On Saturday, I ran the Mullet Haul 5 Mile Trail Run, an annual race sponsored by the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission. The race is held at the Mullet Haul Equestrian Center on John’s Island, SC, which is known for the Angel Oak Tree and to runners, its location en route to the Kiawah Marathon.
Charleston County Parks billed the Mullet Haul Trail Run– which has both a 5 mile and 10 mile option- as an event where participants could dress up in mullets, flannel shirts, and jorts (jean shorts). On the other hand, I dressed up as a technical writer who works from home, which means I wore my typical workday attire of Nike shorts and a TrySports shirt.
After growing up in a rural area, I promise most country folks don’t usually look like the cast of Joe Dirt, but the race had some great costumes.
I signed up for the 5 miler a few weeks ago with a deal from Charleston Deals Today, which allowed me to race for only $17 instead of the usual $28 fee for county residents. Race prices definitely influence this house poor girly, but after running the Lowcountry Trail 5K last October, I knew that the county does a great job with their races and Mullet Haul has some beautiful trails. The course, post-race beverages and refreshments, and swag were worth full price.
Speaking of swag, we got a Mullet on the Go headband, which I promptly gave to Clay since he hasn’t had hair on his head since 2006.
The race started at 8:30 AM, so I slept in a little before heading to John’s Island. I met up with my friends Steve, Rocky, Richie, Andy, Vini, Janet, Reyna, Cindy, Anne, and probably a few others I forgot.
Even though I was cold immediately and kept my sweats on until the last minute, it was great race weather. We had 2 whole days without rain, which is a miracle in Charleston, so the trail was dry for the most part. The course was flat, but certainly NOT fast! I knew from the first mile that I would not be coming close to my time or pace at the You Can’t Run From Love 8K. We ran through grass, dirt, and sand, sometimes dodging roots.
I decided at Mile 2 to make the run my little adventure and mentally acknowledge the terrain changes, accepting them but figuring out the path of least resistance roots and rocks. I learned this technique in yoga, acknowledging situations and just letting them be- definite proof that yoga helps runners by stretching both tight hamstrings and hip flexors, to stretching mental toughness when racing. It takes your mind off the pain train.
I kinda look like I’m in a pre-run meditation in this one (thanks to spectator Steve for the pic)…
I passed at least 3 women and wasn’t sure who was ahead of me, if anyone. I guess this is harder for girls than guys because usually, ladies in races have at least a few men ahead of them- so it’s harder to gage. I was behind Janet for a long time, who is super speedy and running Boston. I felt honored to run behind someone who runs a marathon and qualifies for Boston. I ran a marathon and qualified to retire from marathoning.
A few guys passed me- turns out they were all running the 10 miler. I figured this out when I heard them talking at mile 4.5, since no one racing that fast would be running a conversational pace with only .5 to go. In a race, you can use mental awareness of things like this to your advantage.
I saw the 5 mile turn off and knew I was close to the finish. I picked it up, but still had a puddle to dodge- I only had to dodge 2 puddles during the race, but one was super close to the finish! It’s hard to get a kick with the gravel, but I saw the clock and was delighted (despite my facial expression) to finish in under 40 minutes.
After mean mugging everyone with my pain train face, Joey the timing guy told me I won. I made him look back at the results to be 100% sure- those “Mullet On The Go” headbands make it hard to tell!
I hung out at the post race party, which featured music from a local band, the Dunder Chiefs and post-race food from La Ti Da Catering. We also had Palmetto Brewing beer and typical race refreshments (water, fruit, bagels).
The macaroni and cheese was tasty (Mac and cheese is like pizza- even when it’s not “the best”, it’s still pretty darned delicious), but the vegetable soup and the bread pudding were even better. There were a few meat options, but I don’t remember what.
I was in line for my post-race food when my name was called out for awards- yikes!
The awards were great. The overall winners received “Red Solo Cup” trophies. We also got bottles of wine from Irvin House Vineyards, a local winery on Wadmalaw Island, gift cards to The Foot Store, and a framed picture taken at the photo booth. The photo booth was a really fun touch for the race- the age group winners got the photos framed, but I think you could take pictures in it afterwards with your friends and have them printed, too, no frames.
Hey, if I wanted, I could drink the wine (it is actually a VERY nice bottle of wine) out of the cup on the trophy; don’t worry, it’s not an actual Solo cup, it’s a lot firmer, more durable.
Overall, Mullet Hall Equestrian Center is beautiful, and the race was featured in a book, The Runner’s Bucket List: 200 Races to Run Before You Die. I haven’t run tons of races to know if this is a “Bucket List” one, but if you’re in Charleston, it’s worth putting it on your calendar for next year.