It’s becoming a thing that when people come to visit me, I make them go run a race. Charleston has a fairly large running scene. On any given weekend you can find upwards of 2 or even 3 races to choose from. This means that when family or friends come to visit, we have the opportunity to race, get some cool swag, maybe win some prizes, and drink some post race beers. So naturally when Tucker told me that he was going to come down to Charleston for a weekend, I forced him to sign up for a race.
Race for the Ark was a perfect race because it was located in Summerville near my house. It was a race that was scheduled to start at 7:45 so we didn’t have to get up at the butt crack of dawn in order to make it to the starting line. The girls have been waking up at 6 am every single day for the past few months anyways, so I’m used to butt crack of dawn. We loaded up the girls and headed to the race course giving ourselves ample time to park and find the start line. Normally I do a two mile warm up with Lana but I truly wasn’t feeling it this morning.
After doing speed work on Thursday, I wasn’t about to over do it. My legs were still fatigued and as usual lately, I’ve been pretty pessimistic about what my race times are going to look like. I found Reyna who was racing her last race in Charleston for a while since she’s moving back to Texas and we chatted. The announcer asked that the runners head to the start line and before we knew it he was signaling us to run, even though the race wasn’t supposed to start for 5 more minutes. Thankfully I always start up my Garmin before hand in case it takes a while to find GPS so I was ready to go.
Now I’m going to go on a little rant here but bear with me, I promise I’m not a monster. This race and the final race of the Daniel Island Happy Hour series included a ton of high school track kids. Not just a few,a lot of them from different schools. I’m all for kids running, heck I’ll probably have Fiona in track before she can even properly write her name. I love that they come out and support the races but these kids need a little guidance on race day etiquette. They all bunch to the front of the pack and run side by side taking up the entire course. When we did DI happy hour, Lana and I were stuck behind a few of them and ended up having to run through some tree brush in order to pass them because they just would not move out of the way. Same thing happened at this race. I kept getting stuck behind 5 or 6 of them running side by side in the beginning. These kids also aren’t quite up to speed on how to pace themselves. Within the first mile and a half, there were multiple kids on the course blowing chunks. I felt horrible for them as I know what it feels like to be that person who didn’t hydrate well enough or pushed myself too hard. I also wonder if the kids are only doing these races until they start having meets for school. The other problem with all of them bunching up to the front is that they all aren’t fast enough to be up front and end up getting tripped up and fall a lot. Anyways, enough of my rant. I promise I’m not some old woman who has her cane out yelling at the youngins.
Mile 1: 6:36 – What the absolute F*ck. I have never seen a mile that fast for a race, ever. I’ve hit that pace during speed work doing 400’s or 800’s but never, ever, ever in an entire mile for a race. I still have disbelief over it and I keep second guessing my watch. This mile didn’t feel this hard to me. I checked my watch roughly every quarter of a mile and I totally expected to see a sub 7 minute pace. I locked on to Larry the Legend, who I know runs faster than me, and I ran side by side with him. I told myself that if I could keep up with him, I could possibly see some numbers I haven’t seen in a long time. I didn’t have Lana with me to pace me so I reached out to another great runner. This was a pretty flat and fast course. The first mile was mainly just me working my way up past a lot of the track team kids. I still am sitting in disbelief as I write up this review that I clocked in that pace for my first mile.
Mile 2: 7:46 – Now that seems more reasonable. As of late, my splits tend to start around here and end in the 8:30 range. So when I saw that mile I knew I was back to my normal self. Although, nothing felt any different to me. It didn’t feel like I had slowed down that much. I didn’t stop at the water station for a drink, I didn’t look down and see that I had slowed down a whole lot on my watch. I felt really good running and decided to try and push the pace a little bit. I had a really young kid running beside me and he was pushing me to give it everything I had. A lot of this course is similar to the Shamrock Shuffle 5k, so I was a bit familiar with the roads we were running.
Mile 3: 7:08 – Okay, at this point I can’t even explain this race to you. I have absolutely no idea how I managed this. This is my fastest 3rd mile for a 5K race as well. I’ve never negative split from mile 2 to mile 3 either. This also did not feel any harder to me than mile 1 or mile 2. I’ve got no rhyme or reason for why my splits look the way they do but I’m damn proud of them. This is the fastest I’ve ever ran in the final mile of a race. With that being said, the same girl who kicked it out and beat me at the Moms Run was right there at the 2.8 mark to pass me and kick it out faster than me again. I felt someone coming up on my left and I looked over and recognized her from the mom’s run. Props goes out to her for having more left in her tank to kick it out at the end.
.1 –8:13 I had absolutely nothing left to give. I trucked along to the finish line. I could see 21:xx but I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I ended up crossing the finish line in 22:12.
I am extremely proud of that time. The weather has not been my friend lately and I’ve been logging the miles begrudgingly. My race times have been sub-par and my attitude was starting to plummet. The last time I raced at this speed was back in June at the Run the Runway (22:07) Finally I could say that I hit a race hard in this heat & humidity. Now I’m starting to gain some confidence back and I look forward to seeing my numbers come fall.
After the race was over I hung out with Reyna, Tucker, Tony, and the girls. We grabbed some donuts, bagels, grapes, and water from the refreshments. Miller Mott massage school students were there so I was able to get myself a quick massage after the race was done. We hung out until the awards ceremony where I ended up taking 2nd place in my age group. The awards are nice wooden carved awards. I gave Reyna a final goodbye hug and then went with the family & Tucker to the Summerville farmers market and then headed out to go get some brunch.
Overall this was a great race and the shirts that we got with them were really nice. I’ll definitely do this race again!