A few weeks ago, I heard of the Run for Recovery which benefited a local drug treatment center. As many readers know, my parked car was recently rear-ended by someone who was passed out at the wheel under the influence of opioids. Even before that incident, drug addiction has been an issue close to home.
After running the Dragon Run the day before, I had no time goals for the race. I wanted to support something that meant so much to me. To be honest, I would walk the race before not doing it. If anything, it would serve as a good workout. I’ve run many miles around the Cooper River Park, so I knew the area well.
I got to the race around 8 am. It was scheduled to start around 9 but ended up starting closer to 9:15.
They made several announcements and a speech at the beginning which ultimately brought a few tears to my eyes. Drug addiction can happen to anyone, no matter the family situation, age, or gender. They asked everyone who had lost someone to addiction to stand at the front with the organization for a moment of silence, and that is when my tears began flowing. After that, we walked to the starting line.
Races at Cooper River involve about a half mile walk to the starting line. I talked with a few people during the walk, and before we knew it, the race was off. Immediately, I found myself in fourth place overall, which is where I stayed the entire time.
Since I raced the day before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I am in shape, I typically feel good the second day of racing, but I am not in peak shape right now. The first mile goes over a small bridge and heads toward the opposite side of the river.
Since it’s a well-known park, there are plenty of people walking and running who aren’t racing. There was a bit of weaving involved, but I shocked myself and hit the first mile in 6:02. (Which was faster than every mile I ran the day before).
I have run one other race at Cooper River in which I call my ultimate regression run. I ran something like 6:0X, 6:30 and then 7:00. I thought surely that would happen here, but I attempted to hold on for dear life.
The next two miles went on without much excitement. I ran a 6:03 followed by a 6:13. It was a beautiful day and ideal conditions, but I still shocked myself. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to run but it wasn’t faster miles than the day before.
For the entire race, I ran alone and chased the three guys in front of me (chase being relative as they were a couple of minutes ahead). I weaved around people using the park for their Sunday morning runs. I high-fived a little kid who was walking around the lake with his mom. For me, it felt more like a workout that I was supporting a cause. I was at a race, but with everyone not racing around, as well as the race being more meaningful, it didn’t feel like it.
When I hit the third mile and saw it was longer than .1 to the finish, I wasn’t disappointed. I knew I would have been under 19 on a perfectly accurate course, but I’ll save that for another day. I have a love/hate with racing at Cooper River.
You can see me around 19 minutes finishing.
I like it because it’s easy to park and normally cheap. I don’t because the course is notoriously long and unlike this weekend, it can get extremely crowded on the trail.
I’m happy I was able to combine two things I’m passionate about: public health and running. Very few races can do both, with the last being the Lake Effect Half Marathon.
I feel happy with my progress so far in 5ks. My next major goal is to consistently be under 19 minutes, which I hope is by the end of October or November.
Questions for you:
What is a cause that means a lot to you?
Is there a local park that holds a lot of races near you?