I found this local race in 2017 on accident. The kids and I were getting ready to go to the park and we heard music. As we followed the pop rock of “Eye of the Tiger” we saw a group of runners gathering in downtown Edenton, North Carolina, for the Live Your Dash 8K (about 5 miles).
The road and trail race benefits the George and Alex Memorial Foundation, which provides scholarships to local high school students. The name of the race, “Live Your Dash,” refers to the dash between the date of birth and date of death on your tombstone. Living Your Dash means living all that time in between your birth and death. Alex and George were two people who lived life to the fullest, but their lives were cut way too short.
A few weeks before the race this year, I brought it up to my daughter, who loves running trails. It was the only race in our town that offered trail running, her favorite. She said, “Sure, Mom, that sounds like fun.”
Live Your Dash is one of the few races in town that lets you pick up you registration packet the night before the race. Inside the bag was a bib, some safety pins, and the race shirt (a nice gray tech, long-sleeve shirt) with the race’s logo on it. You had to preregister to get a shirt.
The day of the race however, it was a drag your kids to the start line kind of day. Like with other races, she didn’t want to run and did everything in her power to stall.
I gotta play with the dog. Let me fight with my brother over a blanket. I’m playing Skyrim (that’s a role-playing video game on Playstation 4).
When we finally got to the start, there was a decent crowd. Many of the runners and walkers were people that I recognized from other athletic events around town. The founders of the foundation participated in the race (one of them was first male overall, the other finished right behind me.)
The race starts in downtown Edenton, in front of the library on Water Street. From there, we head east toward historic Hayes Plantation. Instead of going up the hill into Hayes, the John A. Holmes boys soccer team directs you to a mowed path along Edenton Bay. There is a nice breeze off the bay, but there isn’t any shade and it is humid. The wet grass stuck to the outside of my Xero Shoes Prios. I thought about wearing trail shoes, but the large clumps of grass along the trail made me glad that I stuck with my minimalist shoes. And yes, just like me, I almost tripped over one of the clumps of mowed grass.
The trail ended on the road leading to the Edenton Bay subdivision, a posh neighborhood along Edenton Bay. From there we arrived at the first water stop at the one-mile marker. I dumped the water on my head and headed to the right onto a grassy path along a peanut field. The path was a gradual uphill leading to another view of the water, this time the Albemarle Sound.
About half way up the hill, I saw a runner in a black shirt with her brown hair flowing in the wind. It was my daughter. I said, “Way to go!” as we passed each other. There was a big smile on her face as she passed. Despite all of that fighting earlier in the morning, she was in her element. That gave me the biggest rush of adrenaline as I climbed the hill.
At the top of the hill was a flat area that led to an abandoned looking shed. It was a covered porch without a house, filled with tables and chairs, just by itself, near the water. We ran around the building, making it from mile two to mile three.
Then it was down the hill back to the water stop. This time, after dumping more water on my head, I went right, onto a sandy farm road flanked by cotton fields. Running in sand is rough, as the tan material moves under your feet and slows you down. I tried to stay on the packed part of the path as much as possible.
From there we went left onto a gravel path lined with old sharecroppers’ shacks. Since I had my minimalist shoes on, I felt every rock on that road. It forced me to pick up my cadence so I wouldn’t have to deal with the stabbing jagged rocks.
Then the course was paved road again, going through Hayes Plantation straight to the finish line, which was also the start line.
I tried to run the race in such a way that I would have enough energy to pick up my pace toward the finish line. I wanted to push my limits, but not kill myself in the process.
As I neared the finish line, my daughter, who finished way before me, started cheering me on in the semi-enthusiasm most other tweens her age have perfected. My stick-wielding son and his big brother came from around the corner at that time. The youngest, still carrying his sticks, started pacing me.
“I’m beating you mom,” he yelled over his shoulder as he passed me. I tried to catch up with him, but my legs just wouldn’t let me.
I finished in a little over an hour, which was rather puzzling. Looking at my Milestone Pod data, I covered 5.35 miles on the course, averaging a little over 11 minutes a mile. No wonder things seemed a bit odd.
The awards were hand-cut boards decorated by children of the families that created the George and Alex Memorial Foundation. At the end of the race, names were written on the awards with a silver Sharpie.
The after-party was held at the house of one of the participants. I must say Carolina barbecue after a race is divine. The coleslaw was some of the best I’ve ever had — the perfect blend of crunchy, sweet and vinegar.
It was a great little race. My family will definitely participate again.