and run the Run for Brighter Days, a new race in town in memory of a young man who committed suicide after suffering from bipolar disorder. Mental health awareness is definitely close to our hearts because it’s in both of our families, so signing up for it was a definite.

I hadn’t raced since February’s Titan Trot 5K and have actually cut back on running a bit in favor of weight training and yoga (despite the cutback, I still ran 3 days per week). With the bum quad from the class that cannot be named, I debated changing my registration to the 5K for this race because it’s advertised as a trail run and I didn’t know if my hip would heal for 6 miles of nonstop running.

I can assure you, no one smiles like this while foam rolling. I wince in pain.

I took a weekend off, discovered the joy of foam rolling, then ran a 6-miler last Monday before coaching track. With the burst of confidence, along with my pre-race Friday night ritual of a sub sandwich and a Sweet cupcake, I decided to stick it out for the 10.

I woke up bright and early Saturday morning and after coffee, food, and bathroom, I hit up a few local yard sales. I love yard sales! I got some amazing deals on decorations for Memorial Day/Independence Day, a new garden flag for my mom, and a few new sweaters and shirts for myself (thanks to another fairly small college classmate of mine who “invited” me to her yard sale via Facebook).

These yard sales weren't crap, though...

Despite living in this area for years, I got lost in the classmate’s neighborhood. I had plenty of time, but pictures and chatter were probably out of the question (hence all photos in this post are courtesy of Colea’s husband and Carolina Running Company). After a few missed turns and some crazy yard sale traffic jams, I got out and on the road to the race site, which was the Clemson Rural Education Center– located here in Florence, but an extension of Clemson University.

Being a die-hard Carolina Gamecock fan, I’ll refrain from Clemson chatter in this blog, but I occasionally yell Go Clemson. Only because I coach a kid whose last name is Clemson :).

I stopped at Burger King on the way to the race to pee. I was experiencing the joys of hydrating for heat and humidity, and it couldn’t be a bad idea, considering the race would probably have portapotties. I quickly went to the potty and got in my Honda Accord, heading to the Rural Education Center whose namesake runs for our club.

My car had other plans.

The crazy cranking sound it made last year was back– at the wrong place and the wrong time. Fortunately, after a few minutes of trying to start the car and a crazy “OMG THIS IS MY FIRST DNS (Did Not Start)” on my mind, my car was fine and I skedaddled to the race. Fortunately, I got there just in time, as a few last minute (literally) registrants signed in.

Then, a lady at the registration table told me to talk to Greg, who directs the Carolina Running Company. There was some miscommunication over the distance I’d signed up for, so I headed to the finish line so he could put me in the system for the 10K- not a big deal, just took a minute. Still, I was cutting it close on time; let’s just say I literally walked to the start WITH Greg- to blow the starting horn!

I had just enough time to tell Jack, one of the 9-year-olds I coach, good luck and be sure to win :). He came in 3rd place male overall and was definitely the cutest runner dude out there! Plus, he represents the Florence Track Club well with good sportsmanship and manners. Jack will be quite the catch for a girl one day, but she’ll have to be a fast female to catch him.

The race itself was on dirt road, gravel, and light trail. Except for a few hills, it seemed mostly flat. The organizers had tons of water stops, which was great because the heat and humidity were *killer* with the 9 AM start time.

Can we say RACE FACE?

Don’t trust weather reports, because temperatures feel massively different once you add humidity (It actually got cooler as the day went on)! I didn’t actually get water at any stop, but it was a great idea because a lot of first-timers ran this, and with multiple aid stations, if someone had a heat related medical issue, the volunteers could help.

After about the first mile and a half, the 10K participants veered off from the 5Kers and the race got lonely (better than having to run a course twice, right?). The scenery consisted of corn fields and irrigation systems, which was a nice change from swamps.

Funny thing- all of the mile marker signs looked exactly like the crop marker signs- same colors, font, size. About halfway through, I saw a sign and thought to myself, Oh wow, mile 3 sure was short. A few steps later- Oh wait, that’s not mile 4-that’s a wheat field. Bummer!

I persevered through the crazy heat and to the finish- sure was glad to see the Mile 6 marker, which couldn’t be mistaken for a corn field! An announcer at the finish called out race numbers and (I think- I listen to music) names. That’s a really nice touch that more smaller races should try, and a very nice lady was bringing cups of Gatorade around to the finishers.

I rehydrated, walked around, and talked to a few longtime running buds and some new friends I met, Curtis and Brandi. Their first 10K races turned out splendid, even on a tough course and in crazy heat, and it’s always a pleasure for the small but tight-knit local running community to grow with new faces :).

The awards ceremony was shaded and lovely- I finished in 53:59 and won my age group (two overall female 10K winners were between 20-29, and awards categories were only one place deep since it was a small race). Colea placed first in her age group, too.

It was like paparazzi with Curtis' phone, Colea's husband and his camera, and Belinda and her camera! So we didn't know which to smile for!

I scored a pretty sweet medal (another nice touch: the race name and date are engraved on the medal), a size medium t-shirt (bummer for same-day registrants getting first dibs on t-shirts, even though I registered early- they ran out of smalls. Of course, I did arrive late…), and a can of boiled peanuts.

Gotta say this is the first race I’ve left with a can of peanuts as a part of my race swag- and the first time I’ve ever run (no pun intended) this late for a race, but I’ll take ’em :).

I thought Run for Brighter Day was very well organized for a first-year race, and the only hiccup was running out of small shirts (the race organizers said they’d change this next year). You could tell the organizers were passionate about the cause, and they did an outstanding job.

I’d definitely do this race again next year- hopefully arriving *much* earlier!

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17 Responses to {Race Recap} Run for Brighter Days 5K/10K

  1. runningtothefinish says:

    My sister’s a gamecock!! 😀 It’s nice to get to do a race in different scenery than just a road race! Sorry to hear the humidity and heat was rough though! I am SO bad at running in humidity. And congrats on first for your age group!!!! That’s so exciting! I think being able to win a medal is one of the most exciting things about racing. In the long run, the race itself is obviously more exciting, but the medal is still nice 🙂 My junior year of XC I never won anything but my senior year I think I got a couple of medals which made the season SOOO much more exciting!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’m used to heat and humidity, but it’s still tough in a race- especially since it actually got cooler as the day progressed. Then yesterday was very cool and overcast- totally 180.

      I have a medal hanger with all my medals, and I wore the medal to the grocery store and Kohl’s on Saturday (hehe). It’s definitely nice to look at them and think about the crazy hours of work and workouts and taking care of yourself that you put in to earn one.

  2. allieksmith says:

    GREAT RACE!!! 🙂 My favorite part of the racap (aside from the pictures of you!) was when you said “mile 3 was fast… is that mile 4? oh wait that was a wheat field” LOL!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Haha! The first time I noticed this was at the Mile 3 sign, I guess because I was halfway there and wanted the last 3 miles to go by? You can imagine how thrilling the scenery was!

  3. Wow your race face is so intense. I think it’s always interesting to do new races but I agree-the humidity is ridiculous. I do not race in well in humidity at all.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks! Humidity is hard. You get used to it down here, but it’s still difficult. One thing about it though, running through the heat and humidity of an SC summer, you can definitely run faster in the Fall once it cools down. Guess it helps increase your lung volume or something :).

      Almost all the races around here are new. Even the “old” ones are still only 5-6 years old!

  4. tryingtoheal says:

    Great jbo on the run Amy!! What a great race and I’m glad to hear your hip held out! I think runs on dirt like that are so much more fun!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks! Yeah it was pretty fun. Definitely different from my usual road races or races through neighborhoods, but I liked it. Like I said, I’d do it again!

  5. That’s hilarious that you won a can of boiled peanuts! That’s gotta be one of the weirdest race prizes ever.

    I don’t think I could deal with humidity during a run. CO is such a dry state, and I actually prefer dry heat to humid heat because it feels way less hot and I’m so used to dryness, having lived in CO and AZ my entire life. On vacations to FL and to see family in WI during the summer, the humidity’s almost killed me 😉

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Haha, I think the peanuts were just random, for whoever wanted a can. But there were tons of hungry, sweaty runners around so of course we all got them.

      We’re definitely NOT a dry state. Our winters and our summers are wet here! Even when we get snow, it’s the wet, nasty snow, not the fun one you can play in. But I will say it’s not as bad as Fla.

  6. Haha what a fun and interesting prize you received! How random Amy 🙂 But I like it
    I am so so glad to hear your hip held out and was okay and that your race overall was good! I am sorry the heat and humidity was rough though, I cannot run in the heat at all. And like I said the last post of yours, I hate to be cold, but being hot is even worse!
    You did great despite that weather

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah- it was neat at the end when this random dude at the farm gave me peanuts, but hey I’ll take them. I think they were for everyone not just winners, just whoever ran and wanted a can. Like a race perk, haha.

      My hip’s been pretty good lately. I think I’ll be able to train more now. Foam rolling and yoga definitely help!

  7. chasingthekenyans says:

    Sounds like a great little race! Nice perks too 🙂 Glad your car was ok so you could make it (and not have to deal with car issues). Someone named their kid Clemson?? That is extreme… Haha. And I love that yard sale sign. Hilarious.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      His last name is Clemson. And I think they’re pretty big Clemson fans too, because at every practice he has had on some piece of Clemson gear. Either that or his parents have figured out that’s how coaches can learn his name when there are 100+ kids…

  8. Pingback: Almost Wordless Wednesday and Double Rainbows |

  9. Kara says:

    Wow I would be so stressed if that happened to me before a race! I’m so glad you made it though. That’s so funny about the crop marker signs vs. the race signs. Anyway, congrats! So awesome you won your age group. Oh and I LOVE BOILED PEANUTS!! Every time I’ve driven through South Carolina I’ve stopped at roadside stands to buy them fresh and hot 🙂 SO GOOD!! I want some now!

    P.S. How has your hip been feeling?

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Haha, I don’t think there were many peeps in my age group, but oh well :). AG win is still an AG win. I have some improving to do before my next race, but at least I know where I am now.

      We always stop for boiled peanuts when we go on road trips too! Yeah, we can just buy them whenever here but it’s definitely fun to stop and buy at a roadside stand. It’s one of our trip traditions.

      My hip has been fine. Yoga and foam rolling have really helped. I think I was on the verge of an overuse injury, and it’s nice to know I can still run a 10K with a decent time even when I’m only running 3 days a week. I’d rather just do this right now than push it and get hurt.

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