Hilton Head Half Marathon–Even Better the Second Time Around

It’s hard to top a race once called “The Best Ever”. This race did that and then some. At this point it’s my best half marathon ever. (The PR is just part of that. :D)

To begin with, it helps to know where the start line is, especially since I forgot safety pins again. (I told myself not to forget but I didn’t listen.)

We made it with plenty of time for me to grab the safety pins I needed with some extra to stand around and wait.
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It was a bit chilly so I wore the jacket until right before the start. I’d almost decided to wear my San Francisco long sleeve but I am so glad I headed my own advice from a couple weeks ago. When the temperature is above 50 degrees, do not wear long sleeves.

The only poorly run aspect of this race is the start. There were no announcements. People just started running. (Maybe there were announcements but I didn’t hear anything.) I just barely got my jacket off on time.

The other part of the start that I don’t like? All three distances–5k, 10k and half–start together. Apparently I didn’t have a problem with this last year but this year it drove me bonkers. In order to run the pace that I wanted I found myself running in the loosely packed sand on the side of the road. (I wasn’t the only one either.) That being said, I still maintained a sub 9 minute mile. I have no idea how I did that.

Since the first 1.5 miles of the course is an out and back I knew when to start looking for Mom. Confession time: I positioned myself so that she could get a clear shot. I even laughed at myself. (Feel free to join in.)
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For the next few miles I settled into a fairly easy pace. Confession time again: I glanced at my Garmin more than a few times during this race. At first it was to make sure that I wasn’t going out too fast. I didn’t know if I could hold the same pace I have for my 6 milers for more than twice the distance. (Spoiler alert: I did.) Even though I glanced at it throughout the race I began to discount it when my pace went from 9:58 (really?) to 8:48 within 10 steps. I should probably figure out how to put the average pace on the screen. (It’s easy. I’m just lazy.)

When we got to the bridge on the Cross Island Parkway it was just a quarter mile before I was going to take my first chomps so I slowed to a walk to get a picture.
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That doesn’t even begin to do it justice but I wasn’t about to waste any more time. So instead of continuing to walk while I ate my Chomps I ate them on the run. I’m okay with doing that but it is a little hard to breathe. (Maybe next time I should wait until after I’ve finished ascending the hill/bridge. :D)

The next few miles after this were unremarkable except for the fact that I remembered the spot where I stopped to walk and eat my protein bar half. (I have to laugh at myself when I look back at that. I must have had a stomach made of steel to eat that and be okay. :D) I couldn’t tell if I was getting slower (unreliable Garmin) but I started to feel it more and more in my hips. (If I were a good runner I would have brought my foam roller but…)

Then we came to the bridge again. There were still more than 4 miles to go but it meant we were so much closer. The bad part of this approach to the bridge is that the short steep decline from before is now an incline. At least it’s short. The long slow descent though is wonderful.

My hips/upper thighs still ached but I was able to put that aside in the final 5k. When I got within the final mile I saw a guy with a CrossFit Endurance jersey on it. (I’m not saying CrossFit is wrong. It’s right for some people but not me. CrossFit Endurance though…I’ve decided to dislike it as a matter of principle. Don’t take away my miles.) I knew I could pass him. I knew I had to pass him so I did. It felt good too. 😀

I’d done some mental math and knew that when I passed mile 12 I could run a 10 minute mile and still PR by more than 30 seconds. My brain was too tired to figure out what the final time would be.

I booked it as hard as I could. Mom almost missed me because I came in 3 minutes faster than my last half and 6 minutes faster than last year. Also, some “well-placed” 10k walkers were grouped together right before the finish. Yes, I was frustrated but I got over it.
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(grinning for the camera)

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(yes that is the same person 😉 )

My final time?
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I can’t believe it either!

Check out these splits too! (I must be learning how to pace myself. :D)
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Check out that average pace! 8:38!

They also learned their lesson about handing out medals without lanyards.
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(PS…those grapes in my hand? They really are the absolute best thing ever to eat after a race. I wish more races would offer them. :D)

Close up
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How am I going to celebrate?
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Of course…Breaking Dawn Part 1 goes perfectly with half marathon PRs. 😀

See you next Saturday with another PR. (No, I’m not overly confident…just running a new distance :D)

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4 Comments

Filed under race recaps

4 responses to “Hilton Head Half Marathon–Even Better the Second Time Around

  1. Pingback: Weekly Round Up–February 6-February 12, 2012 | Stepping Out

  2. AWESOME!!!!! Big congrats to you 🙂

  3. Pingback: Clemson Easter Bunny Half Marathon Recap | Stepping Out

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