Avondale 5K (22:24)

After living in Charleston/West Ashley for almost three years, I finally ran one of the most local road races in my community, the Avondale 5K.

Even though West Ashley lacks a local running store or group, the community is home to a few races, including the Race the Landing 5K series at Charles Towne Landing and this February’s You Can’t Run From Love 8K in West Ashley Park. I can happily add the Avondale 5K to the (short) list of fun running events in West Ashley/Charleston.

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The Avondale 5K begins at one of our favorite Avondale/West Ashley restaurants, Triangle Char-N-Bar, and the course winds through the Avondale neighborhood. Avondale is home to many older houses, bars and restaurants such as Triangle, VooDoo, Pearlz, Mellow Mushroom, and The Roost, and interesting street art. The race proceeds benefit the Charles Webb Center, which is located about a mile from Avondale and serves special needs children. The Avondale 5K also raises awareness for the center because I hadn’t heard of it until I registered for the race.

I was excited for the race all week and secretly hoped to PR. I just PRed a 10K, and I’m doing lots of speedwork and tempo runs. Unfortunately, Charleston weather gets crazy, and while the calendar says October, it felt more like June with temperatures reaching 90 degrees. Since I’ve lived in the South all my life and train in all conditions, I try not to use heat as an excuse, so I headed to the race with the goal of running a fast race and maybe an unexpected PR.

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Avondale doesn’t have a lot of parking in the neighborhood, but I snagged a spot at the Harris Teeter shopping center and highly recommend this, because it was just a short walk and most of those stores in that center (except HT) don’t open until 10 AM.

I ran a 2 mile warmup with Pat and Mark on the course. I like warming up on the course so I can see some of the turns, and I love warming up with friends because we can warm up together even if our race times aren’t really close.

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At 8:30, we were off. This is a larger race, so the emcee and Carolyn Murray (local news anchor), tried to get everyone pumped up and excited. Long story short, I got a little *too* pumped up and ran the first mile well under a 7:00 min/mile pace. It’s a 5K so you want the first mile to be pretty speedy, but I slowed down a lot and my last mile was close to my tempo run pace.

The course had lots of turns. It was like a bowl of spaghetti (mmm… pasta… carbs… carb loading…). The turns were well marked, with plenty of water stations and volunteers, and I tried to stay as close to the inside as possible. Seconds count in a 5K. I looked at the course map before the race, but it’s confusing because you run down Magnolia Avenue twice.

By the third mile, I just wanted to finish. Mentally, I was great- I was concentrating and repeating to myself that this was my home course, in West Ashley- my community, and that I wanted to run well close to home.  Physically… my legs wouldn’t go. I felt the effects of getting caught up in the excitement and going out too fast, along with Wednesday’s 4-miler and Thursday’s track workout. I should have just run easy on one of those days.

My watch and the mile markers were slightly off, so I saw my Mile 3 pace on my watch before the sign. I had no kick left at the end, but I heard Mark cheering yelling there was a girl behind me.

I ran a 22:24 (not horrible but not a PR). In the end, I was outkicked by one second. In the awards ceremony, the announcer said it was half of a second.

Half a second. I felt like I let that girl beat me.

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After a solitary one mile cooldown, I headed back to the Triangle Char-N-Bar parking lot for the awards ceremony and after party. The Avondale 5K has one of the best after parties, with unlimited breakfast burritos from Triangle, mimosas, and beer (everyone said it was good beer, but I don’t drink beer to know). The race didn’t limit you with tickets, so you could have several mimosas and beers if you wanted them. Of course, water and typical race refreshments like fruit were available too. I ate my burrito, drank my mimosa, and hung out with the OnShore Sunday Run Club since most of us did this race.

I was 5th female overall and second in my age group (outkicked by the 1st place 25-29 female). I got a neat pint glass and let Stella (Virginia’s baby) play with it since everyone else’s was filled with beer.

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Looking back, I was a little tough on myself post-race. According to my watch, I ran 3.15 miles in 22:21, an average 7:06 pace. The course isn’t long (it’s certified, but curvy), but the average pace puts me close to my 22:05 PR.

I joked with some friends that my running resembles the South Carolina Gamecocks football team. I start out great, then blow it in the second half. But, at least I know what to work on for next time. In 5 years of running and racing, I’m still figuring this thing out, and I’m pretty sure I’ll always be.

On a positive note, I’m pretty sure that first mile was my fastest ever…


I enjoyed the Avondale 5K and would definitely recommend the race. It was a very easy drive from my home, and I enjoyed running a 5K road race without having to drive over two bridges to Mt. Pleasant (it seems like all the local races are in Mount Pleasant).

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The only issue I had was with the race shirt. When registering, I requested an extra small, and I was thrilled they offered that size and that I might get a shirt that fits for once. Somehow the extra small shirts weren’t ordered? The organizer insisted they’d have that size next year, so at least they listened to the runners’ feedback (I’m sure several other small ladies were disappointed). I still got a shirt; no complaints about the quality- it’s a pretty nice tech shirt and I’ll sleep in it.

I’ll probably run the Avondale 5K next year, but lots of races occur on the second weekend of October, so I wish it had a little less competition with other 5Ks. Over 500 people came out to participate, so the race had a strong showing, but I wish local runners didn’t have to choose between five races in one weekend.

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19 Responses to Avondale 5K (22:24)

  1. Congrats on the race Amy! I think we have ALL been outkicked at the finish one time or another- sometimes it happens, at least you still got an award! As for still figuring this racing thing out, again we all are girl! No one, not even the pro’s have it all figured out. so many things that go into training or racing that it just takes time and experience to get that down. You are doing awesome, and I like that you can look at it as ‘hey, I can improve on this’- great attitude to have!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks girly! For years, I didn’t race with a GPS watch so I didn’t know my splits. I actually ran my PR not knowing my splits. I decided to start racing with it to find out what they looked like and where I could improve.

      The pint glasses are pretty cool awards. They had neat trophies for the winners.

  2. Steph says:

    Dang, I hate getting beat by a split second! Still, seems like you had a solid race. Maybe once the weather cooperates you’ll get that PR!

  3. Amy says:

    Whoah-What a close finish! A half second is hard, but you gave it all you could. I love that you let Stella play with your glass since the others were filled with beer! Good thing no one let her play with a filled glass!

  4. playfulpups says:

    I love how you recognize the positives and the negatives of a race, without dwelling on the negatives. Overall, sounds like it was a great race for you! I did a hometown race and took 2nd in my AG (I’m slow, so that was exciting..lol). The first place beat me by 3 seconds and I think I beat the 3rd place gal by 1 second…lol. I had a decent kick that day. 🙂

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It’s tough to recognize the positives, especially when you blog and you “re live” your race a few days later (maybe that’s a good reason why I wait to write sometimes).

      I love hometown races- I pretty much only race in this area, but there’s something special about a race being held in a neighborhood that feels like home (even if your residence isn’t there). Avondale is great.

  5. Liz says:

    How frustrating to get overtaken by 1/2 second! Man! But your time was still impressive to me 🙂 I would be SO annoyed about the XS shirt! I get so excited when I think something is going to have my size and when it either sucks or is not actually an XS (like a boy’s large… NOT the same!) I get frustrated. The XS girls is in this world are under recognized. Pint glasses are a good idea! Coffee mugs would be too!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, the little boys shirts have a box-y cut, but I have a few kids sizes that fit okay. A few races here offer a ladies extra-small shirt, and I really like those (that’s one way to pretty much guarantee I will do a race every year).

      I think it’s really crazy that more races don’t do gender specific shirts. 90% of races have only men’s sized shirts, but when you look at the demographics. more females than males run races these days!

  6. I have never run that race, but its sounds cool.
    I too had shirt drama at the race this weekend. So mine doesn’t fit me either.
    The women’s are really short so it is a crop top.
    It was a really, really HOT day so I think you did amazing running the way you did.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      That stinks about the shirts! Mine was too big last year but that always happens, I still thought it was a great shirt. Wish they could have just given you a men’s, then it would at least be long enough. I rarely have the problem of a shirt being too short though (not exactly a tiny terror problem haha).

      It was a good race, but so is Lowcountry Trail. I really wish they were not the same weekend.

  7. Congratulations! That still sounds like a great race, and it’s awesome to have such a fun local event like that. Crazy that your area has five races in one weekend! How do you choose???

    • Amy Lauren says:

      The crazy thing is that some weekends we only have one race. I don’t think we have one this weekend, so it’s a long run for me :).

      I have done a different race on the 2nd weekend of October for the past 3 years… so right now I have given them equal opportunity, haha.

  8. OH man a half a second? I can understand your frustation, but an AWESOME first mile!! Sounds like a really fun race. and breakfast burritos and mimosas at the end!?!? I have never had that haha.
    CONGRATS!

  9. Christine says:

    A half second? That’s frustraing, but you did well! I understand the disappointment of missing something by seconds, though. No matter how good your result, it’s still frustrating to miss by a few seconds (or less). But your increased training is definitely showing in your running.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks Christine. Yeah, it was disappointing, but such is life. There are always more races, and heck, sometimes I’ve outkicked people. Outkick and be outkicked- sometimes you’re the pigeon and sometimes you’re the statue, I guess.

      I hope you’re feeling better and recovering from your cold, we only have a little over a week until the JICR!

  10. LilMysNinja says:

    Mimosas post-race?! Sounds like my kind of race! 🙂 Congrats on placing! Pint glasses rock!

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