On Saturday, I ran the Go Red Run 5K at James Island County Park.
The Go Red Run 5K is a local race that raises money and awareness for the American Heart Association. It is organized by Nicki Seay and MUSC in honor of Nicki’s mother, Robin Seay, and it’s held just after National Wear Red Day, when workplaces and schools encourage everyone to wear red for heart disease awareness.
I ran the race in 2014, and it was great that year, but this year’s run took it to another level. Everyone got a Nike fleece sweatshirt with registration, so the price was a great value. Everything about the race was very professional, from the registration, photos, and timing to the e-mails sent out before and after the race. The 5K was welcoming for all levels of runners and walkers, including beginners, as there was no course time limit and tons of walkers and run/walkers.
The organizers did an excellent job overall, and Go Red Run 5K is a race I’ll continue to run.
Lately I sign up for races early, then work them into my training and long-term racing plans. This is pretty easy with 5Ks, because the recovery is easy and with local races, the focus is being with others rather than beating others.
Tempo runs are the hardest workouts for me to complete in training. I run intervals on Wednesday at track, long runs on Sunday with OnShore Racing, and easy mileage on my own- but my tempo run motivation is lacking. This week, the Go Red Run 5K fulfilled that training need. Plus, you can’t beat a warm hooded sweatshirt at the end of your run!
Since I ran pretty hard at the Charlie Post Classic 5K the weekend before, I decided to run the Go Red Run 5K as a true tempo run. I didn’t taper or cut back at all the week before- in fact, I increased my mileage as I was (finally) feeling recovered from the Charleston Half Marathon.
I got to the race to pick up my shirt and number and saw Melissa at the registration table. She got signed up and we headed out for a warm up around James Island County Park. James Island County Park is best known for the Holiday Festival of Lights, and the park’s full of roads for cars and curvy, winding paved trails, but with several shelters and buildings. There’s also a campground, playground, dog park, and water park.
Unfortunately, those winding trails and roads make it easy to get lost. Melissa and I were chatting and enjoying the park when we realized we’d run more than 2 miles. I’d missed the turn to go back to the shelter where the race was held, and we were pretty far over 2 miles.
Scared we would miss the start, I repeatedly apologized to Melissa. She registered day-of and I wanted her to have a fast race. I stood in the middle of the road and flagged down an SUV to ask for directions. The driver was a race volunteer dropping off some course marshals, and we weren’t too far from the start. We got back with 6 minutes to spare- just enough time to go to the bathroom one last time and make it to the starting line.
We ran a 3.07 mile warmup. Oops.
The race started smack dab in the middle of a slick, muddy, field. Everyone took off at the start, and I let them all pass. I didn’t want to slip, and besides, no 5K is ever run in the first 400 meters. I passed a ton of people in the first mile (7:31), and I tried to speak to everyone I knew and tell them good job and to keep it up.
By the second mile (7:12), the crowd thinned out. We were still running on the paved trails around the park, mostly around the manmade pond. The course was well marked with plenty of volunteers. I’m not surprised this was my fastest mile because we didn’t have many sharp turns. Much of the JICP course has turns that are so sharp they break your stride. I tried to keep up with some guys around my pace and planned to pass them later. At this point, the course was lined with signs in the ground in memory or honor of people who had heart disease, which was really inspirational.
In third mile (7:23), I passed the guys- including the one I passed right as my watch clicked to Mile 3. Since I tempoed, I had a finish kick and was about to ruin his finish line picture.
I finished in 22:26, as the course was slightly short. The race ended just like it started- in slick mud! I found a few friends at the finish and we waited on some others. It was a really brutal day for everyone due to the course conditions and wind, and no one cared that the course was 3.06 because we were ready to be done anyway. We were cold and ready to wear those hoodies!
Our extended warm up was longer than the race itself- that’s the first time this has ever happened to me!
The race did overall male and female awards, then age groups, and the awards were travel coffee mugs. It’s a cool award because I always need these mugs when I go to the corporate office, so it’ll be fun to represent this race at work.
The race had refreshments and a food truck, but Cindy, Ed, Amy, Kevin, and I opted for Cory’s Grilled Cheese since we were already on James Island. It’s a restaurant devoted to gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and brunch foods. Cory’s Grilled Cheese was a really fun place and I did the build-your-own grilled cheese option. It’s kind of funny that we ran a race for heart disease awareness then went out for a greasy sandwich!
I was really happy with the Go Red 5K and my “race-out” tempo. I had a great average pace (7:21) for a tempo and it was a good way to spend time with friends, fit in a workout, but have the energy for an uptempo long run the next day.
Race Name: Go Red Run 5K in Memory of Robin Seay
Location: Charleston/James Island SC
Date and Time: February 6, 2016, 9 AM
Swag: Nike Fleece Sweatshirt (all sizes were available and offered, including youth and XXL adult), reusable bag, red dress AHA pin
Post-race food: Bagels, bananas, coffee, food truck with breakfast items available for purchase.
Weather: 43 degrees, 69% humidity. Felt much colder than 40s, probably due to low humidity.