Green and Lean 5K (20:53)

After the Cooper River Bridge Run a few weeks ago, I took a few easy days and a weekend off racing to recover. Still, I wanted one more attempt at a fast 5K before the Summer Sufferfest heat hits in a few weeks, and the Green and Lean 5K fit the bill.


About the Green and Lean 5K 

The Green and Lean 5K begins in Brittlebank Park, Downtown Charleston, and runs out to Hampton Park, a loop around the park, then back to Brittlebank. The course is USATF Certified, and since this is Charleston, it is flat and fast. Plus, the race was two weeks after the Bridge Run- perfect timing to benefit from the increased endurance from 10K and hill training.

The Green and Lean 5K is hosted by Keep Charleston Beautiful and is a recycling themed race. It’s also a great race for families, as there’s a tot trot for the kids, a few vendors, and a pretty awesome playground at the start and finish. Another bright spot of this race is the price and value. It’s hard to find a 5K for $20 these days, so when I see one, I go for it.


Melissa and I targeted the Green and Lean 5K as a goal race, and she wanted to break 20, or set a pre-pregnancy PR. I just wanted a PR (under 21:22), as my 5K PR was set at the Reindeer Run in December. I’ve run two half marathons since Reindeer Run and PRed both, plus the Bridge Run.

It was time for my 21:22 5K time to go down. Literally.


Race Day

As I mentioned in the weekly rundown blog post, I didn’t feel too confident the night before the race. I travelled for work last week, didn’t eat the best, and switched up my rest days. The weather was rainy, windy, and depressing, and I was a bit tired. I still picked up my packet and planned to run.

I’ve been running long enough to know the first mile can be a lie, and sometimes the best races come when you don’t have expectations.


I got to the race that morning, and the weather was chilly- just how I like it. I threw on a hoodie and gloves, and Melissa and I warmed up by running part of the course. One other benefit of warming up: Finding a hidden portapotty 1/2 mile from the start. No crowd! We got back to the start, ditched hoodies, and got ready to race. 

It was a windy day in Charleston, and Mile 1 was straight into it. I hit it in a 6:45 pace, which was exactly what I wanted. I tend to run like a metronome, so my goal was to go out at a pace that would earn me a PR and just hang on.


Photo courtesy of Luiz Franca Photography and used with permission.

For the first mile, I ran with my friend Larry, who I affectionately call Larry the Legend. He’s from Boston and has run that marathon many times, as well as some very speedy paces in his younger years. You can’t beat running with Larry the Legend and hearing his stories about other legends like Bill Rodgers and Boston Marathon Director Dave McGillivray.

In Mile 2, we entered Hampton Park, where I run each Sunday. Talk about a home course advantage! I was slightly ahead of Larry in the second mile, where we passed another man and I started running by a man wearing a singlet that said Compelled By Christ. I tried to pace and run with Compelled by Christ and let him string me along. Then, a race photographer got in our way to take a picture. I haven’t seen that picture, but it better be a good one!

I ran mile 2 in 6:51, so I didn’t lose much steam.

Mile 3 was back to the start. Compelled By Christ passed me; maybe Jesus propelled him to a negative split. I heard Larry’s wife yell and cheer for him so I knew he was right behind me and that we were running a good pace (Larry was 1 second behind me in the results).

We had to run past the start, then cut onto a grassy/trail area for the finish. I just tried to hold on mentally and find that extra gear. I kept telling myself that in 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute it would be over. I could do anything for 3, 2, 1 minutes. Mile 3 was 6:42 pace.

I approached the finish and saw 20 on the clock- shock!! I didn’t have much of a kick because the trail, grass, and sand slowed me down. I think if the finish was paved, I could’ve hauled it!


I crossed the finish in 20:53 and was 2nd female overall. I was proud to share the podium with Melissa because you can’t beat running and racing with friends. We did a 2 mile cooldown run to thank the volunteers (and my friend Chris who is a police officer working overtime at the race) and cheer for the other runners, before heading back for the tot trot and awards ceremony.

Virginia brought Stella to run the Tot Trot, and she was so cute. The kids got ribbons and King of Pops. I was a little jealous of the popsicles because the “adult” refreshments were things like bananas and granola bars.


Final Thoughts

I’m not quite sure if the Green and Lean 5K is a PR or not. The course is USATF certified, but I got a short reading on my Garmin, 3.08. Usually on certified courses, I get slightly over 3.1 miles for a 5K, as they are certified on the tangents/shortest route possible. Who knows?

Either way, the Green and Lean 5K was my best executed 5K in a long time. I paced myself well, thought positively, and stayed mentally on track the entire race. I ran the race and didn’t let the race run me. You can’t control the course length, the weather, or who shows up (or if I place, who didn’t show up). You *can* control your own training and your attitude- and I tried to do that on Saturday.

As for now, I’m excited to run a few more 5Ks as “race-outs” tempos this summer, and I’m looking forward to seeing 20:xx on the clock again!


Race Name: Green and Lean 5K

Location: Charleston, SC

Date and Time: April 16, 2016, 8:30 AM.

Entry fee: $25-30 ($5 off for CRC members)

Swag: Navy blue tank top, reusable bag

Post-race Food: Bananas, bagels, granola bars, water, popsicles for the kids.

Weather: 54 degrees, 71% humidity, 9 mph N wind, beautiful!

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34 Responses to Green and Lean 5K (20:53)

  1. ksquared says:

    Amazing!! Congrats on the 30 second PR! That’s huge! I think it totally counts as a 5k PR. Being off by 0.02 is within Garmin’s margin of error. If it was like 3.02, that’s a different story, but .02 is nothing. Also, at the pace you were running, I think you still would have come in under 21 even with an extra .02 miles. All that is a long way of saying don’t belittle this great accomplishment ! Embrace it.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thank you! Yes, I have run 3.02 “5Ks” and one that was only 2.95! Now, that would really tick me off. At least this one was fairly close, so I know what I’m truly capable of.

      And you’re right, it was a huge accomplishment. This was a breakthrough race for me.

  2. Theresa says:

    it totally counts. FWIW, for an EXACT 5k, your pace would have gotten you a 21:05. 🙂

  3. Christine says:

    I love the Green & Lean race. I did it last year and didn’t get a short course. Maybe your Garmin went wonky or something? The end is a little weird with the sand and dirt, though. Hard to kick for sure. Dave ran it with the stroller last year and that little bit at the end was rough for him. But anyway, congrats on another great race! I’m sure I’ll see you at some tempo run-races this summer since that’s about all I can handle in the heat (no all-out racing for me!). I’m hoping the weather (and my health) is decent for the Moms’ Run and then I’m done trying until fall.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Several of us got a slightly short course but very close (3.08-3.09). Some got spot on. Someone on Facebook was complaining that it was long for them.

      I feel like tempo race-outs are the way to go in the summer. I know I won’t set a PR at a Race the Landing in 90 degree temperatures, but that workout will pay off in a future race.

      Mom’s Run is early enough in May that the heat shouldn’t be so terrible. I hope you have a great race there!

  4. laurenweiner says:

    Great job! I agree with everyone else – totally counts! I like your little story about Compelled by Christ guy. I tend to find a few interesting people during races and give them nicknames too.

  5. RM says:

    I think the quicksand grass at the end makes up for the .02 distance lost. Congrats on your PR!

  6. runner1313 says:

    Very well done! You rocked it! Congrats.

  7. Congrats! I agree with some others that you should consider this a PR. I would trust the USATF certification over a Garmin, which will never be quite exact.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks! If it wasn’t certified, I would definitely just say it was short, but you’re right. Another friend also mentioned he’s measured the Hampton Park circle with a wheel and tends to get different readings. So it’s possible the Garmin could be off.

  8. wanderwolf says:

    This is awesome! You’re awesome! I’d say, if it was certified, it is a PR. And what a PR! Geez. 🙂 Congrats.

  9. Dolly says:

    Nice job stud! It’s neat to watch you get faster!

  10. Congratulations on a great run – wow, that’s fast! Curiosity has the better of me: what happened to Compelled by Christ?

    • Amy Lauren says:

      He finished just ahead of me. Passed me in Mile 3 (ran a very well executed race).

      I believe he is from another city though, looking at the results. I’ve never seen anyone wearing a singlet that said Compelled by Christ before, but we do have a few Run for God chapters in NC and SC.

  11. Great job on this 5k!! I love how you said Summer Sufferfest Heat at the beginning of this post. That was too funny! I’m glad the weather was beautiful for you!

  12. “maybe Jesus propelled him to a negative split”

    I love it. Congratulations on a great race!

  13. You totally earned that time, no matter what your Garmin said! You executed it really well, and got second place. Lots of goodness in this race! Love the photos– you look so happy and strong.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thank you! Yeah, I have decided I will count it as a PR. I’ve heard from friends who’ve measured the Hampton Park loop *with wheels* that they always get different measurements even.

      Plus, it IS usatf certified. If it is good enough to count for a state record, it should be good enough to count for a personal record.

  14. Great job all around chica!!
    I’m glad it turned out to be s good day for us both! And I can’t believe the wind was only 9mph. It seemed stronger than that during the first mile!!! Hopefully you’ll be able to drop your times a little bit more before the summer sweat fest heat begins. I think we may just have a few days or maybe that one random cool day before the high temps are here to stay until October!
    At least we have a good group of people to train with during the summer. Misery does love company!!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Congratulations to you too on a great race and post-babies PR!

      The weather stats come from my watch, and I’m convinced it was lying because I feel like it was colder than 54 (maybe I’m just used to the heat now?).

      I’m hoping May 7 is that one random cool day when the magic happens for both of us!

  15. supereli23 says:

    Congrats on a great race! I would totally count that time as the PR, certified course label doesn’t get slapped onto any course. I’ve had certified courses either be a hair long or short as well, but the Garmin is not always foolproof either. I’m sure this PR won’t last long though, I see you knocking another 15-20 seconds off of that really soon.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, my friend is a race director and has told me about the process and it’s no joke. He hates getting complaints about his course being long (funny how no one seems to complain to race directors about uncertified courses that are short?).

      I am going to trust that we started and finished in the correct places and say it’s a PR.

  16. liz says:

    Those are great splits, Amy! Congratulations on the race. That wood carving is stunning. I have a similar wood carving award and it’s one of my favorites.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It is really fun! I do wish there was a hook on the back so I could hang it in my office (I suppose I could install one…).

      I plan to put the Fleet Feet Gift Card to good use as soon as they get some more Roll Recovery’s in!

  17. Congrats on the PR and that is a really cool looking award.

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