As if the title doesn’t say it all, I completed my first ever Half Marathon this past weekend :-)
I didn’t quite make the time I was hoping for but then again I’m not so sure I believe the official time…more on that in a bit.
To begin at the beginning: the weather was PERFECT Sunday morning in Myrtle Beach, a cool 54 degrees with sunshine (well, technically we didn’t actually see the sun until 30 minutes into the race). I met up with my running ladies around 6 a.m.; I had stayed at a hotel about a 200 yards from the start line so they came to my room to use the facilities rather than wait in line for the port-o-potties. That worked out great as the line seemed miles long when we got there.
We found our pace markers and lined up around 6:45; I was surprised by the fact that I started to get emotional at the thought of what I was about to do and how hard I worked to get to that point – didn’t see that coming! And then they played the National Anthem and I got emotional again – wow, what a cry baby LOL!
I had my Garmin ready and my C25K app was set to announce the walk/run intervals. I had decided I was going to do 8/1 split because I had averaged my fastest time with that split during training. At 7:00 they announced the start of the race – of course it took a little bit before the movement reached our pace group but soon enough we were crossing the starting line; I started my Garmin and my app as I crossed.
I purposely tried to keep my pace around 13:00 for the first few segments so I wouldn’t over do it and I ran along side one of my running buddies, L. She slowed for her first walk segment at 10 mins and I realized that my app hadn’t made the announcement for me to slow to a walk…WTH? I pulled out my phone and realized that the app was not working – NO!! GRRRR! I quickly closed the app and restarted it – damn, the first run segment was lost :-( I still had my Garmin so all wasn’t lost.
The next few miles passed uneventfully and I was feeling pretty good, there was a breeze for most of the race so I never got really hot or uncomfortable. Between miles 6 & 7 I needed a long walk break so I could eat my granola bar and let my legs rest a little bit. My overall pace was looking pretty good and if I could keep it up I would finish under 3 hours. It was around mile 10 that I felt like I hit a wall, my legs were getting really tired – especially my left leg, I could no longer run for the full 8 mins so I just ran for as long as I could. I tried to keep distracting myself by looking around at the scenery, after all we were running along Ocean Blvd and there were quite a few nice houses and the ocean itself.
By the time I hit the 12 mile marker I started having doubts that I could finish, I felt completely spent, but I had come this far and I was not going to give up…I’d finish if I had to crawl across! The last 1/2 mile was along the ‘tourist’ section of the main drag so there were lots of folks cheering us on and telling us that we were ‘almost there’. I heard someone shout my name and I looked up to see my husband and one of my running buddies K – I waved and kept running. Down the street we finally made a left turn and got onto the board walk where we would cross the finish line; my eyes were playing a cruel trick on me because the finish line seemed like it kept moving further away!! I checked my Garmin to see how much further I had to go – it had calculated 13.2 miles and the time was exactly 3 hours!!!!! I stopped it at that point.
Finally, FINALLY I crossed the finish line!!!!! I was so tired and exhausted I could hardly think – I grabbed a bottle of water, bent over so they could put on my Finishers medal and let them usher me into the photo area. The time on the clock above the finish line read 3:03:41 when I crossed – hey, wait a minute. If my Garmin was correct (and there was no reason to think it wasn’t) I had covered 13.1 in less than 3 hours – so now we have a controversy.
I found K and my husband – or maybe they found me – and we made our way back to the main street so we could cheer on L. I confirmed with K that her watch calculated the distance at more than 13.1 too. Within a few minutes L passed and we walked back to the finish line to watch her finish. As we made our way to the ‘beer garden’, L mentioned that her watch had measured the course at 13.29 – Ok so that confirms it, the course had to be longer than 13.1 (and by the way – that’s just wrong!).
It took me a good 40 minutes to really collect myself and feel like I could walk to the car – my legs were completely spent. In hindsight I’m not sure that I took in enough food before the race and I probably should’ve eaten the second granola bar I had with me – oh well, live and learn!
I have to say that it was harder than I thought it would be but I feel so proud of myself for doing it. The ladies asked if I was ready to sign up for next year and I said NO WAY! I need a little time to let all this sink in before I can even contemplate that thought.
Here are the stats: