Middleton Place Woodlands is a trail, so it was harder than a road course, but easier than a lot of trail races. Charleston hasn’t had any rain since Hurricane Matthew, so the course was in great shape. It was dirt road with some grass and sand.
Half marathoners ran three loops, and I liked that because that meant the aid stations were frequent and after the first loop, you knew what to expect. The Black Girls Run and Charleston Girls On the Run volunteers at the aid stations were great about ringing cowbells, cheering for runners, and doing the proper water cup handoff!
Since I was planning on a 16 mile day, I got to the race early to log 3.2 miles BEFORE my race. I knew that once I crossed the finish and got my medal, pizza, and beer, I would be done running for the day. After my 3.2 easy miles, I met up with some friends at the start to chat and say hello. It was great seeing David from DoomBuggyRunner and some of his MUSC friends, Becky, and Charleston Beer Runners.
The DJ at the start did a great job of getting everyone pumped up, and the race started right on time.
I had *zero* time goals since this was a trail race- I just wanted to enjoy the event and celebrate Halloween. After the first two miles, I got into a groove and spoke to the costumed runners, told runners they were doing a good job, and thanked the aid station volunteers. I ran comfortably and made sure I could talk to keep my heart rate within an aerobic range. This strategy worked for me, and I also practiced race-day fueling and hydration.
The Halloween costumes were amazing! I spotted zombies, a pair of shoes, astronauts, and tons of superheroes. The costume contest winner was dressed as a thunderstorm and she wore a huge “cloud” wig with raindrops hanging from it along with a shirt that had a great big lightening bolt on the front. No race director or runner wants to see a real thunderstorm on race day, but her costume was creative and original and deserved the win.
The last lap was tough, as my legs could tell I was running much faster than my usual long run pace. Near the Mile 13 split, I saw Melissa- who ran the 5K and won first female overall. She ran through the finish with me and it was a big boost. You can’t beat good friends and training partners who will run you in- thanks Melissa!
I finished the race with a chip time of 1:46:37, two minutes faster than last year. I was 9th female overall, 2nd in my age group, and received a nice medal for placing.
Race 13.1 has an area set up to print your race time and for age group finishers to claim their medals. This works if you have to leave early, or if you’re like me and want to wear your medal ASAP.
After the race, I chatted with friends and just hung out. Melissa and I cheered for everyone coming through the finish, and the DJ did a great job of making everyone feel like a winner no matter when they came in. O2 Fitness set up stretching and foam rolling stations for the runners, which was a great idea because everyone’s legs were a little beat up after the half. I also drank some Natalie’s Juices Orange Beet Juice– beets are supposedly good for post-run recovery, but I was mostly happy to have a cold drink with the rising temperatures.
We had plenty of Papa John’s Pizza, beer from Palmetto Brewing (local to Charleston!), and tons of Halloween candy! The volunteers had a great idea to put the chocolate candy on ice so it wouldn’t melt. Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina gave out drawstring bags that were perfect for holding candy, and everyone went “trick or treating” at each sponsor’s booth- I felt like a kid again.
I would highly recommend Race 13.1 Charleston and hope to run this each year. It’s only 15 minutes from my house so the location is convenient, and the race is a premier event. I’d love to run more of their events and hope they continue expanding. I’d also recommend this race to anyone in Charleston who wants to celebrate Halloween with a race.
8:13, 8:24, 8:10, 8:11, 8:03, 8:08, 7:49, 8:01, 8:04, 7:51, 8:06, 7:50, 7:58, 1:46 (last .26)