Spectating the Charleston Marathon and Returning to Running

I had a great weekend of running in Charleston over the weekend, even though, for me, it only involved 10 minutes of actual running.

On Friday, I made the trip down south with six other ladies from my running team for a fun girl’s weekend planned around the Charleston Marathon and half marathon.

The original plan was for me to run the marathon, as part of my goal to eventually run a marathon in all 50 states. Later, that got downgraded to the half, after a summer of injuries, before it was decided I wouldn’t run at all, when I learned the summer of injuries was routed in just one injury: a calf strain.

Even though I couldn’t run, I had my plane tickets, and I was the unofficial trip planner, so I wasn’t going to miss it. Therefore, I became the official cheerleader. While the rest of the group ran, I cheered, and got lots of pictures of them all running, because, let’s be honest: we all love pictures of ourselves racing.

While I was bummed not to be running, I really do love spectating. There is nothing like it to get you pumped up for your own training again. And this race had an exciting surprise. As I waited for my friends to come running by the 5 mile mark, I see that my friend Francesca is coming up, and who is next to her but my running girl crush Esther Erb Atkins. What?!


Esther was running the full, and looking to run around the same pace as Francesca, so they paced together. Apparently Francesca told Esther that I would be so surprised and excited to see them together, and I don’t think I disappointed with my reaction. I was so surprised, I just said, “Oh, HI!”

Francesca and I talked to Esther at the post-race festival after she finished her race (securing the South Carolina marathon record!), and she was so nice. That was definitely a highlight of the weekend.


The rest of the weekend, it seemed like we as a group did nothing but eat, walk around, and eat some more. Charleston has some truly amazing food. The worst part of not running was not burning the extra calories to “deserve” all the good food. I still indulged, but I’ve got to be good this week.

On Monday, before bidding adieu to lovely Charleston, I got one of my first rehab runs in – just 10 minutes super easy. I was meaning to run those 10 minutes on Tuesday, but I couldn’t resist the chance to run in the warmth. Plus, Charleston is just so cute.

Rainbow Road

I’ve run twice more since then, both on the track, running 10 more minutes on Tuesday and 15 minutes Thursday morning. It’s been slow – 9:05 min/mile pace on Tuesday and 9:20 min/mile pace today – but that’s what my body needs.

And I can’t complain, because this is an improvement! I first attempted a 10 minute rehab run on January 6, after about five weeks off running, but the next day I felt a little niggle in my calf, and I didn’t want to risk re-tearing the scar tissue at my injury site. I decided another 10 days off was a good idea. That brought me to six weeks post-injury.

I’ll be continuing with physical therapy and taking it slow, but I’m feeling optimistic. The plan going forward is to—as much as possible—run on the track, biking there and back (about 20 minutes each way). That way I’m keeping it to a soft surface and thoroughly warming up my calf before running. I’ll stick with 15 minutes for a couple days before escalating to 20 minutes, then 25 minutes, etc. It will more than a month until I run any faster than recovery pace (below 150 beats per minute, ideally below 146).

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

2 thoughts on “Spectating the Charleston Marathon and Returning to Running

  1. It was great to meet you this weekend, and I’m so glad you were able to run here and that you can run again. I’m sending you the best wishes in your own comeback. Congratulations to all your girls who ran this weekend- they dominated this race! I bet it was cool to see Francesca running with Esther and how amazing that so many of you guys placed and got the fun awards to take home to NY. Glad you enjoyed Charleston and we’d love to see y’all again one day.

    Also… where’d you guys treat yourself to a post-race meal? Curious minds want to know… ;).


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