Monday, December 16, 2013

Pikermi #30 - Running for Fun in Savannah

Forgot to put this one up - from Nov 14th

It's November, and time for my annual reunion trip with my high school buddies, where we travel somewhere warm, play golf, eat and drink more than we should, and run a race.

This year we chose Hilton Head in South Carolina, and found the Savannah Rock n Roll Pikermi nearby to fulfill our running mojo. There were 7 of us (down from ten after some cancellations) and we stayed in a big beautiful house next to the beach on Hilton Head Island.
sav 013
Thursday we all arrived in Savannah, and the first stop was the race expo to pick up our packets. Then we did a quick walking tour of the city, which is filled with beautiful squares with huge old oak trees and refurbished old mansions. We sampled the local food and beverages before driving up to Hilton Head.

Friday we golfed, and the less said about that, the better.

Saturday we were up early for the hour drive back to Savannah, and a ferry ride to get to the starting line. It all went smoothly, and we ducked into the race hotel where the bathroom lines were reasonable. For real toilets! Score! It was a mob scene in the hotel, with some of the 18,000 runners scurrying around.
We headed out into the 50 degree weather (perfect!) dropped our gear bags and made our way to the corral with ten minutes to spare. Pre-race shot: Happy and excited!
Six of us were running, and 4 of us started together with a goal in the low 1:40s. My plan was to stick with them and run for fun. Enjoy the race and not worry about time. Since I have hardly run in the last 5 weeks due to plantar fasciitis, I had no business trying for a good time. I was happy just to be running. My heel hurt so bad after my last run 5 days earlier that I considered skipping the race. And I probably should have if I was focused on healing. But I decided I would rather run it and suffer the PF setback than skip it.

So off we went, T, K, S and I, running together at 8 minute pace through mile 1, and then picking it up a little in mile 2. T started to pull ahead a little then, and K started to drop back. I ran with S at a comfortable but solid pace through the first 5. T was still barely in sight, and we assumed he would be caught later. He had pulled us a little faster than I wanted, but it was still feeling good.
7:56, 7:43, 7:27, 7:32, 7:42

My heel was fine for 3 miles, then I started to feel it. But it was just an annoyance for a while. The course was a little boring at first, but then we went through the older historic section, around the squares and under all the huge trees and hanging moss. It was really pretty, and the crowd support was good. Very fun race!


Mile 6 or 7 the heel was hurting more, and my lack of conditioning was starting to be apparent. I had to reduce my stride some. I told S I had to let him go and relaxed the pace a little.

At mile 8.5 I knew from the map that I was only a few blocks from the finish area. After that it is basically out and back, so it was my last chance to bail and DNF if I was hurting. Well, I was hurting, but it wasn't too bad, and I knew I could finish, so I kept on. It was a good effort, but I wasn't dying. It was fun to enjoy the race spirit.
7:34, 7:40, 7:47, 7:50, 7:55

 The last three I was just running with the crowd, trying to maintain sub-8 pace, but the heel hurt on every step, so there was wincing, and stride adjustments, and gritting and bearing. I had enough left so I pushed a little towards the end to improve my time, but I honestly didn't have too much to give. So I cruised it in and enjoyed the cheering.
8:06, 8:00, 7:56

There were over 30 photos on the official site. Here are a few approaching the finish.



 1:41:40. Not too shabby for an old gimp. I was happy to be under 1:45. I met up with S and T soon after the finish. (S won in 1:39:55, T faded to 1:41:27 - I almost caught him! K had a rough day and was over 1:50. My bro started further back but ran a 1:45 PR)

The finish was at a large park and was a great atmosphere. I got changed and got my one free beer.
Happy runners!

We had to walk over a mile to get back to our car. And the heel complained loudly, but what the hell. Mission accomplished! I took some pain pills and started the recovery.

Sunday we drove up to Charleston and walked another couple miles looking at beautiful houses and stuff. Like this one.
Monday we played one more round of golf before heading out to our respective homes in Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and California. Good times!

Now I am taking at least two weeks off and hoping for healing.

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