Race Recap: 2014 Charleston Half Marathon

I am so glad I ran this race! After much debating and being unsure I had enough training or energy to really go through with this, it was so rewarding to finish this faster than I thought I was going to. I followed my plan and took it at a very, very easy pace the entire way with splits that were almost completely even throughout the entire course and I ended up finishing in 2:09:49. I never once felt out of breath or tired or like I needed to slow down. While that's officially my slowest half marathon ever and far, far slower than what I ran last year on the same course (and far slower than the sub 1:50 PR I was hoping for at this race before pregnancy), it is the first half marathon I've run while pregnant (19 weeks!), so that counts for something, right?

This was also the coldest and windiest half marathon (maybe any race) I've ever run with temps in the 30s and headwinds at about 15 miles per hour from mile 6 until the end. Really, there was no break from that wind once the course broke out from the shelter of the buildings on King Street.

The weather today made me really grateful that I had run 12 miles two weeks ago under very similar conditions. It was that run that taught me that I needed to eat a lot - a lot - more on long runs right now. And thankfully, I nailed my fueling strategy this time and didn't run out of energy at all. I started by really carb loading yesterday for both lunch and dinner, which isn't something I typically do, but right now, I need it. For breakfast on race morning, I had a whole bagel with cream cheese, then I ate a third of a banana 30 minutes before the race started.

During the race, I split up a Bonk Breaker and ate a third of it each at miles 4, 8, and 11 plus my husband met me at mile 6 with orange slices. I did have two Bonk Breakers with me just in case, but I only needed to use one. I also had another third of a banana at mile 9, plus I had my Gatorade as hydration. I think I ate my way through this race, but it worked and it's what I needed and it kept me from ending the race feeling completely ravenous (just a little ravenous).

As part of my race gear, I slapped a "Baby on Board" sticker on my back and it was encouraging to have several runners along the course congratulate me and motivate me to keep going. I could also hear some people behind me noticing the sticker and saying things like, "Wow, that's awesome," which was also nice to hear. Truthfully, I didn't put the sticker on my back so that people would congratulate me - that was just a nice bonus. I used it first of all, for safety, in case I passed out or something, I figured it would be good for someone to know there was a baby on board, and also, just for my own sanity. For some reason, having that sticker gave me permission (in my mind) to keep it slow.

And speaking of gear, I felt like a stuffed turkey with all of my stuff in my belt and pockets! But hey, it did the job so I can't really complain.

This was the first time I've run a race for a second time and it was really nice knowing what was coming next. It definitely made the race mentally easier for me to run and I love this course for the most part. It's fast and flat, and I can't wait to come back next year and attempt a PR. Crowd support was much better this year than it was last year as well, so hopefully that will continue to grow as the race itself grows.

I feel so good about this race and the fact that I managed to put my ego aside and just run for the sheer joy of running that I'm kind of sort of considering running another half in two weeks. I know my racing days until next fall are numbered, so I want to get as much in right now as I can!

Edited to add: I forgot to mention - right before the race started, I stepped in a huge puddle (I'm not sure puddle is really the word for what I stepped in) that soaked my left leg up to the calf in muddy, cold water. Gross. But it was so cold outside I couldn't feel my feet anyway, so I guess the cold weather was good for something.