Kim and I signed up for the Daufuskie Island Marathon last year right after we ran it. It’s such a great winter getaway and really helps break up the CT winter. This marathon is a hidden gem. The island is so beautiful, the course is fast, flat and forgiving too. I ran so strong the last couple of years and felt fantastic. Both years I came in 2nd in my AG but unfortunately only the first-place winners in the AG got an award. I said to Kim after the race last year, “I am signing up next year because I’ll be 60 for the race and then I’ll get that award! As soon as the race opened, we signed up. Then got the email with logistics. I looked at my age on race day and noticed it was 59 still. What? The race date for 2024 was the day BEFORE I turn 60. Ugh, you know I’ll have to come back in 2025 to run when I’m 60.
Winter training is TOUGH. I can’t get myself motivated to run early because it’s dark and by the time I am done with work it’s dark again. It’s quite depressing. I have been running on the treadmill when I’m in Hartford. I am training for The Tokyo Marathon, and we were using Daufuskie Island as a long run in warm climate.
We booked our hotel, flights and car when we were on the way to Boston. Kim likes to keep me busy when we travel via car because I am the worst passenger. I know deep down that he’s only asking me to book stuff to shut me up, but at the same time it’s good for my brain to keep busy and not to be obsessed over his driving. We booked the same hotel as last year. The Marriot Grand Ocean resort is absolutely beautiful. It’s on the ocean and it’s huge with 2 bedrooms, 2 full baths, a full kitchen, living room and washer and dryer. It’s so affordable too because it’s considered off season. If you’re looking for a nice getaway, I highly recommend this place!
I started stalking the weather because the entire East Coast was getting horrible storms. The 10-day forecast changed every day leading up to the race and finally it was in our favor for race weekend. We flew into Savannah and went to package pick up at HOWE2RUN. The race director, Kerry Dulina was there and welcomed us with a hug. The swag this year was a pullover made with the softest material. I couldn’t wait to try it on when I got back to the hotel. We ate lunch at the same restaurant, The GreenTruck Pub as we did last year. The food is great and it’s on our way to Hilton Head. The ride from GA to SC is about an hour and it’s not a bad road.
Our first stop was to get groceries and then head to the hotel. I have to say, I am a bit disappointed that we didn’t get an ocean view like last year. I tried to change it but they we all taken by the time share people. My birthday celebration started with a nice dinner, wine and carrot cake. The next morning, we got up and had a nice 5 mile shake out run on the beach. It sure is a treat to wear shorts and tank tops in January!.
Our pre-race meal was at Pomodori, the same Italian restaurant as last year. I have to say, this is one of my favorite Italian restaurants, even better than some authentic NYC and Boston Italian restaurants. The food comes in close with Dellatre Trottoria in NYC.
We got to bed with very full tummies. Our clocks were set for 4:30 am wake up.
Race morning was uneventful. We had our coffee, bagels and set out on the ferry. This year I have to say the ride was a bit rough and I was eyeballing my maps app to see when the hell we would get there! We didn’t have a spectacular sunrise like the past 2 years. The heated tent was set up and we had hot coffee, waffles, banana, and homemade cinnamon rolls that the race director’s mother makes and drives them from Pittsburgh for race morning. We sat with other runners under heat lamps and kept warm until the start. Looking around I could see the chafing dishes and white linen table clothes for our lunch. I mentioned in my other recaps that this race is like a country club outing.
The race director got up and made some announcements and gave Kim and I a shout out for coming back for our 3rd year. She knew that this was my birthday weekend, and she made a comment how much it meant to her that we chose her race to celebrate. She even had everyone join in with Happy Birthday.
The start was freezing. I had on my HMF Mitten run hat and Kim said “you should stash that at the start so you can get it back after the race. I put it near a tree. I must admit, I love their hats! We finally started running and each mile was effortless. I felt great. My goal was to run 9-minute miles because this was my training run for Tokyo. The marathon has 2 - 13 mile loops. It’s partly on the road and then it goes on packed down dirt roads which I feel have less impact on my joints. Around mile 2 out of nowhere a deer flew across the road. It was surreal. I looked around for the rest of the family but luckily it was just one deer. The course has 3 off shoot loops that bring you back to the water stop and bathrooms. Kim kept saying what was coming next, which amazes me that he remembers the entire course. I remember bits and pieces like the sections that have broken down shacks and others that have the most spectacular home that look like scenes from Gone with the Wind. We ran by golf courses and then by the ocean where the path has crushed seashells. It’s just so beautiful. The first 13 miles went by in a blink. Then, around mile 15 I started to feel like I wanted to stop and walk. This is NOT a good sign so early on. I told Kim and we just kept moving. He kept asking “are you okay Jeanne?” and I said “yes”. I feel like once you succumb to admitting you feel like shit, it’s all over. I did all the mental toughness tricks that I could think of. I sang my favorite songs to myself, then I counted steps and finally I pulled the ol’ ant song out and did that. I was pretty happy that it was working for me. Finally, we were closing in on the last 3 miles. Those were the longest miles that I’ve ever run. Ugh. Kim kept pulling away from me. Finally, he turned to me close to the finish and yelled “Come on Jeanne, hurry up I want to Boston Qualify”. Yes, the thoughts I had at that moment were not pretty. All I had on my mind was “Jeanne, don’t vomit”. I pushed myself to catch up with him and we crossed the finish line holding hands.
As soon as I stopped, I walked around a bit to get my composure and turned only to see Kim dancing around with HMF Blueback Mitten run hat on. Yeah, I have to admit he was kind of cute, and I was getting over him pushing me towards the finish. We got our medals and walked over to where they were engraving them – FOR FREE. I had some dude look up my time and I found out I FINALLY won the 50-59 age division. On the last day of being in my 50’s. Kim also found out he won his new age division too! We were pretty happy!
We got our awards, food and headed back to the ferry. It was great to meet other runners and share our stories. We also got to chat with our CT friend Sharon that lives in Hilton Head. I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and take a hot bath and warm up.
Now for the birthday celebration to begin. I can sleep in tomorrow morning and relax!
I want to come back next year and run this race again. If you want a fast, flat easy course with minimal logistics this is your race.