Kiawah Island 1/2 Marathon Race Recap

by Elizabeth on December 12, 2012

Half Marathon #25
State #17
12 in 2012 race #12


As mentioned here, P and I drove to Charleston, SC on Thursday night. After lunch on Friday, we headed to Kiawah Island- a 30-45 minute drive from Charleston. We went straight to check for our house and packet pickup was in the same place. Done and Done. The “expo” was uneventful but our house was not.

view from the back patio

We rented a house with Corey, her hubs Brad, and several of their friends, Heather, Char and Jesse.  We stayed in and cooked dinner and had a pretty early bed time considering race time wasn’t until 8am.

I woke up around 6:15 to do the usual bagel and peanut butter and Kona Kola NUUN. Something was WAY off with my stomach race morning. I went to the bathroom 5-6 times. Yes, in a whopping hour. Kinda ridiculous. Not sure if it was nerves or something else, but I was lucky it finally calmed down when we left. Our house wasn’t close enough for race days shuttles, but the Island offers pick up service. SCORE. We called and had a driver pick us up around 7:20. Just enough time for bag drops, bathrooms, and a quick warm up.

Heather, Me, Corey, Char pre-race. Yes-in front of toilets. :)

Miles 1-8

The race is somewhat small, no corrals, no fancy start. Corey and Char ran the marathon a few years ago and said to get up front, as usual, people don’t follow race etiquette rules. It was the perfect tip.

I started the race with Char, we had a similar goal. First 3 miles 8:-8:10 pace. They felt easy, like I was holding back. I did my best to hold it at this pace (garmin stats below) and waited for mile 3 to be able to push it a little bit more (goal was 7:52 pace). Char said she was going to hold back for a bit.

The course itself was the same for the first 7 miles or so. We ran down a beautiful road that alternated between marsh land (even though it didn’t smell great) and homes very similar to the one we were staying in.  I was very surprised by the amount of crowd support that was on the course too-lots of cheer leading all along the way.  One thing that Char had also pointed out was watching the curves along the course-it didn’t actually turn often, just winding roads-so I did my best to stay on the tangents. The turn around was right past 7 miles-the course literally stopped in the middle of the road and there was a very narrow turn onto the bike/running path.

miserable? focused? determined? pushing myself? can’t decide…

This is where the course got harder for me. Mentally and physically.

view of path (pic taken on Sunday after the race-but wanted to show the size)

Miles 9-13.1

Up until this point, I was mentally strong. I was thinking of Coach Jess and her marathon and my big goals. I was thinking how far I’d come since the ankle sprain. I was believing this goal she had given was achievable.

But for some reason the 2 miles on the bike path bothered me. I couldn’t get in a groove-I had to stay more focused on the path and where I was stepping (because of my ankle) and it was constantly winding and a bit uneven. It was also hard to pass people.

I was very excited to turn back into one of the neighborhoods (right before mile 10). The goal at 11 was to kick it up another notch if I had it in me and race it out to the finish. Right before this, Char passed me. I thought I was slowing down, but she was speeding up. Her husband, Jesse (who was running with her) later told me I didn’t look happy at all (at this point).

I mentally was so focused. I kept looking at my garmin thinking I was going really fast, but apparently I wasn’t. I knew my goal would be tough.

I know I was definitely grunting at the end. There was a tiny hill right before the finish and I was running up it with a male runner. He actually said he loved my determination. I fought as hard as I could for that finish line. I was so excited to see P when I turned the corner and gave it what I could.

I still don’t look very happy-even finishing! NUUN hat and tattoo, Lululemon shirt and skirt, Pro Compression socks, I fitness belt.

 Official Stats


258/2746 overall

75/1762 females

31/605 females 30-39

This was almost a 2 minute PR for me (previous in Savannah with 1:45:27)! Yes, I was 47 seconds off my goal, but still very, very happy with it. And, I love the website that Kiawah uses to show the results. I passed 22 runners the last 3 miles of the race-I was giving it all I had out there. Only thing is the race results here don’t match the original sheet that was on FB, so who knows. Either way, the field was stacked.

PR’s for all 3 of us!! woohoo!!

Garmin Stats

Post Race

I didn’t puke, and this was huge! I immediately found Char (a few seconds ahead of me) and Corey and P. We went to wait for Heather to finish. While waiting I got to meet Allison, another blogger and Oiselle runner and I also ran into Tina (Atl blogger and Fitfluential).

Corey, Me and Allison post race

Me and Tina

The post race food/party was quite fabulous. Beer, coffee, hot chocolate, 2 different types of pasta, soup, brownies, corn muffins, bananas, oranges, and tabouli. YUM.  We hung out for a bit and then headed back towards our house. I enjoyed the walk to stretch out my legs and we were reversing the race course so we were able to cheer for the marathoners.

post race awesomeness.

We spent the afternoon eating (great pizza place near right off the Resort complex), shopping, napping and then eating again. We finished up the night with cocktails at the Sanctuary Hotel and then Sunday morning had brunch on the 18th hole of the Ocean’s golf course.

View from brunch

Are you jealous of my windy bangs?

yep-dressed for summer. IN DECEMBER.



  • Scenery/Kiawah in general
  • Volunteers/Spectators/race staff (very nice to exchange all of our shirts-they were all too big)
  • Post race
  • Bling
  • Race organization
  • the company
  • course

Not so Much:

  • Cost of the race (sign up early! it’s much cheaper!)
  • Course

The Bling

The shirt is okay-P really liked it (even though he didn’t actually get one). The material is somewhat cheap, but the design isn’t so bad compared to some of the previous years. I really like the medal. Something about unique medals is fun. It’s glass with a Kiawah Island logo on it.

medal is on a plain ribbon, but it fits the medal. I like it.

Final Thoughts

I really, really loved this race. The ONLY thing I can complain about is the part of the course where you run on the bike bath. It’s just narrow and uneven but other than that- I loved the course (which is why it was put in both my fav and not so much list). If you sign up early, the race is cheap. It’s only $50 through the end of this month, so if you are thinking about doing it next year, sign up now and save yourself some $$. Also-come prepared with your race needs-the expo is really small. Just one vendor has everything.

I also recommend renting a house or villa on the island-again, you have to book early to get one-they sell out. But, it makes a huge difference in the race ease and experience.

If you are racing the states, this is definitely THE South Carolina race to do.  You can easily make a long weekend out of it and spend time in Charleston.  Not to mention, perfect weather for this time of year, a super flat and fast course (see the 3 PRs above), and plenty of stuff to do to keep you busy post race.

I had SO much fun with Corey, her hubs and her friends. I love when running turns into a mini vacation.  I also love that I ended the year on a super high racing note. An almost 2 minute PR, my 25th 1/2 marathon, my 17th state, and my 12th race of 12 in 2012. All bring such a big smile to my face.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather December 12, 2012 at 4:15 am

Congratulations again on the PR – I love that medal.

What skirt is that???


Leslie December 12, 2012 at 4:21 am

Awesome Job on the PR!! A 1:43:xx is STILL a 1:43!!!


kelseygodfrey December 12, 2012 at 5:11 am

Great race, Elizabeth!! Way to PR! Looks like you and Corey and the other gals had lots of fun. I agree that making a race a little getaway is always a great thing. By the way, you look so tough in your photos-definitely can see the determination. Congrats on a wonderful race and a cool medal!!


Sandy December 12, 2012 at 5:13 am

Nice PR! Congratulations!


alma December 12, 2012 at 6:16 am

KICKASS! Congratulations on your PR! Looking forward to running with you (behind you?) in Eugene. I will put this one on my list, for my someday trip to SC.


Christine December 12, 2012 at 11:17 am

WOW, a 2 MINUTE PR that is freaking awesome!!!! You are Speedy Gonzales!! :) Yesterday I signed up for the Charleston Half Marathon in January and I’m excited to go to SC, it looks so beautiful!!!


abbi December 12, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Congrats on your great new PR! You look determined, focused in strong in the race photos!


Suzanne December 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Congratulations Elizabeth! I’m so excited for you to set a new PR! I thought about you so often during the weekend and hoped you had a fast race. Hooray for ending the year on such a high note! Here’s to another great year of running in 2013!


beka @ rebecca roams December 12, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Congrats on the PR! You’re a fast lady! :) I really like the unique medal too.


Lisa J December 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Sounds like a great weekend running and non! Love that your PR was on the last race of year.. going out with a bang. My SC race SUCKED and it ended up being super short (12.74 miles)— I feel I may need to do this state again at some point.


Misszippy December 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Woot! Way to go! Fantastic BIG PR! Very happy for you. Both you and Tina make really great cases for this race–may have to check it out!


Becka December 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm

You are the fastest!! I can’t believe how consistent your splits are! Way to go and congrats on your PR!


Ricole Runs December 12, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Congrats on the HUGE PR!! You are getting so so so SO speedy. Ridiculous speed lady! ANd looks likes it was a lovely weekend away overall!


Tasha @ Healthy Diva December 13, 2012 at 12:57 am

I am glad you had a fun weekend and got shiny new PR out of it. Pretty good way to end the year :-)


Danielle December 13, 2012 at 2:03 am

Awesome way to end the year! Great job!


Corey December 13, 2012 at 2:21 am

I love your post :) And not just because I am in it…haha! Swear! I had so much fun hanging with you this weekend. It somehow isn’t fair that we are close to each other but not close enough to see each other all the time. So proud of your PR this weekend! I love that you are starting to see just how fast you are!! Congrats again!!


Jenny @ The Little JBird December 13, 2012 at 3:56 am

Many congrats on an awesome new PR!! :)


Kim @ Just Trying December 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Wow! Congrats on the PR. I’m still so impressed with how well you bounced back from your August injury.
I love this race recap. I wish I had been there. Renting a house sounds like a special way to spend a half marathon weekend.

Let’s get this pesky holiday season out of the way so we can meet up in MS!


XLMIC December 13, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Holy WOW! You crushed this :) Very nice job!


Laura @ sweatingforit December 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Congrats on your PR! I love the medal. Unique and cool.


Jesica @rUnladylike December 31, 2012 at 4:23 am

Congrats on such an amazing way to end a great year! Excited for your amazing accomplishments and your awesome PR! Can’t wait to see what 2013 holds for you! Let’s get together for a run soon!


Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: