A few weeks ago, I went running with some of my Believe/Achieve run clubbers. We talked about racing plans now that our half marathons are over for awhile, and one of my running buddies mentioned running the local Turkey Trot 5K and PRing, despite recovering from the half marathon (Congrats Gary!).
Even though I ran 2 half marathons and a 12K this Fall, I hadn’t raced a 5K since the Back to School 5K in Hartsville when I was in town visiting my in-laws in August. I’ve gotten faster since moving to Charleston, mostly because I have to keep up or get lost. Oh the joys of a new city…
I signed up for the Charleston Pajama Run 5K because the proceeds benefit MUSC research for treatments cancers for below the waist, such as testicular, prostate, ovarian, and cervical cancers.
When I was in 11th grade, my aunt Lynda was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Growing up, I spent a week at her house each summer, where we’d do fun things like swim, ice skate, go to the movies, play with her dog and cat, and shop for back-to-school clothes.
Lynda’s diagnosis was pretty advanced, and she passed away in the summer of 2002, before I graduated high school. Although several local races took place this weekend, I decided it was only right to participate in the Pajama Run. After all, Lynda lived near Charleston and I live here now.
It was also a great weekend for running, as the Mt. Pleasant Track Club kids were competing in the USATF National Cross Country meet, and a bunch of my Fitness World Run Club friends ran the Scott Brown Memorial 5K in Hartsville to benefit the children of a man who was killed in an accident at his job on Labor Day. Lynda, the cross country kids, and Scott Brown’s family would inspire me to run hard.
The race was held at the Joe Riley baseball park near The Citadel in Downtown Charleston. Most people wore pajamas- including bathrobes, footie pajamas, and bedroom shoes cut and shaped over running shoes- but I stuck with crazy shorts because all my pajama bottoms are too long to run in without tripping over them (the joys of being short). I really admire anyone who ran in pajamas yesterday because the high was in the 70s and it gets pretty warm here. It definitely felt more like September than December!
The course was really beautiful and ran through the campus of The Citadel, the road in front of the baseball stadium, and a downtown park with lots of oak trees and shade. The course was all paved, fast, and flat- just like the rest of Charleston, with lots of volunteers to keep everyone on track and a water station for those who needed it.
Running 3 miles feels so short after half marathons and 12Ks, but I raced hard with a Tiny Terror kick at the finish, despite getting passed by a kid and a guy in a bathrobe (getting passed by a kid is okay, a taller guy in a bathrobe, not so much). There was no big finish line clock at the end, which would definitely add to the race, so I walked over to the results monitor and found mine- I ran a 22:03 5K for a new personal record!
After the run, the race served Earth Fare goodies like fruit and muffins along with chicken strips. They also had a few speakers, including a 19-year-old girl who recently recovered from Ovarian Cancer and a man biking across the country to raise money for charity.
Since I won my age group (the super competitive 25-29 female age group at that), I got a medal, a coffee mug, and a $25 gift card to Try Sports Mt. Pleasant. I also took a picture with Christina and Amanda, who I met at the race and also won in our age group. They’re really nice girls and also training for the Charleston Half Marathon in January.
I really enjoyed the race and would definitely do it again! Discussing these cancers is more taboo than other diseases, and I’ve never seen a race to benefit them. Since my family was personally affected by ovarian cancer and Lynda’s death, I was even prouder to PR in a race for such a great cause.