Hello everyone and happy Sunday!
I hope everyone had a great week and weekend- it’s been a very challenging one here. Those of you who live and run in Charleston/Mt. Pleasant know how rough it’s been this week with 9-year-old Peyton Moore’s tragic death, and while you’re reading this, I’m out participating in a massive group run in his honor. I love running for causes and can’t think of a better way to spend my Sunday run.
Spoiler alert… post-race tweets from this morning:
Yesterday, I ran the Floppin’ Flounder 5K on Sullivan’s Island, which is just off the coast of Mt. Pleasant. I hadn’t planned to do this race and was hoping to get a long run in Saturday morning, since I’m trying to train for a Fall marathon that I haven’t 100% decided if I want to do. It seemed like all my friends were running this, and when my friend and run clubber, Ed, had to go out of town unexpectedly at the last minute, he transferred the entry to me.
One positive note of not signing up for a race until the day before… you don’t spend the days before worrying or getting nervous about your race. I obviously didn’t run on Friday (then again, I never run on Friday- it’s my universal rest day before long run or race), I ate a decent dinner and half a Clif bar for breakfast the next day and took off for Sullivan’s Island.
Sponsored by the Charleston Running Club, the Floppin’ Flounder 5K is a race with cash prizes, so all of the local fast people show up for it with hopes of winning money. The course goes through neighborhoods on Sullivan’s, so no actual beach running, and is basically a figure 8. This is Charleston and we have bridges and speed bumps, not hills- so the course is flat and fast.
Since this is Charleston… we have heat and humidity, so that makes up for the advantage of “flat and fast” anywhere else.
I got to the race early and did a warmup jog- I warm up before most races (and many runs) now because it helps get my blood flowing after a night of sleep. I didn’t run too long of a warmup, probably not even a full mile, and I said hi to a bunch of TrySports Run Club friends- almost the entire Saturday morning crew, either as a runner, volunteer, or spectator.
And, while pre-race meals, hydration, and driving to Sullivan’s went well… the warmup is where I mentally lost it. Feeling short and overdressed, I saw the local elites in their flats, sports bras, short shorts, and obviously, legs much longer and thinner than mine.
I try not to compare myself to others in racing and just compare my times to what they have been, are, and what I want them to be, as well as my potential. Anyone can purchase and wear certain running clothes, and often body type isn’t a sign of running performance, but sometimes it’s hard to believe that. I love my reputation as “The Tiny Terror”, but deep inside, the out-of-place, unfashionable, confidence-lacking, chubby kid who couldn’t run a mile in middle school gym class still exists.
Unfortunately, that’s the person who showed up today at the Floppin’ Flounder 5K.
I ran and finished the race in 23:33. Thinking of most 27-year-old females, 23:33 is a very respectable 5K time since not many people run, or do a 5K race, or finish in under 30, let alone 25 minutes. Plenty of ladies dream of running a 5K in this time, and I’m not in any way implying that this is a “bad” time.
I’m not sure if I’m in a slump or what, but I can’t seem to break out of the running rut that is 23 minutes. Workout goal or any other goal, it stinks to work your butt off at something and not see the improvements you’re expecting. Long runs, weekly interval workouts, training in the heat, and going to the track don’t seem to help all that much. I trained my butt off for 8 weeks to PR at the Race for Taylor 10k– and while I’m quite stoked about my PR, in reality… I trained super hard to shave off less than a minute off. Theoretically, with more training volume and faster training runs, I should race faster.
Sad thing is, I let myself get in the way of any potential success I could’ve had today. If not success, at least a happier drive back to West Ashley.
Back to the race… the course was well marked with lots of volunteers and had one water stop. I really can’t complain about the race course or how the race was operated- didn’t seem like they had any problems. After all, it’s a Charleston Running Club race and if anyone should know how to organize a race, it’s a running club, right?
Once my 3.1 miles on the Pain Train were done, I hung out with a bunch of friends and enjoyed breakfast burritos from Triangle Char-N-Bar. Triangle Char-N-Bar is definitely one of my favorite places in Charleston to eat- I love their black bean burgers, appetizers, and sweet potato fries. I have never seen a veggie burrito on their menu and have only had them at races but they’re super tasty!
We took some pictures and celebrating quite a few PRs and age group awards. Krystal and Karen PRed and a few people won age group awards. One of the best things about being in a running group is that when someone PRs or places, you can celebrate with them because everyone trains together and encourages one another, so we all contribute to everyone’s PRs.
Running a certain time in a race isn’t accomplished in that time on the clock- it’s accomplished through months or years of hard work and determination- and it’s great to have a group of running friends to share that with. It’s the same group of running friends who pick you up when you are down, still love you when you’re injured, and happily wait for you when your 10 mile long run requires two porta john stops.
Hopefully, my next race in a few weeks goes better than this one. It’s a beach 10K, which I’ve never done before, so I don’t have any time expectations- I hope I can run my best race, finish with my head held high, and not feel bad about whatever happens.
After all, today is a new day and a new reason to run. Let’s train for life.