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Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon 2015

At the beginning of the year I went to Palmetto Bluff, SC to work with Bobby for a few hours. From the moment we drove into the neighborhood I was in love. Everything is so beautiful and green. There are lakes, beautiful homes, running trails, endless biking routes, a hotel and restaurants… “Why don’t we move here?” I asked. Yes, that’s how much I like it.

After admiring how beautiful that place is I remembered that there’s a half marathon there and I realized right away that I wanted to run it. The whole thing is that I’m training for an Ironman 70.3 so most of my weekends are dedicated to biking. I was already doing the Tybee Island Half Marathon and I’m doing the Publix Savannah Women’s Half so that’s two weekends where I’m not biking as much as I should.

The first weekend of February I ran Tybee for the 4th time. I had so much fun and I felt so good that I decided that I was going to sign up for the Palmetto Bluff. To me is all about having fun so, even though this decision collided with my Ironman 70.3 training schedule, I decided to do it.

On Saturday I went to Palmetto Running Company to pick up my race packet and I fell in love with the store. It was so clean and beautiful… And did I mention that they had Newtons at half the price? I scored this:

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They had other brands too but I’ve learned over the years that I need to stick with what works for me.

While at the store everyone was very friendly, I got to check the finisher’s medal and by the time I walked out of there I was super pumped about the race.

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The race didn’t start until 9 a.m. but Palmetto Bluff is almost an hour away from where I live so I had to wake up early anyways (and the spring forward time change didn’t help at all). When I got there it was 40 degrees and sunny… Perfect running conditions!

I drank too much water on my way there so I wanted to hit the porta potty before the race started, but the line was too long and I convinced myself that I would be ok… Of course it was not.

I went to the starting line with approximately 600 other runners and met a very friendly woman from Michigan who came all the way down here to do her first half… How awesome is that? Shortly after talking to her I spotted three pacers 2:00, 1:50 and 1:45.

I was racing for fun and to get some miles in as part of my big spring race training. I didn’t have a goal time in mind but I always average around 1:45 for a half marathon so I thought it could be a good idea to kind of stick with that pacer. If I fell behind it wouldn’t be a big deal but, since I haven’t been running much because I’ve been focusing on my weaknesses for the Ironman (a.k.a. swimming and running), I knew this would push me.

The race started and I was ahead of my fluorescent shirt man. On mile 1 he got into pace and as soon I saw him on my left side, the porta potty was waiting for me on my right side. “Should I go or not?” That was the big question. I decided to go really fast and convinced myself that I’d just have to sprint a bit to catch my man. I had only 1 mile behind me so I figured this wouldn’t be a problem, and it wasn’t. By the time I got to the aid station I was with “the man” and his followers.

When I run marathons I don’t wear headphones because I want to be able to take it all in, but with shorter races that I know won’t have crowd support I definitely do. By mile 6 I realized that this guy and I have been running for almost 4 miles next to each other without saying a word. He knew everyone around the course and seemed pretty friendly.

At this point I was pushing myself so I was tempted to talk to him but I was also scared that I was going to fall behind, but I decided to give it a try so I took out one of my earplugs and said “this place is beautiful!” and that was it. The next 8 miles we chatted and got to know each other.

That’s one of my favorite things about running: getting to know new people and learning from their experiences.

He pushed me through, made my race so much more enjoyable and without even realizing we crossed the finish line in 1:44:44! So happy!

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I knew the course was going to be beautiful, but it surpassed my expectations. It was completely flat, just a big loop with little turns and beautiful views. After the race I got to hangout with some of my favorite Striders during an awesome concert while having a beer and eating BBQ sandwiches.

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This is definitely a very nice and exclusive race that I’ll add to my calendar every year!

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