On Sunday, I kicked off 2017 on the right foot… or maybe my left foot… with the Race the Landing New Year’s 5K at Charles Towne Landing.
This was my fourth time running the New Year’s Day race, but I’ve run the Race the Landing 5K series for the past 3 summers. These runs are held in West Ashley, so the convenience factor is huge for me. The post-race food is good too, especially for runners like me who prefer to race a 5K then eat like we ran a marathon. Each year, the Friends of Charles Towne Landing prepare and serve homemade soups and stews for the race.
I signed up for the 5K on Thursday before online registration closed, but when I woke up to a rainy, wet, cloudy morning on Sunday, racing a 5K was the last thing on my mind. My nutrition hasn’t been the greatest this holiday season, and no one sleeps good on NYE. Still, this race is a tradition and I wanted to see my friends, so I showed up to give it my best shot. I ran a long run less than 48 hours before the race and was capping off my first 40+ mile week post-injury, so I kept my expectations low.
I got to the race early to warm up and and look through the shirts and awards. The race is recycling themed, so all of the shirts and awards were from previous races and donations were encouraged. If you’ve wondered what happened to leftover t-shirts from other local races, this is where they go to be “recycled”.
Many of the awards this year came from a local runner and triathlete, Anne Boone, who moved away to California and donated all of her awards. I spotted race awards from recent event as well as races in the 1980s.
At 8:30 AM, we were off. The rain held off by the start time, but the course was slick with puddles of standing water. Both the 5K and 10K events started at the same time, so the first mile of the course was a little crowded as the faster 5Kers passed the 10Kers. A few of the 10Kers cheered and I liked the encouragement and having more people on the course.
As soon as I saw my Mile 1 split (7:13), I knew my time wouldn’t be super impressive. I obviously didn’t go out too fast but this is a slow course and I wasn’t making up any time. The first mile was fairly comfortable and I passed by Larry, Steve, and some other friends volunteering and appreciated their cheers. We rounded a bunch of curves and over roots, then over the slick wooden bridge to Mile 2 (7:14). I passed one runner on the bridge and was in no man’s land except for my friend Matt who was ahead of me but I couldn’t catch.
The third mile (7:14) slows everyone down, as it includes more curves and turns, and you can see the finish line but still have to run 3/10 of a mile to complete the race. I used the turns to peak behind me for other runners, especially ladies, but saw no one. I knew Melissa, Becky, and Sarah were duking it out for the top three spots but they were almost 90 seconds ahead of me.
I tried to pick the pace up for the finish and crossed in 22:05.
After a cool down with Melissa to run back and find her daughter Alex (who set a big PR), we headed inside for the delicious soup and cornbread, along with the awards ceremony. The broccoli and cheese soup was my favorite.
I was 4th female overall (1st AG) and picked out an award from the 2006 Cooper River Bridge Run. I chose this award because it features all three bridges. The Grace and Pearman bridges were the predecessors to the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. My knee issues occurred after running the bridge, so I haven’t been in a rush to go back there for a run, so I hope the award gives me the courage to run it again soon.
After everyone got awards, we took pictures with the photo frame and hung out. Most of my running and racing is social, so as usual, I was one of the last people to leave.
This race wasn’t one of my best finish times, but I still accomplished a lot. I ran even splits, and I stayed mentally “on” for the whole race. The race itself never felt hard- I never felt like I was pushing the pace or entered the “pain cave” of the 5K.
Although I had zero expectations, my heart sank a little when I saw the race clock flip to 22:XX running toward the finish. I wish I could’ve found 6 seconds somewhere, but it was my fastest New Year’s Day 5K so far, and my first and fastest 5K of 2017.
Here’s to another year of running fast, taking chances, and dreaming big!
Race Name: Race the Landing New Year’s 5K/10K
Location: Charleston, SC (Charles Towne Landing State Park, West Ashley)
Date and Time: January 1, 2017, 8:30 AM
Entry fee: $30-50
Course: Flat road, one wooden bridge, curvy course, shade. USATF certified.
Because of the trees, paved trails, sharp turns, and cloud cover, you can’t trust your GPS here. The map on Garmin Connect frequently shows me running off course, and my splits and GPS never add up to a 5K.
Swag: Finisher’s medal and your choice of a donated vintage t-shirt (runners donated shirts) or a shirt from a previous local race (many local races were represented).
Post-race Food: Array of homemade soups and chilis, including vegetarian and vegan options. Cornbread, water, lemonade, hot chocolate, Cinnabons.
Weather: 50 degrees, 100% humidity. Cloudy and dreary.