Sunday, March 27, 2016

Race Report: Hilton Head Marathon

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I was very nervous about running in Hilton Head. No, it wasn't because I only saw 3 other black people. It was because of my marathon history when my wife and kids aren't present. In 2008 I ran the Chicago Marathon. It was my worst marathon ever. I collapsed from heat exhaustion. I didn't eat enough. I didn't sleep enough. In 2015 I ran the New Jersey Marathon. Although I lived in NJ at the time, my wife and kids couldn't make the trip "down the shore". I felt my Achilles twinge in mile 1. I ran okay until mile 13. Then the wheels fell off. It took me 2 hours to get from mile 18 to  the finish. It was another finish in the medical tent.

Once again I knew that the family wouldn't be there. I had all types of weird anxiety all week. I am not typically an anxious person, which is why it is odd to have anxiety. I wondered if I would experience injury or sickness. I felt like a 90 year old woman thinking that everyday is my last and if it isn't it was going to suck because it wasn't as good as yesterday... you know the type. It forced me to obsessively plan for everything. I asked my wife to put a crap load of pasta into a tupperware (probably isn't tupperware brand but it's all tupperware isn't it?) bowl. I checked the weather constantly and I bought hand warmers. I looked at no less than 7 million topographic maps to ensure that I knew the elevation. I... was prepared.

Of course my obsessive planning means nothing to how the world moves. When I "Wazed" the trip, It said 4 hours from my house. I assumed since I work 30 minutes north of home, I would be leaving from home, South Carolina is north of Georgia, that it should take roughly 3 and a half hours to reach Hilton Head. Unfortunately, the trip calls for a southern swing to then go East and finally north again. Factor in the amazing Atlanta traffic and it took me 6 hours to get there. I checked in at around 10:00pm the night before a marathon. I stuffed my face with spaghetti and then I turned in a little after midnight. Next, you guessed it, I woke up late. I figured that I would drive over, grab my number then head back to the hotel and check out. This process took forever.

I started the race 15 mins after the official start. This, is where the bad story ends. There was actually some benefit to running alone opposite the field in an out and back. I found my rhythm sooner without the adrenaline of the start. I was able to pick people off throughout the race because of my late start. Every runner finds some enjoyment passing someone along the course I think.

The course was very flat. Historically I don't like flat surfaces but this was welcome because of the abbreviated wait time between races. Although I had some quiet moments, it wasn't like the last one where I had moments almost completely alone. I only wish I had taken more photos. I felt so good that I didn't even want to stop for photo ops.

I shuffled along nicely admiring the island town of Hilton Head, SC. The course wasn't designed along the boardwalk or water but if you've ever seen a southern island town, you have some appreciation for the trees and other views. The only climb was across a bridge which, had amazing views of the swampy water beneath. The sun hit is perfectly and you feel like you just wanted to stop and admire. Or you wanted to stop because it was the top of the only hill and it required some serious effort.

All in all, although it was 2 minutes slower than 2 weeks ago, it felt so much better. Stay tuned for the Publix Georgia Marathon on March 20, 2016.


  1. I enjoyed reading that. Had a runners high run!!

  2. Great story. Look forward to read about your upcoming marathons,!��