On Friday Brian and I boarded a jet plan to Charleston, SC for another marathon. Yes, another race. Just two weeks after Brian’s 100 miler and 3 weeks after my double marathon weekend, these couple of crazy kids headed out for another race. I use the term ‘race’ very loosely for this run! Our goal was to complete it in one piece.
Leading up to this SC Marathon, we both had some nagging issues. Brian had run 4 miles in the last two weeks because his knee was still sore from the 100. I had some Plantar Fasciitis flare back up after the double weekend and was a bit nervous in it being even worse after that. In an effort to help, the week leading up to this race I made two visits to an acupuncturist (my first venture in to this type of therapy). I was a bit leery of it, but I can honestly say I will make this a normal part of my recovery/prevention now. I am amazed at how much this helped with the recovery process and keeping pain at bay. Don’t misunderstand, I wasn’t totally pain free, but when my Plantar Fascia only has some tightness for a mile or two here and there during the race, I call that a success! And then I was able to walk around pain free afterwards. So, I will now join the club and swear by this!
Okay, back to the actual race report – we headed to the start line in downtown Greenville, SC for a 7:45 am start time. We were both loving this earlier start time since it meant we would finish around lunch time and enjoy lots of coffee and whole foods goodies! We found easy parking and then had about a quarter mile walk to the start line. The weather was just perfect – beautiful sunrise, light cloud cover and temps in the low 50’s. We lined up with the 4:30 pace group – feeling a little ambitious here, but since the race was on the smaller size, we figured we wouldn’t be in anyone’s way! The national anthem was sang and the race was off! We meandered through downtown Greenville (which seemed like a lovely city) and then after a four-ish mile loop, we hopped on the city’s trail system for an out and back course.
By this point we had settled into a grove and were trailing right behind the very peppy 4:30 pace group! We chatted with some locals and eventually settled into a little group of five folks – two ladies from Greenville and a gentleman from Pittsburg, Kansas who was on his 45th state. So naturally we spent the next 15 or so miles talking races and states to run. He was great company and the chatting really helped the miles pass quickly.
Around mile 11 the leaders of the marathon were on the back portion and whizzed passed us! There were two guys in a foot race for first and it gave me new motivation to keep moving forward. Shortly after this, we took a three or so mile detour through the Furman University campus. This was by far some of my favorite miles of the route. The campus boasted beautiful lakes, old brick buildings, and super colorful trees. The Furman bells sounded as we were making our way back down the trail towards the finish. We turned around at mile 16 and headed back to the start. It seemed to be mostly downhill from here, which was great. On a whole the course was very rolling and that helped with using different muscles and my legs and feet didn’t get sore or tired at all. It didn’t hurt that we were rocking around a 10:20 min/mile pace either!
As we headed back we took in the sights of their city trail and kept coming back to how beautiful the tree leaves were. It must have been at peak leaf season and made for some gorgeous scenery! Around mile 21 things started to slow a bit. The toll of Brian’s 100 mile run two weeks prior reared it’s head! Mr. Kansas split off and headed towards the finish and we were smart with our pace and slowed down things a bit to insure we finished strong. We walked the aid stations from here to the end and also took a little walk break at the start of every mile beginning at 23.
We took the last road and then headed into Fluor’s Field to run the outfield and head to home base. It was a super fun way to end a race in their AAA baseball stadium. We ran it in and crossed the finish line in 4:46. Not too shabby after such a run-filled month. This rounded out my marathon race calendar for 2016. I ended the year with 8 marathons (a record for me). Five of those were new states and now I’ve completed 26 of the 50 states! This was race 13 of the year for Brian (marathon distance or longer). The boy is crazy! We stayed together the entire race and even though the last few miles were a bit trying (Brian had all the feels!), we finished strong and now are enjoying a few days of rest in the Carolinas!