Oh boy, where do I start? How about at the end…I had a great race!! Now for the details:
The race started at 6:30 am on Saturday, March 5th in Myrtle Beach. The weather was a bit on the chilly side at 39 degrees but the forecast called for sunshine and upper 40s by the end and no rain!
I was signed up for the Half Marathon but my running buddies, Kitty & Laura, had signed up for the full Marathon – their FIRST! (more on that later). The race had two starting chutes, the left side for the Half and the right for the Full. We took a pre-race selfie and went to our respective sides.
I had already set my C25K app for 40 intervals of 3 min run/1.5 min walk; I wore my Garmin GPS watch so I could track my pace at each mile and I had my Vivofit2 on to calculate steps…needless to say I was well monitored!! LOL
My goal for this Half was to beat my time from my first Half which was 3:01…anything under 3 hours and I would be a happy camper!
Once we were all lined up they had a local resident/business owner sing the National Anthem – wow, what a great voice! And then the cannon sounded the start of the race. If you’ve ever been at a large race and you are a slower runner you know that it takes a few minutes to actually cross the starting line. Once I did, I started my app and my Garmin…yay, I didn’t forget!
I chose to run without music for most of the race, I did the same for the 10 miler run a few weeks ago and it was quite refreshing. I kept myself occupied with the runners around me and my surroundings – it really did make the miles fly by.
I tried to take some pictures along the way but I must admit I’m not really good at it! Here’s a shot I took after I passed mile 4 – yeah, not so interesting…LOL
I had plenty of fuel with me, GU packs and Cliff Shot Bloks, and I refueled every 40 minutes (that was a key learning from my first Half where I stopped taking fuel after the first hour…big mistake!).
I took another picture after mile 6 when I recognized a restaurant we’d eaten at with friends last year – Gordon Biersch at Market Commons.
The first part of the course took us down Business 17 and into the Market Commons neighborhood – all relatively flat. On the way out of that neighborhood I passed the 7 mile mark – oh yeah, more than half way done!
The second part of the course took us down Ocean Blvd, still flat but that’s where the head winds started to kick up and cause some issues. It was feeling quite chilly when passing the high-rise hotels because they blocked the sun and runners never like running into the wind. I got a little ‘pick-me-up’ around mile 10 when I passed on of our friends that was supposed to run the full marathon. She injured her knee a few weeks ago and had to drop out but she still made the trip to Myrtle Beach to cheer us on – WOW!!! She even made signs for each of us with our names and bib numbers…I just wish I had stopped to get a picture…boohoo 😦
Once we passed 11 miles and the infamous Skywheel, we made a left turn to head back to the area where we started. The full Marathoners kept going straight for another 7+ miles…into the head winds…yuck!
I turned on my music to give me another pick-me-up and some rhythm to run to. The last water station was crowded with lots of cheering people and I was so moved by all that support from strangers, I got a little choked up. But I told myself “hold it together, you’ve still got another mile and a half to go”!
Of course I was doing the math in my head and barring any injury or unforeseen mishap I was going to make my goal. This spurred me on to pick up my pace a little in that last mile – I wanted to be sure I made it with time to spare.
AND I DID IT!! Woohoo…I not only came in under 3 hours but I beat it by almost 8 minutes!! I was so danged excited and I wanted to share it with someone…but my running buddies were still out there running! I got a little choked up after I got my medal but that made it hard to breath so I pulled myself together. I made my way through the finishing area to the food & beer section – which line did I get into first? the BEER of course!! I got two cups of Michelob Ultra and then went in search of nourishment :p
Here’s the results from the website…2:52…hot damn!!!!!!!!
And look at these splits…
And here’s my medal, or as Paula from Never a Dull Bling puts it, my BLING!! I just love these flip-flops!!
My day did not end after the race – I still had two running buddies to cheer across the finish line of their FIRST EVER MARATHON! After I filled my goodie bag with all kinds of snacks and drinks, I took the shuttle back to the hotel to change clothes. Once there I checked the race app that estimated where the runners where based on the last check point they passed and when I looked up Kitty – who is the fastest runner among us – she was only 4 miles from the finish – woah. This meant I couldn’t wait for the shuttle to take me back – I had to walk it (ugh!). Luckily it was only a little more than a mile so I put on different shoes and hit the pavement. I reached the finish line with about 15 minutes to spare and I cheered her all the way in 😀
I can’t even fathom what 26.2 miles feels like other than to double what I felt like after 13.1…but I’m sure that doesn’t even do it justice. She was beaming with pride and satisfaction and I was over the moon happy for her!
Unfortunately my other running buddy Laura didn’t have such a good day. She made it to the 22 mile marker and had to drop out. She pulled a groin muscle and could barely move let alone walk or run. She didn’t let it get her down – she was extremely proud of those 22 miles and I was super happy for her as well.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend and a great race event. I would HIGHLY recommend the Myrtle Beach Marathon & Half Marathon race – it’s a great course and the whole event is extremely well managed.