Race recap: Kiawah Island Half Marathon 2016

Well, we all know this ended up not being the goal race I had originally planned. Life (aka, illness) really got in the way of training this time around and knocked my mileage down lower than it's been in quite a while. 

I only ran about 12-18 miles most weeks, with just a few going over that and some lower (eek). Usually my mileage is at least up around 20-25 miles per week, which is still on the low side for a half marathon, but this time I really bottomed out in my miles. This was, by far, the lowest average mileage I've ever run for a training cycle since I ran my first marathon (for which I was not properly trained and I was also not properly trained this time around). Yikes.

 I love the Medal for this race!

I love the Medal for this race!

Between my undertraining and multiple illnesses (asthma, allergies, and vitamin D and iron deficiencies - the last two I found out about the week after Kiawah but have been plagued by for months), it's no surprise I had to cut back my goals for Kiawah and just run it easy rather than race it. I also had a sinus infection the week of the race and was feeling the effects of that on race morning, too. 

Because I only live about an hour from Kiawah, we didn't get a hotel at the island or anything. My husband wasn't feeling well, so I woke up a o-dark-thirty to drive myself to the race. 

Off-island runners had to park in a parking lot (aka, a grassy field) next to Fresh Fields Village and then take shuttles to the starting line. Parking was easy and I got there early enough that I didn't have to stand in line to get on a shuttle. Thank goodness, because it was freezing! Only in the 30s.

Once I got off the shuttle, I headed to the building where the expo and packet pickup were. They had a large room open so runners could hang out in there and stay warm. Since it was so cold that morning, so it was nice to have a warm place to stay before the race. 

kiawah island half marathon starting line

Shockingly, I started off feeling pretty good. I didn't feel awesome, but I didn't feel like death. Up until about mile 9, I really felt okay. I was running easy and walking the water stops and I was pleased with myself for managing to get through the race.

And then I just started to feel a bit tired. I kept going easy, but easy was a bit slower at that point. I just kept telling myself, "get to the next water stop, get to the next water stop." There were also some gravel trails on and off in miles 9 and 10 and for some reason, those just made me even more tired. 

My phone died around mile 11.5(ish). When it died, my average pace was 8:58, which would have been a finish time of 1:57:33 if I could have just hung on for another just over 1.5 miles. Sadly, even though I took it easy, my energy was just plummeting, which I now know is because I'm iron/ferritin and vitamin D deficient.

I had to walk several times in the last mile because the exhaustion hit me like a ton of bricks, and by doing that, I decreased my pace so much that I ended up finishing in 2:00:05 (a 9:09 pace). Ugh, ugh, ugh. I mean, really...missing sub-2 by a few seconds? Not that sub-two is my main goal or anything, but it would have been nice to at least see that for a race that I ran easy. 

But generally, this race wasn't the disaster I expected it to be. Yes, it was slower than I would have liked and I certainly didn't finish strong, but it could have been so much worse and my asthma was completely under control (and the weather was perfect for racing). I'd say that's a win for a 13.1 mile run after all of the issues I've been having! Oh and because my phone died, I only ended up getting one picture at the race (the start line, see above). Sigh. 

The finish area had lots of food and beer, but I was tired and my stomach was getting pissed, so I just wanted to hop a shuttle, get to my car, and get home. Unfortunately for me, I didn't see the signs for the shuttles at the finish area (and the 5 people I asked about them didn't know where they were either), so I ended up walking the wrong direction to look for the shuttles. It took me - and I'm not exaggerating - an hour to locate the shuttles from the time I finished the race. I think my brain just shut off or something.

Even upon finding the shuttles, I still didn't see any signs. Maybe it was me. Maybe it wasn't well marked. But that was my only issue with Kiawah. Everything else about the event was really well done. 

Despite not having the race of my life at Kiawah, I absolutely loved the course and I've got this race on my list for next year. It's a fast course, so I'm hoping for good weather and good health because it's a PR possibility for sure. 

Summary

Race: Kiawah Island Half Marathon
Date: December 10, 2016
Location: Kiawah Island, SC
Course: Flat, mostly shaded, through neighborhoods and a bit of beach front, mostly looped
Cause: Kiawah Conservancy
Weather: 38 degrees, 65% humidity, sunny