Sunday, 8 February 2015

Save the Light Half Marathon, Folly Beach SC 2015

Save the Light Half Marathon is in aid of the preservation of the Morris Island Light House which has stood off the coast of South Carolina for over 100 years. This is a beautiful landmark so I was quite happy to do a local race that supports such a good cause.

This is my first race of 2015 and my first half in a couple of months so I decided to rest up beforehand and try run fast, a benchmark for my training to come. The course was easy to follow, lots of aid stations and flat so it was a good one to try it on. 

I got up at 5am, ate and then drove just over two hours to the race. The packet pickup was in the sponsoring hotel, Tides. The t-shirt was long sleeve, cotton and unisex. As an additional treat we also were given a small poster featuring the lighthouse.

Lets just say I ran a good time but not a good race. I finished in 1.56.47 which is not bad for me. Not near a PR but pretty good. 
It wasn't a good race because I went out too fast (around 8.30 min/mile) and it felt hard...breathing wise. Rather than back off straight away I continued at that pace until around the halfway point and then slowly faded. My breathing continued to get worst and worst until even running a 9.30 min/mile was taxing my system. I walked probably twice a mile in the last 4 miles to catch my breath. I was then able to run <9 min/miles but then my heart rate would creep up again and I'd have to walk again. Enforced Galloway method :) 

My shoulders were tight and according to my massage lady so were all of my abdominal muscles so maybe the combo of that and going out too fast meant I was taking very shallow breaths. But you know what I'm not pissed off at all. This has been the end of a very stressful week so keeping things in perspective, I ran 13 miles this weekend (my longest since Disney and before that Kiawah); my hips, ITB and knees were good, absolutely no pain. Other than my breathing everything felt good and strong.

I talked to a really nice man in the last mile who was very encouraging when he saw me walking. We ran together for a while and he was asking me about my goal time. I said I didn't have one since it was my first half in a while. He high-fived me and said I was doing awesome and thats when I realised he misheard me (damn accent) and thought I said it was my first. I felt too embarrassed to correct him. Then again after the finish he said hi and pointed out to his friends that it was my first half. Sooo situations and me do not mix! Thanks for the pick me up even if it wasn't my first half. People like him are the reason the running community is such a good one.

I came through the finish pushing myself to run as fast as I could. I grabbed some gatorade, water and a banana and hung round trying to figure out why I hadn't got a finishers medal; no one was wearing them. I went back into the hotel and stretched in a big open area and was walking back out when I saw a lady with a medal. I didn't even say excuse me but just blurted out "where did you get that?", like she'd stolen it or something. I think I scared the crap out of her because she barely spoke English, she stammered that they were out there, pointing towards the finish. I'm pretty sure she thought I was an a'hole but I didn't mean to be, I'm just very passionate about medals!! Sure enough they had arrived late and I got one.

The hotel had a Starbucks so after I changed into fresh clothes I loaded up on a large coffee and muffin, and went to see the famous lighthouse. During the race we ran right up to the viewing point but I didn't see it because we stopped short of going onto the beach. I drove the car as close as I could and huffed and puffed over the sand dunes. It was sunny and warm at this stage. The beach and the lighthouse really are beautiful. I snapped a few pictures and hopped in the car to get home to the dog. He hadn't been alone all morning, a friend came over at 9am with her dog and they played together for a good while, but I still didn't want to leave him all day. Two hours twenty minutes later I was in my driveway. 

I'll definitely do this race again next year if I'm in South Carolina. Its a great course, flat, mostly shaded and a nice stretch of ocean views. 

So going into the next few months I think I really need to work on:
Getting in more long runs - 13 miles +, I have lots of half marathons in the books so I don't think that'll be a problem. They are mostly hilly courses so they'll probably be fun long runs until I try to PR.

Speed....already on that, I think I just need a solid few months of training at faster paces.

Flexibility...I need to get back to regular yoga and work on my shoulders and chest. I'm not having the bad issues with my shoulder like I was but the mobility is still not 100% on the left and both are tight.

This is the second run in the last couple of months when I've felt like my heart rate was too high for the effort I put forth...I'm gonna find my old HR monitor and wear it(if it works with my watch) to figure out if it's higher than normal.

Anyhow an interesting start to my 2015 half marathon season. Yoga tonight to try get a bit of zen back in my life. Hope everyone was out running and having fun!!


  1. Man! Good thing you figured out where the medals were! I bet I would have asked that lady the same way.

    Congrats on your first half! Giggle ;)

    It totally makes sense that your breathing got the best of you starting out that fast. Were you feeling really gung ho at the start? Is that a goal race pace for you?

    1. Yeah eventually...hopefully some time this year it'll be a race pace. I just wanted to get a marker of where I'm at now in relation to that. I knew I'd probably have to put the breaks on towards the end just not as much as I did. I just didn't have the sense to realize it wasn't the day to try...too stubborn!

  2. I seriously can't believe you did ANOTHER half marathon. It really seems like you do one at least once a month. Sorry this one didn't feel so great, but you still finished with a solid time! Do you ever do track workouts? If you want to get faster, I highly recommend incorporating at least one speed workout a week. It has helped me so much this past year. Congrats on another great race!

    1. Yep I pretty much have one every second week for the next two months. I won't be racing 99% of them but its a way of keeping the long runs fun!