Saturday, October 20, 2012

Race Recap: Georgetown Half Marathon

SUB-2 is official!  A week later, and I'm still recovering a little bit, but it was worth it.

Let's begin at the beginning...

J and I headed out of town around 4:30 on Friday, and made to Georgetown in time to scoop up my packet (took approximately 30 seconds... yay for small races) and to meet some friends for a carbo-loading sesh at Pastaria 811 in Pawley's Island.  I'm not sure what they do to the tomatoes that they put on their house salad, but it is magical.

After our delicious dinner, we checked into our hotel, and I laid out my race outfit.  Then I took a shower and straightened my hair.  This is what it's come to in order to avoid the uni-dread.  Anyway, we stayed at a Hampton Inn, so there was free breakfast starting at 6am, so I got dressed and got down stairs ASAP, then J drove me to start line.  We found a parking spot one block away, which awesome. (Again, yay for small races.)  It was windy and a bit chilly, but I was only at the start for 15 mins or so, so it wasn't too bad.  No lines for the porta potties, and I found my friends with no problems.  And then when we lined up, I ended up standing right next to a former co-worker who was running the 5K.  (Can I say it one more time?  Yay for small races.)

{Me, Leslie, Jenny, and Jennifer at the start.}

I knew that if I held at 9:09 pace then I would come in at 1:59:59, so my game plan was to start around 9:20 to get warmed up during the first mile, get it down to 9:00-9:05 at least until the 10K, and then pick it up after that if I could.  The first 2 miles of the course were through downtown, so I saw J right after the start and again just after the first mile marker.

{Thumbs up because I'm only 30 seconds in.}

The first 7 miles of the course are beautiful.  Downtown Georgetown is full of gorgeous old mansions, cute shops, and amazing views of the bay.  The sun was still coming up as we passed along the waterfront and over the first bridge out and back.  The first bridge was super fun .  I was able to hold my pace both ways without feeling like I was pushing myself hard and the view at the top was awesome.  It was definitely windy, but it felt good.  Plus, it was an out and back, so we got to see the leaders, which is always fun.  The first guys came over the bridge (going back) just as I got to the top (going out).  The turnaround was right at mile 4, so I ate half a packet of Honey Stinger chews before we tackled the bridge again.  I saw Leslie, Jenny, and Jennifer a little past the turn around, so that was a nice pick-me-up too.

 {Sunrise over the bay.}

Right at the the turnaround point, I started to notice something funky happening in my left calf.  Both calves were very sore this week, and I have no idea why.  I took my runs super easy, obviously, and I made a point to wear flats or very low heels to work to give my legs a break.  I rubbed the crap out of both of them with the Stick on Friday night and before leaving the hotel, and actually, the right one was much more sore than the left, so the crampy twinges in my left leg really surprised me.  And once it started, it never went away.  I expected it to go into a full blown cramp at any second the whole way from mile 4-13.1.  It was not a fun mental battle to fight - since it more annoying than painful, I told myself to keep going as long as possible and if it did go into a full cramp, I could deal with it then.  Luckily, this was also the point where I made a running buddy.  We were running the same pace and we stuck together from mile 4 until about mile 12 (when she totally left me in the dust... must work on that for next time), so I just tried to focus on staying with her.  

We went back through downtown for a few blocks around mile 6-7.  I ate the rest of my Honey Stingers, and I saw all of my cheerleaders - Leslie's husband and father, J, and my coworker Ginger.  I went through the 10k right at 55 minutes, so I knew I was on track, and except for the occasional twinges in my calf, I was feeling good.  Just before mile 8, we hit the second bridge, which is the start of the second out and back.  This bridge was terrrrible, mostly because the sign for mile 12 was right at the base of it, so you pass it as you're going out and realize that means you've got to come back over it at the end.  Also, it's steeper than the first one, which is rough.  We did see the leaders again, though, at almost the exact same spot, just as we crested the bridge.


Then shit got real.  Miles 9-11 are run within this weird, unbuilt subdivision.  It's all paved and all of the lots are marked off, and you can tell it was supposed to be some kind of really nice development along the water, but there are no houses.  It's really bizarre, and it was totally open to the wind with no shade.  In fact, when we finaaaaaallllllyyyyy hit the turn around at mile 10, the wind hit us head on.  So miz, and definitely not the way you want to start the last 5K.  I was starting to get a little tired, so I tried to take 3 or 4 sports beans, but I couldn't hold them down.  I ended up spitting them out, which is weird because I did fine with them last time and had no issues on my training runs.  But, whatever, lesson learned... next time I will make sure I have more options in my fuel belt.

So Mile 11-12 means you have to go back over that damn bridge.  I passed mile 11 almost exactly at 1:40:00, so I knew I was going to be cutting it close for sub-2.  I told myself just to keep it steady and get up the bridge as fast as possible.  This is where my race buddy took off.  I don't know how she had it in her to get up that bridge so fast, because when I finally made it up, my watch said I was at a 9:53 pace.  I thought I had lost my sub-2, and even though the downhill helped me make up some time, I was DONE.  My calf was seriously unhappy, and my hips were throbbing, and I really just wanted to cry, but there was no way in hell I was stopping at that point.  I went through Mile 13 and my watch said 1:58ish.  I could see the finish and hear people (J) screaming at me to go sub-2, so I somehow managed to keep moving to the finish.

The clock said 1:59:47 as I went through, and I just lost it in the chute.  I was already out of breath and my calf was freaking out, so the crying didn't help.  I managed to grab some water and immediately scarfed down a banana, and calmed down a little bit.  Only then did I remember to stop my Garmin.  Runner fail.

Nevertheless, my official chip time, and NEW PR, is 1:59:34. 

The post-race festival included music by Bil Krauss, who is an institution in the beach bars along the SC coast.  J and I went to see him play the night we got engaged, and we try to see him whenever we're down at Pawley's.  He's a runner too, and he actually ran the course earlier in the morning.  We got a little shout out while he was playing, so that was fun.  We couldn't hang out for too long because J wanted to get back to Cola for the Carolina/LSU game.

So just like that, race weekend was over!  But lucky for me, I'll be running (not sub-2) the Governor's Cup on Nov. 3.  My parents will be in town, so that should be fun.  I will post my turnaround plan later this week, and I could definitely use some advice about how to pull it off.


  1. Great recap!! And congrats again on getting your sub-2:00 in only your second race! And on a tough course too!! I hope we can cross paths at a race soon :)

    1. Thanks! I hope so too! We'll have to plan something for 2013!