7 was the Kiawah Island Marathon, 15 December 2001.
In September, when we booked into the race, 15 December seemed likely to be a simple free day. We would drive down early, have a relaxing dinner on the ocean in Charleston, run a race, walk along the beach and come home.
In the event, mid-December was as frantic as the rest of the year. Sandy was performing in a school play Friday afternoon and we didn't get out of town until 4 pm. Our home in Durham was under renovation, we were staying in Chapel Hill. We drove down North Carolina country roads to the border, where we got on I-95. We stopped for dinner in Florence, SC. We were looking for pasta, but the first place we went was so smoke filled that we retreated to the Chinese restaurant across the street. It was also full of smokers, but had higher ceilings. We had discovered the worst Chinese restaurant in the world. Such a momentous discovery brings with it some feeling of achievement. We have long searched for the best Chinese, at least now we know the epicenter of badness. We started with the beer. They were out of Tsing Tao and so brought out some regional Chinese beer, which was so profoundly distateful that we both declined more after a single sip. We ordered wine. Next came the hot and sour soup. It was neither hot or sour. It had the basic consistentcy and color of orange marmalade, but tasted more like the beer. The wonton's were like deep fried crab rangoon, but were filled with a charcol-like compound. The sesame chicken was covered with globs of the orange marmalade stuff. We ate the parts of the brocolli untouched by goo and the steamed rice before hitting the road and searching the car for mints.
We got to Kiawah Island at 11 pm. We stayed in a very nice two bedroom villa across the street from the starting line. Rachael, Kate and Sandy were registered for the 5K. We all got up at 6:30 to go get our race packets. We had breakfast in the shop near the start and went home to prepare for the race. It felt especially decadent to be staying close enough to the start that we didn't need to wait in line for the restrooms.
The run was pretty mechanical from my perspective. The main stories were:
I was undecided as to whether to kick back and have a fun run or to go for Boston (3:20). In the end my body made the decision for me. I was 8:00 for the first mile (chips were distributed but did not record anything except the finish), 15:00 at the second mile, 29:30 at four miles, 59:00 at 8 miles, but began to fade at the half. I got to 20 miles at 2:37, which would have brought me in with a solid 10K, but I did not have a solid 10K in me. I ran a couple of 10 minute miles and a bunch of 12 minute miles. I thought that I would at least run the whole thing, but I walked a few hundred yards in the 25th mile. My chest hurt as much as my legs, which was strange. I was hot enough that the shock of dumping water over my head at water stations was fairly profound. I finished in 3:47:50.
As usual, I have many theories and thoughts and cannot test any of them for another few months.
Rachael and Kate each took third place in their divisions of the 5K, which they ran together. Sandy had a good run also, finishing in 41, which is not walking. The marathon was a double loop, the family was nice enough to cheer for me coming and going, in between which times they wandered the beach as I explored the Island.
We went back to the condo after the run and rested a while. The kids went to the beach and played in the water (in December!) We walked the beach. We bought horrible soup and horrible pizza in the East Bay Village market. Overall the best food of the weekend was the pancakes at IHOP Sunday morning. Almost everything tasted like postnasal drip to me anyway, but even Rachael agreed that we were experiencing cuilnary difficulties.
We drove back home, swinging by Fort Bragg to see where the base is. Next year....