The LifePoint Race for Life 5k took place at the James Island County Park. Registering for this race was something I decided on just a few short weeks ago. The race proceeds went to a good cause and now that I’m back to racing again, I got the race fever. (I won’t admit to how many races I’ve signed up for at this point)
The race raises awareness for organ, eye, and tissue donation. All race proceeds help send Team South Carolina to the 2016 Donate Life Transplant Games of America. Since the money went to a good cause and I didn’t have anything planned for the day anyways, I decided to register. The race had a 10k and 5k option. I know I can run a 10k right now because my Sunday long runs have been hovering around 7 miles but I really didn’t feel like racing a 10k. I rather hold off until the Bridge Run to push myself for the 10k. Maybe I’m lazy or maybe I don’t want the disappointment of seeing a time much farther away from my goals. Either way I had my heart set on only doing the 5k for this race.
I showed up about half an hour before the race started and it was super cold. I opted to wear my gloves for this race, which I thanked myself for later. I warmed up with a half mile run that had bursts of my goal 5k pace ( 7:30) in it. I honestly thought that helped me to get my legs and muscles firing at the rate they were going to need to for the race. I did some other dynamic stretches, used the restroom, and then headed to the start.
The 10k group got to head out first followed by the 5k group ten minutes later. I was able to start at the front of the pack as this wasn’t a huge race. As I got my watch ready I recognized a guy next to me from a previous race. I knew he ran similar pace as me but a little faster so I decided then that I would try and keep up with him. It worked out in my favor. The gun went off and as my usual competitive self does, I count the females who go by me so I know where I stand in the race. Immediately I fell into 4th place and I was fine with that. I checked my watch and saw I was starting out too fast so I immediately backed down. It’s hard for me to do this, I naturally want to just go all out but I told myself to trust my training. So I backed off to a 7:20 pace, tucked in behind the guy I knew was going to run a similar pace, and just focused on being consistent and steady. Mile 1 went by without a hitch, I clocked in at a 7:20 mile and I was feeling very strong. All that speed work that Lana and I have been doing is paying off. Then I started to hit some of the 10k walkers who started before us. I’m not sure how I felt about this. A lot of the race I was passing the walkers of the 10k group and the route was pretty narrow. The race went through the county park and for a majority of it was on the paved trails which can really only hold 2-3 people side by side. So when a runner is coming up on two people walking, it’s hard to maneuver around them. Especially if they have headphones on and can’t hear you yell “on your left.” I continued to follow with the guy running the same pace as me. We were on step with each other and it truly helped me stay on pace. He kept me motivated even though he had no idea who I even was. Mile 2 ticked off and I was dropping a little closer to my 7:30 pace at this point. I wasn’t upset with it at all, my goal was to try to hover around 7:30. My last race I averaged 7:41’s and that was with going out to hard and paying for it at the end. The last mile hit me a little harder. It could be that I was out until 2am. It could be because I had a few beers. It could be because when I got home I had to tend to two children who refused to sleep. I could make up lots of excuses as to why I felt it hard at mile 3 but truth is I knew I could push through it. I’ve raced hungover before with no issue, this was no different. I lost a few steps behind the guy I was pacing and I checked my watch to see I was at a 7:40 pace. Although that wasn’t my goal, I was just happy I was still running faster than the previous race.
Mile 3 ticked off and I still had some steam left to sprint it out to the finish! This was something I didn’t have two weeks ago at the Hearts & Soles 5k. Here was my biggest pet peeve, the stupid time sign that tells you what time you’re crossing the finish line, had the 10k time on it and not the 5k time. Gah! I mean, obviously I could check my watch but when I’m cruising to the finish, I want to see what my official clock time is on the monitor.
I pushed through the finish line and immediately thanked the guy that I was running next to. We had been pacing off each other the entire race and he really helped me stay with it mentally. I kept telling myself to just stay within a couple steps of him. For part of the race I lead, then he would lead, and so on and so forth. He ended up finishing right ahead of me and we both thanked each other at the end. Hopefully I see him out at some other races so we can keep together and help push each other.
After the race ended, I grabbed a banana and met up with one of my old colleagues from Blackbaud. She has just gotten back into running again and we chatted about lots of upcoming races that she should sign up for. I knew I finished 1st in my age group just because I knew how many females finished ahead of me so I decided to wait for the awards ceremony. This was probably the part of the race I disliked the most. The wait for the awards ceremony was much longer than it needed to be and it was very cold outside. However they did have jump castles for the kids to play on to occupy them while they waited. The top 3 male and female finishers of the 5k and 10k received cash prizes. Then they did top 3 of each ten year age group. Placing first in the 20-29 category got me an adorable dog tag medal.
Overall this was a fun race and I’ll probably do it again next year, especially since the money goes to a good cause. I’m super happy that I shaved off another 53 seconds from my race two weeks prior. Speed work is clearly working and I’m excited to see how much better I can get. From here on out I’m only trying to shave mere seconds off my time with each race because I know that these huge gaps are unrealistic to keep happening.