Kiawah Island Half Marathon Recap

by tinareale on December 10, 2012

Half marathon number five accomplished! It seems sort of unreal that I already have five half marathons under my belt, considering I ran my first one just over a year ago. I truly do love this distance!

I made sure to hit the sack around 9:30 pm the night before to get ample sleep before the race. I had the forethought to bring my new Technogel pillow with me for a good night’s rest.

#SleeptoPerform, right? Which I think I did, seeing as the 4:30 am wake-up call didn’t feel too bad at all.

After the early 4:30 am wake-up call, a quest for an open coffee place when the hotel spit out tea-colored nastiness, and a 45 minute drive over to Kiawah Island from downtown Charleston, Peter and I finally made it to the race venue. Kiawah Island has put on this race for 35 years and they know how to please runners. The race had an effortless bib pick-up (even on race morning), ample space to kill time indoors, pre-run activities, coffee available (if only I had known), indoor bathrooms as well as numerous portables, and great organization overall. Even coming in from off the island was a stress-free morning.

Before I knew it, we were ready to line up for the start!


Originally, after my strong feeling race at the Runner’s World Half, I had hoped to go for a personal record this race since my 1:50:08 PR actually belongs to my very first half marathon. Funny, huh? However, I knew going into this race not to have high hopes. I did feel better after being sick all week, but still not 100%. Plus, I didn’t know how my testy ankle would hold up.

The first mile or so felt very crowded, even for one of the smaller races I have run. It took the entire mile to finally get a bit of open space and settle into a good pace. Even still, the energy of being surrounded by other runners tends to give me an emotional boost and this time felt no different.


From there, the next 3-4 miles went by uneventfully. I just had my headphones off and enjoyed running through the beautiful tree lined streets of Kiawah Island.


The scenery continued to get only more beautiful through mile nine, as we ran by ponds and the Atlantic ocean. Gorgeous, right?


I only had a few rough spots through this entire time and easily held about an 8:25 minute per mile pace. My body did feel fairly tired by around mile six, so I took one of my Gu energy gels a bit earlier than I usually do. It helped a lot. Then, at mile seven, they have a turnaround point on the course that goes from a pretty wide path to a pretty narrow path that gets really crowded. It doesn’t help when you get stuck in a marathon pacing group of about 20 people taking up the entire path, either. Besides those two points, I maintained a much better pace than I expected. Until just before mile 10.

My body crashed and burned around then. I have never really hit a wall during a half marathon. The only other time I have felt similar was the Atlanta Half Marathon earlier this year, when I was also sick the week before the race. Both races, my body just went caput with no real energy left.

I felt exhausted and started feeling very weak and nauseous, just as I had felt when trying to run earlier in the week. I tried taking another energy gel, but it only made the nausea worse. Also, at mile ten, the arch of my right foot started feeling tight and my running didn’t feel fluid and effortless anymore. By mile twelve it transferred to my ankle feeling tight. I never had true pain, but I certainly wasn’t running optimally. My pace slowed those final three miles to around 9:30-10:00 minute miles.

Despite things suddenly not going well at all, I still made the most of it.

just before mil twelve…still look mostly happy, even though not feeling too wonderful

I had done better than expected up to that point and I still wanted to enjoy the race. The final few miles went through some of the residential area of Kiawah with many gorgeous homes, including a HGTV Dream Home (they had a sign on the race course pointing to it, which I found kind of humorous).


I may have struggled towards the end, but I crossed that finish line happy (despite what my face says) with an official time of 1:56:31 and an average 9:00 minute per mile pace.

what I really look like just after crossing the finish line…

Right after the race, I did manage to find my fellow Atlanta running blogger and friend, Elizabeth!


We chatted for a few before Peter and I headed back to the shuttles for parking. Peter and I didn’t stay around too long afterwards because I felt pretty beat and we wanted to have ample time for our plans in Charleston. It was a quick race morning, but a very pleasant one and probably one of my favorite races yet. I want to go back next year! Who’s with me?!


1 Miz December 10, 2012 at 6:56 am

that line?
totally you.
in the race and in life.


2 jobo December 10, 2012 at 7:07 am

Wow, awesome job pushing through that wall and nasuea! I hope your ankle is feeling better and I am glad you ran happy :-) Your time is still very good o course!

3 Lauren December 10, 2012 at 7:33 am

Wo hoo!!! You go lady! :) Congrats on another wonderful race. xoxo

4 Steph December 10, 2012 at 7:37 am

Great job!! That’s an awesome time, especially with being sick all week! I would’ve wimped out.

I was there too, and I will definitely go back next year! It was an awesome race and the island is so beautiful. Loved it!

5 tinareale December 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm

It really was gorgeous! I would love to go back again and that’s not a common feeling for me after a race. I actually did almost consider not going and just using the weekend as a fun trip with Peter, but I’m SO glad I ran it.

6 Kierston December 10, 2012 at 7:38 am

Congrats! Love the pic at the finish line! It’s real :) xo

7 lindsay December 10, 2012 at 7:52 am

you had a tough week, so proud of you for just doing what you could, which was awesome anyway.
And that techno pillow.. ya, i want!

8 Lee December 10, 2012 at 8:17 am

It looks like a beautiful race and I’m glad you made the most of it. Hope you had fun in Charleston too.

9 tinareale December 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm

We had so much fun! I hope you had a good, relaxing time in Asheville!

10 Laura @ Mommy Run Fast December 10, 2012 at 8:36 am

Wow, what a beautiful course! I’ll have to add this to my list to run someday. Hitting the way half way through is tough. I was struggling yesterday, too. What was the weather like? A little humidity can go a long way in taxing your energy. Great job pushing through! Congrats on #5 done!

11 tinareale December 10, 2012 at 7:42 pm

I think the humidity was a lot higher than I have been running in lately for sure. It was in the upper 50s to low 60s temperature wise. And you would love this race!

12 Lindsay's List December 10, 2012 at 8:41 am

you look so cute in that shirt! I wanna run this race with you sometime.

13 misszippy December 10, 2012 at 8:57 am

Congrats! Nice run even when you were feeling blah toward the end. It looks SO beautiful there. I’ve considered that full before and still might. What was the temp like?

So cool you ran into Elizabeth!

14 tinareale December 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm

It was upper 50s to low 60s and apparently that’s a bit warmer than it normally is for the race, so fairly optimal I would say. I think you would like it, especially since I know you like more of the classic style races. This one was VERY well done.

15 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 10, 2012 at 9:02 am

Congrats girl! Despite not feeling great, you had an amazing race and made the best of it! Good job! :)

16 Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots December 10, 2012 at 9:09 am

despite being sick before the race you rocked that half!! The scenes are beautiful!!

17 Rachel @RunningRachel December 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

GREAT JOB!! You are SPEEDY fast… even if you were sick… you still ROCKED this race!! Proud of you! :)

18 Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian December 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

Congrats! I know the feeling – I totally hit the wall in my first half marathon earlier this year. I love that you still made the most of it and had a great time. The views are gorgeous!

19 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats December 10, 2012 at 9:48 am

I was out there all day/night on Saturday! I absolutely love Kiawah! And I wrote this on your instagram photo, but on friday when you were at the market, I’m pretty sure I was very close by because I walked through there too around lunchtime. I wish I’d had your number!

20 tinareale December 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Gah! I saw that comment a lot later that night. Meant to respond. Whoops.

21 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries December 10, 2012 at 9:48 am

Congrats Tina!! You are a rockstar! I’m sure it wasn’t easy with your ankle pain and just being sick the week before, but you should be so proud for finishing. It looks and sounds like it was a beautiful race! And you looked adorable – loved your running outfit!

22 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions December 10, 2012 at 10:08 am

Congrats on your finish! I’ve heard several good things about Kiawah from different sources, and it really looks like a gorgeous race. I’m glad you were able to run it, despite being sick last week.

23 Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic December 10, 2012 at 10:15 am

Congrats on another half!! Awesome pics.

24 maria @ lift love life December 10, 2012 at 10:28 am

OMG you did awesome! Great time and I LOVED your skirt. Congrats on your 5th half, freaking awesome hot momma!

25 tinareale December 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm

It’s from Running Skirts and I LOVE it!

26 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table December 10, 2012 at 10:31 am

I am so impressed! Glad you were able to get through it after being so sick. And with a great time!!

27 [email protected] Daze December 10, 2012 at 10:37 am

I also ran the Kiawah Half this weekend! I have followed your blog for a couple of years and thought I saw you in the registration line and in the restroom line right after, but debated whether it was you or not. :) Now i know it was you and really wish I would have said hi. Congrats on your race! I had read yesterday that you weren’t feeling well, so you did really well despite not being 100%. I thought it was such a fun, well organized race and probably my favorite half to date!

28 tinareale December 10, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Small world! It is too bad we didn’t get the chance to meet. I would have loved that! And it was such a great race. I would love to do it again. Congrats to you as well for the race. :)

29 Stefanie @ Thin Vegetarian December 10, 2012 at 10:50 am

Congrats! That is still a great time!

30 LeonorLeonorenguita @foodfaithfitness December 10, 2012 at 10:54 am

Looks like a neat race! Congrats on a good time in spite of not feeling great.

31 Amanda @ Romancing the Unusual December 10, 2012 at 11:06 am

Congrats on your finish! That’s a great time especially for not feeling so well. I am running my first full in February and have run 2 half marathons during my training. I think the half is going to be my favorite distance. They require endurance and strength but are completely depleting! I’m not quite as fast as you, yet, though. :)

32 Sarah (Shh...Fit Happens) December 10, 2012 at 11:22 am

That is awesome you did 5 in a little over a year. I have been thinking about trying one for a while but am a little scared! I really like how you posted pics from the run and expressed how you felt along the way (even though you weren’t feel well, sorry). I think that is really informative and helpful for those of us debating about doing one!!

33 Molly @ Just Your Average Athlete December 10, 2012 at 11:30 am

Congratulations on completely your 5th half-marathon! Great job :)

34 Bari December 10, 2012 at 11:31 am

I’m sorry you didn’t feel great – but congrats on pushing through and finishing (in what was still an awesome time!). The course looked beautiful – you’re lucky to have such nice areas to run this late in the year – up here it’s just COLD and starting to get snowy!

35 Angie @ Losing It and Loving It December 10, 2012 at 11:32 am

I am so proud of you for doing the race. I can’t say I would have done the same if I was sick. You rock, truly you do.

Hope you guys had a great time in Charleston.

36 Sabrina @Work It Ms Jackson December 10, 2012 at 11:35 am

CONGRATS! Great job and if the weather was anything like it was here in Savannah, it was a gorgeous morning. Now I’m curious, how did you get those pictures from the race? LOL!

37 tinareale December 10, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Peter. They’re actually pics he took while going along and spectating, but they’re pretty much the same types of things I saw. Haha!

OR I have a magic camera that takes pictures when I look at something and just say click. hehe.

38 Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family December 10, 2012 at 11:49 am

Congrats girl! One of my friends ran this race as her first 1/2 with Team In Training (she has leukemia). I heard it was wonderful! Way to kill it even when not feeling 100%!

39 [email protected] December 10, 2012 at 11:59 am

Very inspiring that you completed a half marathon with all of that stuff going on with your health. Looks like it was a beautiful course which probably helped a lot with your mental motivation. Congrats on completing number 5!

40 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf December 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Congrats Tina! You did great and making the best of it. That is so awesome that you’ve run 5 halfs in a year! Feel better and rest up.

41 [email protected] December 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm

YAY for crossing the line! & in under 2 hours & feeling under the weather days before. YOU ROCK! Nice work, lady.

42 [email protected] Palate December 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Awh well done! Good pace!!!

43 Clare @ Fitting It All In December 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I ran a half yesterday too and it wasn’t a PR for me either, but always a huge accomplishment.
and GOSH that looks beautiful!

44 Jess December 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I want to come next year!! ;-)

45 tinareale December 10, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Girls’ trip!!!!

46 Julia H. @ Live Young & Prosper December 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Oy, mile 10. That’s exactly where I hit the wall with my first half marathon. Those last 3 miles felt just as long as the first 10! But congrats though–your time is still AWESOME! And I’m digging the running skirt :D

47 Molly @ Happy&Healthy December 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Congrats on pushing through!! That half looks like a beautiful course and I love Charleston, what a great excuse to go!

48 Heather (Where's the Beach) December 10, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Nicely done! It’s so hard to run right after being sick let alone race! The scenery looks perfect.

49 Jesica @rUnladylike December 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Congrats on finishing your 5th half marathon and for pushing through the wall. You had a great time given the challenge toward the end. I would really like to do this race one day. I’ve heard great things about it and I enjoy running in colder temps. And love the picture with you and @ekalifeh! Yay for another race medal!

50 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers December 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Way to go! You showed that race who’s boss. ;)

I’d love to run that race one day. It sounds pretty awesome!

51 purelymichelle December 10, 2012 at 8:31 pm

girl you are beyond amazing for doing the race!!!

I got a half marathon in Feb, and very nervous as I do not really run anymore, but doing the race with my sisters so plan to have a good time

52 Coco December 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Congrats! That looks like a great course. I love your outfit! You look so cute!

53 Heather @ Better With Veggies December 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm

I love that course, it’s so beautiful it makes tough races a little easier to take. I’m proud of you pushing through and you will break that PR again. Time to get stronger and healthier now! :)

54 Danielle December 11, 2012 at 2:22 am

Congrats on your 5th half! I am running my first one in May and am beyond excited! Check out my training and progress on my blog!

55 Clare @ Fitting It All In December 11, 2012 at 11:03 am

That looks like the BEST post-race meal (or any meal) ever! Such a fun trip!

56 Bek @ Crave December 12, 2012 at 1:18 am

Great job! You’re amazing for even doing a half marathon! :)

57 Nerri December 22, 2012 at 12:52 am

I just found your blog – I was at Kiawah for my very first half (just 2 months after my very first marathon!) and I’m hooked! I totally want to go again next year :)

58 tinareale December 22, 2012 at 5:32 am

How cool!! I loved the race and hope to return next year too. I ran my first marathon this year as well. How did yours go? There’s nothing quite like it, huh? ;)

59 Nerri December 22, 2012 at 8:55 am

It was amazing!!! I ran Chicago so it was basically under the most ideal conditions possible (flat & cold). I’m hooked and want to do another but I kinda feel like 13.1 is my ideal distance…:)

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