Battle at the Border: GRSC vs. Wilmington (40:30)

Last weekend, I ran the Battle at the Border Trail Run, an annual competition between the Grand Strand Running Club and Wilmington NC Road Runners. Each year, both clubs come together at a farm in Calabash, NC, for a 4.5 mile cross country style trail race. The race is held at Indigo Farms, and the course winds through both states!


For Grand Strand Running Club members, your $20 annual dues gets you admission into the Border Battle as well as a very nice GSRC technical singlet to wear during the run. Battle at the Border is only for club members and not open to the public, but it does not cost any additional money besides your yearly fee. You just have to join GSRC. With the race and other perks (race discounts, social nights, post-race tent at the MB Marathon), the $20 membership is a great deal. If several people in your family run, your household can join GSRC for $30.

I met a lot of Grand Strand Running Club members at the 2015 Historic Georgetown Bridge to Bridge Half Marathon and also hung out with many at the 2017 Myrtle Beach Marathon. I was injured at that race, so I was a “pit crew” to friends and some new friends. The running community is small and close-knit, so it’s fun to make friends in other cities.


Roscoe, the president of the Grand Strand Running Club and brother to my close friend and training partner Steve, invited me to run the Border Battle with GSRC, so I took him up on the offer. Clay had some things going on that weekend, and I was excited to run somewhere new. Charleston is home and I love it here, but sometimes a change of scenery and terrain is good for a runner’s legs and soul.

I drove up to Myrtle Beach the night before the race and stayed with one of the GSRC members, Chip, along with his wife Jeanne and son Taylor. They are originally from the Florence/Hartsville area where I lived for years, so we had a lot to catch up on and knew many of the same people. We didn’t do a whole lot of pre-race celebrating besides watching Big Brother and eating dinner from Little River House of Pizza (so good). I had a veggie sub and onion rings.

The next morning, we headed off to the trail run. It was only about 10 minutes from his house, and we got there early to socialize. I was a little TOO social and didn’t get into the potty line until 8 AM. As soon as I was done in the portajohn, it was time for a pre-race picture, so I never got to warm up. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t warm up for a race (it’s been YEARS)!

Since the Border Battle is a trail run and team competition, my goals looked very different than usual:

  • Finish Healthy: This is always the #1 goal for a run or race. I had an 11 mile training run the next day and have a lot of half marathons this Fall. While I wanted to run my best for GSRC, I also want to be healthy for those.
  • Don’t Fall: I don’t usually do trail runs and this one had a lot of roots, rocks, and even a few holes on the course.
  • Pass Wilmington Runners/Don’t Get Passed: This was the point of the race, to score points for GSRC. The Wilmington runners wore orange shirts for the event so it was easy to know who was on our team (gray) vs. them.

Since the point of the race was for Grand Strand runners to finish before Wilmington runners, I hoped to have a progressive run/negative split. Since I’m usually the one getting passed late in races, I know it can psych you out, and I wanted to be the one passing and surging ahead. Starting slower also let me get a feel for the trail conditions. I had no pace or time goals, just passing.


Before starting, we did some team pictures and chants. It felt like a running sorority- everyone had on the same shirt, we took a big picture, and we chanted G-S-R-C.

I won’t do a mile by mile recap, but the course was 4.5 miles of some of the toughest trails I’ve run in years. I normally listen to my iPod during races, but after one song, I had to turn it off and completely focus on my footing and passing people. I passed loads of runners in the last two miles- maybe I was too conservative, but I really didn’t want to fall or get hurt. My mile splits were 9:33, 9:06, 9:00, 8:45, and 8:33, finishing in 40:30.


After a two mile cooldown, I had some watermelon and socialized while the scores were tallied. Unlike traditional races that offer awards to the overall and masters runners and age group awards, the Border Battle has two awards: the overall winning team and a participation award for the team with the most runners. There are no bibs and timing, and the race is scored with popsicle sticks.

Unfortunately, Grand Strand Running Club did not win the team competition, so we took “Snaily”, the runner-up trophy, for the year. We were counting on the faster men, and many of the guys in the front took a wrong turn somewhere, which cost us big time.


BUT… GSRC had 170 runners and won the participation award! This was the largest Border Battle ever, with runners from all over the Grand Strand (over 50 miles) coming together to run a challenging course in the heat. I’m really proud of everyone who showed up because the course and conditions are outside of most of our comfort zones. We had a great team spirit, and I loved being a part of a big team event.

Now that I’m “officially” a GSRC member, I’m eyeing a few races in Myrtle Beach over the next few months, so I can run new courses and reconnect with others. I hope to run Border Battle 2018 as well!

Posted in Grand Strand Running Club, Myrtle Beach Marathon, Trail running, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Weekly Rundown: July 24-30

Another week of following the Road Racing for Serious Runners 5K plan, another week of (not so) secretly wanting to quit said 5K plan.

It takes a lot of humility to admit that I’m not in the same shape I was in April 2016 when I ran the 20:53 at the Green and Lean 5K, or when I ran the 1:38:14 surprise at the Charleston Half Marathon in January. I may not like where I am as a runner, but it’s reality and everyone starts somewhere. image

I really like David Roche’s articles in Trail Runner magazine. I saw his tweet after a rough Wednesday workout and it gave me a slight glimmer of hope. Maybe once my legs are a bit rested and the temperature is slightly cooler, I can run a race I’m proud of.


Monday 30 min. strength + 7.6 miles
Tuesday 7.2 miles
Wednesday 60 min. yoga + 6.6 miles, including 6 x 600m and 8 x 100m
Thursday Rest Day is the Best Day
Friday 7.7 miles, including 5 mile tempo (treadmill)
Saturday 11.1 miles
Sunday 8 miles
Total 48.3 miles

On Monday, I strength trained that morning, then met Steve and Allison for a run in Downtown Charleston. Allison just moved here from Chicago, so we gave her a grand tour of downtown and ran the inclines/declines of six parking garages. We didn’t push the pace, the humidity was lower, we had a breeze, and the view at the tops of the garages is always nice. It was a great run.

Tuesday, I ran the bike path and the construction zone where I live. Somehow, the construction and demolition stirred up a lot of bugs, so I ran through a swarm of gnats. There’s not much you can do because you don’t realize you’ve run through them until you already have. I wore the gnats for the rest of the run and arrived home sweaty, smelly, and gnatty.


Those black specs on my face, chest, and white tank top are all dead gnats. Distance running is far from pretty. If you want glamorous, do pageants instead.

On Wednesday, I headed to the track with the group. Last week, Jason was the only guy, and he missed the picture, so the men showed up in full force and outnumbered us ladies. I ran 6 x 600m with 200m jogs in between, followed by 8 x 100m. I think everyone else ran 400m repeats.

During our workout, a car drove by super slowly, and a group of people inside it yelled “Run Forrest Run” from the car in unison. It was obviously planned because everyone speeds on the road by the school. We laughed about it, because it’s funny that people get a kick out of doing that. None of us know who it was, but Forrest Gump is older than the kids who yelled it, and I’d be surprised if they’ve even seen that movie.


On Thursday, I rested from Wednesday’s workout. I had a busy day, with a dentist appointment, shopping (Dillard’s had an additional 40% off clearance- score), and volunteering at the Daniel Island Happy Hour 5K. I worked the preregistration table and it was good to hang out with and cheer for so many friends without actually having to run. You do work hard and work up a sweat when volunteering, though…


Friday, I did a 5 mile tempo run on the treadmill. The book’s plan called for an 8K or 10K race, but those are rare enough in coastal South Carolina even when it’s not 90+ degrees, much less in July. I zoned out and got it done, and ran around half marathon pace. It reminded me of the workouts I did when I was following the Hansons Half Marathon Plan last year and how much I miss those workouts (I think I will go back to that…). Either way, the tempo run gave me a bit of much-needed confidence.

On Saturday, I did a long run over the bridge and back with Emily. The sun stayed under, and the clouds made the run bearable, even if we had a headwind going DOWN the Cooper River Bridge. It made the downhill feel more like flat running.  I went to a going away party for Michelle at Holy City Brewery that afternoon. She’s moving to NY and I will certainly miss seeing here at local races and group runs.

I also headed to The Junction Kitchen and Provisions with Cindy, Amy, Melissa, and Kevin, where we ate brunch and took selfies to commemorate it.



Sunday’s run was abnormally cool. This whole summer has been mild in Charleston, but on Sunday morning, we had temperatures in the 70s and little humidity (I think the humidity was in the 70s). It didn’t feel like Charleston- even in the winter, we have high humidity.

I met up with the Hampton Park group and ran 8 miles around downtown. I enjoyed the conversations and temperatures and didn’t rush the run- besides, my legs were pretty torched from Friday’s tempo run. BUT it was nice finishing an 8 mile run and feeling like I could run more, rather than wishing the run would end ASAP because of the conditions.

As for the rest of Sunday, Clay and I went to brunch and chilled out around the house, making a Costco run and getting ready for the start of a super busy work week. I hope everyone has a great one!

I’m linking up with Holly at Hohoruns and Tricia at MississippiPiddlin‘ for their weekly wrap link and with Courtney of Eat, Pray, Run, DC.

Posted in Training Log | Tagged , , , , , , , | 24 Comments