Weekend Fun and World Grits Festival 5K

Hi everyone and happy Saturday! It’s a beautiful Spring weekend here in sunny South Carolina and I’ve definitely enjoyed it. I feel like I’m on vacation every weekend with so much going on, but this weekend has been pretty exciting so far.

Friday night, I went to a social at Hatchell’s Tapas Bar in Mt. Pleasant for the TrySports Ambassador Team. Everyone shared appetizers (the veggie quesadilla was my favorite) and we got cool shirts to wear when we run races or compete in triathlons. Not everyone on the team is a runner so it was neat to meet the triathlon crew as well; we all had a lot of fun and enjoyed it.

Thanks to Brian Fancher & Andrew of TrySports, we have pictures… I look kinda goofy in the pic but so do a lot of others so it’s all good. No clue what Scott is doing in the back, and Ed forgot his shirt and is rockin’ the pink with us ladies.

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On Saturday morning, I got up at 6 AM to fuel, caffeinate – yes, this is a vital part of run prep! – and drive to the World Grits Festival with my friend Nadine for the 5K. I heard so many radio jingles for the World Grits Festival last week, and they pretty much convinced me to go. The jingle talked about “Grits and Giggles” and advertised the festival… minus the race. I actually heard about the race a couple weeks ago from a fellow running friend, Reyna, who heard about it from someone who lives in St. George.

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In its 28th year, the World Grits Festival is held in St. George, which is the Grits Capital of the World and even has a Quaker Street (Quaker is the company that makes grits). We got to the festival, I registered and left my stuff with Nadine (she spectated! Hooray for cheerleaders!) and did a mile warmup and some plyometric drills- typical race day prep.

This race pretty much sealed the deal that I’m an occasional “trophy hunter”, which means I sometimes seek out small races where I’d possibly place or win. About 30-35 people participated, total. It only cost $10 and was *very* no frills, but after an intense week of training, I looked at it as paying for someone to time me so I can see what my current “race pace” is.

For such a small race brought to you by volunteers (Grits-o-holics who don’t run), it was well organized. The course was marked, no one got lost or took wrong turns, and there was police presence to keep cars from running you over.

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I finished in 23:40, which wasn’t my best time ever, but with the i5K on Thursday and Race for Taylor next month, I wasn’t looking to PR here. I still did well enough for first place female overall, which got me a pretty sweet and pretty big trophy.

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Yep- it was so no-frills, we even had homemade numbers (we didn’t get to pick or make them ourselves- it’s just luck that I had #1). After the race, we ate some very well-deserved cheese grits. Definitely some of the best post-race refreshments I’ve had.

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Along with the 5K, the festival had a pageant, grits eating contest, rolling in grits contest, and a parade, so we stuck around awhile. Only kids could roll in the grits on Saturday (adults roll and wrestle in the grits on Sunday), but we did see the grits-a-holics pour grits and water into the kiddie pool for it. The person with the most grits stuck to his or her body wins the contest, which sounded pretty gross. One grits festival award is enough for this girly.

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We walked around looking at the cute crafty stuff and tasty food vendors, then settled in for the World Grits Parade. I think everyone who lives in this town participated in the parade because it was pretty big, and they threw out a lot of candy. They also threw packages of instant grits to the spectators, and we got a big haul of candy and grits without trying too hard.

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The parade had some neat floats too- you could tell people spent a lot of time thinking of cool ideas and putting the floats together. Here are a few of the cool ones we saw.

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Isn’t that an adorable float idea for a preschool or daycare?

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Those ladies are wild about grits, hehe.

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A covered wagon advertises an upcoming rodeo in Walterboro, which is a bit south of Charleston (on the way to Savannah).

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I guess St. George has a lot of senior citizens so they have their own club.

After the parade, we made our way back to the car (another plus of running the race- we had premium parking since the race occurred before the actual festival started, so not far to walk) and back up 26 to Charleston. Sure, a festival about grits is a little hokey, but it was worth the drive at least this once- we had a lot of fun with it.

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After dropping Nadine off, going home, and showering, Clay and I went out to dinner (downside to winning a trophy vs. a medal- you can’t wear it to dinner) at Taco Spot in West Ashley, then I made him take a picture of me with the trophy dressed in real girl clothes. I guess this is my trophy wife picture.

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Tomorrow, I’m going for an easy run with some friends, then out to one of our favorite restaurants for brunch (one friend is pregnant and really looking forward to trying the Oreo Cookie pancakes). I might head to yoga as well. Tonight, Clay and I will probably sit around the house and watch MMA and chill- we like to keep things easy on Saturday nights with spending so much money on house stuff.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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24 Responses to Weekend Fun and World Grits Festival 5K

  1. this seems like such a blast. I love this fun runs you keep doing. it keeps the running spirit alive without overkill

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Definitely- sometimes I like more competitive races, but sometimes I just like fun things to get out of the house, like this. I *like* competing and doing races, but I never want that to interfere with my *love* of running.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thank you! I hope you guys had fun on the Greenway today, a couple of us are running it tomorrow for a long-ish run. More like recovery for me though.

      • Yes it was a great run. We ran to the water crossing where the trail drops down. Did 9 at 9:05 pace. Nice and cool too!

      • Amy Lauren says:

        Jealous of your weather, I forgot just how hot it gets between 7 and 9 AM. Sad thing is pretty soon we’ll have to run at 6-7 AM just to get it in without dying in humidity!

        Great job doing 9 at that pace too, that is awesome!

  2. 🙂 Sounds like you had a blast!!! Yay for sunny Saturdays! 🙂

  3. spectacuLAUR says:

    I saw Paula Deen make Cheesy Grits this morning! I bet you are upset you missed the Sunday festivities of girls wrestling in Grits……….. LOL, what an interesting festival. At least they set it up to have a kiddy Grits day and then an adult version the next day. I’m glad you got yourself a trophy! Who cares if not a lot of people run? It’s still an accomplishment and obviously you rock or they wouldn’t have given you one 😉 I wish so bad I lived in South Carolina right now. Perfect weather! Have a great weekend!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, all the adults wrestled today, haha. I definitely would not drive all the way back out there for it, either.

      I never feel bad when I win something like this easily. I’ve won my age group by default in races before and always looked at it was a win because, of all the 20-29 females who could have shown up and given it a shot that day, I was the only one who did. And there were maybe 10-12 ladies in this race, I mean we trained, showed up, and ran 3.1 miles when others just stayed in bed! So yeah, we did *earn* it :).

      Weather here is always great. Well, really humid and hot in the summer, but you get used to it hehe 🙂

      • spectacuLAUR says:

        That’s exactly what I mean! Think about all the woman in the area who could have race or were spectators and, really, you DID win. 🙂 I would give anything to live in SC. I love myrtle beach and I just loved the area down there.

      • Amy Lauren says:

        If you think Myrtle Beach is great, just come to Charleston. It’s 10 times better :).

  4. Chelsie S says:

    This looks like so much fun! Glad you’re happy with what you did (it was a strong time!) even if it wasn’t a PR. Running/racing is about the experience and the fun, after all!!
    Smart girl not rolling in those grits though. Honest confession? I know that grits are kind of like oatmeal, but I’ve never seen them or had them before. Very American … we don’t have them at all up here, I don’t think. So to hear of a whole festival devoted to them … very strange! But if it gets spectators free candy? So there!! 😉

    • Chelsie-grits are straight up southern. We don’t have them in Upstate NY either but down in southern VA? Yes!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, you’re gonna have to go pretty far south in the United States to find grits. Like Hollie said sometimes in VA you can find them, but even that depends on where you are in Virginia. But yeah, they are very Southern American, hehe.

      Oh yeah, I’ll always remember this race just because of how interesting it was, and of course Nadine and I were there for the day and got to share the experience.

      The free candy was pretty awesome. It’s almost like Halloween with how much candy we have now!

  5. I’m happy for you and good call about not worrying about time and PRing. Well worrying about time, but not overly worrying about it. Anyways-this race sounds oddly familer to the one I am signed up for. Small, ten dollars…I really just want to get a good baseline 5k. That trophy is seriously awesome, and isn’t it the greatest when you can get a trophy for a “training run”?

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah- that’s basically what I used this for, as I said- a glorified time trial. Since it was so small, there wasn’t a whole lot of pressure or nerves or anything either, which always helps.

      I really try not to worry about times and it gets me when so many runners do. You get to a point where it’s not linear- you set PRs occasionally, but not every race will be one just because your body has “off” days, or you’ve been training hard, or the race has a big unsuspected hill, etc. There’s a lot of factors you can’t control, so no need to worry about them, but some runners still act disappointed when a time isn’t all they want it to be. I say just focus on experience, the PRs and times will eventually come!

      • Exactly, and that is something I wish so many runners understood. If you race every weekend (or every month even) you will not PR every time. A non PRing race is not always a bad race, especially if you can walk away injury free!

  6. Great run you kept things in perspective by not pushing it too much with your others races coming up and even gotta an awesome trophy. Secret – grits = YUCK!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah… I can be a little picky about grits, but I’ve had some really tasty ones since moving down here (I honestly don’t care for the instant packets very much, but maybe I can dress them up?).

      I guess if there’s one place to kinda start liking grits, it’s Charleston, hehe.

  7. I’ve always wanted to drop in on the grits festival! Looks like a great time. I am excited to finish up with these races so I can do more low key stuff like this! After this weekend, it will be rest and then back to finding fun runs!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, I love just jumping into races randomly too! That’s always the best :). Which one are you doing this weekend? I’m not- I will be long running with the TrySports gang then helping with TryCharleston.

  8. Congrats on your first place finish! I am jealous =) I will see you at the I5k as you speed past me =)

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I highly doubt I will be speeding past you, you are super fast girly! Plus you’re a crazy endurance beast after doing that relay (which btw looked like so much fun, I want to do it next year).

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