Isle of Palms Connector Run 10K (44:52)

Sometimes, a race victory is toeing the start line when the odds are against you. In Saturday’s Isle of Palms Connector Run, that was certainly the case for me.



I hesitate to say I have “goal races”, but in the back of my mind, I was training and hoping to set a new PR in the Isle of Palms Connector Run 10K. With my recent Race for the Ark and Smokin’ Fast 5K performances, I was certain I could beat my 44:41 from the Cooper River Bridge Run.

My body had other ideas. I woke up with a sore throat and took Thursday off running, then ran easy on Friday as I normally do before a race. The sore throat progressed to a cold, complete with head congestion and low level fatigue that stuck around longer than a drunk uncle at a family reunion. Friday evening, I bought a Costco-sized package of cold medicine, taking the daytime pills, then took the adult dosage of cold medicine before bed.

If your nickname is Tiny Terror and you never take medicine, it’s not a good idea to take the adult dosage of NyQuil.

I woke up Saturday morning with a cold medicine hangover. Everything’s bigger and better at Costco, and that cold medicine doesn’t wear off in 12 hours like the package states. I was still a bit congested, but mostly drowsy. Nevertheless, I decided to give the race a shot and drove to IOP.


I picked up my number and found the start and finish. I laughed when I saw the beer tent because my body felt like I’d already visited it. The race was really well attended, which was good since it’s for charity and was cancelled last year due to flooding and weather.

At the start, I made peace with my body and decided to be proud for showing up, no matter what time I ran. I could have stayed home or switched to the 5K, but I felt like racing longer would be mentally beneficial for future long distance races. My goal was to take whatever the race and my body gave me and not wind up in the medical tent. After all, the children who benefit from the charities don’t care how fast or slow we run it- they are just grateful we are raising money and awareness for the cause.

The Race

The race started on time, and I quickly found myself behind a lot of other runners who stormed up the incline of the Isle of Palms Connector. Both the 5K and 10K courses are an out and back, so everyone runs the incline twice. I let the other runners ahead of me, knowing I had 6.2 miles to make up those seconds. Plus, it always feels good to pass people later on in the race. I hit the Mile 1 split in 7:05. Not too bad considering the uphill slope of the connector, and I felt pretty comfortable.


I settled in and ran with a pack of guys, including Chris from the Sunday run group. I soon saw the 5K leaders turning around and tried to look at the water so I didn’t focus on how much more of the race I had to go compared to them. I saw Michelle at the turn around and she looked strong as well, almost PRing. I stayed with my pack of guys and hit the Mile 2 split in 7:05 and Mile 3 at 7:09.

We turned around and I tried to stay focused and run with the guys. The race was halfway over, and some friends were running on the other side of the Connector and cheered for me. I hit Mile 4 at 7:09 pace. I could do this.


In Mile 5, the guys started to take off. I’m not sure if they held back in the first half, but they had a lot of energy and surged ahead. I tried to stay strong and steady, knowing I had the incline coming up. I hit Mile 5 in 7:18, losing a little steam.

The struggle bus hit me in Mile 6. It seems like the Connector’s incline is steeper coming back to the island, and it’s even harder when you’re fatigued from five miles of running. I looked at the water rather than the incline, thinking about how I tackled the steep uphill of the Sampit Bridge last year at the Bridge to Bridge Half Marathon.

The uphill was when the breathing got ugly. I’m a good hill runner… when I can breathe. The guys were well ahead of me, and I didn’t have anyone to catch. My legs were okay, but breathing was hard. At least I had a downhill and some flat road to come. I hit Mile 6 in 7:24, dashing any dreams of potentially PRing this race with a cold.


I was still going to finish strong. I didn’t drive all the way out to the Isle of Palms from West Ashley and race with a cold not to. Somehow, I mustered a finishing kick, with the last .2 clocking in at a 6:32 pace. I don’t even run 400s on the track at that pace, much less the last 400m of a race.

I crossed the finish in 44:52. I was 6th female overall and 3rd place 30-34 female.


Post Race Thoughts

While I don’t think my finish time reflects my fitness right now, I am perfectly content with how this race went. I spent over two years trying to run a 10K in under 45 minutes and finally did that in April’s Cooper River Bridge Run. Then, I did it again at this race, on a tougher course, warm day, and when congested and drowsy. I have a lot to be grateful for as a runner.

The Isle of Palms Connector Run organizers hosted a great race. It’s a solid option for competitive runners, age groupers, beginners, and those looking to support children’s charities. The start, finish, packet pick up and course were all well organized. You can’t beat the beautiful views from the connector, and this race is probably the safest time to run it since there’s no pedestrian lane.

This race also had beautiful, FREE, photos from Tag Your Pix. I got one of the best race photos ever and that was worth showing up for. After last year’s cancellation, I’m glad the running community could come together this year to support the charities and run the connector.


Race Name: Isle of Palms Connector Run 5K/10K

Location: Isle of Palms, SC

Date and Time: October 1, 2016, at 8 AM

Terrain: Road. Connector with big incline. Everyone runs over the incline twice (out and back).

Entry fee: $20-35

Swag: Blue tech shirt (men’s sizing)

Post-race Food: Bananas, bagels, oranges, apples. Unlimited free beer.

Weather: 64 degrees, 94% humidity. Cooler than usual, but the sun was bright!

This entry was posted in 10Ks, IOP/Sullivan's, Race Recaps, Race Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Isle of Palms Connector Run 10K (44:52)

  1. Michelle says:

    You did great Amy! You should be really proud of that time on that course and not feeling well. There are lots of other races coming up and I’m positive, based on your times, that you are going to see a PR very soon. Keep steady girl!

    Side note: I am not looking forward to moving up to your age group come April, 30-34 women are a competitive speedy bunch!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thank you Michelle. I am still fighting this mess. I honestly hope I didn’t jinx myself by racing.

      Age groups… really depends on the race. This is always a competitive race. But it is crazy to be 6th overall and barely place in my age group…

  2. KrisLawrence says:

    Nice work especially considering how you felt! I cannot take cold medicine with any sleep aid, it knocks me out and you are so tiny that I’m sure it affects you the same. That photo of you leading the guys is pretty great!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks Kris. I don’t know if taking it, or racing, was the right thing to do… but it’s what I did. I am still a bit congested but have stopped taking any medicine and am just riding it out. The side effects are worse than the actual congestion at this point. My coworker thinks it may be an allergy…

  3. I’m sorry you felt terrible, but what a super effort! Congrats on powering through and coming so close to your PR!!!

  4. To be able to run a sub 45 feeling as crappy and hopped up on cold meds as you… WELL DONE. I am sorry you didn’t feel well but admire you for even showing up. Are you feeling better now? I know I told you this already but you wouldn’t know you were sick from your race pics!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I am feeling better this afternoon. Today is the best I have felt. I was still feeling run down yesterday and could barely manage a 9 min/mile pace for my easy run. Glad it was just an easy run. I postponed my tempo to today but got through it just fine.

  5. Theresa says:

    girl you did awesome.

  6. laurenweiner says:

    I cannot believe you raced feeling like that! You did incredible for feeling that terrible and being drugged up!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thank you! It is amazing what our bodies can do. I believe in listening to your body, but part of being a good runner is learning to push when you do not feel 100%.

  7. So sorry you did not feel well, but I like that you still gave it your all and are proud of what you accomplished.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks, yeah I’m finally feeling better today. This congestion and cold have really lingered. I am glad we had the run and I got to race it, since everything this weekend is cancelled due to the storm.

  8. Wow. That is a superb race for being dosed up on cold medicine! I hope you are feeling better this week.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks. I’m still feeling a little rundown, but much better. The lack of rest days lately has me run down because I’m now trying to cram in training pre-hurricane.

  9. Ohhhh I can’t do cold meds either!! I had a horrible sinus infection during my last 10k and just decided to run and chat with people because I felt horrible. I figured I could at least burn off some calories for the day lol I LOVE that happy photo of you!! 😊 Most of my race photos I look like I’m dying. Ha! Job well done Amy!! Congrats on running so strong despite feeling so yuck.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I stopped taking the medicine a few days ago. I’d rather deal with the symptoms than the side effects, honestly, because it just wasn’t worth it to be so drowsy. I had a tempo run yesterday but my runs this week have taken a bit of extra effort because of the illness. At least I have a forced recovery week thanks to Hurricane Matthew, right?

  10. ksquared says:

    That’s an AWESOME result considering how under-the-weather you felt. I think you are spot on to recognize that it’s a huge accomplishment to be able to almost match your PR even when you aren’t at 100%. It’s disappointing not to know where you really stand now, but it’s still a testament to your fitness.

    PS – those really are some awesome race photos! I wish more races did stuff like that.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      The same Tag Your Pix people are usually at the James Island Connector Run, which is in a few weeks, so I hope I get some more good photos from that. Unfortunately, they don’t do Charleston Marathon (Sorry). I like that the photos are basically free, you just tag yourself in them on Facebook which is really the only reason a lot of people want a picture to begin with. They managed to get photos of everyone out there, on the race course or either after the race just hanging out and posing.

      • ksquared says:

        That’s awesome. I only ran one race that had something like that, and I was super annoyed because I was the 3rd female finisher and they didn’t get a picture of me finishing! They got the person before me and after me (both guys…) but not me.

      • Amy Lauren says:

        The Smokin’ Fast 5K had free pictures and got pictures of everyone but me! They had a picture of my time on the clock but I’d already crossed (I was convinced I finished a second faster than I did, anyway). It was a small race and I was 2nd overall, so I think the lady got the first picture, then stopped to make sure it took correctly, and missed me!

  11. I love the race photos! You look so happy! Congrats on your second sub-45! I definitely think that if you get the chance to do another 10K this fall, you will shave more time off and PR. I hope you are continuing to recover and I hope y’all are staying safe in the storm. Thinking about you guys!

  12. Elizabeth C. says:

    You are so adorable!!! Those photos are great and they show that you had a positive outlook even though you were feeling sick. If you can run that well when you are feeling off, just imagine what will happen when you are at your best! Great recap, although spoiled by Strava!

  13. You really did a great job on this 10k, Amy! It seemed like the odds were stacked against you with not feeling great, but you still managed to come in under 45 minutes! Way to go 🙂

    • Amy Lauren says:

      The odds really were against me. I’m not sure running the race sick was a great idea for my body- recovery wise, I probably delayed feeling better. But, I don’t regret it and would run it again even sick!

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