State #22: South Carolina
Charleston Marathon, Half Marathon, Shrimp & Grits 5k and Bike Ride, Charleston, South Carolina, Saturday January 14, 2017
Bib #2376; Half 654 of 3007
Gender Place: 270 of 1888
Female/Age 40-44: 30 of 231
10K Split: 54:58
Finished Time: 1:59:21
8:00am start time at 62 degrees
So state #21 was 6 weeks ago and it felt as if it had been much longer. As weird as this may sound, I felt out of shape and not ready for #22. Part of it was the extra 10 pounds I put on over the holidays. I own it, the half a bottles of wine 3-4 times a week, the amazingly bad and wonderful food -from all the holiday parities and get together and the 4 plus bottles of Prosecco that my friend and I shared on New Year's day after my 4 mile race...LOL... plus academic and political stress and craziness. No excuses just owning my all. :)
1. Part of the adventure is getting there . Airplane route of travel- Boston(BOS)- LaGuardia (LGA)-Charleston(CHS). Bos to LGA no problem. Then I couldn't get out of LGA. Flights were over sold, weather in the midwest had an impact, plus holiday weekend travel. I normally fly stand-by and when I checked the flights everything looked good. In a second, everything can change and it did!
I got bumped off the 11:50 nonstop to Charleston. The next one was at 2:30( nonstop) then 8:55 nonstop. I've done this before and know how things work. While I waited, I read my book : Hidden Figures, had a great lunch and ran into the Rev. Al Sharpton. He looks a lot thinner in person.
I kept watching flights and I saw a lot of delays happening across the board. Then I started to process my options for getting down south. If I couldn't get on a flight I would be screwed. I've never missed a race and that would alter my plan of hitting state #25 by April. I refuse to go down without trying and exhausting all my options.
Charleston was not looking good. As I checked the later nonstop flights( I have a back door way...thanks mom) my two options all of a sudden got full and and oversold. Then the standby list for those flights increased and I was moved further down on the list.
I realized Charleston was not going to happen and I was not going to rent a car from New York and drive down south. I had to get close enough down south that I could rent a car and drive. My options flying:
-Atlanta,GA - then 4 hour drive; Charlotte, NC 3 and 1/2 hour drive; Columbia, SC -1 drive.
The next flight to Columbia left at 8pm and if I missed that one window....that was a no. Atlanta was a hot mess. It's always a hot mess. They had a flight leaving almost every hour but each onelooked bad for flying- alot of over sold seats. I knew that wasn't doable. Best option Charlotte. Throughout this process I kept walking/running between terminal C and D. I was in D and walked over to C to try to catch the 2:55 to Charlotte. It was 2:20 when I figured out my math and checked the flights again.
When I got to D and asked if I could be listed on the flight, because I checked and there were openings, somehow the computer did not like me and the gate agent was having a hard time listing me. Meanwhile, they are boarding the flight. She had to call someone and do some phone calling magic. People are still boarding.............................
You can image my stress levels were high. Eventually, it worked out because she was fabulous and I got on seat 13 C and I thanked her several times for helping me out because she had no idea what this meant to me.
Got on the plane.....and......we stayed on the runway for 45 minutes because we were number #16 for take off. LOL. It didn't matter, I was on the plane. This was step one.
Step 2. I arrived in Charlotte around 5:50pm. I still had to rent a car and drive 3 and half hours. It was a straight drive- I-26 to I-77 South. I found out that dropping the car off at a different location was going to cost a bit more than expected. Fudge.....Whatever....I'm on a mission. I did stop to get a bite to eat. I didn't get toCharleston until almost 10pm
b. My routine was completely messed up. Normally I get into the city the day before. Go to the Health Expo, pick up my bib number, meet folks, do some tourist exploring, have a nice dinner and some red wine, and I'm resting /sleeping by 8:30/9pm. That did not happen. In the process of traveling my normal eating, nutrition, hydration, resting patterns were completely off...which had a huge impact on my race.
RACE DAY- PRE RACE
2. Race day, I was tired and hungry when I got up and I knew that I was going to be in trouble. I got up around 4 shower, stretch, and ate something. Race started at 8am and bib pick up on race day was at 6:15am. My plan was to pick up the bib number at 6:15am and try to find something to snack on before the race. I knew I did not properly fuel my body. It's that basic.
3. I was there at 6am and at 6:15am, the volunteers still were not ready yet. UGH. I totally understand.
4. While I waited I saw several young men who attend the Citadel get in line to get their bid number and some very "southern women" in line with me talking about the gala they were going to go to. The only African-American woman that was volunteering smiled and started talking to me. It was sweet.
5. By the time I got my bib number and instructions for baggage check it was 6:45am. I still had to check my bag, use the rest room, and find a moment to get myself mentally together. The good thing about being at the start of the race early was finding a parking place. With over 5,000 participating in the race, theparking lot got crowded fast. The bad thing, I didn't have time to get food or if I drove off there would be no guarantee that I would find a place to park since the start and finish were in different spots. Oh well.
6. The beauty of the south is the hardcore football love: Clemson, University of South Carolina, Citadel, College of Charleston all being represented. As people were getting ready to run, about 10 minutes before the start, the announcer mention the Clemson tiger state champions the crowd roared with so much pride. Awesome.
AND RUN AND GO
7. My body was not ready for the hotness. By mile 1 I was sweating hard and that doesn't happen ever. It must of been around 63 degrees when we got started.
8. Gorgeous flat running tour of the low country of Charleston. We ran along the water with the boats, clear blue sky with the sun just beating down on us with no shade in sight. Yup.
This was my time to put on my sociological hat and observe my surroundings since I didn't get a chance to do it on Friday. My thoughts: What does it mean to be a women of color running in a southern city with a rich and thick history around the intersections of race, geographic land space, history, and class. Charleston was one of the main slave port citiesin this country( and Baltimorestate #21 and New Orleansstate #11, also major slave ports) that shaped the dynamics of this city with a population now of over 130,000 people.
9. Knowing my bad nutrition and fuel situation I made sure to get water and Gatorade at each stop. Around mile 6 I felt light headed andfaint. I knew I had to slow down a bit. At that point under an hour in, the sun was out in full force. I was thankful that I had my runner Id wristbandon but I was not trying to faint while running. I had to get to mile marker 8 where I knew there would be liquid fuel.
10. I'm not sure what I was doing or how I was running. I felt the eyes of a guy running next to me. When I looked over to him, he stuck out his fist for a fist bump and I fist bump him back and he kept on going. Now, I didn't see him fist bump anyone else, while he had passed me.
I swear every race there is always that one guy. Why? Why?
11. I stopped at every single water stopped. I felt slow but I had to run smart. I realized it wasn't about time but finishing standing up. I decided to enjoy the view. I made it to mile, 8 got water, walked, and counted to 50 while I drank slowly.
12. While running down King street( one of the main streets downtown) two guys had a sign " If Trump can run, so can you". I busted out laughing and gave them a high five.
13. Along the course, several bands and drumming groups played at the different mile markers. This was the first time I saw dancers on the course. Not sure or understand the point of the dancers.
14. Someone had left a wedding dress out and it had " free please take it". First time I had seen that
15. Sociological Lens: I wonder if my fellow runners are aware of how the neighborhood demographic and landscape change while we run. As an urban sociologist I'm always mindful and thinking about these things. We ran through a very high end upscale shopping district and neighborhood to an area that was the complete opposite. I often wonder do these neighborhoods that we run through benefit from the race.We passed run down homes " over the train tracks" with trash and a lack of green space.
16. Of course mile 9, there has to be a mini- uphill. Every single time...why? I just got my shitz together at mile 8. This might have been the second time I cursed on the course. The first was mile one when I was sweating like crazy!
17. Hitting mile 12, I thanked Jesus. The sun was coming down and I was tired. I know, bad nutrition. For some reason getting to that 13.1 took forever!!! after 12 miles of a straight away, then there had to be all kinds of zig-zags as we ran to get to North Charleston High School.
18. Normally I like to "tag " people. There was one bald headed guy with a lot of sunscreen on his head..I tagged him. We did a back and forth. At one point I stayed with him to pace myself and catch my breath. Even with my low energy, I had to leave my boo because my second/third wind kicked in.
19. I'm not sure if it was because of the military or the warm weather but I saw so many people with tattoos. On the calves, legs, arms, chest. They were not small. Men and women. My bald guy had a big one on the back of his right calve. Another guy had two women on both of his arms...naked draped with some saying and a anchor on both of them.
20. I can count on one hand the women who had on running shirts or even showy ones. There was one women who had a purple sprinkle running shirt. These folks were about business. Then again, there was me and my flower. :)
21.I thought that my time would be over 2 hours. With all of my stops. I surprised myself and finished in 1:59:21 seconds
22. As I was coming close to the end. I saw some of my fellow BGR sisters cheering. I had to give my " what's up BGR" and they responded in kind. There faces, smiles, and " girl you got this" gave me that extra boost.
23. When all was done I ran into a BGR Charleston sister. She asked where I was from. I told her Boston. She was shocked. I always get that. She thought I might be from Maryland. We had a great conversation and told me many of the BGR sisters did the 5k and some had injuries. I encouraged her to run a marathon. Me...when did that start to happen
24. My Hilton Head cousins came up to see me. I was so happy to start the year off with my family. As my cousin Anita was calling me whenI just happen to see her at the finish line. This was her first race. She brought me water and some shirts in case got cold. Got to love it. We had a chance to catch up, have lunch, and she gave me a mini tour and history of Charleston.
25. Since it wasn't Friday the 13th, Flying back to Boston on Sunday was easy as "Sunday Morning". From LGA- BOS something happened that never happened before. I was questioned about my seat. I'm on the plane and reading Hidden Figures. The lovely women next to me asked if I had seen the movie, I said no not yet. Typical, flight conversation to get to know your neighbor. Then she asked if if I was a flight attendant. I laughed and said no, puzzled as to why she would ask. I went back to my book. Then she wanted to ask more questions. She asked me if I was flying on a buddy pass. I smiled and said no and went back to my book. Then she asked me if I knew anyone who worked for the airlines. I said no.
At that point I had to completely change the position of my body to let her know to not ask me anything thing or question why I was sitting where I was because if I opened my mouth I would not be able to take back what would come out.
Needless to say #22 was an adventure. From getting there, pre-race routine completely changing, feeling like I was going faint, being called ma'ma from men, women, the young and old, black and white, hanging out with my cousins, having shrimp and grits and champagne at the end of the race, receiving a finisher medal and t-shirt that are pieces of art, being in a place a week after a boy got the death penalty for taking away 9 lives who were just praying, and it was Martin Luther King Jr. weekend...whew....and its just January and we are just starting off the year