I had a breakthrough race this past weekend at the Charleston Half Marathon, and I’ll write more about race day soon.

A successful race begins long before race day or when you start training, so I’ll start at the beginning. The very beginning.

February 2016

Last February, I ran the Hilton Head Island Half Marathon and set a new PR (1:38:28). Running was going well, my half marathon times were improving, and people brought up the “M Word”.

A week after HHI, I went to a silent auction benefit called Jammin’ for Jimi. Proceeds from the benefit went toward cancer treatments for Jimi Beauston, a local musician who performs each year at the Race the Landing 5K series. The benefit was hosted by Lucey Mortgage Corporation, a big sponsor many local road races in the Charleston area, so the silent auction was a runner’s dream.


After a glass or two of wine and #BeerPressure from friends, I bid on an entry for the Charleston FULL Marathon. I jokingly wrote “BQ Bound!” beside all my entries because… wine. I hung out with friends and listened to the bands, increased my bid a few times, then checked it at the end of the auction. I was outbid and did not win an entry.

When the auction ended, I realized there was another entry to give away in the ticketed giveaway. I purchased many tickets and drank some more wine. I did not win that entry either. Jimi was there in good spirits and we talked. I was okay because I knew my money went to a great cause. The event raised a lot of money and was fun for all. Race the Landing 5K director Lisa Deaton and the Luceys are amazing event planners as well.


Walking to my car, one of the guys who works for Lucey Mortgage stopped me. I don’t remember his name, just that we were all talking in a big group when some friends congratulated me on my PR at Hilton Head. The man handed me the marathon entry he’d won at the benefit, congratulated me on Hilton Head, and told me to run Charleston and qualify for Boston.


Spring 2016

Jimi and the man who gave me the entry after the benefit were on my mind. On car rides to races, I frequently thought about that and how a stranger believed in me.

As the weather got warmer, I focused on speed and trained for the Cooper River Bridge Run and the Green and Lean 5K. I set new PRs in both races.


Summer 2016

I begin preparing for the Charleston Marathon, with some other races along the way, logging 50 mile weeks in the oppressive Charleston heat and humidity.

I started my training early because I have an immense respect for the 26.2 miles. I wasn’t training for a marathon to take selfies, run in costume, or cross the finish line holding hands with someone. The people who do that are cool and have just as much right to be there as anyone else, and I love seeing the costumed runners on courses- but it’s just not for me.

Regardless of distance, I refuse to run a race I cannot be proud of. I wanted to face the pain of a marathon- the blood, sweat, and tears- mostly the sweat because Charleston is humid year-round.

I trained smart and focused on recovery, crossing workouts off my Google spreadsheet and staying positive. Running hurts, but cancer hurts worse. I’m thankful I only (personally) know the hurt of running and not the hurt of cancer.


November 2016

After a 12 mile run that included two trips over and back on the Cooper River Bridge, I messed up my knee. I say “messed up” because my ortho said it was ITBS, and the treatments for that helped, but I never received a conclusive diagnosis. I deferred the Lexington Half Marathon and DNSed two Turkey Trots.

One day I was sitting in Lisa’s car and I asked her how Jimi was doing, and she said things were rough. I still had the marathon entry on my mind and thought about Jimi a lot.

With a few weeks completely off running and the race less than two months away, I knew the marathon would not happen. I won’t run a race I’m not properly trained for, and I have an immense respect for the marathon distance. I continued cross training, resumed running, but focused on injury recovery.


January 2017

I started training for the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon. My knee was okay, but I didn’t have time to rebuild my base and train for a marathon before the Southern summer. I logged two 40+ mile weeks, a few 10 mile runs, and one 12 miler.

During track workouts, I stopped my watch and frequently commented “I have no idea where that pace came from”. Our honorary “track coach” Larry can attest to this because he heard me say it each week.


On a Sunday run, my friend Tom and I talked about injuries and setbacks. Like most successful runners, he’s had his share. During our conversation, we talked about how the difference between a breakthrough race and an injury is a thin line that we tread. He also said those runners who recovered smart came back to the sport close to their pre-injury level.

I debated using the gifted entry for the 5K associated with the Charleston Marathon. This was the safe option, returning from injury and on a few weeks of training. Run the 5K, have fun, and set a mimosa-drinking PR at the after party. Part of me wanted to take a risk for once and run fast, take chances, and dream big.

Someone believed in me, and it was time for me to believe. I registered for the Charleston Half Marathon.

Posted in Charleston Marathon, Charleston Running, Motivation | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

Weekly Rundown: January 8-15

Monday Musing: Half marathons hurt, especially when it’s your longest run since October.

My third week of training for 2017 is in the books. After rebuilding my base in December, I’m now training for the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon and Savannah Women’s Half Marathon. Our Wednesday night track crew is planning to run Myrtle Beach, and I’m an ambassador for Savannah Women’s Half (so you can save $10 when you register and use the code TINY).

This week brought some good workouts and an unexpected PR in the Charleston Half Marathon, my favorite “hometown” race. I’ve only done a few long runs, but lifetime mileage and the power of belief paid off. I’ll write a race recap later this week.


Monday 7.8 miles (HMP Tempo) + ITB Rehab Routine
Tuesday 6.3 miles + 60 min. yoga
Wednesday 6 miles (track) + ITB Rehab Routine
Thursday 5.1 miles
Friday 15 min. stretching/yoga
Saturday 13.2 miles including Charleston Half Marathon (1:38:14)
Sunday 4.1 miles + BodyFlow + ITB Rehab Routine
Total 42.5 miles

Monday was a treadmill tempo and Tuesday was an uneventful run around the neighborhood. Not much to report about those runs. I tried a Deep Stretch Yoga at the gym on Tuesday night, and that was great- it’s new on the schedule for 2017 and I hope the gym doesn’t cancel it.

I wasn’t sure what track workout to do this week, since I was running a half marathon on Saturday, so I looked back at my past training logs and did the ladder workout that I ran the Wednesday night before the Hilton Head Island Half Marathon. That was my half marathon PR (before Saturday), so I figured I would try to replicate that week of training since it worked once before.


We had a nice crowd for track, along with some new faces and some who are returning from injuries or setbacks. I’m glad that we’re all logging miles again and getting healthy!

I also went to a carb loading/pasta party with Charleston Beer Runners and we had an amazing time- it was a nice way to chill and relax and fun meeting some people who were in town to run.


I didn’t taper or cut back before the race. I haven’t logged enough mileage to justify cutting back, and Charleston Half wasn’t a goal race for me (until Mile 9 of the race). At the expo, a race was giving out Gu with their discount code attached, so I tried that race morning. I normally wouldn’t recommend something new on race day, but this wasn’t an “A race”, and I didn’t have much to lose. I also decided to wear my Brooks PureFlow shoes about 20 minutes before the race. Good thing my car is basically a moving locker room of shoes…

At the start, I met the 3:15 marathon pacer, Martin. He told me his strategy was to run a 7:27 pace and even splits. He said he’d pace for a 1:37 half as well. Everyone was chatty and entertaining, and I surprised myself and ran with them until the full course split. I kept the momentum and set a new PR on a difficult day. I looked for Martin and the others after the race, but I did not see them.

I only consumed two mimosas, so my post-race drinking PR remains at four from last year’s Charleston Marathon. I’ve gotta work harder on my mimosa game for 2018!


Clay and I celebrated the Charleston Marathon with our traditional dinner at CO. It’s still Charleston Restaurant Week, and we always tend to wind up at CO the day of the marathon since it always falls during the restaurant week.

I had the crab rangoons, salad, and pad thai, and he had the curry laksa, his favorite. Downtown was busy and it was a wonderful date night.


Getting out of the door on Sunday was the hardest part of the run, but I logged a few recovery miles, did PT, and went to the post-race celebration party at Fleet Feet Mt. Pleasant. I wore my medal all day long, relaxed around the house, and just enjoyed the day.

I’m linking up with Holly at Hohoruns and Tricia at MississippiPiddlin‘ for their weekly wrap link. Check it out and read the other posts here.

Posted in Charleston Beer Runners, Charleston Food, Charleston Marathon, Charleston Running, Downtown, Summerville Running, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments