Monday, February 7, 2011

Critz Tybee Half Marathon (race recap)

Critze Tybee Half Marathon- Tybee Island Savannah, GA
Weather- Rain, low 50s

This race was a last minute decision a few weeks ago. Our original plan for completing GA was to do the Berry 1/2 on March 5th, however I randomly came across a driveable 1/2 that same weekend in Arkansas- Little Rock 1/2. All other half mary's in AR were on the  'Texas side' of the state, so I figured it would be beneficial to choose that and find a different Georgia one.Neither Becca or myself had ever been to Savannah before, or had  heard of Tybee Island, so we were both excited to venture into brand new territory.

It was B's turn to drive to this race, so since its an 8+ hr drive, she picked me up at 5am on Friday so we could get there with plenty of down time to explore. The drive from Nashville to Savannah was raining and uneventful, but we made great time.
We stayed at the host hotel, which meant it housed the expo, and the race start would be held right in our area (double score!!)  View from our Balcony looking at expo.
The 'expo' was more of a packet pick up with a few things on sale- worked for me. They had quite a few flavors of gu on sale for $1 each, including 2 of my favorites- Espresso Love (for the 2x caffeine) and Chocolate Mint (for the amazing flavor); naturally I stocked up. I also finally got a Spi Belt so I would be able to comfortably run with my camera and take pictures during the race!! Gus (5) + spi belt were all $20!! I love deals :-) 
Since it was still early afternoon, B and I set out to tour the island, starting with the beach! 
The pier 

View of our hotel from the beach 

Trying to act like its not cold out

B Balancing on the swing

I just LOVE the ocean 

Welcome to the beach! (now only if it were warmer, less windy, and sunny it would be perfect)
On our way into the area we saw quite a few unique shops we wanted to check out, so we decided to walk around and explore some more. Tybee island has a theme of 'turtles'- all the signs that direct you to the attractions of the island are Turtles pointing you in the right way you want to go, I REALLY wanted to see a lighthouse, it never happened- boo.

Random anchor was just sitting there BEGGING us for a photo opp, how could we resist?!!!

It's riding time! yes we're dorks 

On our LONG walk to find the shops we spotted, I found a dream for anyone who happens to have a sweet tooth,  Behold- The Sugar Shack
Didn't actually eat anything there, just thought it was funny. After walking what seemed a mile and still nowhere near our destination, we decide to retract and get the car and drive around. What do we find, a little village of cute boutiques!! 

How adorable are these? B and I got some spectacular deals, and a better bonus was when we were talking to the owners of each shop, we got discounts for coming in from out of town to do the race- such southern hospitality! 
I secretly rubbed Tybee Turtle for good luck in the race-sssssssshhhh
We decide to grab a beer at one of the bars in this 'village' and couldn't beat their prices, so we decided to order some breadsticks and split a pizza since that is what their 'known for.' 
half the breadsticks were gone at this point

The bartender neglected to tell us exactly how huge the pizza was though (hand for comparison)- I was only able to FORCE myself to eat 3 pieces and then I was ready for bed. No joke we drove back to hotel, watched an episode of How I Met your Mouther (BEST.SHOW.EVER) and lights were out at 8:30pm est, so technically 7:30pm cst- at least we'll be well rested!

Race start was @ 8:30am, so was able to sleep in till 6:45- over 10 hours of sleep on a race day?!?!? Unheard of! Our curtain in the room to the balcony was ridiculous, so we decide to use it as our back drop pre race photo. 
Rocking my new spi belt 

Game day face
Our fun was short-lived once we opened the curtain and saw what the weather had in store for us. 
Originally the weather was supposed to be slight drizzle with storm picking up around noon.  If thats how it played out, I would have been a happy camper- instead we had quite the opposite- windy, rain, rain and more rain. I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to using my spi belt to carry my new camera and capture some great photos, however I was not going to chance my camera getting ruined. 
We braved the wind/rain and made our way down to convention center to wait with all the other runners. B and I were pretty much the only ones who were not wearing a hat or windbreaker / some type of removable clothing from the rain. Got a lot of stares/ compliments for my skirt though, at least that made me feel great. 
at start line
With 20 min till start time, we venture to the start line and wait around. This was probably the most fun I've had at a start line- music blaring, people dancing, camera men capturing the moment (hoping we made the cut) 
About 5 min till start time the sky opened up and it began just POURING. I had no idea if my Garmin was waterproof, so I try to get everything set up before the weather affects it- BIG mistake.
Gun goes off, B and I part, then as I'm crossing the mat my watch will NOT start. This cannot be happening. All month in January I've been focusing on speedwork so I can get closer to breaking 1:50 and I know what my splits need to be to get there. After a few min of running my watch is still not cooperating, so I decide to take it off and put it in my pocket so it doesn't take a beating to the rain- guess I'll wing it. I knew I was going fast, just didn't know how fast that would be until Mr.Green caught up to me. I call him that because he was wearing green shorts and had green on his shirt. At first he was cool, letting me pace with him, then I passed him and he made a comment to one of the guys around how 'he didn't want to get beat by a chick in a tiger skirt'. Now when I am able, I'm extremely competitive- no way was I going down without a fight with Mr. Green. I managed to leave him behind till mile 5 and he settled in a little behind me with another guy he was talking to while running. 
Mr. Green behind me
I just love the fact that there is a lighthouse behind me!

The other guy was discussing pacing and such with him and what his goals were for this particular race. Mr. Green says that hes pacing for 8:00-8:10 avg pace. Holy crap I'm going WAY faster than anticipated- definitely will hit a PR- woo! Mile 6 comes, the rain finally ends, and as I pause to get some gatorade from one of the stations, Mr. Green passes me and I never see him again. (at least I know my pace for first 6 miles) Shortly after I pass the gatorade station I realize that it won't be until mile 8 that I have the oppty to take my gu- crap I don't think I'll make it that long before my pace is drastically affected. I slowed down to conserve energy and after 1/2 mile I say 'screw it' and pick it back up, "go big or go home" right?? Just my luck shortly after mile 7 there were a few guys dressed up in PBR cans giving away beer-I'll take what I can get! As I pulled my Espresso Love gu out of my skirt pocket, my Garmin fell out and it decided to work again- at least I can gage what miles 8-13 are going to be. Also word to the wise, Espresso gu mixed w/ crapy beer is not tasty, but at least it got the job done. 
Renewed energy + working garmin + no more rain = happily running Lisa. Saw the first place guy when I was at mile 8, putting him at mile 12- wow to be that fast. Miles 8-12 were kind of boring running streets through a neighborhood- in fact the whole race was throughout neighborhoods with the occasional spectator here and there. Miles 8,9,& 10 were averaging b/n 8:30-8:40 min / miles - no idea what my total time is, but i'm extremely confident I'll beat my previous PR from Thunder Road 1/2 1:53:02- woooo!

Something happened at around 11.5 miles. My right knee gave out, and I hit the pavement. What just happened? I didn't trip, there was no pot hole to avoid or puddle to hop over (which bc they were below sea level there were TONS). I got back up and started to run again, then immediately stopped. I have never experienced such sharp pain radiating throughout my knee and up to my hip. 
I stretched for a few seconds and started to run again, pain still there. What am I going to do? I still have 1.5 miles to finish and there is absolutely no way i'm going to make it running the whole time. I do my best to speed walk since walking doesn't seem to bother it- this is strange to me, how can I walk fine, but literally the second I start up running its debilatating?!?!
I have no idea how I mustered up the pain tolerance to hobble / limp/ run/ jog, but I did. When I calculated to having a half mile left I decided to push through the pain- I'm almost done, I had a great race leading up to this point, I wasn't going to let this race be a wash (being stubborn is the northerner in me) Luckily I had a man wearing neon orange to pace with. Everytime he picked it up, so would I and vice versa. In the distance I see the corner where I know once I turn it the finish line will still be in view- I wouldn't say I necessarily tried to go faster, but I definitely opened up my stride. "Almost finished girl, a little bit left" is what I kept repeating to myself. I turned the corner, and I've never been so happy to see the finish line before. I tried to kick it in and tears started rolling down my face because the pain was so unbearable- I wasn't crying bc of the pain, it was more of the idea that this might be my last race for awhile. 
picture worth 1000 words- obviously in pain. (mr. orange behind me) 

After I crossed the line and received my medal my knee gave out and I fell again- great. Mr.Orange helps me up and congratulates me for the pace- at least I helped someone. Clock time was 1:54 and change- B normally finishes up around 2:10; wanted to go back to hotel and grab my camera real quick, but with my bum knee I doubted if I would be able to make it back in time. 
I stayed put, cheered on some people near the finish line, then decided I would go further up the course to find B and tell her I was going to go back to hotel for camera and to stay put after finish. I see her and jump in the race with her (extremely bad idea) to tell her I was going to grab my camera. The pain in my knee was even worse running those 20 sec w/ her than the last mile of my race- did i tear something?
Manage to hobble to hotel as fast as a hobbler can go, get back to finish line to meet up with B all so I can get these 2  stupid photos- As the saying goes- Pain is temporary, picture lasts forevers (so i changed the phrase a little bit haha) 
Welcome to Tybee Island 

kites all over the beach near finish 

B and I post race- DRENCHED

Aside from my injury (which i'm still nursing and doing everything in my power to see if I can run in New Orleans this weekend) the race was ok. First 6 miles it was torrential downpour, but once it stopped the weather was great. It was completely flat which was new for me, and I had a TON of compliments from runners and spectators on my skirt- don't know if it was the skirt itself, or the cheetah print. I KNOW that if I didn't have this set back, I would have blown my PR out of the water. Guess it gives me something to strive for once I'm all healed. 

Official time 1:54:25
Finished 24/114 in my age group
 344/1218 overall 


  1. nice job! pain is never fun-especially in a race. i hope you are okay for the upcoming weekend!

  2. I didn't fall down, but had "run stopping" knee pain last October. I was told to start foam rolling my ITB and it helped. I've also backed off the mileage. I really want to race well this spring and summer and avoid injury.

    So glad you finished in that rain and wind. It's rough running in that kind of weather. I really hope you can run this weekend in NO. My thought is that you just can't race to PR every. single. weekend. Some of these have to be fun and easy. I know, I'm old. You'll figure it out! Best of luck!