Charleston Half Marathon 2014 – Recap

I opted to run the Charleston Marathon – the half distance as a taper run for my full in New Orleans two weeks from now.  I signed up awhile ago when it was still a decent price, before all the increases, and figured it’d be more fun to do the race as a training run then to run on my own.

First, a bit about the race itself:
I will start off with a warning – this race is no frills.  So, if you like the bells, whistles, etc. of large, big city races this is not the one for you.  It is very low key, not many spectators to cheer you on and the water/aid stations are fewer and farther apart than at most races.
However, if you want a quick, simple race this one is for you.  Packet pickup is a breeze, not a single line since the race had only about 5,000 participants.  I pulled into my parking space 35 minutes before start time and was able to see the race start from where I parked.  Nice and simple.  You run the first 4 miles through beautiful downtown Charleston, amazing, but then the following miles straight up the very unattractive North Meeting Street.
The course is super flat though which leads to many strong race times.  The finishers party in Park Circle is nice with shrimp & grits, mimosas, and beer for finishers if you would like.
My only wish is that this race would somehow find a way to incorporate more of the beauty of Charleston.

Full marathon course tour–by the people from the Charleston Marathon.

This particular morning was rough.  Last weekend it was 60 degrees by the time I headed out for my final 20 miler at 8am; however, that was not the case this time.  It was only 34 degrees at the start of the race, and the wind was so horrible it felt way colder.  I can actually count on one hand the number of times I have heard the phrase “wind chill” in my 10 years living here and I am pretty sure they were almost all last night and this morning.

I told myself I would be running not racing, because this was just a training run, but the truth is there is very little racing in my life lately.  That is one of the many reasons I am taking a break from scheduled races for a few months after the New Orleans Marathon, my body needs it.  3 years ago, pre-injury, I cut a sub two hour marathon on this course and felt amazing (still my PR).  A month ago, I pushed hard at the Kiawah Half, gave it my all, and was pleased that I came in right under 2:15.  Today my goal was to run a 10:40 pace in order to see what that would feel like.  That would put me finishing the half at 2:20 and hopefully seeing if there was a chance for me to run with the 4:40 pace group in New Orleans.  CHs finishThe truth is I am not sure if I’ll be able to hang with the 4:40 group.  It is really just going to depend on my body that day.  A month ago at Kiawah I felt good, 2 weeks ago my 18 was AMAZING!  I am praying for runs like those.  However, last week my 20 was ugly and I rolled my ankle at one point.  It has been bothering my on and off all week.  It was fine until about mile 6 and then it got ugly, the ankle I rolled really kicked up and started bothering me.  I couldn’t keep up the 10:40 pace and was in a lot of pain.  It was ridiculously windy and I am sure that did not help either, especially since many of the miles were straight into the wind.  I kept pushing through even though it was not pleasant and managed to finish in 2:22:24.  (How cool would it have been if I could have shaved 2 more seconds off that time?)  Now I am resting, relaxing, and icing my ankle in hopes it heals quickly.  CHS medal

In the past few weeks I have had some amazing runs, some horribly slow runs, and some painful runs.  I feel I never know what my body has in store for me.  I am praying that two weeks from now in New Orleans it gives me a good day, and I will reward it with lots of rest and recovery afterward so that I can begin to heal and finally run injury free.

What you do this weekend?
Faces on the medal (above) – yea or nay?
I vote no.  They look a bit creepy.  Zombie runners?  A mob?  Hmmm…..not sure what they are. 


  1. says

    Hi Abby! Just now getting some time to catch up on your blog a bit! So sorry to read about your twisted ankle :( hope you get better soon! I twisted my ankle REALLY badly when I was a junior in high school at a soccer game, to the point where I could not walk on it for 2 weeks. Even after I had to do more balance poses to strengthen it and tape it up before every soccer game for extra support. I still have residual scar tissue from it too… yours doesn’t sound that bad though! Fingers crossed it heals up before your full in a few weeks! No good about windy race either, especially if it made it seem waayy colder!

    • says

      Oh my gosh that sounds horrid. Luckily i think I just rolled this one a bit. Enough to really aggravate it, but hopefully not too bad.

  2. says

    Um yeah those faces are creepy. I think the rest and recovery is a solid plan. Let your body heal. Look at the bigger picture…the goal is to have running in your life for as long as possible, yes? Taking a few months to recover and fix yourself is nothing in terms of the big picture. Wishing you the best for a FUN race in New Orleans and well deserved recovery after!

    • says

      Thanks. I am looking forward to NoLa, but I am also looking forward to recovery time afterward and hopefully healing.

  3. says

    I’m hoping that you are getting all of the no fun runs out of the way and that you go to New Orleans and have one of your best runs ever!!!
    Hope the ankle feels much better soon!

  4. says

    I still think your time was awesome! Especially since your ankle was bothering you! I think you’re going to kick some butt in Nola! Um yeah those faces on that medal are definitely a little creepy! I probably wouldn’t have noticed them though if you hadn’t pointed them out lol!

  5. Ashley @ Snow Cream and Syrup says

    faces – TOTALLY creepy. But the rest of the medal is cool.
    review – thanks for the nice summary. It’s a shame they didn’t get more of Charleston in the race. What about the bridge? I guess they reserve that for the Bridge Run? (which, by the way, if you’re looking for a nice 10k the Charleston Cooper River Bridge Run is a lot of fun. Usually in spring – April I think?)

    • says

      Yes, almost always the first weekend of April for Cooper and a lot of fun, but being one of the biggest 10K in the nation a logistics nightmare. I brave it every year though.

  6. Christine says

    Hi! Just found your blog! Nice to see another runner from Charleston! :-) I ran the half this weekend, too, and the headwinds and cold weather were no joke! That was some rough wind for the majority of the race. I do love the flatness of this course, though, but I agree, they could definitely incorporate more of the nice sections of Charleston into the race. It’s pretty sad around miles 6 through 10. And yes! Creepy faces! I liked last year’s medal much better.

    I hope your ankle feels better and good luck on your full marathon!

    • says

      You are right this one was rough with the wind and I agree the the North Meeting Street chunk of the race is pretty sad.

  7. says

    Blah! So sorry about the ankle. I didn’t even notice the faces until you mentioned them. But yeah, kind of creepy. Rest up for NOLA!

  8. says

    Way to gut that one out, girl. Wind is the WORST and it always seems to follow me wherever I go! Good things to come over 26.2 in NOLA. :) NAY on the faces. I’ve seen several pics of this medal but this is the first I have noticed the creepiness!

  9. says

    I don’t mind a no-frills race, but I do like some decent scenery! It sounds like you did pretty well. I hope things come together for your marathon. And, definitely no on the faces, Creepy.

  10. says

    Congrats! That’s a great time! Wind makes running so hard and it’s a little depressing when you know it’s only making the run harder. I hope you get in some rest before your next big race!

  11. says

    I love your question about the faces on the medal – I might not have even noticed them, otherwise! I already know that my goal for next year (err, the end of this year will be to run the Kiawah Half (or do they have a full marathon, too – I can’t remember). Do you have a race recap from that? If so, I’ll have to go and find it. Kiawah is my happy place – I’ll be going there in April, and then I’ll be going back to your neck of the woods (Charleston) for a conference in June. I can’t wait!

  12. says

    Oh Abby…I’m so sorry about your ankle! Keep icing and resting and see how it feels come race morning. Maybe start with the 4:40 pace group and see how you feel, then take it from there? Hope it feels better soon! Congrats on the half…sounds like a nice course!

  13. says

    As soon as I saw the medal I had a comment and then thought to myself “don’t say something if it may not be nice”… BUT, since you asked, I thought the heads totally look like creepy skulls!
    This weekend I ran a 10 miler. It felt amazing and was definitely a “good” day for my body. I’m toying with running a half next Saturday. It’s a local race, very no frills. I’d do it because I need to run anyways, and I wouldn’t be racing it. But I’m hesitant because I may be increasing my mileage a little to fast and I don’t want to over-train and end up injured. Decisions, decisions.

  14. says

    I ran the full this weekend (my first one!) and you are right about the “no frills” thing! I chose this race as my first marathon because I’m from Charleston (though I live in VA now), but if I didn’t have any special connection to it I probably wouldn’t have picked it.
    The creepy faces on the medal were the first thing I noticed! They weren’t apparent from the pictures of the medals (or maybe I was just excited it had the bridge on it and didn’t notice them), but when I got it and looked at it in real life, I was pretty freaked out by the ghosty-looking floaty heads!

  15. says

    I hope your ankle heals quickly! I had to look super close to see the faces on the medal. They kind of look like creepy skeletons. Weird.

  16. says

    Oh my gosh!! They totally look like zombies! Lol!!

    That sucks about your ankle. I hope it heals enough for your full. I understand though. I dealt with the same in Savannah’s half. It sucks but I was able to push though. Rest it and take care!


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