You probably shouldn’t run a 5K two weeks after you resume running from a stress reaction, especially when it’s only your 6th run back, but rules are made to be broken, right?
Clay and I signed up for the Race the Landing 5K series back in April. Your entry fee gets you five races, five delicious post-race meals, free beer at each race, an awesome tech shirt, and 5-deep age group awards. It’s a great value.
The Race the Landing 5K series is held at beautiful Charles Towne Landing, which is close to our home, and the proceeds benefit the park’s zoo. Since West Ashley only has a handful of 5K races, I always try to support the 5K races when we do have them. Plus, I got to share the series with Clay, who PRed at the third race and earned an age group award.
Thursday night was the last race of the series, and even though I knew I wasn’t 100%, I paid for the series and decided to run. No matter how hot, humid, hill-y, or hard a race course is, it always beats the sidelines.
I had zero expectations and knew my time would be slower than usual. I didn’t set any sort of time goal and just focused on running my best and having fun at the after party.
The first mile of the course is deceiving. It’s a downhill mile, entirely shaded, you feel like you’re flying, and it’s impossible for me to reel it in and start slowly. I hit the one mile split in 7:45, which was way too fast. I was a little excited to run with so many awesome people.
From mile 2 on, the course is curvy with slight inclines (not hills- this is Charleston and speed bumps register on an elevation map). There’s also a boardwalk style bridge. My mile 2 split was 7:59. I set my watch to run/walk, and mile 2 was where the first walk break would’ve been. Let’s be honest, I just can’t walk during a 5K- it’s a mental thing. When the first person passed me, I took off again.
Mile 3 was a killer, as always. My longest continuous run before this race was 8 minutes, so asking my body to run for 25 minutes straight was a pretty big jump. I regretted not taking that walk break during Mile 2, and my mile 3 split was 8:33. My endurance is shot right now, but I know it will come back in a few weeks.
On the last .1, I saw the clock inch closer to 25 and set a goal to beat it, finishing in 24:56.
I got water and a cold wet towel at the finish, talked to some friends, and then did a very short cooldown run to find Clay on the course. Not only does my husband have the best finish kick ever (he outkicked 3 people in the last .1), he also takes the goofiest race photos.
Brian Fancher Photography captures the spirit of each race- he is the best sports photographer in Charleston, hands down (he is also an athlete, so I am sure the firsthand experience helps).
After we cooled off, we headed inside Founder’s Hall for the post-race food and awards ceremony. The macaroni and cheese, salad, biscuits, and watermelon were delicious. The meat eaters had hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, and French Fries. There was also a cake, and I had a little of that but didn’t take a picture.
A band called Second Honeymoon also played at the post-race party, and they had free homebrew beer and other beers offered. The awards ceremony was good and a bit longer since this was the last race of the series. I placed in my age group and earned one of the coveted gator awards- the age groups are five deep and the awards are unique.
The Race the Landing 5K series was one of the highlights of my summer. Even though I only got to run three of the five races, I volunteered at the other two and loved cheering for everyone and helping with the finish line- even if it resulted in hard-earned blisters from opening 100+ bottles of water! I definitely plan to run the Recycle, Reuse, Renew 5K in January and next summer’s 5K series.