The good news: I did finish the Kiawah Marathon
The bad news: It was 5 hours and 13 minutes of misery.
That makes it slower than my first marathon, and therefore my slowest marathon ever. UG. I have to remind myself constantly that 1) any day you cover 26.2 miles on foot is a good day and 2) it was still just a race. Not a life changing event.
Still it’s a pretty big disappointment to go in with some solid training and fail so miserably.
Anyways, the race. We got stuck in a big traffic jam in Charleston, so we didn’t get to Kiawah until pretty late. We made the (really smart) decision to rent a condo that was just a block or two away from the start line/expo so we could walk over to packet pickup.
We had a really nice view of the marsh behind our condo, though we didn’t get to enjoy it much since it was either dark or raining the whole weekend =( Still, it was very pretty.
Race day came and I woke up with a way bad attitude. I really did not want to run this race. Not a good start. Still, I got dressed. It was sprinkling a bit, but it was really warm (enough to not need any throwaway clothes).
The race started out really well. I was right at my goal pace, maybe just a little over. I wanted to make sure I saved enough for later. I did a good job of not getting caught up in the rush at the beginning. Things were going great and I was totally going to hit my goal.
You maybe can’t tell from that picture, but I was totally drenched in sweat at this point (around mile 11). It was very warm and humid. I made a quick bathroom stop just past mile 12 (still haven’t figured out how to avoid that…) and started to pick up the pace around mile 13. This was good for a few miles, but I was just so hot! I couldn’t get cooled off at all and there wasn’t really a breeze or anything. Around mile 15, things started to really fall apart. I started walking, just a little at first, then a lot. I was tired, though my legs still didn’t feel bad. I was just so hot and sweaty and miserable and I wanted to quit so bad. There were people just sitting down on the side of the road and quitting…and I seriously considered it too. Then I reached mile 16, where I could see some volunteers handing out blondies to the runners at mile 20. OMG I WANTED A BLONDIE. I decided to keep going because I wanted to reach mile 20 and get a blondie. I was still really struggling, and when the 5 hour pace group passed me around mile 18, I felt really frustrated. I didn’t want to run anymore. So, I did what I can do best. I power-walked. I totally passed a bunch of people doing that. I can power-walk really fast. This race was going terrible but I would have that blondie! It was amazing. I kept going like that until mile 22, then I started a jog/walk combo again. My legs were a little stiff my that point from the power-walking. I was a little concerned because I was very thirsty and the next aid station was until 24 so I took it easy until I could get some more water. It wasn’t like I was going to PR at that point, so I just focused on finishing without injury (or dehydration!). I was able to run the last 2 miles without too much trouble, and even picked it up for a fast finish in the last mile.
This kind of tells me that I never really hit “the wall”, like I did in Savannah…so what the hell happened?? Was it bad training? It’s possible, but my last few long runs were pretty good and were all right around the pace I wanted to hold at this race. Certainly not 12:00 minute miles.
My attitude wasn’t great and that probably didn’t help.
The heat and humidity? Possibly. I’m generally much warmer than most people and really struggle in humid weather (as chronicled by all my terrible running this summer). That combined with the fact that it’s been 30 degrees or below for almost all of my runs (and all of my long runs) since mid-October. There’s no doubt that I was miserably hot and completely soaked in sweat (seriously, I was nasty).
Thankfully I finished when I did because it started raining pretty hard about five minutes after I was done! While I’m kind of thankful I didn’t have to run another marathon in the rain…it might have been able to cool me off a little, which would have been nice.
A few thoughts on the course…it’s very flat! It’s nice, but very boring. There are a lot of out and backs on some side island roads where there’s not much out there but trees. It’s all pretty, but it all starts to look the same after a while. I know some people prefer the new course to the old one (2 loops of the 1/2 course), but I think I would have preferred that since the half course was more scenic. Oh well. And the weather…well, what can you do? It’s freaking 70+ in December. If the race had been Sunday, the weather would have been perfect.
Still, it’s done. I think this is a race that will need to stay in 2013 =)