On Saturday, I ran the Floppin Flounder 5K on Sullivan’s Island. It’s a 25-year-old race that’s competitive (for this area) and officially ushers in the hot weather in Charleston. Each year I’ve run Floppin Flounder, it’s been the hottest Saturday morning race of the summer so far.
The Floppin Flounder 5K was my second race of the week (after Thursday night’s Race the Landing 5K), and I’ll admit that I only signed up for the t-shirt and the Charleston Running Club grand prix points. Spoiler alert: I was third place in my age group, so I was close to only receiving participation points, and I didn’t get a good shirt out of the race.
Last year’s Floppin Flounder 5K shirts were the BEST. They were tech tank tops, and I was so thrilled to get a shirt that fit. That tank is one of the most flattery and cutest race shirts I own- and one of the few that I wear running on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, the Charleston Running Club went with a larger men’s cut tech shirt this year. I feel like this is a step in the wrong direction, as more ladies than men run road races these days. When I see female runners wearing fun, ladies-cut, race shirts that fit, it’s a selling point for me to run those races. Yes, I know I can sleep in the race shirt, but when runners sleep in a race shirt (or use it as a car wash rag), this doesn’t advertise the event to other runners or benefit the sponsors.
I woke up at 5:45 for the race and left my home in Charleston at 6:30 for the 30 minute drive to Sullivan’s Island. I had time to eat my Picky Bar and drink some coffee on the way to the race, at least, and I didn’t have to deal with traffic that early in the morning. I arrived in time to warm up, see the speedy competitors, and take pride that runners like me make them look even faster.
Melissa and I even found a secret porta potty .25 miles from the starting line and avoided the crowds!
The race started exactly on time. I’ve run this course several times before, and it’s basically a big figure 8 on the roads of Sullivan’s Island. You don’t run on the beach, but the course has very little shade. Sullivan’s Island is a beautiful place, and I ran by many homes that I will never afford on a technical writer’s salary.
With so many speedsters, I got caught up in the excitement and went out too fast in the first mile (6:46). I didn’t hear my Garmin click and thought I forgot to set it, and I completely missed seeing the first mile marker because it was on the other side of the road. Oops. I ran the first mile in front of some runners usually close to my usual pace and finish time, but those runners were better trained and more recovered for this race than me.
In other words, they didn’t run Race the Landing 36 hours before.
The second mile was a lot slower (7:07). I tried to stay near some other ladies and feed off of their energy for awhile, but it seemed like everyone around me made their move in the third mile. I don’t even want to think about how many people passed me, my under recovered legs just wouldn’t move. I was mentally spent from workouts, and it’s discouraging when hoards of people pass you on top of that. I positive split like a champ, which probably wouldn’t have happened if I’d held it together in Mile 1.
In Mile 3 (7:34), I was just ready for this race to be over with. I was ready to end my run streak challenge the next day (I did), and I no longer cared about my finish time or placing. I cruised it in with a 22:11.
I ran two miles with Melissa to cool down, then changed clothes and headed inside for awards. The awards ceremony was held in a covered fish fry shack, which was really great because we weren’t outside in the hot sun. The fish fry shack also had misting fans to cool everyone off and posted finish times.
I grabbed a Triangle Char-N-Bar veggie burrito from the refreshments table, but quickly figured out that lots of the veggie burritos actually contained meat. I snagged one of the last two that the servers realized were meat-free. I’m not sure what happened with the burritos not being meat-free, because they’re always a nice touch after this race and the Charlie Post Classic. Not good Mt. Pleasant Triangle, not good…
After waiting around for everyone’s age group to be called, I got my trophy for placing third in my age group. Ironically, the 30-34 ladies were faster than the men- even my third place time was about a minute faster than the male who won the 30-34 men’s group.
Of course, we had to take some awards pictures.
Execution wise, the Floppin Flounder 5K was my worst race since Race the Landing #2, which was only a few weeks ago. I was under recovered and had no strategy going in. Heck, after 30 days of straight running, I didn’t want to run at all.
Still, the race wasn’t a total flop. My time this year was over 20 seconds faster than last year’s, which was a few degrees cooler. This time last year, I hadn’t even officially broken 22 minutes in a 5K, and now I’ve run one (Green and Lean 5K) in under 21 minutes. I always try to see the positives, because bad workouts and races happen. I’m still improving as a runner.
This race was the last day of a run streak challenge I completed, and I chose to rest the next day. My body was screaming for it, and I never want to fall into the trap of overreaching or worse yet, overtraining. My much-needed Sunday off was a great chance to reflect and think about some changes I want to make in my training, and hopefully start a new trend of better workouts and races.
Race Name: Floppin Flounder 5K
Location: Sullivan’s Island, SC (outside Mt. Pleasant)
Date and Time: June 4, 2016, 8 AM
Course: Road (no beach!), flat, figure-8, USATF certified.
Swag: Men’s tech shirt
Post-race Food: Burritos from Triangle Char-N-Bar (veggie and meat, although people found meat in the veggie burritos), watermelon, oranges, bananas, coconut water. Did not see any post-race beer.
Weather: 79 degrees, 94% humidity. Last year it was 73!