I missed racing over the summer.
As the South Carolina humidity crept up, the number of local 5K races went down, down, down. Clearly I had withdrawals, because a couple weeks ago, I signed up on a whim for the Crossbridge Ministries Pancake 5K/10K run.
One of the race directors, Richie, leads our parking garage runs, so I thought it would be a great way to repay him for introducing me to garage runs and possibly show off how great they are for speed and hill training. Plus, my friend, neighbor, and BodyPump instructor Liz was doing the 10K for her first 10K in 16 years, so I wanted to support her.
Oh and Richie spilled the beans that the post-run pancakes came from IHOP. That’s a big selling point for a race because I like pancakes but I absolutely love breakfast food after running.
I moved my 10 mile long run to Thursday, took Friday off from workouts, and got up at 5:30 on Saturday morning to eat 1/2 Clif bar, drink coffee, and carpool with Liz to Laurel Hill Plantation, which is in Mt. Pleasant and a 30 minute drive from Suburbia by the Swamps (Rural West Ashley). Fortunately, it wasn’t a bad drive early in the morning with little traffic.
We got there, picked up our numbers and shirts, and took some pre-race pictures.
I set off on the trails for a 1 mile warmup and to see how the trail was looking so I could prepare myself for the terrain. The Laurel Hill trail was more of a true trail, with roots and rocks and grassy patches, unlike the Francis Marion Dirt Dash, which was more like dirt roads.
I knew it wouldn’t be a PR and it wouldn’t be a fast race, but I was looking forward to running on the trails. I don’t run trails often, but knowing that I wouldn’t race fast mentally prepared me to slow down. If I did a road race, I would’ve been tempted to pushed the pace, and it was nice to think of this as a way to cheer for Liz (who also placed in her age group).
With the Darlington Marathon (aka, my 26.2 Mile Fun Run) 7 days after the race, my big goal for the CrossBridge Pancake 5K was *not* to race. I didn’t want to go all out and mess up my taper for the next Saturday. The whole time on the trail, I envisioned myself falling, breaking or spraining something, and not being able to do the marathon, because I’m such a klutz!
The run itself went pretty well. The 5Kers ran the circular trail once, and the 10Kers ran it twice. I started out pretty conservatively with just over an 8 minute mile pace in the first mile. The second mile was actually a little faster, as there was a big patch of flat grass and I plowed through it because I knew I could pick up some speed.
As for the third mile, the trail got really rocky and root-y. The roots were painted, fortunately, and I don’t think anyone fell (if they did, they didn’t talk about it- and they still finished the race in good shape). My third mile was about 20 seconds slower than Mile 1. All the miles were marked and had water stops at them- the course was very well organized.
I saw Chad from Eagle Endurance motioning me toward the 5K finish. I sprinted, thinking the finish was there, but I still had to run across one long field, so my attempt at a finish kick pretty much kicked my butt. The course was slightly long, measuring in at 3.22 or 3.23 on everyone’s watches.
My time was 26:02 and the worst 5K time I’ve had in over a year. Of course, it was 1.) on a trail, 2.) long, and 3.) I wasn’t putting in a ton of effort. So, I wasn’t complaining about my time at all. It was still good enough for 1st place female in my age group and technically 3rd place female overall.
If you can’t race all out, the next best thing is having friends who do. My training partner Krystal won the 5K for the ladies, with my other training partner, Joelle, placing 2nd. All of us from the TrySports Mt. Pleasant crew placed, so it was a great day for us.
After the race and awards, we all enjoyed the pancakes and also heard about what the race proceeds benefit. A lady spoke about how she had a baby with severe birth defects that passed away just 20 minutes after birth. CrossBridge Ministries helped their family by funding the baby’s funeral, taking care of all arrangements, and helping the family members get into counseling and get back on their feet after such a tragic event.
Almost everyone listening was in tears, or close to tears, when she shared her story. It means a lot to do a race that benefits people and have someone share a personal story, so you know where the proceeds go. Plus, stories like that help you not take life for granted when you feel like you’re dealing with a lot.
Having a few friends whose children have passed away at a young age, I’m really glad that I could support this race and support such a great cause, and I hope I can do this run next year too.