Chick-fil-A 5k

Put on by Jesse Harmon and the Run Hard program, the Chick-fil-A 5k is one of many distance races all on the same morning in downtown Columbia. In addition to the 5k are a Half Marathon, Full Marathon, and even Marathon relay races. The Run Hard races are super well organized and supported by the community and I believe there were more than 1200 racers present between all the different races! While the marathon was an occasionally tempting choice, I couldn’t convince myself (or my coach) that running a hard 26.2 miles would be a good idea as I am gearing up into triathlon season. Especially if I want to remain injury free and be prepared for a long, hard season of training and racing. So I decided on the 5k which touted free Chick-fil-A for a year for the winners as well as to some lucky raffle participants!

img_1827
They had the cows out in force.

The week leading into the race consisted of some hard workouts and I had no intention of backing down before the race. I often perform best this way, but this week sort had me feeling a bit off and not quite nailing workouts as well as I normally do. So when race morning rolled around and my legs still weren’t quite springy, I was a bit concerned. The race was going to happen no matter how I felt, so I did what I could to get things opened up and ready. The half and full Marathon started 30 minutes before the 5k and then the countdown to the start was on!

img_1772
Approximately 5 steps in.

Lining up at the start line there were a number of familiar faces from the local running community. As Jesse Harmon signaled the start of the race, many got pretty frisky and I found myself in around 5th place at the very beginning. As I continued to build into my pace more people started dropping back in the first flattish minute of the race. Very shortly, the course made a turn downward and started the beginning of a long descent.

At this point, 14-year-old Zander Jeffcoat was in the lead with me keeping him from pulling too far ahead. I knew that Zander has very good opening speed from racing him at the Lexington Half Marathon a few months ago, and I was hoping I would be able to have the speed to pass and hold him off. Just over a half mile in while we were still going downhill, I made the pass and started to build a gap.

img_1826
Enough said.

I came through mile 1 in 4:56 in what felt very controlled as the course started to flatten out some. Soon though, I turned and found myself facing the beginning of a proper hill. I had run these hills on the campus of USC many times in my past and just focused on staying strong and not pushing it over the edge. I came through mile 2 in a much slower 5:48 which was pretty expected considering the climbing. I still felt decent enough to hold a 5:20 pace for the final mile and was even able to smile a bit while I was at it! After all, why would I be running if I didn’t enjoy it?!

img_1825
Photo creds = Kunze from Orange Theory Fitness!

In the final stretch, I actually ran on the wrong side of the road for a bit as I got a little confused. I eventually found my way into the finishing area to cross the line in an official 16:37 and 1st Overall! I spent the next couple hours meeting new friends, catching up with old friends, and even squeezing in some cool down running. I made sure to get plenty of pictures with the famous Chick-fil-A cows in front of the State House which I think turned out pretty well! It was a beautiful morning and thanks and congrats to everyone who raced, volunteered, or just came out to support those running!

img_1814
Jesse Harmon fist bump!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s