Greenville 5K Race Recap

In an effort to inject some speed into my legs, I woke up at 4:00am (!!!) this past Saturday to drive down to Greenville, SC for their 5K on the Swamp Rabbit trail.  The event was also my first public race since COVID hit, and I was interested to see what a road race would look like during this pandemic time.

The 5K had no official gun start.  Instead, the starting line mat was active for a longer period of time than normal to allow people to begin the race whenever they felt comfortable.  Only chip time mattered.  I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t feel like a race at all, but luckily one of the race workers did an unofficial countdown for a few of us at the front.

I also was relieved that there were several faster guys that jumped out in front of me.  I was hoping to find someone to run with but having runners to chase was still better than leading the race.

The first part of the route had a nice climb and I passed several men that went out hard.  We then descended a neighborhood street toward the Swamp Rabbit trail.  By the first mile marker, I had caught up with two young guys that were running together.  It would have been nice to settle into a pack, but I knew that I needed to press on.  Only problem was that there was large gap between us and the next runner up ahead. 

I tried to think positive and work the pace down.  It was low 40s and misty, and I actually felt better on the second mile since I was warmed up by that point.  It was also flat and fast in this section.

I was focused on running hard when I came up to a road intersection where the trail appeared to end.  There were two officers standing in the road, and as I made a right hand turn onto the road, one of them said to “keep straight.”  My first thought was that I needed to continue straight on the road for a while, but then I realized once the officer started saying “no, no, no” that I evidently was supposed to keep straight across the road!  There was a wooden ramp on the opposite side of the street that I hadn’t seen when I first approached the intersection. So, I had to turn around and backtrack to take the ramp.  The mistake probably cost me less than 10 seconds, but I was a little angry/thrown off by the error.

I stayed on the greenway for a short while longer before the course took a detour.  Once I got back on the trail, it wasn’t long until I arrived at the edge of downtown.  Then, the course got even more confusing!  Fortunately, I didn’t make any more wrong turns, but I had to hop up and off of sidewalks and utilize ramps and walking paths to wind my way to the finish.  I saw my husband with about a quarter of a mile to go and he was able to point me in the right direction.  Coming up on the last turn, I yelled ahead to the police officer to tell me which way to go.  If I ever run this race again, I will study the map like I’m preparing for a leg of the Blue Ridge Relay.

Approaching the finish line, I picked it up and kicked it in to finish in 17:48.  I would have liked a faster time, but I was happy that I ran strong, fairly-even splits.  I just didn’t find that next gear.  But it’s still early in the training cycle, and it was fun to run a real race! 

While I can’t speak for the half marathon event, I felt very safe running the 5K.  We drove down the morning of and ate brunch in the car after the race.  It was honestly safer than going to the grocery store.  Fortunately, I think we will see more small, safe events like this soon.  It’s a tiny, welcome dose of normalcy!

Splits per Garmin:

Mile 1:  5:36

Mile 2:  5:41 (included turnaround)

Mile 3:  5:36

Last .18: 5:22 (not sure if watch error, course was long, or I really ran an extra .8 when I turned early!  Maybe a combination…)

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