Isle of Palms 10k Race Recap

If you’ve ever traveled to the low country and visited Isle of Palms, you know exactly how majestic this land is. So when I discovered that this town would be hosting a 10k/5k along their scenic connector bridge, I cancelled every plan I had for this weekend to make sure I would be crossing that finish line.

I woke up early this morning without a single butterfly in my stomach. And this is a pretty rare event for me, because I am always filled with nerves before any race. I think my flutter-free tummy was partly due to the fact that I had my running buddy madré with me and also because it too busy growling like a mad dog. So I scarfed down a fig bar and banana, and we were out the door.

We landed on the island about 30 minutes before the race, plenty of time to battle the dreaded Porta Potti crowds and squeeze in a light warm-up jog. After sharing a few stretches and even more giggles, we made our way to the starting line and braced ourselves for a memorable run.

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But just as we were anxiously watching our clocks and listening for the final countdown, I spotted my newfound Charleston running rival: the girl who barely beat me in the Turtle Trek 5k a few weeks ago. I mean, she doesn’t exactly know we’re rivals, and she probably has never even seen me before, considering I was lurking in her dust at the last race, but either way, I decided I was going to race this chica and take home the unspoken glory of beating her this time around.

Alright, 5-4-3-2-1, the horns went off and we sprinted down Palm Avenue for about 100 yards before we turned left onto the Isle of Palms Connector and were greeted with a daunting incline. Granted, this hill is no Cooper River Bridge climb, but it was enough to shake up my breathing a bit. As I finally reached it’s peak, I gazed out over the breathtaking inter-coastal waterway and made the no-brainer decision to pump my breaks and really soak in this view. So I said farewell to my race goals of beating Ms. Speed Demon, and even got a lil touristy snapping some pics.

Once I coped with the fact that I wasn’t going to take home a record time, I backed my pace down to about 7:45 and fell into my mojo. The breeze was blowing through my hair, the sun was breaking through the clouds, my tunes were perfectly matching my steps, and everything felt just right. This was one of those rare moments you feel as a runner, when you get goosebumps, not from the cold, but from the indescribable high you are experiencing. I think I was even rocking a goofy smile for about a mile.

Although this was one of those plain-jane course layouts that I hate (down and back), time flew by because I had so much beauty to gaze out at (and I’m not talking about the hunky bro trotting topless in front of me). And for that reason, this race takes the cake for Most Stunning Race of the year.

The last three miles didn’t feel as speedy as the first, most likely because I was dreading that hill we tackled once before. But I managed to pick up my pace a bit and climbed that hill with more determination than the first time around. I knew the finish line would be right around the corner, so I started exhausting myself at the 5.7 mile mark.

Sure enough, I rounded the corner and the finish line was right there, staring back at me. I kicked it into high gear and sprinted my way across, soaking in all of the cheers and applause the crowd sent my way. 48:52. Sure, I felt a slight sting of disappointment that I didn’t push myself for a better time, but you know what? Midway through the run, when the golden sun was beaming down on me, I had an epiphany. I decided that no matter how fast we ran or what place we finished in today, this race made us all winners. From the pro-runners to the mommas pushing their baby strollers, we all won, because we all decided to wake up early on a Saturday morning to run this beautiful bridge together.

Today’s race was about celebration. It was about cherishing the beauty of our environment and honoring the incredible feats our bodies can achieve. And I witnessed proof of this, when I watched every single face that crossed the finish line immediately transform from looks of exhaustion to beaming smiles. I’m pretty sure we all left with a sense of achievement, some raging endorphins, and a complimentary cold beer served in an Isle of Palms koozie. Now if that isn’t the best way to kick off your weekend, then I don’t know what is.

RACE STATS:

13th place Female
1st place F25-29
53th place Overall
48:52 finish time
7:52 average pace

4 Comments

  1. Amy Lauren

    October 5, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Congrats on placing in your age group and a great race! I also ran this (race recap is up on my blog as well) and it was a lot of fun. I’m glad the weather was fairly nice for it and the views are always good. Plus they raise a lot of money for charity each year as well. Hope you’ll continue to visit and run Charleston area races because we have a lot of great ones here.

    • Nathalie

      October 5, 2016 at 11:53 am

      Thanks so much Amy! I’m going to go check out your recap right now! Hopefully I will see you at an upcoming Charleston race 🙂

  2. Emily

    April 26, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Hi, this is an older post but i had a question for you! i am debating running IOP 10K this year but wondered if you saw a lot of baby jogging strollers in the race? I will be pushing one and I don’t want any dirty looks or eye rolls from others…

    • Nathalie

      April 27, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Hey there Emily – thanks for reaching out! I can’t quite remember if I saw strollers per se, but I do remember seeing a very diverse crowd, ranging from serious athletes to casual walkers. Plus, the course is very wide (since we basically take over the bridge), so you would have all the room you would need to enjoy your run with a stroller! I say go for it!

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