On Valentine’s Day, I ran OnShore Racing’s You Can’t Run From Love 8K here in West Ashley.
Located in West Ashley Park, it’s about as local as I can get for a race, and I was excited to sleep in, leave home 30 minutes before the start time, and arrive with 27 minutes to warm up, chat, and get ready to run.
The You Can’t Run From Love 8K course runs through West Ashley Park and some newer neighborhoods off Hwy 61 in West Ashley. The race begins at the park, which has a few trail sections, and ends behind Parson Jack’s Café and Arts for Fitness gym, both of whom sponsored the event. The start line is about 1/2 mile from the finish line, and everyone was encouraged to park at the finish where the after party was.
The race has a team aspect with individual awards as well as teams. Signing up as a team saved runners $5 off the fee, so my neighbor Liz and I signed up as a team. Lots of runners signed up with their significant others (Clay and I did this last year) or friends but a few people signed up to be competitive. Liz teaches group fitness and just ran the Charleston Half Marathon so her goal was to have fun and finish in under an hour.
The race started just after 9 AM when we were off. I ran this 8K last year, so I knew what to expect. The trail areas are all in the first half of the race and not technical/hard- 90% of the race is road. I didn’t do well holding back in the first mile and slowed down later in the race- I paced the first mile more like a 5K (7:06) when I probably should’ve paced like a 10K since the race was so soon after Save the Light half marathon.
In mile 2, I set my sights on a few ladies ahead of me and started passing them. I ran just behind one girl for most of the race until I passed her, and for awhile, three of us ladies ran together in a pack, pushing each other. The Coghlan and Meadows families volunteered on the course so I got a big boost each time I ran by them- it’s fun when you know volunteers and they cheer for you by name.
This was also one of those races where you run past the turn to the finish, and I saw the female winner, Rives, running to the finish when I had almost a mile to go. I didn’t realize it when she passed, but Rives won the race overall, outrunning all the guys.
I turned off toward the finish. I couldn’t catch Melissa (she pushes me on Sunday at run club too), but my time was 35:40- 46 seconds faster than last year and a PR for me. This was only my second 8K, but a 46 second improvement from a year ago was nice.
Plus, this hottie was waiting for me at the finish. You can’t beat a Valentine’s Day PR and a finish line hug from your biggest supporter.
I headed out to the course to cool down. I ran out on the course to find Liz and cheer for some more friends and ran in with Liz, who met her goal of finishing in under an hour.
The after party was held in the parking lot of Parson Jack’s, and runners could warm up with hot chocolate, mimosa, beer, bagels and cookies, and s’mores. The awards ceremony was also held at the after party, and I received a TrySports gift card for placing second in my age group. Teams and costumed runners also received awards.
Race aside, it was Valentine’s Day! After showering, Clay and I went to one of our favorite standby restaurants, Early Bird Diner, to celebrate.
We don’t do anything fancy for the holiday- I’m downtown 4 days a week already, and it’s hard to get a reservation at the nice restaurants. We left all of that for the big spenders and SEWE-ers (Southeastern Wildlife Expo was this weekend in Charleston) and opted for a shrimp po boy and chicken and waffles at Early Bird.
This was the first time I’ve ever had a shrimp po boy sandwich and it was tasty- not the healthiest item on the menu, but I ran a race, after all. I highly recommend Early Bird Diner for a delicious, cheap, meal in West Ashley. The restaurant was packed, so Clay and I aren’t the only people who celebrate Valentine’s Day in a diner.
OnShore Racing provides affordable and fun races all over the city, and the You Can’t Run From Love 8K was no exception. For the advanced registration price of only $30 per couple, it was a fun race in an area of Charleston that doesn’t have many races. Plus, it’s the only team/couple race in Charleston and one of the only 8Ks in town, an insta-PR for many runners.
It was a festive way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and I hope to run it next year too!