This weekend, my handsome husband Clay and I travelled back home to the Pee Dee to spend a night with his family and go to the South Carolina Pecan Festival, one of my favorite events when I lived in Florence.
We left Charleston at around 4 on Friday afternoon once Clay and I got off work. I was so glad he could come with me because it was iffy until Friday afternoon because of his job working overtime the last few weeks (Clay is a computer programmer who works on electronic Veteran’s benefits programs). I was so relieved when I heard him unlock the door and come in at 1:30ish Friday afternoon because I really wasn’t feeling a solo trip and run.
After driving on the super boring stretch of I-26 and I-95, we met Clay’s parents at Rebel Pie for a delicious pizza meal and the best cheesecake Clay and I have ever had. Clay used to work at Rebel Pie on the weekends helping our friend Alan made wood-fired pizzas.
Ahh… carb loading at Rebel Pie
I love Rebel Pie as a pre-race meal because the pizza uses local ingredients when possible and is light, so it’s like carb-loading without the heaviness- plus we love seeing our friends because it’s a family owned restaurant. After we ate, we went to Clay’s parents’ house and just watched TV and talked before going to bed.
Saturday morning, I got up early at 5:30 AM to eat my oatmeal and drink coffee- I would say bright and early, but it was pretty dark since the time hadn’t changed yet. I saw a nice sunrise on my 25 minute drive to Florence for the run. It was super cold so I kept my pajamas on over my running clothes until the very last minute!
Warm and cozy until the start…
I got to the start and saw some familiar faces- Belinda and Greg and Karen and Steve from Carolina Running Company, a few Fitness World Run Club friends (Sarah and Sean), and my Believe Achieve run club buddy Krystal and her sister who came from Myrtle Beach to run. I also saw my friend Philip, who is the official photographer for the Pecan Festival. PJ took mine and Clay’s engagement and wedding pictures and does great work.
Since the air horn broke, Greg sounded the almost dead horn and yelled Go for us to start, and we were on our way. It was fun running through the streets where I have so many memories of running when I lived in Florence. Parts of the half marathon course included streets I ran on when I did the Florence Museum 5K and the McLeod Sports Medicine 10K (my first 10K).
Post-race with the hubs, rockin’ the medal
Plus, Florence is pretty flat and knowing the course, I was able to get my speed up and hold it for most of the race. I also loved the parts where I could see who was ahead of and behind me because that’s good for strategy and passing- every runner loves turnarounds for that reason. There were lots of water stops (I do wish there was one around miles 8-9), and even a cute little lemonade stand with water! A few people were having yard/garage sales on the side streets of the course, which was really funny because I love yard sales but it’s not a cool thing to do on the day a race is occurring outside your house.
The miles flew by and I passed a few people in the last couple miles, which was big since it was a small race. I kicked it up at the end and heard Curtis, the fearless leader of Fitness World Run Club who is incredible and training for a marathon, yell that I was finishing in 1:42… WHAT?!?!?!
Gah my form is bad! But whose isn’t after 13 miles? Here comes the tiny terror!
I finished, got over the initial shock, and got my medal. The medal isn’t as nice as the one from Georgetown, but better than the medals some finishers got- at least it has the race name on it. I don’t think there were enough medals or that this many half marathoners were expected- they ran out of medals that had the race name on them and substituted some other medal. I guess there were 60 of us or so running the half, but I’m glad I finished when I did to get the nice-r medal.
Me with my running rockstar friend Susan!
I was third female overall and first in my age group (25-29), and I got a neat car magnet. Cool that it’s for age group and says first place instead of third place. I’m kinda weird about putting things on my car, so I’ll probably put it on my fridge since I see spend more time in front of my fridge. The awards ceremony itself was very informal and the prizes were just sort of out and we were told to get hats and books if we wanted them. A lot of people didn’t realize there were awards and just left.
I had fun seeing everyone and running, but it really wasn’t the best organized race in the world, and I do wish Florence would offer more perks like the Georgetown Bridge to Bridge half marathon does. It’s really time Florence had a nice half marathon to bring in people from other local areas such as Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Columbia, especially with the Florence Downtown Revitalization going on. I feel like the race should step it up a bit and it would grow tremendously from people training for other marathons and half marathons in the state who want to get a race in and enjoy a weekend trip.
After the race, Clay and I headed to the Pecan Festival and hung out with Nick, Karen, and Kelli, we all had a pretty fun time taking pictures and talking and catching up.
Then, Clay and I hit the downtown farmer’s market and bought some delicious pink lady apples and zucchini, along with these cake-in-a-jar desserts from SweetLeigh’s Cakes and Treats– I got cookies and cream and he got caramel.
Rich and delicious- these would be perfect office gifts if I still worked in an office.
We also saw our friends Kevin (Pee Dee Foodie!) and Melissa and their daughter and caught up with them for a bit.
Clay and I with Kevin, the Pee Dee Foodie. He and his family and some other friends are coming to visit in December so we can go to the James Island County Park light display.
Our post-race lunch at Thai House was quite yummy but took forever! The waiter was new and actually threw our order away. We waited almost 45 minutes and when I complained, I saw our order in the trash! People who’d ordered after us had already eaten and left! Fortunately they got our order out to us and after much complaining, I got us a small discount- had it been a chain restaurant, our food would’ve been free…
It’s sad I had to complain that much just to get a couple dollars off when the server was clearly in the wrong. Oh well… I didn’t mind sitting around waiting since my legs were dead post-race, but don’t mess with a hungry half marathoner!
On our way home, we visited our friends Frank and Jenny. They just bought a new house that’s gorgeous!
We definitely had a great time! I really missed all my Florence friends, and it was great to see everyone again. I was happy about my PR, especially because I just planned to run this race as an excuse to visit for the weekend and never expected that kind of time. But, after running 13 miles and walking around the festival, I’m pretty sure my Sunday will be very, very low key with lots of time spent on the couch with blankets and my feet up .