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Kiawah Island Marathon - RunMarathon

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Kiawah Island, South Carolina
United States
45F / 7C
Total Time = 4h 26m 57s
Overall Rank = 500/915
Age Group = F40-44
Age Group Rank = 33/69
Pre-race routine:

Drank coffee, ate a blueberry bagel with cream cheese. Walked over to the race start at 7:30 with my housemates for the weekend. Very nice to be staying on island so as not to have to get up at the crack of dawn.

Let me say in preface that I do not consider myself a runner. I am a clutz, I am slow and I injure myself very easily. I don't particularly enjoy running. It hurts and it doesn't come easy at all. But I am too stubborn (or stupid) to give up or quit. And I love triathlon. And you have to run if you want to finish a triathlon. Also, I turned 40 in October. These were my main motivating factors in registering for a marathon. I wanted to go into my 40's with a bang and do something I'd never done before and I needed to practice positive mental thoughts during a long painful event.
Event warmup:

The walk over to the start was the warm up. I wore lightweight Skins underneath my running shorts, a short sleeve shirt and knit gloves. It was drizzling.
  • 4h 26m 57s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 11s  min/mile

This was by far the largest running event I've ever participated in. There were over 900 marathoners and about 1500 half marathoners. The streets were congested. I lined up in the 9:30 area because a friend had told me to line up earlier in the groups to avoid walkers. I was too self-conscious to line up in the 8:30 group that he recommended. It took me about 2 minutes to actually cross the start line and that is when I started my Garmin.

The first mile went great. I was around a 9:55 mile. Very glad for the congested course as it kept my pace down. 9:55 felt like I was barely moving. Second mile went slightly faster than the first, @9:45. I took my first walking fuel break here. It was hard to make myself stop running, but I knew I needed to stick with the plan in order to be able to finish strong. Next two miles rolled off beautifully even though it was raining pretty steadily by now. Took my next walk break and realized I had lost one of my liquid flasks off my fuel belt. Oh well. I was glad to have only lost the liquid flask and not my cliff blocks. There were plenty of water and gatorade stations, but no cliff blocks on the course and that is what I prefer to eat during races. 2 cliff blocks per walk break plus 4 oz. of fluid.

To make a long story short, I felt like a freakin' rock star at the turn off point. Mile 13 and I was still smiling and feeling strong. My average pace for non-break miles were between 9:15-9:45's which is smokin' fast for me. I was afraid of losing steam, but I felt a huge surge of confidence instead of dread when I saw the sign pointing the half-marathoners to the finish and me to my second loop. I was feeling unbelievably good.

Around mile 18, I started to feel some fatigue in my legs, but I was still running under 10 minute miles. At my next fuel break, mile 21, I was really feeling tired and my pace had dropped to between 10-10:15's. These were going to be the miles of truth. Any folks who read my blog know that I struggle towards the end of long events. When the going gets tough, I fall to pieces and wuss out and walk. Coming into this race, my only goal was to stick to my plan of walking only during fuel breaks at miles 2,4,6,9,12,15,21 and 24. The rest of the time was for running, even if it was only a shuffle. At mile 23, my mental demons came out and tried to tell me to take my fuel break early. I was down to an 11:30 pace, in pain, and very, very thirsty. But I stayed strong and willed myself to keep shuffling until I felt the vibration from my Garmin signaling that I was at mile 24. I was so happy when that vibration came. I walked, stretched, ate and grabbed a full cup of water from an aid station. Then I got back to business. I was shocked by how many people were pulling up and walking and stretching against trees and things at mile 25. This was hard to see. I wanted to walk, too. I was battling to keep my pace under 10:30's. But I was not gonna walk again until after I crossed the finish line. Finally, my Garmin gave a shudder letting me know I was at mile 26 and I saw the mile marker sign ahead and the arrow pointing toward the finish. I looked up and saw that I was coming in under 4:30, gun time. After I crossed the line, I looked at my Garmin and it read 4:27:00. I couldn't believe it. I didn't really have a time goal for this event, just the mental goals of not taking extra walk breaks. I still figured I would finish around a 4:45. So I was absolutely stoked with my time.

What would you do differently?:

I'm not sure. I think I nailed this one. I trained a lot in rainy conditions so race day, that didn't phase me at all. I brought all my own food. I used aid stations for liquid since I lost a flask early in the race. My 13 mile split was a 2:07 which was 2 minutes under my HIM run split in November. My long run leading up to marathon was only 18 miles because I have injury-prone hip flexors. I am not a greyhound. I accept this. I doubt I will ever be able to run a Boston Qualifying marathon pace. I'm ok with that. I am pleased whenever I see improvement. And this was a huge improvement. I think this race was an awesome first marathon. Yes, this was my first stand alone marathon. I did race IMCDA in 2009 and had a 5:18 run split. But that is a whole different animal.
Post race
Warm down:

Got my medal, got my mylar blanket and stretched. My housemates (they ran the half marathon) came back to the finish line so I didn't have to walk home. I ate some post race grub and had a beer. They have a beer truck at Kiawah and racers get free beer:)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I am about 12 pounds heavier than I was in 2009. So I am really pleased that I was able run as fast as I did.

Event comments:

I had a lot of fun. If you are from SC, you should do this race. There was a huge group from the Upstate racing and I heard my name called out and cheered along many friends throughout the day. It is flat as a pancake. It smells good. The resort is beautiful with Spanish moss-laden willows and palm trees. I can honestly say I never had so much fun doing a run-only race. It was awesome.

Last updated: 2010-09-28 12:00 AM
04:26:57 | 26.2 miles | 10m 11s  min/mile
Age Group: 33/69
Overall: 500/915
Performance: Good
Course: Two loops around the Kiawah Island golf resort
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2010-12-14 6:38 PM

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Simpsonville, SC
Subject: Kiawah Island Marathon

2010-12-14 6:54 PM
in reply to: #3249023

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Kiawah Island Marathon
So proud of you for slaying that mental demon and STICKING TO THE PLAN! 

Congratulations, Pam!  You did great!!
2010-12-14 8:46 PM
in reply to: #3249023

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Subject: RE: Kiawah Island Marathon
Woohoo you conquered your mental demons and hung tough to finish strong!

Congrats on training your plan and sticking to your plan!

Very well are always so tough on yourself and your running. I'd love to run as fast as you
2010-12-17 5:42 PM
in reply to: #3249023

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Placitas, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Kiawah Island Marathon
Awesome job, Pam!! 
2010-12-30 2:45 PM
in reply to: #3249023

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Melon Presser
Subject: RE: Kiawah Island Marathon
beyond nailed it! sub 4:30 without expecting it--you executed this race perfectly and especially for not being that fond of running

like judi said ... slaying the mental demons is really the worst part and you stuck to it

super congratulations
2011-01-01 2:55 PM
in reply to: #3249023

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Vista, CA
Subject: RE: Kiawah Island Marathon

I"m a little late to this party, but very nice job, esp toward the end. The mental effort is key in a marathon. Congrats on your first stand-alone 26.2 Sounds like a beautiful course, too. I do think the marathon takes a toll on your body.


Nice job, Pam!


Oh, and don't be so sure about the Boston qualify. My first marathon was 4:29, my second was 4:09, just 4 minutes off my BQ time, and well, my third, was 4:25 because I was injured and had missed training. point is, I wouldn't cross it off your list just yet, unless you're not that into BQing.

Edited by lmscozz 2011-01-01 2:57 PM

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