This was another, “can I squeeze it in” kind of race so that I can do more epic shit in 2020 (a good training race to keep me honest to the distance and prep for my 60K in February).
I used points to sneak down to South Carolina on Friday after work for the race on Saturday morning, and flights to Scranton were only $130 to fly back to the boys (who were skiing). My work-friend, Clifton (who’s a super-speedster), was also running and pacing this race! The Charleston Marathon was my 14th marathon in 2015 and my 3rd race back from my two-year injury (in 2015)…sooooooo long ago! It was also the second race on my 50-state journey. It really does seem like a lifetime ago! Hard to believe this was my 80th marathon!
This was an in-and-out. I got to Charleston around 6 p.m. and picked up my bib Friday. I stayed at the Charleston Marriott which was right next to the start and finish (so I thought). Clifton and his runner-friend Scott stayed there too. For dinner, we took advantage of the runner’s buffet and ate baked potatoes until we couldn’t move.
The race started at 7:10 a.m. I was targeting at 2:15 p.m. flight out of there (cutting it way close)–with that, I needed 5 hours or less. My goal was really just to keep moving and run the whole time, even at a lower, lower pace. The course changed since I first ran this race. The first half was in beautiful downtown Charleston. We really got a flavor for all the old colonial, Georgian, and federal style houses. They were gorgeous! Once we exhausted the downtown loops, we ran in what felt like a toxic wasteland (but really an old military base), along a highway to North Charleston. This is where things got ugly. In North Charleston, the course turned into hairpin turns and a million little out-and-backs (“don’t forget to run this guy’s driveway for point .08.”). I was so annoyed, I actually counted them. We turned 48 times in the second 13 miles. HOW ANNOYING!
Two other fun facts about this race: (1) Temperatures were expected to 78 degrees (and it was getting there fast), and it was 88% humidity; and (2) the full and the half started together (how very annoying), and the full split off at mile 11 (to do a 2 mile out-and-back), and came back into the half marathon pack for two miles only for the full to run by the finish line and watch them finish. You do not want to see the finish line at mile 15. Period.
The last six were toughies. I had to run/walk because of the heat. My tongue felt like it was two-sided tape. I was so thirsty and getting dehydrated. I was so focused on making the 2:15 p.m. flight, that I muscled through. Oh yeah, at the start of the race we learned that the finish line is 20 miles north of the starting line (this also threw a wrench into my tight schedule).
I finished in 4:58. I was hoping for better, but okay with it because of the walk/run with the heat and humidity. It was almost 12:15 p.m. I looked for an Uber with no luck (17 minute wait time). I walked to the shuttle bus back to the start (.5 of a mile away). I hop on, we take off. The shuttle bus lets us off near the start, but almost .75 away from the hotel. In my bib, with my finisher’s medal, would you believe that I started running…by all the people who also just finished so that I could make my flight. I was laughing. They were calling me ‘show off.’ I then started explaining myself saying, “I’m going to miss my flight.” Legs were fine. I was just so thirsty.
I made it to hotel. Showered and in an Uber by 1:05 p.m. At airport by 1:35 p.m. At gate at 1:45 p.m., right when boarding started.
I enjoyed the spontaneity of the race and loved seeing the super-runner, Clifton outside of work, however, I hated this course. I even text Nish at mile 24, “I hate this course, more later.” Ha ha. Marathon number 80 in the books!