Monday, 19 October 2015

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon 2015, SC

I have been wanting to run the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon for a long time. Somehow, for the last two years I've ended up running other races on those dates. This year I finally remembered to check all my dates and register on time.

My friends were doing a weekend in their families Myrtle Beach condo so I went along and gave them some gas money (and bought breakfast to apologize for getting them up early on Sunday morning<---they are runners so they were understanding). So in all it was a very economical race weekend.
I went to the expo on Saturday in a local hotel (no race day pickup) and then ran the half marathon on Sunday.

The expo was tiny considering there were around 4,000 runners but they were selling extra merchandise buy one get one free. I've now built up a large collection of regular technical t-shirts as well as long sleeved ones but not so many vests/racebacks, so I bought 2 of those for a very nice price of $22.

The next morning the race started at 7am so I got up at 5.30 and had coffee and a bagel. The start was around a 10 minute drive from the condo at a local mall, my very nice friends dropped me off. The weather for this race was a complete 180 from last week. While there has been a lovely fall nip in the air since I got back from Florida, Saturday was a significant drop from even that. It was 40F at the start and I wore a racerback top, brrrrr!!
I was tempted to physically hug the stranger in front of me for body heat when lining up for the porta-potty (loads of them). I thought that might be a bit weird so I just used them as a wind shield. After that I made my way to the sign for 10-11 min/mile and put myself into the middle so I was surrounded by people on all sides.

The race started right on time and after around a mile of running everything except my hands was perfectly warm. The first 8 miles of this race are mostly on highway and while not boring isn't anything exceptional (I'm spoilt after last week in Key West) The last 5 miles run along the oceanfront and that was much nicer. The course is almost completely flat with one maybe two uphills (not steep) and one downhill.

The flatness combined with the perfect running temperatures made me a bit more interested in my running performance. I decided to run the entire thing at a comfortably hard pace. I didn't want to go all out because I haven't trained enough and I certainly haven't run at anything close to race pace in a while. I did enough to gauge my fitness.
 I ran most of the race and walked through the water stations (every 1.5 miles). I stopped once for a restroom break at mile 9. I felt so great after that I went a bit too fast for 3/4 of a miles at around 8.20 min/mile and then had to walk for a minute to catch my breath, not the smartest. However, other than some really swollen hands nothing hurt during the race.
I was aiming to hold a pace close to 9.30 minutes per mile for the entire half but it ended up being closer to 9.49. That ends up being a 2.08.42 (chip time). The fastest half I've run since April and not too bad considering I have a few holiday (ahem, and pre-holiday) pounds to lose. Now that the weather has cooled I can work on the pounds (not weather related) and get some speed-work into the mix.

There was a great crowd of spectators at the boardwalk finish (and a fair few on the course). I crossed the line and got a GIANT surfboard medal. Within the finisher shoot they had bagels, water, bananas, cookies etc. There was mention of I.Ds for beer but I'm not sure where the after party was and I didn't want to hang around (and keep my friends waiting). The finish area was a hot mess. Even though there was a big square nearby everyone congregated at the end of the finishers shoot and I had to stand by some ambulances so my friends would have a landmark for us to find each other. Only after I text them where I was did I realize they might panic a bit, ha ha.
We then went to a breakfast spot called Hot Stacks and I devoured as much food as I could. I washed, changed and went for a short walk on the beach before we started the drive home. Today I am paying, paying big time, ha ha. My back and strangely for me my calves are really sore. I think it'll take a few days for the soreness to recede. A rest day today and then back at it!!

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