Monday, February 16, 2015

Myrtle Beach half race review

A few weeks ago Bill and I decided we wanted to go on vacation to somewhere - anywhere - warm to get away from winter for a few days. The cheapest flight we could find was to Myrtle Beach, so that was reason enough to go there. Like any runner would, I thought "hmmm I wonder if there's a race while we're there..." It turned out to be not just any race, but the Myrtle Beach marathon (and half, relay, 5k, etc.)

It worked out perfectly because the brothers Hanson wanted me to do 6-10-6, but as a compromise, I did 0 - 13.1 - 0. I wasn't necessarily in half shape, but it's not that much more than 10 and I'd be done running by 9am so it wouldn't interfere with our limited vacation time. After I registered, however, my quad started feeling overworked, but it was too late to change my mind.

Then on Thursday morning, my first thought when I woke up was "I'm getting sick." grrrrr!!!!! Worst timing ever!!! When I woke up at 5am for the race, my ears ached and I was full of solid snot, but I've never not done a race. Besides, my 4th best marathon was under similar conditions. So I took two DayQuil, one ibuprofen, slathered menthol gel on my leg and tucked tissue in my sleeves. Had to try! I had already been justifying my time though. "It's my best winter half...." or "It's my fastest out of state half...."

It was cold, in a relative sense. Compared with Michigan, it was a downright balmy 30 degrees at start time. Bill stayed with me until the last minute and let me wear his jacket, then I knew I'd warm up as I ran. My strategy was to go slooooooooow and let my leg dictate my pace. It was a training run, and I just wanted to log the miles.

It's funny. Once I stopped trying to force a specified pace, and just let my legs go free, great things happened. My first mile was well over 10 minutes, then they kept getting faster. Around the halfway point, I saw a woman with 2:15 pinned on her back and thought if I can just stay with her...

The sun came up, we ran toward the ocean, and I stopped noticing my leg. The weather was absolutely perfect for running - mid to upper 30s and sunny. I drank water on the even miles, but I was never dehydrated because I wasn't sweating so much in the cool temps. My strategy was to walk through a few sips of water, blow my nose, then keep going.

10 miles felt great. With a 5k to go, I started to entertain thoughts of a possible pr. I had roughly 33 minutes to finish and pr, so I told myself to hang on to 10-minute miles, even though everything after the first had been significantly faster than that.

It felt amazing. I kept going and kept feeling stronger with each successive mile. In the finishing chute, I knew a PR was happening and I had a huge grin on my face as I passed runner after runner after runner. I passed Bill on the sideline, raised both arms and yelled "PR!!!!" My pace in the last 0.1 was under 7-minutes and I could have kept going. It's only appropriate that I crossed the finish line to Pharell's "Happy."

2:05:02!!!!!! (official time - I wasn't positive where the start/finish lines were exactly so my watch is a nibble off, in both time and distance). My previous best had been a 2:08:49. It's not the sub-2 I'm training for, but it's also 6 weeks earlier than the Rock CF half, which is the target to break 2 hours. Had I known I was that close to going under 2:05, I would have skipped blowing my nose once lol That's all the difference in time between +5 and -5.

It was really expensive. Since I did so well, it's worth it :) It was very well organized, and runners got some nice goodies - a heavy duty drawstring backpack, a long-sleeve tech shirt that's pretty generic looking. I certainly have nicer, but I definitely have much worse as well. It's ladies' cut, I like the color and it fits so I can ignore all the sponsor logos on the back. The best goodie was a super sweet medal shaped like flip flops. Plus we got to run next to the beach in February - what's better than that?
Photographer said ok to share thumbnails. Look at my raised leg - I'm flying!


  1. Congrats! That is awesome. Warm run and a race in the middle of Feb. Yup, I am officially green with Envy!

    1. Thanks! A great aspect I didn't mention - no snow anywhere!!!!! :)