Your race is simply a victory lap, celebrating the completion of your training – Unknown
Looking back is the best way to put running into perspective. So, before I review the Summerville YMCA Shuffle Shuffle 10K, let’s roll the highlight reel of past 10K attempts.
A little over 4 years ago, I committed to training for and running my first 10K in May 2010. I ran the Florence, SC McLeod Sports Medicine 10K in 1:04:16, and I was clearly hooked.
Thanks to Phillip Guyton, Jr, at True Light Photography for this picture. We go way back.
It seems like I’ve run lots of March 10Ks, so I dug up my finish times for them:
I may not be where I want to be, but I’m heading in the right direction…
On the first weekend of April, Charleston hosts a huge event called the Cooper River Bridge Run. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s a pretty large 10K, but five 10Ks in the US are larger and overshadow it.
Sometime last year, I read that you can run a “qualifying” time of 45 minutes or below in a 10K and start in a competitive corral. The Cooper River Bridge Run has weird seeding standards- *anyone* can register for the 45-60 minute finisher’s crowd- no time verification required unless you want to register for under-40 or 40-45.
Since it’s such a large event (and I’m slightly overwhelmed by crowds), I wouldn’t participate without a competitive bib. The race number even says competitor on it which is a huge draw for me…
A couple of friends and I set our sights on a sub-45 10K to “seed” for the bridge run. To this date, only one achieved this (congratulations Katie!). On Saturday, I toed the line, along with my friend and training partner Kindal, at the Summerville YMCA Shamrock Shuffle for our last chance to run the sub-45 10K. You can read Kindal’s recap here.
We hit the track most Tuesdays, but with a 22:21 5K PR, I *needed* the “luck of the Irish” to run a 44:xx 10K. You don’t just double your best 5K time and get your goal 10K result; it’s not that easy.
Let’s not forget, I also raced Catch the Leprechaun just 37 hours before. Was this a smart idea? Probably not, but it’s hard to turn down a race when you work from home and running and racing *is* your social life. I’m not exactly known for smart decisions.
Knowing my training and abilities, I set my goal to PR at the Summerville Shamrock Shuffle 10K, but deep down, my heart wanted that sub-45 10K. Spoiler: Training logs, tired legs, and finish clocks don’t lie.
I got to the Summerville YMCA and picked up my number. I didn’t get a shirt, because the boxes of small sized shirts are ordered but have not arrived (I am hoping I get a shirt…). I did snag a bite of a tasty blueberry muffin from a tray meant for post-race festivities. Oops…
Kindal and I started at the front of the line right by last year’s winner and some other speedy ladies and guys, including Andrew and Scott from TrySports Mt Pleasant. I got a little caught up in the atmosphere and start a bit fast for a 10K on the double-looped course. The 5K started 10 minutes before the 10K, so we had to pass the 5K walkers, then the 5K joggers (I got cut off by someone with a stroller on the first lap).
The second lap of the course was a lot less crowded, but that didn’t make it any easier. Guess I should’ve used the crowdedness of the first 3 miles to keep my pace steady so I wouldn’t die at the end. I kept passing this guy with a Spartan Race shirt on, then he’d pass me, and so forth… I ended up beating him at the end, but we were definitely pacing off each other. With several hundred 10Kers, it was really the perfect size for a small town race. You could pace off people and you could see lots of people at any given time.
I felt myself slowing down at Mile 4, then running past the mile 5 sign, I tried to pull myself together and mentally tell myself I was close to being done. If you count down the miles, that kinda helps. However, nothing helped with the “surprise” incline at the end. Right when you “kick” to finish, it’s a gradual uphill. Yikes! The race starts further down the road, so it’s tricky.
I saw the clock click to 47 minutes when I finished, but apparently my time squeezed just under. 46:59.
I did a cooldown run to collect my thoughts before heading to the refreshments and the TrySports tent, where I met up with my friends and fellow runners for some pictures and fun before the awards ceremony. The awards were plaques for the overall and masters winners, along with the first place age-groupers. I was second place in my age group, which shows how fierce the competition was- I won my age group last year with a time over 90 seconds slower. This area has some speedy runners!
After the race, Kindal and I met up with a fellow Earth Fare “Earthlete” Ambassador, Crystal. Earth Fare, a healthy food store here in Charleston and around the Southeast and midwest, recently expanded the athlete ambassador program this year and gave us sweet red shirts, so it’s nice to see others at races and find training partners and workout buddies that way.
As far as seeding for the Cooper River Bridge Run goes, I thought I’d be upset, but writing this on Sunday afternoon, it’s really not a big deal. The Bridge Run has high security, drug sniffing dogs, lots of crowds. I live in Charleston, so I can run the bridge anytime. I’m secretly kind of relieved I can sleep in on a Saturday morning for once!
All in all, I’m proud of my new PR. Regardless of circumstances, how well you raced, and how you felt during the race… you can’t help but be happy with a PR. I don’t think running Thursday’s Catch the Leprechaun race easy (or tempo) would have taken 2 minutes off my 10K time on Saturday, but I still think I can lower my time- and I’ll be back on the track working toward it in a few days.
As a TrySports Mt. Pleasant athlete ambassador, I received a complimentary race entry, as TrySports sponsors this race; however, all opinions expressed are my own. I am grateful for TrySports’ support to Charleston area races, the running community, and to my own training.