Monday, 10 March 2014

Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon

The Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon was held the 9th of March. The entry fee was $55 (when I entered) and $20 of that went to a local charity, Backpack Buddies, to feed children in need.

We drove down on Saturday, for two and a half hours, and went straight to packet pickup. It was at the Palmetto Running Co. Shop in Bluffton, SC.
 The packet consisted of my bib, a nice cotton t-shirt, a beer cozie and some leaflets/coupons.

I was a bit disappointed that not everyone got a technical T but the design was nice enough to make up for that. 
Since we couldn't check into our hotel until 3pm we headed to old Bluffton to take some pictures and walk around some quirky shops.
Afterwards our room wasn't ready, so we went for some food at Truffles Cafe. Here is where I discovered the best lemonade EVER! It was so good we went back for lunch the next day...just because of the lemonade.
Martina got in on the carb loading action

 After that it was all RnR to get ready for the race. The clocks moved forward the night before the race so I went to bed early. The race started at 9am which made getting up early to eat not so bad. The usual bun, PB and banana as well as coffee was my breakfast of choice. Then it was off to the race start. The directions to the start were a bit confusing...we were given directions to an address nowhere near the start but the course map said the parking was there, the wrong address was just to get us onto the right road...instead of just telling us go on Road X instead of Road Y. However, that was all fine on race morning as there were signs pointing us in the right direction. Lots of parking, lots of port-a-potties, equals a good start area. Many trips to the potties later the race began.

Yes that is me sneaking into the picture
The course was beautiful, flat and surrounded by trees draped in Spanish moss. It was all run on a private resort, Palmetto Bluff. We mostly ran on quiet roads with minimal traffic passing us. At around the 8 mile marker we passed through a village and across the only hill on the course, a short bridge over water. Considering the course was in a private resort there was a good number of spectators..including some good signs :)

I ran hard. I had stitches the entire first mile as I warmed up, not having done it before starting. Then it became a blur. I found my self running faster than my A goal pace (under 2 hour finish), hitting the 7 mile point, where the race organizers nicely put a time display, at 1 hour 1 minutes. I kept at it anyhow with bad moments coming and going. I just had to remember they'd pass. There were water stops with Gatorade every 2 miles, I carried my own drinks on my trusty belt. For the most part I continued to run fast (for me) and reveled in the fact that I was running strong and enjoyed that feeling. As I hit mile ten both my knees started to hurt as my hip flexors and stomach muscles tightened and tired, and my ITB decided it'd rub off my knee. Not marathon bad but it wasn't nice, and I was tired.

 At this stage I knew I was going to finished before 2 hours so I let myself have 3/4 30 second walking breaks. I'm not sure if I should be disappointed by that. I would have liked to be strong enough mentally to run through the pain but frankly I'm surprised that I began running again and kept my pace strong. I lost approx. 30 seconds per mile for the last 3 miles.  The mile markers were a bit messed up, I started to notice after mile 9, so the finish came upon me much sooner than I expected. I had no kick left in me but I ran steadily across the line to pick up a pretty nice medal.

Our bibs came with a coupon for a free River Dog Beer and BBQ. The beer was nice but I didn't partake in the BBQ. There was also a band playing music, water, fruit, Gatorade and a screen scrolling through finish times at the finish. 

I drank a bit of beer waiting for my bestie Martina to finish, wishing I was feeling well enough to go back and run the last mile with her. She came running in with a huge smile, finishing her first half with a great time, very proud!
A mad rush back to our hotel resulted in getting to shower in a partially cleaned hotel room before checkout. I think I showered in two seconds flat...but it would have been a long smelly car ride home without it. Feeling sore and tired, lunch was followed by a short nap at the beach and some outlet shopping.
Given that it's spring break this week the drive home was quiet as everyone was heading towards the beach not away from it! Finally we got home to the puppy which we both madly missed and that was the end to an awesome weekend.

Next weekend I'm running the Tobacco Road Half Marathon in NC, near Raleigh ekkk, let's hope my IT band appreciates the massage I'm getting tomorrow and co-operates. This next race is going to be an easy effort. I just really wanted to do the race, as it's touted as one of America's best Marathons (and half?) and who knows if I'll get the chance to run it next year! 
I'm gonna use this next race to play around with my race nutrition a bit, I ran on Gatorade this race, in case I needed to use the water stations. I also carried Gu Chomps but didn't eat any. I might try some next race to see if they help me finish stronger.
My Garmin FR220 was really easy to use, comfortable and light. It dropped GPS a couple of times for 30 seconds or so, so at times the pace was a bit off but other than that it was great. So that'll be making a reappearance.

Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon 1:54:47 PR. A time I feel I can improve on but one I'm proud of. I was disappointed by my marathon time (due to ITBS) so I'm really happy right now.

Overall a good race, I'd highly recommend. To read another perspective on the race you can read Martina's experience of her first half marathon.


  1. It looks like it was a beautiful day for a race. Congratulations on the PR! Two half-marathons on back to back weekends? That is awesome. Good luck next week!

    1. Thanks Kristen! Yeah back to back races, who'd do that! I think I might be crazy, lets hope I survive :)