If you’ve been reading this blog over the past few years, you know that the Race the Landing 5K series at Charles Towne Landing is one of my favorites and a highlight of my summer. Thursday night was our last race of the season, and with a theme like All American Night, it went out with a bang.
Early in the week, I wasn’t 100% sure if I would even be able to run the last race. Clay was scheduled to have a PRK enhancement eye surgery (similar to LASIK) on Thursday morning, so our day started bright and early at 4:30 AM. We were out the house by 5:00 AM to make it to Mt. Pleasant for his 5:45 AM surgery. Even with that early time, he wasn’t the first patient of the day. Clay was also scheduled for a follow-up that afternoon, so I wasn’t sure if I’d make it home in time to race. Fortunately, two days before the surgery/follow up, Clay’s coworker agreed to drive him home from the follow up.
Thursday morning came, and once the eye doctor looked at Clay’s eye and how it was healing, the doctor decided it would be best to postpone the surgery until Clay’s eye healed more. Both of us were back home by 7:30 AM, and I (obviously) didn’t have to take Clay to the follow up. Clay still gets to do MMA/BJJ and prepare for his tournament, so he wasn’t too bummed about the rescheduled surgery.
Just like all Thursday night races, I worked all day before the 7 PM race, which felt more like 9 PM since I woke up at 4:30. My appetite was also off- this happens when you eat breakfast and lunch 2-3 hours earlier than usual. I ate an afternoon snack, and but didn’t want to risk eating too close to race time. I don’t eat before my morning runs unless it’s a race or long run, so I thought I’d be okay. I was wrong.
I arrived at the race, warmed up, and we were off at 7 PM sharp. I won’t describe the race course, but I’ve run this series for the past 3 years, so I feel like I know the cracks in the sidewalk and roots on the course.
According to my watch, I kicked off the first mile with a 7:12 pace, which I thought was conservative enough for being tired, hungry, and hot. My legs were also pretty fatigued from track the day before, but I was okay with that since I was running this for fun. I also planned to take the next day off running and a few easy days, which I did.
The next two miles were a 7:24 pace and a 7:33 pace, so I positive split like a champ! This race measures short on my watch, but I’ve felt and heard my Garmin lose signal on the very curvy course due to all of the trees (the course is certified).
During the race, everyone ran by Adam from I Got Legs. Adam is a local athlete who gained publicity last year by being the first paralyzed man to complete the Cooper River Bridge Run. Adam walks with the help of a robotic exoskeleton called ReWalk, and since the Bridge Run has ended, he is walking other local events like the Firecracker 5K and Race the Landing 5K to raise money and awareness for those with disabilities.
I was thankful to finish in 22:28. This 5K was far from one of my best performances, but I’m okay with that. Most everyone’s times were slower due to the heat, and not every race has to be a PR or even a solid run. Running always comes secondary to family, friends, work, and adult responsibilities.
After finishing, Melissa and I went on a cool down to encourage and run with her daughter Alex and Alex’s friend McKenna. We’ve done this after each race in this series to cheer them on, and they both placed in their age groups.
Of course, I was super excited to eat. It was almost 8 PM and felt later to my sleep-deprived body, but I still managed to down a plate of food. Race the Landing has the best post-race food out there.
Race the Landing awards are five year, five places deep categories, so everyone has a good chance of placing, even if you don’t usually place in other races.
All of our track crew placed and won swords (age group awards), and Melissa won overall, scoring a sweet gift card to a local coffee shop. Since this was the last race of the series, series awards were given out too. I won my age group for the series and Melissa won for females overall, so we left with beach towels as well.
After the awards ceremony, everyone who was still around went to the finish line to cheer for Adam. Walking with the exoskeleton, it takes Adam about 3 hours to complete a 5K. Fleet Feet Sports graciously left the finish line arch up for him, and Jimmy from Timing Inc left the clock running so he could get an official finish.
Since most of us who were left won swords as an age group award, everyone lined up and raised our swords to create a tunnel for Adam to walk through toward the finish. Seeing Adam preserve and finish the race was really inspiring and makes me rethink life priorities and minor quirks I complain about sometimes. Running isn’t always about splits, paces, finish lines, or finish times. All of us have so many reasons to be thankful.
Now, I’m looking forward to another break from racing for a bit, summer vacation, and half marathon training, but you can bet I’ll be back for the 2017 Race the Landing Series, and if you’re in the area, I hope you will be too.
Race Name: Race the Landing 5K #5- All American Night
Location: Charleston, SC (Charles Towne Landing State Park, West Ashley).
Date and Time: July 14, 2016, 7 PM.
Course: Flat road, one wooden bridge, curvy course, shade. USATF Certified.
Swag: Finisher’s medal and water bottle holder, 5 year, 5 deep age group awards. Shirts for series participants or those who purchase them.
Post-race Food: BBQ pork, chicken, macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, rice and beans, rolls, blueberry muffins, one free beer per registrant.
Weather: 86 degrees, 77% humidity, feels like 95 degrees