Run the Runway 5K (22:43)

A few weeks ago, I ran the Run the Runway 5K at the Charleston Air Force Base.

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Even though I’m on #Team5K this summer, I wasn’t planning to run this race since I had Race the Landing the Thursday night before. It seemed fun, and I’ve read lots of cool reviews of runway runs from other bloggers, but I let the registration deadline pass and planned for a Saturday long run. The organizers extended the registration and kept the price the same, and Cindy talked me into another 5K. I’m easy to convince!

Since this race was held on the Charleston AFB, things were a little confusing and security was tight. I wasn’t sure if we could pick up our packets the day of the race, but since I was off work already on Friday for a vacation day, I went to Fleet Feet to pick mine up just in case. You could pick it up the same day, but it wasn’t a big deal since I was already in Mt. Pleasant to enjoy lunch with Clay.

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Race morning arrived and I left pretty early for North Charleston. I’ve only been on the base once, and that was for a party one week after I moved here in 2012. In fact, I rarely go to North Charleston except to shop. I tried googling directions like the packet said, but ended up getting lost in a part of town I wasn’t familiar with and called Terrylynn to give me directions to the start. She stayed on the phone with me until I was on the road that led me to the AFB- whew!

Next, I got on base and showed my ID 362973 times, which is how things work on a base and a foolproof strategy for keeping bandit runners away. I found Steve and Lisa near the start, and we decided to do a quick warm-up, planning to run to the white towers we saw beyond the planes.

About 100 meters into our run, we crossed a “red line”, and the Charleston AFB Military Police came out of nowhere and told us we could not warm up there. The police were nice about it, knowing we were aloof about all things Air Force, and pointed out another road for us to warm up.

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Congrats to Mark, who won overall and received a piece of the runway, for documenting our encounter with the military police.

With an 8 AM race start + heat + no shade + concrete, this race got ugly quickly. Temperatures were right around 80, but it felt much hotter with no breeze! Most of us ran the Floppin’ Flounder the Saturday before and remarked about how much hotter this 5K was.

The course ran around those infamous red lines, and it was easy to stay on course. Since there were armed Air Force personnel as course monitors, we had no choice. No one tried to cheat or cut the course, and I have never felt safer at a 5K race. 

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The course had a few issues. First, the Mile 3 mile marker was about .2-.25 from the finish line (much too far). Second, the course only had one water stop, which was after the 2 mile mark. I felt like a race with 200+ people, many of whom were families or walkers, they really needed a water stop at Mile 1 and Mile 2. Fortunately, we didn’t have any heat-related health issues.

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I didn’t do the best job of pacing this race, and my tired legs bothered me as much as the heat did. In two weeks, I ran two Race the Landing 5Ks, Floppin Flounder 5K, and this race, so my legs were dead at the end. Admittedly, running four 5K races in two weeks probably isn’t smart. I also wore my iPod during the race, which I rarely do, but it meant I could not hear things going on around me. I couldn’t hear people coming up behind me, including the three ladies who passed me during the last .1-.15 of the race.

I finished in 22:43, placing third in the 20-29 age group thanks to the nose-dive crash of Flight #99 at Mile 3. I have zero kick and seeing three ladies pass me that late in the race, that’s getting beat, regardless of placing.

After the race, Steve and I went back down the course to cool down, where we found a bunch of friends including some that were running with kids and pacing them. The kids were so cute and since there weren’t a lot of kids at the race, most of them placed and had a lot of fun. We also thanked the course marshals and since they were all Air Force, thanked them for being on the course but also for their service.

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At the awards ceremony, I received a really fun Run the Runway 5K medal. It’s a bronze medal and one of the nicer ones since it has the race’s logo on it and my placement on the back. The after party was simple with granola bars, bananas, and water, but we all got to go onboard the C-17 and take pictures, something the general public doesn’t get to do often.

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All the kids loved sitting in the cockpit, and some of them were really enjoying the whole Air Force experience!

The race shoots for Flag Day weekend, so it will be in June next year. While I wish it was during a cooler month to attract more runners, I know the organizers have to deal with the Air Force on the date/course. Seeing the C-17 up close and running a different course was a fun experience, and I’m glad I got that experience.

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Race Name: Run the Runway 5K

Location: Charleston Air Force Base (North Charleston, SC)

Date and Time: June 13, 2015, 8 AM

Terrain: Flat, concrete, no shade, runway

Entry fee: $20 + $1.75 swipe fee

Swag: Workout towel, chapstick, reusable shoe bag/pack (no shirt)

Post-race Food: Bananas, oranges, granola bars, water

Weather: Sunny, 80 degrees, 70% humidity

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27 Responses to Run the Runway 5K (22:43)

  1. Great job on the race and taking 3rd in your AG! How cool is it that you got to run a 5K on an Air Force Base?! I have no idea how you ran four 5Ks in two weeks, that is freaking impressive. Once I did two in one week and I thought I might die, ha!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Well… none of the 5Ks were goal races, or particularly speedy ;). It did kind of burn me out on racing and I haven’t signed up for anything else. I’m still training pretty hard, but I think most of the miles this summer will be training miles.

      • Goal races or not, still badass! It’s mentally tough to race, even when you aren’t racing your hardest. You rock!

      • Amy Lauren says:

        I think people underestimate how mentally tough racing is. My workouts are going well lately but the mental aspect of racing is why I’m not signed up for anything for a few weeks. At the end of this, I was just mentally spent!

      • So mentally tough! I just signed up for a whole host of races that takes me through November and I’m not scared of the physical work – it’s the mental stuff that makes me nervous! Eeeeek!

  2. runner1313 says:

    Nice job in the heat! We’ve had 14 days in a row now over 90 degrees. Brutal for training.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks, yeah I don’t remember the last time it was below 90 here. On Friday it is supposed to be “only 91”, guess that’ll feel like a cold front.

  3. I got lost getting there too! I ended up at the wrong end, 15 minutes away before being told I had to go around the base. then there were no signs so I was happy when another runner drove up and waved at me to follow her! lol. It was incredibly hot! You did great!

  4. Christine says:

    Hey, there I am! 🙂 Yeah, this was a hot one. Boiling, really. It was brutal, but you still did awesome. Nice job (again!).

  5. Laur says:

    I can imagine it was HOT HOT HOT on this course! Plain asphalt is so hot in the summer, so I can only imagine not having any type of shade or breeze. Oof! Your time is pretty amazing for running four 5ks and the heat. At least you got a cool medal and shirt, right? 😉

    • Amy Lauren says:

      The race didn’t do t-shirts, which I knew ahead of time and was fine with (I’d rather not have one, honestly, and for $20 I really did not expect a lot of swag). The asphalt was hard to run on too- I opted not to wear my road flats and wore a more cushioned pair of shoes instead.

  6. Jessica S. says:

    Great job on the race despite the heat and a million 5ks in a row, well 4, but you know what I meant! haha. Thanks for linking up with #TuesdayTales race recaps!

  7. Pam says:

    Congrats Amy. Wow, 4 5k races in two weeks would be exhausting in this summer heatwave.You received nice swag for this race. At the Blueberry 5k last weekend, my friends got towels as part of their age group award. That looked perfect for runners, small and hand sized. I definitely had towel envy! It has been scorching hot in Wilmington and runners are using treadmills if they have access to one. Congrats on doing well in all your summer races.,

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It was pretty exhausting. I’m still kind of tired…

      I really like the little fitness towel we got with our packets- I’ve been using it when I go to the gym and I’m glad they gave us that instead of a t-shirt. I think Race the Landing gives towels at the last race as well for the age group series winners (although there are faster women who are my age there).

      I haven’t been on the treadmill yet this week, but I’m sure I’ll wind up there at least once…

  8. backatsquarezero says:

    Very cool race, but in June with no shade and that hot runway, I don’t think I will ever be brave enough to go for it.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Well, it was only a 5K so at least it was over quickly (not nearly quickly enough- it still felt like forever). I do wish they’d move it to a cooler month with fewer races.

  9. liz says:

    4 5Ks in 2 weeks IS a lot. I think you ran very well considering your racing schedule and the crazy humidity. And that medal is beautiful, to boot!

  10. I love this race! Too cool! Congrats on placing!

  11. Jennifer says:

    Congrats on the AG and 4 x 5Ks in 2 weeks! Given the heat, I am surprised there was only 1 water stop – maybe something they will address next year. The swag is pretty good for the smaller end…towel and shoe bags are nice!

  12. that is way to cool that you got to run on the Air Force base- wow! and congrats on your finish! thanks for linking up with us and sharing your race experience!

  13. Elizabeth C. says:

    That sounds like a really tough race. I can’t imagine running in 80 degree weather with no shade and the sun just beating down. That’s an incredible time given the conditions, and the fact that you had run the other 5K just a few days prior. And it’s really cool that you got to run on a runway! Congrats!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It was a really hard race- probably the toughest one I ran all summer (I have run one 5K since). I’ve had hotter runs this summer. I think the lack of shade, breeze, and hard surface of this one (plus the stress of getting on/being on base) made it tough.

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