I did my fifth half-marathon this past weekend in Charleston.
And got a new PR.
This was the second ever marathon, half-marathon, and 5K in Charleston for this group of race organizers. And it was evident for many reasons. I’m confident they’ll work out the kinks in a few years. The nice part was that it was small. As in, my chip time was only about a minute off the race clock. And folks, I’ve YET to run a race where that was possible. Also, we got a pretty cool medal. And you know you’re running in a southern coastal town when, at the finish line, they have boiled peanuts, shrimp and grits, and beer waiting for you.
Of course, I had to survive the wind that never stopped and the course that, once you got out of downtown, was so boring I was ready to gouge out my eyeballs. I should have occupied my time by counting warehouses. Then again, I probably would have lost count. Fortunately, I was hovering around a pace group and that kept me focused on different things. Like how likely they were to smoke me by the end.
But I did survive. The pace group did leave me, but I came down the chute with a sh*t eating grin on my face looking up at the race clock and knowing I’d done it. I shaved 7 minutes off my time from my last half in March of last year.
Not too shabby.
The other nice thing was that my legs and hips NEVER hurt. I just got tired. Part of that was, I think, because I didn’t really fuel up well the day before. Or the day of. Or the entire week before this whole nonsense was supposed to go down.
I thought I was going to be able to report that I’d run the race of my life. Because I did…for nine miles. And then that ninth mile was the longest EVER. And there was some walking between 10 and the finish line. What kept me going, however, was the knowledge that two cups of Shock Top awaited me at the finish. Don’t judge me, people. Beer is a GREAT recovery drink.
And then I got in that VERY LONG line for the beer…after I snagged some fruit, a bite of a bagel, some A-MAZING green tea that’s produced locally…and the longer I waited, the crankier I became. Then, FINALLY, I got up to the man with the taps to the sweet nectar and handed over BOTH of my tickets. That’s right. I two-fisted it outta there. And then dove back through the line for a cup of boiled peanuts (because they were warm and I was not). And then I headed over to the shrimp and grits area to see if one of my peeps was there. On the way, I drank beer #1. Quickly. As in, gone in thirty paces.
And lest you judge me for THAT, I would like to point out two things: (1) three cups, two hands–you do the math, and (b) holding two cups of beer when you’re already cold only makes you colder.
Which is why I made my way around to near the entrance of the tent to wait for my friend…and cuddle next to a heater. Meanwhile, I started in on those boiled peanuts and kept refueling my body with liquid. And then my friend showed up. He’d not yet gotten his shrimp and grits and we decided it was time. And then I took a step.
You know how when you’re drinking and not moving you don’t really feel the effects of what you’ve just done? And then you stand up/take a step? Yeeeeeaaaaaaah.
The shrimp and grits were kinda tasty. The boiled peanuts were freaking awesome. And I finally righted myself enough to head back to the finish line to wait for my best friend to finish the marathon.
I have to say…I was UNBELIEVABLY proud of Robin that day. Turns out she’d pulled off the course at mile 2 and debated walking back to the hotel.
Y’all. She does. not. quit.
She gutted it out from mile 2 to the finish line. She’d been sick the week before and her stomach was jacked the morning of the race. She was never more proud of earning a medal than that one on Saturday. (And she’s done a half Iron Man). I was proud of her, too. Especially since that course only got more boring in the second half (kinda like the Patriots/Broncos game did later that night).
I’m also proud of her husband who scored a PR in the 5K, having shaved 5 minutes off his time in about 5 weeks. And thankful that he was able to still run support staff for us as well.
I also came away from that race feeling more ready for this full marathon I’m supposed to be doing in March. Of course, I have to register first…