MGC Long Run 15k Race Report


A few months ago, my ever-supportive-but-skeptical-of-running husband, AJ, agreed to train for his first half marathon. I suggested it, figuring he would shoot me down like he always does, but he said “Ok” and I quickly whipped up a training plan before he could change his mind. We were aiming for a half marathon at the end of February, so the MGC Long Run 15k, which takes place about 1.5 hours away in Columbia, would be a good test a few weeks out before the race. Now, we have since changed AJ’s goal to a half marathon in May for a variety of reasons, but we were nonetheless signed up for the 15k so it was happening one way or another. As I noted in my last post, I was not totally sure he knew how far a 15k was but he informed me that he did in fact know because the race had been sending him emails reminding him that he had signed up for the 15k, and he looked up how far that was. Well, there goes my plan of just not telling him and hoping he didn’t notice when we were running for longer than usual.

The race required a 5:15 am wake up call so we could drive to Columbia in time, and between that and the temperatures in the 20s and the fact that we were about to run over 9 miles, AJ was…not that enthusiastic at the race start.

Clearly not interested in a pre-race photo op

In his defense, it was really cold. The race got underway and we took off, though. I immediately felt…crappy. I felt like I couldn’t take a full breath, and my stomach was upset. The beginning part of the course has a few hills, but nothing too crazy, but I was struggling to keep up with AJ. I suppose this is what I get for hoping to trick him into running a 15k, right? He seemed to be feeling pretty good, but as we passed the one mile marker, he said “THAT’S mile one? Oh, this is not good.” Oh dear, my sentiments exactly. Nonetheless, he skipped the first water stop, which surprised me, because he’s not one to miss out on an opportunity to take a walk break. I just sucked it up and kept going, staying a few steps behind him because I literally could not run any faster. I told him to run his own race and if he wanted to go faster, he should, and I’d be ok.

Pretty much my view for the first 3-ish miles of the race

Fortunately, I started feeling better a few miles in. I noticed how strong AJ was on the hills – he never lost his stride and we were passing people left and right on them. Hills are not his strong suit at home, so I made sure to tell him what a great job he was doing and note that he was passing people. “These aren’t even hills compared to home,” he said. “This is easy.” EXCELLENT.

Feeling much better about a photo opp by the time we reached the state house

The race heads downhill from Columbia and across the river over into West Columbia and Cayce. It’s a lonnnng downhill stretch, and AJ realized we would have to run back up to get back to the finish line, which he was less than thrilled about. Still, he kept a really consistent pace and we only walked at the water stops. Each time we saw a race clock, we were right at 10 minute pace, which was great! He said he was feeling good, and he pushed hard up all of the hills. By the time we got to mile 7, we were now in new territory – that’s the farthest he has even run continuously! Still, he said he was feeling good. We were about to begin the final uphill portion of the race heading back into downtown, and there are some really steep hills. I told him to keep his eye focused on the top of the hill, shorten his stride, and pump his arms. As people all around us started walking, he kept going strong! I was so proud!!

He never lost his positive attitude, and he really got the eye of the tiger as we closed in on the finish. As soon as we turned the final corner, he said “WHAT DOES THE CLOCK SAY?” and then asked me how that translated to pace since we had been on track for 10 minute miles but had slowed a bit on the final hills. We were on track to finish right around 1:33, putting him at perfect 10 minute pace! I told him he had to hold my hand as we ran across the finish line, so we grabbed hands and kept running. I told him to wave for the photographers, but he was super focused on the finish line, resulting in my new favorite race photo of all time!

BRB framing this and keeping it forever

AJ’s not one to make a big deal out of something like this, but I told him about a thousand times how proud he should be of himself. I caught him almost smiling a few times as we ran to the finish line, so he can keep pretending to be a run-hater, but I think I know the truth now! He thought the medal was cool, but mostly he was excited about all of the free food and random things there are at the finish line for runners! This particular race gives hot donuts to the runners, and he was all over that.

“Do they always have free food at the end? This is legit.”

So all in all, it was a very successful 15k – AJ’s longest run by about 2.3 miles! I did try and convince him to let me roll out his legs before we went to bed last night, but he declined. Suffice to say he’s feeling the burn today! But I think he’s excited about (or more realistically, not completely dreading) running a half marathon in the spring. He says it will be a one-and-done thing, but I think as long as I keep finding races with a good selection of free food at the end, I’ll be able to keep his interest. One thing’s for sure – running is even more fun when you get to share it with the person you love!

We did not match on purpose, I swear. But it does happen kind of a lot.

19 thoughts on “MGC Long Run 15k Race Report

  1. It’s always a great experience to share a moment like that with your significant other. I’m glad you guys had such a great time and I hope you do frame that photo. It would be awesome.

    I would agree with you that running is a lot more fun sharing the memories. Just yesterday, my husband and I made a day trip out of a race and enjoyed a new area. It was a good time.

    1. Thanks, Hollie! I always love seeing your race pictures with your husband as well. It is so cool that you guys get to share those race day experiences together, even if you don’t always run together!

  2. This is so fantastic and I loved when you posted it to FB!
    My husband ran exactly one 5K and said he would NEVER do it again and has held true to his word. Oh well. At least I have those 3.1 miles of memories 🙂
    So great for you guys and really love that finishing photo!

    1. Hahaha that’s so funny! Did you run the race with your husband? I bet you’ll get the boys racing in a few years (or Vaughn, at least) and you’ll be able to make those memories with them! Those would be the cutest finish line pics ever.

  3. Love the picture – actually all of them, and as always I adore your narrative style and stories 🙂 So glad AJ got through this and you guys got to share it. Nothing like it!

  4. in the words of Borat: GREAT success! Alex and I have had a few plans to do a race, but, well, we have to deal with out bodies, which might equal 1 functioning body between the two of us.

    1. Gypsy, give me your tears or I will take them from you!! Hopefully you and Alex will be able to get it together for a race soon. If not, at least you have all those yummy date nights to look forward to!

  5. I love this post and reading the account of you and AJ’s 15K race. I had a lot of friends who did this one and who said the course was great and hills weren’t as bad as they expected (they said the 5K was flat and fast which is hard to believe for Cola). I think he will do great at his first half marathon and that finish line picture is the best. You should definitely frame it to have that memory forever.

    1. Thanks, Amy! I agree – the hills are not as bad as they definitely could be in Cola. There are a few nasty ones, but overall, it’s pretty good! Definitely framing that finish line pic.

  6. Way to go AJ (and Danielle too, of course)! This post made me beam. Hopefully one of these days I can convince my husband to join me for a race. : )

    1. Thanks so much, Amber! It took me quite a few years to convince him, but it was worth the wait!

  7. I’ll admit, it took me a second to clue in that AJ may not quite know how far 15k is because of the whole America and miles thing. Some days I’m smarter than others…

    Whoa. Hot donuts?! Shoot. That miiiiight just be better than beer. Maybe.

    1. Hahahaha it’s funny that you say that, because I literally convert all races in my head into miles by using a 5k as my guide, and I have no idea how far an actual kilometer is. Sometimes, I convince myself that NO ONE knows how far a kilometer is and everyone is still converting races into miles the same way I am. It makes me feel better of about our irrational system of measurement.

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