Critz Tybee Run Fest 2013
A year ago I had just finished a half-marathon and was feeling pretty good about my running so I decided to try something a little more challenging. That is when I found the Critz Tybee Run Fest. The Tybee Run Fest is a two day event featuring five races — 5K, 10K, half-marathon, 2.8 mile beach run, and 1 mile run. The best part about the event is that the races are timed and routed so that you can do 1, 2, 3, 4, or all 5 events and if you choose to do all 5, the distance totals a full marathon at 26.2 miles. That was my goal.
I trained for the races in a similar way as I trained for my half-marathon and come race day I felt prepared. However, once I got to about mile 9 of the half, I was spent. I could barely get my legs going again for the beach run and I had trouble keeping up with my 6-year-old in the mile run. I remember never wanting to do it again. This year, yes I did it again, I trained differently. I prepared for a marathon but took out all of the runs that were longer than 2.5 hours (or approximately 15-17 miles). This seemed like the perfect recipe for me.
The 5K was great for all of Team BDR. Lee, Ginger, Nicole, and I all huddled with the rest of the racers in the cold wind of the night waiting for the race to start. I remember telling the group that I was not going to go for a personal best but just try to go strong for all 3.1 miles. I finished and felt great and then looked for the rest of Team BDR. Lee quickly rounded the last curve and headed for the finish line and Nicole and Ginger were not far behind. I am proud to say that all of us had our best 5K races to date and it made the post race pizza and beer a nice celebration.
The 10K started early in the morning the next day. Nicole, my personal cheering squad, and I rode back out to the island and again waited in the now colder morning. I was confident in my ability to go strong for all 6.2 miles and when I hit the 4 mile mark faster than I had before, I decided to kick it into high gear and go for a PR. As I rounded the corner for the finish line I knew it would be close and it would depend on the “chip” time. I am pretty happy to say I did set a PR in this race as well. However, this is when the jitters started to kick in. I began wondering if I pushed too hard to be able to finish the half strong. Nicole assured me that I would do great.
The half-marathon on a small coastal island is a difficult race to plan. The route took us from the mid-island area, to the area of the 5K and then back to run most of the 10K route. This means I ran most of the route the previous night and this same morning. I kept reminding myself the goal pace I wanted to run. I avoided the front of the pack and hung out in the back. I resisted the urge to pass what I would think are slower runners and kept my legs slow. I was really concerned that I would run out of gas like last year so I allowed myself to slowly work my way into that race pace. I was cruising along fine until I saw the mile 8 marker right next to the mile 10 marker. I told myself that I had a short “out and back” to get back to this spot. Well, I should have studied the route better because that 10 mile marker was misplaced. As I ran past the 9 mile marker, I knew I was not getting back to that point. I had to mentally tell myself I still only had 4 miles to go. This was my motivation. To get past this point and make it to the end without walking. I kept my pace and made the finish without walking. I was pretty excited and could not grab enough end-of-race goodies of breakfast and power bars to snack on while I sat on the beach waiting for the rest of Team BDR and the beach run.
2.8 mile Beach Run
I remember last year this being a miserable run. I was not even happy to be running on a warm beach in early February. I was completely miserable and regretted running the entire race series. I planned and trained for this year to be different. The beach run is an out and back route that starts on the beach and has a short portion that finishes where most of the other races finished in the street. This year was high-tide so the good running portion of the beach was scarce but once the race started, the runners spread out into a long column from start to finish. I started thinking that I would fall apart on the way back; but I think I just kept telling myself to keep running. I am happy to say I finished this race 5 minutes faster than last year.
1 mile Fun Run
The 1-mile Fun Run was where the rest of Team BDR joined. My kids, Lee’s daughter and my niece decided they were going to run this together. I planned on trying to keep up with my 7-year-old little man and he pushed the whole way. He and I finished with an 8:36 mile (his best effort yet) and all the girls did great as well. I believe my niece caught the running bug here because she asked my sister to register for another race after this one. I am glad that her uncle was able to help influence her in this way.
Overall, I know I trained better for this race and I DO plan on doing this again in the future. It is challenging and fun and getting to see the other racers every race gave me a good feeling of fellowship and esprit-de-corps that made it all that much more rewarding. If you think you need a challenge for your running or just want to try something different, I highly recommend the Tybee Island Run Fest. Even if you only race one or two of the races, it is a great event put on in a great location.