Race day started off pretty well. It was a chilly morning clocking in at just 37 degrees, which I knew would feel great when running, but felt really cold just standing around. (Remember, wussy Southerner.) Luckily, the Charleston Marathon is nice enough to start right near one of the local middle/high schools and they let you wait inside and actually use the bathrooms, woohoo for no port-a-potties! It is the little things in life. On the way to the bathroom I actually bumped into Jenny who was down from the DC area for the race. I read her blog Run Jenny Run all the time, so it was so cool to meet her in real life.
After that I headed out to the start line and tried to get my mind right for the race since I was going into it with some pretty big goals.
C Goal = Sub 2:15 (10:17 avg. or lower)
B Goal = Close to the 2:10:40 I finished with a Kiawah (around a 10:00 avg.)
A Goal = Anything below a 2:10:39 which would be my fastest half in 4 years (9:57 avg.)
Since Charleston is not a corralled race it is kind of a big cluster at the start, which I think is pretty much the way most half marathons are at this point. I lined up right in front of the 2:15 pacer since that is the pace I was going for, but apparently so did everyone else. That made my first mile way slower than I wanted (close to eleven minutes) as I tried to weave my way back and forth through a jam packed street. I tried not to stress about it since there was really nothing else I could do.
At the end of mile 1 the course opened up a bit and I had room to pass people and get to my desired pace. My watch beeped mile 2 and I was so happy to see I was right at a 9:45 pace and feeling comfortable. Exactly what I needed for my A goal. However, I got a bit worried when I didn’t see the second mile marker for a while. By the time I hit the mile 2 sign my Garmin already read 2.29. Yikes! I know that race courses are a bit long because of the tangents, but to pick up an extra almost 0.3 at the very beginning was not good.
I had finished both the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Half and Kiawah Half with 13.2something on my Garmin. Just about 0.1 – 0.2 over for the whole race and here I was only at mile 2 and already well over that. I started to worry. The longer I actually was out running the course the more time it would take and the faster I would have to run every mile in order to meet my goal.
I tried to keep my pace a bit faster, hoping I could to make up for the difference, and attempted to stay right around a 9:40something. I did pretty well, but around mile 6 or 7 my legs started to get a bit tired. I just didn’t feel as physically strong and I did at Kiawah last month. My legs were sore and didn’t seem to want to push as much. However, my stubborn head was all in. I just keep telling myself you are half way there, keep pushing, the miles will tick away fast, don’t give up now, and anything else that would make me keep going. I managed to trudge on and from miles 2 – 10 I held a pace between 9:40 – 9:50. I hoped that was enough to make up for my first mile which was almost 11 minutes because of the crowd.
At mile 10 I tried to push a bit faster, but I didn’t have it in me. I told myself to just keep the pace and kick it for the final two miles. However, when that mile 11 signed rolled around I still had nothing to give. At mile 12 I gave it my all, which was not much. At Kiawah I had been able to speed up and run a 9:22 final mile. However, my legs just didn’t have that in them today and it was all I could do it drop from 9:50 to 9:40ish.
When I crossed the finish line I was a mix of emotions.
First, I was so PROUD of my 9:50 pace.
I was able to run the race faster than I ran Kiawah (9:59 avg.) which was a big goal of mine.
However, I was really disappointed in my overall finish time. Even though I ran a faster pace than a month ago at the Kiawah Half, my time was slower by about a minute and a half. Uggghhhhhhh…
I sat down and bent over my Mizuno Running Wave Rider 18 to stretch, and while was looking at my Garmin splits I noticed this – 2:08:46 – Fastest Half. I couldn’t help smile. Maybe I didn’t get the time I wanted, but I did all I could do and I ran the pace I wanted. There is something to be said in that. (FYI – Not really a PR, my PR was a sub 2 over 4 years ago on this same course. However, this is the closest I have been since which makes me a happy girl.)
I appreciate that the Charleston Marathon is trying to fix the problem. They have called in certified people to measure the overage that was caused by the mistake and then to try and help adjust times. They are doing this in hopes they can fix the times by adjusting for that extra distance and still have the course be certified so that the new results will count for people trying to qualify for other races. I am glad they are trying to fix the mistake.
I am also interested to see what my final results will be after they do this.
Will they be close to the 2:12:08 I actually ran?
Or closer to the 2:08:46 I hit at the half marathon mark?
I have to admit I really hope for a sub 2:10 so I can say I met my goal.
Have any of you ever run a course that was long like this?
I usually on get lost on training runs. (Have you done that?)