Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hilton Head Half Marathon Recap

The accommodations at The Westin were wonderful. I was really glad this hotel hooked up with Bear Foot Sports and offered a discounted rate. The morning of the race I felt very well rested. I think this was the first time I slept through the night on the evening before a half marathon race!
The Westin Hotel at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Girlfriend and I got up at 6:30 and grabbed a bite to eat at the hotel. We both had some yogurt, half a bagel, coffee and water. I admit, I was a little nervous. Coach wanted me to run between a 7min37sec - 7min35sec pace. My goal was to break 1hour and 40minutes - that has been my PR for some time now. I wasn't sure if I could do it, but my coach was ....

About 7:15AM, we packed up and headed over to the race. The race started in Jarvis Creek Park, but we had to park about a half mile away at the Hilton Head Island High School. I can't ever get over how much land these high school's have. Once you get away from the NY Metropolitan area, they are like campuses and Hilton Head High School Campus is sprawling! My kid's high school is directly off of a main avenue, next to a very busy, but quaint, train station. There are hundreds of people trying to catch their train into NYC at the same time school starts! It's insane!

Before the race, I warmed up with about four 100meter sprints and then jogged over to the start. It was a little cool, but comfortable - about 50*F (10*C). There was a little wind. I just wanted to break 1hour and 40 minutes!

No National Anthem, but someone announced something and we were off.

The race was relatively flat. Each mile was marked and at each mile a person called out the time. I felt really good, and just kept repeating, "Coach thinks I can do it. I can do it!"

The week before the race, I specifically slept in (until 6AM) a couple of times. The extra sleep paid off. I felt a little tired about mile 7, right before I got to the bridge. That's when I sucked down a Gu. I did not know the bridge was around the corner. It was challenging, but fun.
Pushing it up the bridge!
Push now, Rest later!
I think the bridge was about 1mile in length. It went straight up. I kept telling myself, "Don't give back any time. You can rest going down the other side!" It got a little windy on the bridge, and I thought of  Sherry Arnold. I prayed, "C'mon Sherry - be the wind beneath my wings - I want to honor you with this race!"
At the top of the bridge!
I was pointing to Sherry's name on my bib!
I think the Gu (and Sherry) helped! I made it over the bridge. I knew I would have to face the bridge again, on the way back.
Broad Creek Bridge
Everyone along the course was so nice. Lots of fan support for the locals. It was a really pretty race, too. It meandered through Jarvis Creek Park and local streets. There were beautiful views of the water and the race meandered in and out of bike trails and quaint local streets, lined with beautiful pine trees.

The last two miles, I pushed it hard. I knew I gave back some time at mile 7, when I felt tired and I needed to make it up. So, the last two miles I really pushed. Mile 12, I ran a 7min25sec pace and mile 13, I ran a 7min33sec pace.
YES, I broke my 1hour and 40min ceiling!!!
My new PR: 1:38:46!

And, I placed 3rd overall in the Masters Female Division!
I so wanted to honor Sherry Arnold!

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