Hilton Head Island Half Marathon Race Recap

Half Marathon #22
SC Half Marathon #17
Hilton Head Island Half Marathon #4

This race, despite its flaws, is still my hands down favorite half marathon.

That being said, I would dearly love to have been able to run the full. I almost did. I’ve thought about it for a while. I knew it would be foolish to do since I wasn’t really trained for it. Then I found out that my stubborn, crazy cousin was still planning to run the full. His longest run? 12 miles.

Ultimately I ended up sticking with the plan, pacing Mom to her first sub 2 hour half marathon.

We arrived in time Friday night to pick up the packets. I’m glad we didn’t have to wait until this morning.

I’m also very glad that the weather ended up being a lot more mild than was previously forecasted. I had to laugh when I saw rain forecasted. Maybe that’s the theme of the half marathon this year for me.

We arrived at the race start with plenty of time and got as close to the start line as we could. Michael stayed back with the 3:55 pacer. We even had enough time for someone to come up and tell me that she reads my blog and came to run this race because of my reviews. I’m always baffled as to how to respond. If you’re reading (sorry I didn’t get your name!) thank you so much for the kind words!

At the start:
At the start

The tentative plan was to aim for 9 minute miles. That would bring us in under 2 hours. Since I’ve never gone above 2 on this course, I wanted to help Mom get her first sub 2. Yes, my motives were partially self-serving. 🙂

It wasn’t until the final three miles of the race that we averaged around 9 minute miles. Whoops. I tried to pull back on the pace but that was to 8:40.

I felt really good through the first three miles and started marathon dreaming. Yes, marathon. If only there were a May marathon closer to where I lived. I might just run it.

When we got onto the cross island parkway around mile 4, my right IT band started mildly protesting. It did not like the camber of the road. It was also during these few miles that it started raining. Thankfully the rain held off until after we started and never got really bad. It also tapered off towards the end of the race.

After we crossed the bridge and got off the parkway my IT band stopped protesting. We entered one of my favorite parts of the course, a bit of trail away from the road. I always remember my first time on this course. I fueled once, at the halfway point, with half of a protein bar. I always think back on that and laugh. Such a newb.

It was also during this section that we encountered one of the most annoying runners that I have ever had the unfortunate “pleasure” of running near.

This gentleman got right up behind us, barely a step and a half behind, and made no move to pass. Additionally, he breathed so loudly I could hear his grunts and breathing sounds above my music. Maybe that’s also because he was so close. I looked back twice and know that he saw me. I moved to the far right of the path and so did Mom. He continued running right behind. Mom moved over to the left to create a gap between us. He still persisted in running. I finally had to speed up and cross over in front of him before he would pass us. He never moved from his little “lane” on the trail. It sounds like a little thing but he ran closer behind us than any other runner has done in any other race.

Moving on…

We hit the turn around point and started heading back. A couple minutes later we saw the 3:55 pacer, right on schedule, with Michael running right beside him.

I was still feeling great and we were holding a pretty good pace too. I started to get excited but I was almost sure that we were going to come in under two hours.

Around mile 10 Mom started to struggle a little. She had some trouble with her breathing and had to walk a couple times. I have to admit that I got a little bit frustrated because we were so close. She had been running so well and I really wanted her to get that sub 2 hour time. I tried to stay encouraging and dial the pace back as close to 9 as I could get it. I kept calculating the time and a 10 minute mile pace would still bring us in under 2 hours.

We got within four tenths of a mile from the finish, just before we turned into the park, and Mom said something about needing to walk. That’s the only time I didn’t let her. 🙂 We pushed in to the finish and she did it!
#proof mom did awesome!
She did it! Way to go Mom! Sub 2 hours and third in age group!

We had just enough time to head back to the hotel and clean up before heading back to watch Michael finish.

Props to bearfoot sports for the most comfortable race shirt I own. It’s not a tech T which they said they would provide but it’s so comfortable I want to wear it all the time. (just not while I’m running)

When we got back I immediately consulted the results board. Mom won third in her age group!
#proof just another shot of how well mom did

We thought Michael might be coming in with the pacer but he hit a wall around mile 13 and dropped behind the pacer around mile 18.

A quick word about the pacer. Not only did he come in right on track, 3:54:58, but he also kept even splits throughout the race and told pretty entertaining stories. Best pacer ever.

Finally, just before 4:30, Michael entered the park and headed towards the finish.
Michael's first marathon

Congrats Michael!
Michael's first marathon

The medals, including a bronze for Mom!
The medals, including a bronze for Mom!
These happen to be my favorite half marathon medals yet.

Before I go, I have to mention my only two pet peeves about this race. Just like the other three times I’ve run this race, everyone starts at the same time and the bibs don’t have the name of the race on it, just the race organizer. (In my opinion that’s tacky and unfortunate.)

As I mentioned earlier, this is still my favorite half marathon and I can’t wait to run it again!



Filed under half marathon, race recaps

7 responses to “Hilton Head Island Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. Congrats all around on the race and it is cool when someone acknowledges what we write and to have someone decide to run a race based on your review is high praise.

    Kudos Kiddo!

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  4. Chuck Magera

    Hi, I just read your write up of the HIlton head half marathon. Thanks for your kind words. Although I am not the race director, I am the technical advisor and timer for the event, and I was involved in 112 races last year, including 6 half marathons. Note that only ONE of those races had the participants names on the bibs. Bear foot sports buys its bibs in bulk a year ahead of time in order to save money and give more money to charity. There were only 500 participants in the Half and having “personalized” bibs is an expensive proposition normally reserved ONLY for larger events. You are correct about the shirts though, as they are the most comfortable shirts out there.
    Once again thank you for the kind words and hope to see you in February 2015.
    Chuck Magera
    Charlestowne Road Race Services

    • I understand that savings can be achieved by buying in bulk. However, I have run plenty of small races that have the name of the race (not my name…I don’t care about that) printed on it. In fact, this race is the only one that I have ever run that doesn’t bother to put the name of the race on the bib. The half marathon I ran last week had 250 runners and it had the name of the race “Tryon Half Marathon” on the bib. I think you misunderstood my main point.
      I do NOT want my name on the bib. I want the name of the race.

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