A few hours after leaving the May Day Marathon post-race party, I laced up my running shoes again for the first race in the Race the Landing series. Okay, so it was a different pair of shoes for the 5K, and I also showered and changed clothes…
Lots of races charge hefty entry fees ($30 for a 5K) and don’t deliver, offering runners the simplest cotton shirts, minimal refreshments, only gun timing, and a very bland race experience. In many cases, these races aren’t directed by runners, so they don’t have the runners’ interests at heart. I’ve ran those races, and if you run a lot, you probably have too.
Race the Landing is *not* that kind of race.
You get a hefty discount for registering for the 5-race series, along with a tech tank top as a shirt, 5-deep age group awards (5 year age groups), chip timing, a delicious meal, post-race beer if you want it, prizes at each race, and one of the most scenic courses in the Charleston area.
The Race the Landing series is in its third year and is conveniently held at Charles Towne Landing here in West Ashley. Since most races are held Downtown or in Mt. Pleasant, I like to support West Ashley events when I can. I ran the All American 5K and Recycle Reuse Renew 5K, both of which were good experiences, so signing up for the series was a no-brainer.
Clay also signed up because I raved about how much fun it was and how beautiful the course is. I was pretty much delighted because it meant we had a guaranteed date night for five Thursday nights this summer.
Even after running the May Day half marathon that morning, I didn’t want to miss the first race of the series- and my running date night.
We got to the race super early because I thought it started at 6:30. Turns out, the kids run was at 6:30 with the 5K starting at 7, so we were over an hour early. Oops- but better to be early than running late, and at least we know for next week. A few of the May Day peeps were there and lots of other runners we know, so I ran my mouth before running off to warm up. I only warmed up a little since I ran 13.1 that morning.
The start of Race the Landing is always tricky because you circle the Founder’s Hall parking lot, then the first mile is downhill. As always on this course, my first mile was my fastest mile. The race volunteers at the mile markers yell out splits, and the course is clearly marked with lots of them, along with two water stations and on-course photography from Brian Fancher.
After the first mile, I decided my goal was to stay ahead of another local runner, Dan Clapper, who is known for taking selfies during the Cooper River Bridge Run. With 13.1 miles already on my legs for the day, I threw all time goals and expectations out. I primarily wanted to make sure Dan got my good side if he had the camera on this run…
An older gentleman volunteering yelled out “Lead Lady!” when I ran by him in Mile 2. I didn’t believe him because I knew I wasn’t running as fast as I normally do because of the half marathon, and I thought this race would have a faster field. Still, when someone yells out that you’re in the lead, you hold that pace if you can. I managed to peak behind me on one turn and didn’t see any ladies immediately behind me.
I crossed the finish in 23:09 and was second place female overall. Not sure how the volunteer who thought I was in the lead missed the actual race winner, as she clearly looked female.
After I got water and congratulated the female winner (who was shocked I ran a 5K after a half that morning), I took off on a cooldown run to cheer for Clay and some other friends still on the course. I love cheering for other runners and high fiving them- if I’m going to cool down, I may as well make it beneficial for as many runners as possible.
Clay had an epic finish; his finish “kick” is crazy fast from sprinting after all those years of high school football. I think his epic finish kick shocked a lot of onlookers and runners who were hanging out near the finish line.
We headed inside for some tasty dinner- chicken, pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, red rice, cole slaw, tomatoes, and rolls and the awards ceremony. The food was really delicious and a band called Second Honeymoon played while we ate and waited on awards. All overall and age group winners got little black bear trophies.
I was extremely surprised to place, as I thought the race would have a faster field, and my 23:09 was my slowest 5K of 2014. Of course, after running a half marathon that morning, I expected a slower-for-me time and prepared to take whatever I got. Clay and I are really excited for the rest of the series- trying to beat our previous times on the course and enjoying the beautiful scenery and entertainment.