This past weekend, I had the privilege of traveling to Myrtle Beach with nine other wonderful women to run the Myrtle Beach Half-Marathon. This was a trip several months in planning. For my friends, The Sole Sisters, this was their third consecutive year. We considered ourselves lucky that they invited some of The Woo Hoo Crew ladies to join them this year. We all left on Friday and met up once we arrived in Myrtle Beach. Most of us made it to the expo for packet pick-up and then set about getting settled and ready for the next day’s race.
It’s no surprise to anyone that I’ve been struggling with my running for going on two years now. However, since having surgery in September of 2012, I’ve been working on building up my stamina and strength to get me back to a 2:15 half marathon. I have trained hard since them beginning of the year and have been working my running intervals for my long runs up slowly. So, I went into the race with an overall pace goal of 11:30 instead of going into the race with a finishing time goal (although I’m not going to lie, I knew that pace would get me a 2:30).
Race morning was early! We were all up by 5 AM since one of our resident rock stars, Cindy, had to be at the starting line by 5:45 to start gathering together the two hour pace group. Most of us were running a little behind, so Cindy went ahead and the rest of us followed shortly behind her. By the time we found parking and walked to the starting line, we only had time for one quick bathroom trip before it was time to say our goodbyes and head to our appropriate section of the starting area. I stuck with Carole, as I knew that if I was further up in the starting corral, I would take off too quickly. Pretty soon after we hit our spot, the crowd started to move forward, and we were off!
I’ve been training with my long run intervals at about 6:1 run/walk. A couple of weeks ago, I bumped that up by 30 seconds, so my watch was set to give me my walk breaks after six and a half minutes. I started out slowly, just as I planned and felt really well. I tried not to look at my overall time and stay focused on just getting through my intervals feeling like I had pushed a little, but not feeling so exhausted that I didn’t think I could run another one.
My plan worked really well for me until about mile 7.5. By that time, I was starting to tire and I got a little nauseated after running two back to back intervals with an overall pace under 10:30. So, I added an extra minute of walking, had a chomp, and worked on getting myself refocused. It worked and I felt pretty good until I hit about 11.5. At that point, I was exhausted. I knew I was on track to be several minutes under my goal time, and I really wanted to keep up that momentum. Then, it occurred to me that I had forgotten to take my honey at mile 11 (as I intended). So, I stopped running for a few minutes, got the honey in me, had some water, and finished out as strong as I could expect.
My final time came in as 2:26:49 with an overall pace of 11:12 (more than 15 seconds under my goal pace!!!) We had some good times at the finish line and after a massive lunch at a Mexican restaurant near our resort, we headed home for naps and getting ready for the real post-race party at House of Blues.
I wouldn’t have traded this weekend with the ladies for anything in the world!