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Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon XLI
Eighth attempt
15th start in a marathon
52nd Career start in 20k or longer race

Race No. 31 of 2018 (does not include the Hairy Bison trail race a few weeks back that was "unsanctioned".

My 24th race Saturday of 2018 and 24th week in 2018 when I've run a race (two races on January 1 because of the format, a Monday, two races in March as part of the local running club's 50th anniversary double dip, two races in one May day as part of a local race weekend, two races on Independence Day week that was Wednesday and Sunday, two races on one week that were run one Monday and one Saturday), with just one more race week scheduled in 2018.

Kiawah Career History

2004: 6:55:54. Team in Training, my marathon debut. Sore at 18, and wobbled to my first finish before mercifully going back into the hotel.
2010: 6:37:36. PR in the marathon at the time. (Would be broken at Myrtle Beach nine weeks later, 5:48:27).
2013: 7:29:18. Least amount of training and no incentive to beat the clock it seemed for marathon No. 10, it was late entered and least rewarding.
2014: 6:05:55. Course record.
2015: 7:01:27. Hot! Cramped at 42.0 km!
2016: 6:52:55.
2017: 6:25:26. 17 minutes late because of errors but that's the official time.

With less training than normal and a disqualification last month from the half marathon in Lexington, along with concerns with rain, winds, and snow, I was scuttled and did not expect what I would do for my 15th career marathon. But I had started to get on an improvement from 2015's infamous 7-hour marathon I was easily ready to see if I could shave some time off last year's race and continue an improvement in my official gun times. But the 6:30 cutoff time was still there with some decent winds and cooler temperatures, I expected some improvement.

Arriving for the one day show (drive to the island, about two hours, and then stretch, eat, and run, return home) at 5:50 AM, I make a mistake with leggings (choosing the older thermal leggings instead of the newer, more compression-friendly ones, but both have tight compression) when I leave the car for the bus. Compression leggings are a must for me in a long race since it will be necessary.

6:20 AM. Make the half-mile walk that involves the last stretch of the race to the conference centre, I see my destination ahead and get in for stretching class they offer in time. After that it's a decision to take off the thermal top and go just with a loose long-sleeve shirt. Others go full sleeveless and shorts, but this race I thought necessary to get compression.

7:30 AM. A few salt packs and gels are packed (mistake because I needed to place them in my water bottle belt)and breakfast is eaten (note because of the race length I try to eat at 30 minutes before for a six-hour race at the general store across from the start line).

7:52 AM. National Anthem is done and I place the sweat bag into the article storage.

8:00 AM. Gun! The start line is a considerable distance away from the conference centre, and my 2:45 half pace pack is still at the conference centre.

8:40 AM. Arrived at a decent pace in the 12's after doing 9:50's at last week's 5k race. This is 42,195m, not 5,000m.

9:20 AM. First salt pack consumed.

9:30 AM. In The Ocean Course for the three miles around the vicinity, I find a pack and am comfortable with this group. For most of the race I hang around them passing and being passed.

10:10 AM. Ten miles. With the four and a half minutes between gun and start, I'm slowing from a 11:44 to 12:35.

10:50 AM. Halfway, the pace is slowing. The lack of any decent training after September is taking a toll.

10:55 AM. The frolicking begins. One runner has her headphones and it's loud where everyone is following a run-walk-run pace. I find myself seduced into this pace across the island.

11:15 AM. Restroom break at Mile 15. One salt pack (three capsules) fell off on The Ocean Course, so I am down to my final capsule. Refill my water bottle.

11:30 AM. Legs starting to feel it. No twiches, just heavy legs. The Wall. Run and walk and the same pack of runners I saw are there. We're in a little peloton, we pass and are passed. Taking fruits and no-caffeine gels.

12:39 PM. 110 minutes for seven miles is WAY too slow. At 10k to go it's 4:38:58 and one final salt capsule needed. Running primarily on the crown to avoid twitches, and slowed to a walk-run.

1:00 PM. Across the beach for the tricky part, the weather's dry. It's good and decent because we feared the worst but nothing. Still I could only walk.

1:30 PM. Halfway across this pace, it's now 23 miles into the race and into the residences. Pace has slowed to 10 minutes per kilometer. No twitching means walk-run-walk-run. The same pack of runners I've seen since the 30km point are still ahead of me where I can see them. Still another pack behind, and the sag wagon is about three miles behind me with the "sweeper" runners.

2:05 PM. It's now 25 miles into the race. Only 2 km to go. My legs are hard to move. But I still see the same pack of runners in sight. The bike paths make it challenging since there are a few intersections and I have to walk through them to avoid any abrupt changes of direction. Also the thighs start to feel harder. But I still trod.

2:15 PM. I ask for some help as I take the final water and fruit stop. I'm still on pace to beat last year officially but I am officially slower than last year's net 6:08.

2:20 PM. Downhill and into the homestretch. Be careful with the change from bike path to street and downhill to the finish line since the images of 2015 when you fell just 200m from the finish still haunts you.

2:23 PM. Into the final straight and I see the runners ahead of me. A few runners from Bowling Green, Kentucky are in my sight (the Raffertys and a few others). They started later than I did officially. But it doesn't matter -- the Raffertyes first, then the others about five seconds later, and I cross ten later.

The time: 6 hours, 24 minutes, 49 seconds.
Net: 6:20:24

Still on the course is the race director for the Resolution Run in Aiken, Rev. Rick Demedicis (6:32:22) and a few others. The last runner finished at 8:00:34.

About 25 hours after the start of the race, within the 42 hours after the last runner finished, the race has a 42-hour incentive to enter the 2019 race for $42. I accept.
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