So…Kiawah Island. This place is totally gorgeous.
But let’s talk about the race. We got in around 6:30 pm (after sitting in forever traffic in Charleston). The villa check-in and race packet pick-up were in the same place which was really convenient. It was kind of crazy because there wasn’t alot of parking, but the employees were really helpful (and cheerful!) in pointing us in the right direction.
Still, it was pretty late by the time we made it to our room (house?). Luckily we had the foresight to stop at the grocery store before we got onto the island to get salads, pizza and other snacks for the next few days. I didn’t get any pictures of our villa, but it was cute and cozy and had pretty much everything we needed. We were all pretty tired, so we ate, lounged around for a bit, and went to bed (like the lame adults we are).
My friends that were with me were originally running the marathon, but they had to defer to next year because of various injuries/sicknesses, so I was the only one of the four of us that was actually running. So I had my own personal cheering squad! They made sure to get some actions shots of me, too.
Anyways, the race started at 8 am, and shuttles were provided from our part of the island to the race start since it wasn’t within walking distance. They said the shuttles were only going to come every 15 mins, but there were a lot of runners on our side of the island (cheaper villas), so it seemed like the buses were coming more quickly. When we got to the race start, we spied out the portapotties and checked out the bike rentals! It turned out that they were $18 for the day, which wasn’t too bad! So we all rented bikes. I left mine at the rental area, and my cheer squad planned to used them to get around the race course!
I hit the potties one last time, and then headed off towards the start line! Eeek! It was nice to have some friends with so I could ditch my jacket and phone with them.
The marathon and half started at the same time, so we were all grouped together. The half marathon course was actually the first half of the marathon, so I staked out a place near the 4:30 marathon group since I was hoping at best to do a 2:15. They started right on time (which is always refreshing!) and I only started about 3 minutes after the gun.
So, quick tangent. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who don’t start with the right pace, especially when there are pace grouping available! I passed a ton of people *walking* in the first mile or so, when I wouldn’t have expected that since I was around the 10:00/mile pace group! I had to keep dodging walkers which was really annoying and really slowed me down that first mile. Seriously, if your going to walk during the first mile, head towards the back! Sorry, end rant.
Anyways, I started out the first 4 miles pretty slow-ish, but I didn’t wear my Garmin, so I was just trying to find a comfortable pace.
I still felt pretty good at mile 4, then I thought, “Steph, if you want to get a good time, you actually have to run fast. Also, the 4:30 pace group was passing me. So, I started to push my pace to put some distance between me and them. The miles went by so fast!!
By the time I hit the 8 mile mark, I realized I really had to pee, but I was holding a good pace and really didn’t want to stop! This made for a very uncomfortable last 5 miles
Around mile 12, that hip pain that had been bothering me came back with a vengeance! It started with my hip and then moved to my whole leg! AHH it hurt so bad. But I was so close at that point that I decided to run through it even though I know you’re not really supposed to. The pain faded a little bit towards the very end, so that was a relief.
There were a bunch of people cheering at the end, which was super exciting and I finally finished in…
2:10.41!! This was so much better than I could have expected! I was thinking I would do a 2:20, maybe 2:15 if I was really feeling good. I’m super excited about this PR…it’s over 20 mins faster than my last half!
So, my thoughts on the race? SUPER FLAT. That was awesome, and probably part of why I was so much faster than my last half (which was in Greer, hill central). The scenery was so pretty, which helped the race go by faster. The food at the end was amazing and there was beer! I didn’t get any because the line was too long, but it was there!
I only have two complaints, really. The first is the issue with the walkers at the beginning, which is not the race director’s fault. The second was the part of the course that was out and back. The out was on the road, but coming back, we were on this narrow bike path, which really made it hard to pass people. So that was irritating, but it was really only like that for 2.5 miles, so not the worst.
Overall, a great race! I would definitely go back! This would be a good race for a first marathon too.
Anyways, after the race, we grabbed our bikes and rode back to our villa. These were beach cruisers and have a top speed of super slow, so this was not too bad for me.
After the sun went down we headed to dinner at the King Street Grill (so-so). We originally were going to go to go to a resort restaurant, but when we got over there, we decided it was too ritzy for us, so we went to the little shopping center off the island.
I mean, geez. I’m not made of that kind of money 😉
Anyways, that was my weekend!
How was yours?