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Hi there I’m Suzy!

I uplift other women in the areas of running, lifting, and motherhood

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Kiawah Island Marathon

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Short version:

I earned my 33rd state in South Carolina with a time of 3:47:12. Quality time with family and friends more than made up for IT band hell during miles 21-26. 

Long version:
My training runs for the Kiawah Island Marathon were also recovery runs from the JFK 50 Mile, which I completed 2 weeks earlier. With the intent to achieve a sub 4 hour overall time, my mindset changed from “just keep moving” to a very specific pacing goal of 8:30-8:40 per minute miles.

Adding resourceful as a way to describe her (also on the list: beautiful, athletic, charming, frugal), my Aunt Theresa found a condo on the Island that was within walking distance to the start/finish line. Eliminating the usual pre-race stress (directions in an unfamiliar city, driving, parking, standing in line for a smelly porta potty, general waiting around in the cold) allowed me to enjoy the company.

Pre-race. Definitely wearing full make up for my next race photo op.

In addition to my Aunt, her husband Tre (who accompanied me for 16 miles at Mad Marathon) and their friend Andrew (a talented runner I first met in West Virginia) came down from Charlottesville. My girlfriend Jen, who I’ve shared a number of finish lines including Marine Corps Marathon with, also joined the fun.

Just me & 3000 of my closest friends!
After a few pre-race burpees, I followed Andrew to the 8 minute/mile area of the corral. Although I knew this was faster than I would be running that day, I didn’t want to waste energy dodging folks in the first few miles. Second to my wardrobe decision of a tank + arm warmers, this was the best move of the day. The first 5K was a bottleneck mess, with 3000 runners transitioning from a relatively narrow road to an even more narrow bike path.
My efforts to find a talkative running partner came up empty, so I surrendered to my headphones around mile 6. Since Napster has gone under (and with it my free service since 2005 from a professional connection), I was rockin’ audiobook. Not the best thing for a quick running pace, as evidenced by my 10 mile split of 1:23:46, which is pretty consistent with my training pace. Bad news.
3-3. My 33rd state, Get it, get it?! 

For marathoners, this race is a double loop around the island with a lot of turns, which means we got to see other runners during the race. In the lead pack, I saw Dane Rauschenberg, who ran a 202 mile relay as a solo participant last year, and was tickled when he gave me a big smile and a “Heeeyyyy Suuuzy!” It was also motivating to see everyone from my condo at different points. Who needs spectators when you have fellow participants?

Crossing the half marathon point at 1:50:15, I felt great and was in a position to speed up and really secure that sub 4 hour marathon. My Garmin kept losing satellite reception, so it was nice to have clocks at each mile marker to ensure I was on target. I passed my favorite sign of the day, “Make This Race Your Beach”, for the second time at mile 15 and enjoyed the solitude of the course now that it was filled with full marathoners only.
Looking stronger than I feel at 26.2
 At mile 20, I clocked in at 2:43:58. Unfortunately, about a mile later I felt a sharp shooting pain that started in my hip and shot down. I was an A student in kinesiology so recognized my IT band as the source immediately (See kids? You really do use what you learn in college!). I tried to walk it out…but that just made things worse. My window for stretching it had long been over. No spare foam roller lying around (imagine that!). My only choice for the next 5 miles was to battle the pain…and curse the course for being so flat, which did make me feel better. This isn’t the first time my body has screamed at me for subjecting it to unchanging terrain for hours, using the same muscles over and over again. Flat doesn’t always equal fast, especially over long distances.
Totally overdoing the 33 thing, huh?!

My 3:47:12 finish was within goal range, but illustrates the difficulty experienced in the final miles. I can usually count on a strong finish, so it was frustrating. I beat myself up about it.  Then I saw this quote by World Champion marathoner, Rob de Castella:

“If you feel bad at 10 miles, you’re in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you’re normal. If you don’t feel bad at 26 miles, you’re abnormal.”
I guess I’m just fine.
Happy with our performances & relieved the walk home is so short!