On Saturday, I ran the LifePoint Race for Life 10K and 5K at James Island County Park. Every February, this event raises money and awareness for organ donation. This year, LifePoint added a new mascot, Chance the Donor Dog, and invited other race and team mascots out. All runners also got a finisher’s “dog tag” with Chance’s picture on it.
In 2013, I ran the 5K with Noah, Jen, and Peyton Moore on a rainy day and a course with standing water. As athlete ambassadors, Noah and I gave out awards on behalf of TrySports Mt. Pleasant, and Peyton helped us with the awards. I’m pretty sure Noah ran home in the rain, as he was training for an ultra marathon or some pointless event.
The 2013 LifePoint 5K was one of the two races I shared with Peyton, who passed away less than four months later. When I run in the rain- which is often in Charleston- I think of that rainy race and Peyton’s sweet spirit.
This year’s LifePoint Gift of Life race would also be special, as Noah coaches Moore On Running, a Couch to 5K group, and this was their “graduation” race. He also coaches a 5K and Beyond for graduates who wish to run longer races, improve their times, or participate in random adventures such as trail running road trips and relays.
Knowing we’d have a big crowd of “MooreOns” (a play on Noah’s last name and what we runners call ourselves), I decided to be a true MooreOn and register for both the 10K and 5K. I also signed up for Team RUN4P to run in memory of Peyton.
This was my first time participating in an event with back-to-back races, but as Noah says, fear and limitations are so overrated.
I didn’t set a special time goal for the LifePoint 10K + 5K. I attended meetings about goal setting for two days at work last week and didn’t want to think about time goals. I secretly hoped to PR the 10K, since it was first and my 10K PR is from September, before I started speedwork. I didn’t care much about the 5K because I run them so often.
Driving to the race that morning, I found myself in traffic behind other cars with Run4P stickers and knew we’d have a nice crowd at the race. I got there early, talked to some friends, and changed clothes- I was way underdressed for the wind.
After changing shirts, I did a quick warm up, where I saw some fast runners. The top 3 finishers in each gender for each race got cash prizes, so that always draws the speedsters. I knew I wouldn’t win any money, but races like this promise good competition, and running with people who push you helps you improve.
At 8:15, the 10Kers were off. The 10K runners run the 5K course twice, so I’d be running the course a total of three times. I wore my iPod, which I don’t usually do in 5K races, because three loops of a course is monotonous.
My iPod was fully charged when I left the house that morning. iPods lie.
Mile 1 of the first race was when the music died. I usually do training runs without music, but I’m with friends and chatting, so this was the quietest 5 miles ever. People talk in half and full marathons, but not 10Ks. I couldn’t mentally let go of the iPod and tried to turn it back on, didn’t work.
When your race isn’t going well, smiling big for the camera is a no-fail backup plan. You might not run a good time or place, but a great race picture can salvage the run.
The highlight of the race was the water stop and the cheers there. Chris, the manager of Fleet Feet Mt Pleasant, as well as Mike and Eric (leprechaun) from Catch the Leprechaun 5K were at the water stop. Noah and Jen were near the water stop, walking from their car to the course to meet the Couch to 5Kers.
The cheers from Noah, Jen, Chris, Mike, and Eric were a big boost. To break the race up mentally, I focused on seeing the start/finish (since I had to run the course twice), then back to the water stop, then to the finish.
I crossed the 10K finish in 46:29. Bummed to see 46 on the clock, I grabbed my finisher’s dog tags and hurried over to the shelter to recover from the 10K and get ready for the 5K, which began 28 minutes later- at 9:30.
Between the 10K and 5K, I got water and some jelly beans, took some pictures, jogged to the bathrooms and back, and warmed up with the Couch to 5Kers to stay loose.
I toe the line for the 5K and didn’t have any expectations after a hard 10K. Fortunately, the 5K had over twice as many runners, and I knew the course well. Since it was my third loop of the morning, the course volunteers knew me. They were cheering for me by my headband (Tiny Terror) and commenting on how I ran both races. Along with the additional runners, this was a big boost and I finished the 5K in 23:29.
While my 5K time was far from my best, I kept an even effort and pace and did not start too fast (first mile was 7:31 and average pace was 7:29). I headed back on the course to cool down and run in with some other MooreOns who were running their first 5K. I ran over 11 miles total.
I missed the 10K awards ceremony due to cooling down, but I placed 3rd in my age group in the 10K and won my age group in the 5K. I do wish the race did 5-year age brackets instead of 10 years. This event attracts a large number of runners, both for the charity and the cash prizes. Combine that with 10-year age groups, and a lot of people who normally place in other races did not place. I got medals for both races, along with TrySports gift cards, and took a mandatory picture with the Donor Dog.
After the race, a bunch of us went out for Mexican to celebrate and hang out. I was exhausted and did the victory walk all the way, medals clanking. Everyone had fun hanging out, eating greasy Mexican, and drinking margaritas. It was a fun morning with a fun group.
I’m not sure about double dipping- running two races in one day. It feels more like I’m recovering from a half marathon instead of a 10K and 5K, or a 15K- probably due to running 9.3 miles faster than half marathon pace, the 29 minute break, and the mental challenges of racing a loop course.
It was challenging, but fun- and I’m proud to dedicate my run to Peyton.