The Race the Landing 5K Series is one of the highlights of summer for me.
I ran Race the Landing #5 in 2013 and was hooked- I wondered why I didn’t try one of these races sooner. I signed up for the five-race series in 2014, 2015, and 2016, and it set me up for strong Fall seasons. If you’re into longer distances, the summer is a good time to train for something shorter, since most of us aren’t putting in in 18-20 milers in May, June, or July.
Race the Landing caters to runners of all abilities. The Thursday night races offer finisher’s medals for everyone, along with age groups that are five years and five places deep- so many who don’t normally place in their age groups can place. If you’re more competitive, you can win series awards for your age group. Overall, the race atmosphere is one of fun and camaraderie, not competition.
This year, I didn’t sign up for the series, because I want to spread the love (and my race registration fees) to a few local 5Ks this summer. Race the Landing is on Thursday night, and since my injury, I’ve avoided doing too many workouts and races in the same week. I wanted to run at least one Race the Landing and picked this one because it would surely be the least miserable coolest weather.
Deciding to run this race a comedy of errors. First, I planned to register on Wednesday night before online registration closed, but I was scared of bad weather. I didn’t want the race to be cancelled and lose any more money. I don’t check the weather, but one of my friends constantly keeps me updated, so I didn’t sign up Wednesday night and mentally prepared to pay the pricey race-day registration (it’s $40).
On Thursday, I decided to get cash to race. I went to Publix to buy some groceries, but my PIN was declined twice. When I left without cash, I thought this might be a sign I shouldn’t run the race. I found some birthday money in a drawer ($100 bill), and went to the bank for change. The teller gave me a fun-sized bag of M&Ms. I considered this a good sign I should run the race.
The weather was still iffy, so I told myself I would leave my house at 5:30 PM. If the weather was bad, I’d head to Planet Fitness to do my tempo run on the treadmill and if it was nice, I’d head to the race.
Since you’re reading this recap, you know which one I chose.
Race Day Evening
I got to the race, registered and paid, and waited on Melissa so we could run a warmup together. We logged two miles and I noticed a new pothole on the course. You think I’d have the roots and cracks in the road memorized by now.
We were off and most people shot out way too fast, myself included. This course is a hard one to pace because the start is straight and slightly downhill, and the last mile is full of curves. I hit Mile 1 in 6:59, which would’ve been a great first mile split pre-injury, but my endurance is SHOT.
I settled in close to a few other runners, Tie-Dye, Blue Sky, and Ireland (yes, these were the shirts they wore). Tie-Dye came up from behind me and he was a younger guy, so he pretty much just took off. I flew through the water stop and was pretty sure I was third female but didn’t know where the fourth lady was. I ended up passing Blue Sky and trying to pace and catch Ireland, even on the curvy second (7:19) and third (7:26) miles- where the curves almost break your stride.
In the last mile, you run around the starting line, so you can see the finish clock if you look closely. I saw 20:XX on it and knew I had .25 miles to go around the parking lot. I secretly hoped I could finish in under 22, but never could see the last digits of the clock to know exactly. Ireland ran the tangents pretty well and outkicked me.
I finished in 22:11, far from sub-22, but my fastest 5K post-injury.
My Garmin clocked 22:08, the awards announcer said I finished in 22:10, and the official results said I ran a 22:11. I slowed down by three seconds even after I was done running, and I’ll go with the official results even if it’s the result I like the least. My Garmin is always short for this race (it loses signal from all the trees in the third mile), but the course is USATF certified, so it’s a true 5K.
After the race, Melissa and I ran a few miles to cool down, then went inside for awards and dinner. This race provides dinner to all the runners, complete with Cinnabons. Truth be told, I am not a huge fan of the food because it’s catered and it’s hot food after a hot run, but the Cinnabons were on point.
The awards this year are coasters with pictures of the animals who live in the Charles Towne Landing zoo, and the finisher’s medals are glass. I love that the medal is on a green ribbon because it will look festive on my Christmas tree. The coaster is already sitting on my desk in my home office, and it’s neat to be reminded of my finish when I’m constantly hydrating in this summer heat.
After receiving our awards, the three of us overall ladies posed for a quick picture before Melissa headed out (the storms rolled in right after the awards ceremony).
Race the Landing #1 was far from a PR or my secret stretch goal of sub-22, but for a spur-of-the-moment race during a hard training week, I was very pleased with my time.
The heat and humidity will mean no fast races until September at the earliest, but I still look forward to these every year because it’s a good time with friends. I plan to volunteer at this Thursday night’s as well as some other 5Ks this summer, when I’m not running, so I hope to see you there if you’re in Charelston and looking to race.
Race Name: Race the Landing 5K #1- Southern Comfort.
Location: Charleston, SC (Charles Towne Landing State Park, West Ashley).
Date and Time: May 4, 2017, 7 PM.
Course: Flat road, one wooden bridge, curvy course, shade. USATF Certified.
Swag: Finisher’s medal and socks for all registrants. Coasters for OA/AG.
Post-race Food: Pulled pork barbeque, chicken, smoked sausage, macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, tomato salad, rolls, Cinnabons, water, lemonade, Holy City Brewery beer (one beer per person, additional could be purchased).
Weather: 75 degrees, 89% humidity, 10 mph winds