With intense Charleston heat and humidity, plus a rough few months in general, I was ready to say good riddance to Summer and welcome Fall by running OnShore Racing’s Fall Equinox 10K.
Between recovering and rebuilding after an injury and not being able to get my paces up when I did speedwork (thanks a lot, 100% humidity), I didn’t have high expectations for the Fall Equinox 10K. Like every other obsessive runner, I started checking the weather forecast the week before, which said the temperature would be 83 degrees and sunny.
Guess you shouldn’t base your pre-race thoughts on weather forecasts.
It rained the day before the race (and the day of the race, the day after the race, and for eight days straight). Thankfully, the rain slowed to a drizzle that afternoon, and it cooled down- we’re talking temperatures in the 60s, which felt cold to everyone used to training in 90+ degree weather all summer.
Southerners love an excuse to pull out the Fall clothing, so people showed up in hoodies and pants, but 60 degrees is still very much tank top weather when you’re racing.
With a misting light rain, the race started at 6:30, and the sun set while we were running around Hampton Park. A lot of the guys were shooting to run under 40 or 45 minutes so they could earn a coveted spot in the front corrals at the Cooper River Bridge Run– and many of them did (Chris Bailey, the overall male winner, finished in 33 minutes and some change).
Finishing in under 45 minutes to start at the front of the Cooper River Bridge Run is my goal too, but I knew it wouldn’t happen at this race. You can’t fake training, and finish clocks don’t lie.
The Fall Equinox 10K consisted of six and a half laps on a circular road, with two volunteers counting laps to make sure everyone truly ran a 10K. Laps make it tougher mentally. People get lapped (I did), and you see the same scenery over and over, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Some advantages included six opportunities for water if I needed it and seeing the finish clock at each lap, plus you know the course after the first lap. Mentally, I counted up the laps for the first 5K, then counted down and just focused on getting through them. I never ran track, so I’m not used to racing for lap after lap.
My mile splits were 6:56, 7:18, 7:31, 7:43, 7:45, 7:33, 1:24, with a 46:08 finish underneath the lights. Sprinting toward the finish, I saw the 45 on the clock and realized I’m closer to the sub-45 minute 10K goal than I thought I was.
Unexpected PRs are the best, but I’m no expert at stopping my watch, so it “ran” for seven seconds after I finished. Oops.
I’m usually not a fan of night races because I have to watch what I eat (and worry) about them all day, but I really enjoyed finishing underneath the park lights. It was a nice flashback to my days of high school marching band competitions and how much more incredible it was to compete in the evenings (Fun fact: I was a marching band nerd for four years). Finishing under the lights made it more exciting.
I hung out with the other guys from the Sunday run club after the race- they are nice enough to slow their long runs down enough to run with me some Sundays.
OnShore Racing does a great job offering cheaper races with fewer frills (no shirts). I’m really glad they’ve brought some affordable races to Charleston, because other races charge $30-50 for a 5K. OnShore does it cheaper and still manages to donate to charities like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
After the race, we had free beer, typical race refreshments, and neat awards- including TrySports gift certificates. The race bibs are customized and not boring, which is fun for those of us who collect/save them. I had a lot of fun at this 10K and really hope they continue having the night races!