Whew! What a ride!
When we signed up to run in Kiawah this December we all expected cooler weather and an easy day. We were told, “Kiawah is PR city!” As it turns out, that isn’t (for most of us) exactly what we got.
We knew well in advance of the race that we definitely wouldn’t have the cooler weather we were all anticipating. In fact, we wound up with temperatures in the low 70s. Most of our training has been in warmer temperatures (with the exception of the last month or so). While the folks who were running the full really did want the cooler weather, we didn’t really think that would give us much problem since we were all able to pack appropriately for the forecasted temperatures. Many of us even had on long sleeves or arm warmers as we awaited the start.
The beginning of the race went well for everyone. The half and full crowd got to start together, so we went through the starting line in two groups, one slightly ahead of the other. While it was a little crowded, we have come to expect that at the start of races, and so, we all just ran what we needed to run in order to have our best race possible. Within just a few minutes, we bid farewell to each other and struck out either solo or in our planned groups.
It was about 5 miles in when our first Woo Hoo encountered trouble. Coming into the race not feeling well, one Woo Hoo (who shall remain nameless) ended up with an upset stomach. After stopping for a few minutes to rid herself of some excess stomach content, she was back on her way, though the PR she was hoping for was now beyond her reach. Our other half crew was pushing their pace, but most expressed how difficult they had found the race when they finished. We did end up with a few of bright spots – Mel J. ran her fastest half this year, and Russell and Henry ended up with personal bests of 1:55:09 and 1:47:17, respectively.
The full marathon group definitely encountered tougher times. Nathan was having a great run until his 16th mile. At that point, he started having some trouble with calf cramping. Fortunately, Mel W. met up with him during one of the numerous out and backs that were part of this course, and gave him an electrolyte-enhanced chomp to help out. However, by mile 20, he knew that his goal had gone beyond his grasp. Mel W. knew a little sooner that this would not be her day. After the halfway point, she started using run/walk intervals and sent the rest of the group she was running with ahead. Katie had a strong first 10 miles, but after that, things quickly deteriorated. She had gone into the race knowing she wasn’t as prepared because of having surgery during her training, but she persisted with her run/walk intervals as well as she could through about mile 16 when hamstring/IT pain caused her to slow down more. Fortunately, our first time marathoner, Andrea, had a great race. She persisted and stuck with Bekah to finish in a fantastic time of 5:05:26. Bekah was out to be a pacer in this race, and she did an amazing job!
The real hero of the day for our marathoners, was our friend, Henry. Each of us stumbled upon Henry somewhere around mile 25 and were thrilled to see him. For some of us, all that we needed were his words of encouragement. For others, he turned and ran alongside us until we reached the finish. We all agreed that he made that last mile much more bearable than if we had done it without his support.
All in all, we can’t say we were disappointed by Kiawah. While many of us didn’t have the race we were hoping for, we all walked away from the weekend with happiness in our hearts and good food & beverages in our bellies. It’s difficult not to feel that way when you are surrounded by the love and support that comes from being a part of The Woo Hoo Crew.