Honestly, I had no idea how this run was going to pan out. Up to 2 weeks prior, I wasn’t totally committed. Training was half hearted with speed work and long runs done on the treadmill while holding on. To complete training miles, I’d walk/jog with Luke resulting in 11 minute miles to finish runs. My easy miles were in the 10:30 pace zone.
*Luke is only 7 months old and too young to be running with me yet.
I hadn’t seen my dad since Christmas so I bought a ticket and decided since I was going to be in Myrtle, I might as well use the race as a training run for Boston. My last 20 miler was done 2 weeks before the race. The weekend before the race, I ran 13 miles and the week of the race, I ran 5 miles on Wednesday then not again until the day before racing for 2 1/2 miles. My hamstring and butt were killing me so I figured less was more and took 2 Aleve per day 2 days prior to the marathon. I also took 2 at 2 am the morning of the race.
I attended the HTC Runner’s Expo the first night it was open, Thursday March 3rd. In line at 4:50 pm waiting for the doors to open at 5 pm. It was a quick trip just to pick up the bib, the shirt and a nifty beach towel. I also bought GU Energy Gels to fuel my run. It was a small expo so there wasn’t a lot to keep me there for long.
Day before the marathon
Friday began with a 2 1/2 mile easy run around Heritage, 8:53 pace. After that it was a nice lunch, grilled salmon salad at Dead Dog Saloon and legs up until I made myself plain pasta with the other half of the salmon left from lunch, asparagus spears and spaghetti squash. Bland but good. I tried to get to sleep by 9 but that didn’t come easy, tossing and turning all night.
Marathon Day, Saturday March 5th. Race start, 6:30 am.
The alarm went off at 3:45 am. I immediately ate a Clif Bar. Choked it down really because, well, who can eat and enjoy it at that time?! I had a 5 Hour Energy Shot at 4:15 am and finally got stuff together before heading out at 4:45 am. It took me 50 minutes to get to Broadway at the Beach and park the car. I had EXCELLENT parking so glad I got there early. It was 40 degrees so I ran over the street to the Porto johns then back to the car, TWICE. Left the car at 6 AM to walk to the start which wasn’t far at all, following other runners.
Marathoners lined up on the right, half marathoners on the left. The national anthem was sung at 6:15 am by a guy whose voice was magnificent. I was brought to tears it was so moving.
Even though I had a sweatshirt over a hoodie and long pants on, my body shivered. Reluctantly I shed my layers at 6:25 am.
Pacers were available but I was determined to ignore them. This was a training run and I was running strictly based on feel. Very easy running to start then let my body ramp it up gradually as it felt necessary without unspoken direction from the Garmin on my wrist. I wore two necklaces on which symbolized Zoey, Shane and Luke running with me. I also found a photo of my mum the day before which I concealed in my running pack so she would be with me as well.
The course was pancake flat. If a runner enjoys looking at hotels, restaurant and touristy shops, it’s perfect. My favorite part was from mile 19 through 21 when we cut through a foot/bike path running parallel to highway 17.
The weather was near perfect with a 11 mph breeze for those 10 miles down Ocean Blvd. Other than that, it warmed to 55 degrees. I tossed my hoodie at mile 14 due to the wind but once the sun was out, I figured I was safe. My gloves stayed on.
I ate a GU at the relay points. *This race offers a marathon relay event along with the half and full marathons. Miles 4, 10, and 16, I was able to eat a GU. I didn’t have a fourth so I ate 6 Power Gel Chews at mile 20. The volunteers did hand out Gu at mile 22 but I tucked it away since I had the chews. There was water and Power Aide at each water station, every 2 miles along the course until mile 22 when water stations were each mile.
I checked my pace as each mile rang out but didn’t get upset when I saw the slow down. Slowest mile was mile 5 when I stopped to use a Porto John. Lucky me, I got right in. Then a girl ran up and immediately started knocking on the door. COME ON! As if I would spend more time than necessary in there! I was on the clock as well. Geesh!
My paces miles 1 – 26.2
8:59, 8:41, 8:42, 8:54, 9:55, 8:41, 8:52, 8:44, 8:53, 9:05, 8:49, 8:53, 8:58, 9:00, 9:08, 9:14, 9:04, 9:11, 8:50, 9:06, 8:59, 9:07, 9:11, 8:56, 8:54, 8:44 and 1:46. I did have some left in the tank to push those final 3 miles and felt good, not too stiff and not nauseous after finishing.
The food tent wasn’t labeled and I had to ask where it was, originally thinking it was the medical tent. Nothing appealing food wise after the race. There was chocolate milk which I missed, water, more Power Aide, fruit cups, banana halves, bagel 1/4’s, and big red apples. There was a Michelob Ultra tent for beer but I was cold and just wanted my race results which were delayed due to computer problems. Typing in my bib number, the results came up as "no finish time." 30 minutes later, I got the results and left for the warmth of the car.
7th in my division with a net time of 3:55:11. Not as good as I wanted but better than I thought. What really pleased me is that I did not walk once during this race, only stopping at 2 water stops when I had a hand full of water and the other full of Power Aide. Very happy with that.
End result is that this gives me more confidence if I make it to Boston this year. Also, I at least have a qualifying time for 2017 in hopes to continue my consecutive Boston runs.
Not a bad race for getting that BQ. I’m not thrilled about pancake flat courses. I like a few bumps in my path. Also, those long straight 10 miles down Ocean Blvd. were too boring. Curves, give me some curves. As for spectators, very few. As for volunteers, great!