It was perfect.
Happy with a New PR!
My husband and I arrived in Myrtle Beach two days prior to the race. I took him on a quick tour of the town past my old apartment, hangouts, etc. So much has changed in Myrtle Beach since I lived there 12 years ago! After checking into our oceanside hotel, we hit the race expo. Pretty much the norm for an expo, so we were in and out pretty quickly.
After the expo, we scurried off to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville to review our race bags, study the maps and determine a plan for the race events. Tequila is 'muy bueno' for pre-race jitters.
The next morning after a 3-mile shakeout run, we drove the race course. This baby was pancake flat, great straightaways with very few corners. I knew this was "the one" if a sub-2 was going to happen this spring. Knowing this made me even more nervous...
Friday evening was the 5K and family fun runs. I ran around like crazy (in the dark) trying to spot my hubby as he ran the 5K. (I caught him at three different spots in the race - pretty impressive for the 3.1 distance I think) I thoroughly enjoyed cheering in the runners, once again pumping me up for the race that awaited me in the morning. After the race, we finally devoured a pasta dinner at 8:30pm.
Surprisingly, I slept like a baby that night and sprung out of bed at 5:00am. Morning temps were in the mid-40's. And once the sun rose, a beautiful sunny day was on the horizon. Perfecto! My hubby dropped me off a 1/2 mile from the starting area. I got in a nice jog warmup, moved quickly through the porta-potty line and lined up with the 2:00 hr pace group in the starting chute.
It took exactly 1:38 seconds to cross the start line, and once we did, our pace leader took off. Her name was Nicole and I liked her instantly. One of my pet peeves about pace groups is that they always seem to start off behind the pace. Nicole carried a balloon and weaved her way through the crowded street with a line of us on her tail. By mile 1.5, it thinned out enough that we relaxed into a pace and chatted away.
Mile 1 - 8:53
Mile 2 - 9:09
I buddied up quickly with a guy named Blake who was also running in the pace group. In fact, my husband first found me at mile 2 because he could hear me talking. Chatting away and mindlessly following the pace leader kept me from sprinting out too fast. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the pace felt as we ticked away the early miles. I was aching to speed up, but made an internal promise to hold the pace until mile 6. Somewhere in the first couple miles, my right contact flipped in my eye. I struggled to fix it, then attempt to remove it with no success. Instead of stopping to fix the problem, I plunged forward the entire race with the right side a big blur. I was determined not to allow any excuses interfere with this race... and my sub-2.
Mile 3 - 9:09
Mile 4 - 9:10
Mile 5 - 8:58
Mile 6 - 9:09
At mile 6, we entered into the Market Common area, a cool area of little shops and condos. There was great crowd support in the next couple miles as I slowly pulled ahead of the pace group. Before I knew it, I passed the halfway clock and were heading down Ocean Boulevard. I couldn't believe how fast this race was going by... and how great I was feeling! I felt pretty confident by mile 8... and slightly giddy. I knew the work was yet to come, but I was beyond happy that it wasn't feeling hard yet.
Mile 7 - 9:01
Mile 8 - 8:58
Mile 9 - 8:58
Mile 10 - 9:00
That's some pretty consistent self-pacing if I do say so myself!
Who needs a Garmin? Not me!
Shortly after mile 10, I saw hubby up ahead and put on my best "I Got This" smile. I couldn't get over what a perfect race I was having at that moment.
But soon the miles and pace caught up with me. Mile 11 started to hurt and I started to work the race mentally. "A PR is gonna hurt... and I AM going to PR today. Do Not Quit. You've got More. You're trained for this. You've got this; Don't let it slip away." We made the turn off Ocean Blvd and back towards the start/finish area. It was the only part of the course that was "slightly uphill". Normally I wouldn't even notice this slight change, but now I was feeling every footstep that was at an incline. I felt like I was slowing down, so I was delighted when my mile 12 split flashed a 8:58. I so freakin' got this...
Mile 11 - 9:00
Mile 12 - 8:58
Mile 13 - 8:58
Final 0.1 - :94
The finish chute was an awesome setup... a long 1/4 mile stretch that was completely barricaded off so no one could cross - and it kept the 13.1 and 26.2 runners separate (genius!). It was lined with spectators cheering and banging on the plastic barricades. As I turned the final corner, the runner next to me took off in a sprint... and I matched. I used up every ounce of energy to carry myself in. I saw the 1:59xx on the clock and was completely overcome with joy.
I had become slightly obsessed with achieving the sub-2 half marathon. Both physically and mentally, I trained hard for this goal... and FINALLY it was mine! I bent over in exhaustion and the tears flowed. I knew in that moment that anything was possible with persistence and hard work. As I exited the finishing chute (slightly delusional, exhausted and still only seeing out of one eye), the disappointments of Chicago and Indy flashed before me. Today made it all worthwhile.
Chip Time: 1:58:16
PR by 5:42 over the Illinois Half-Marathon April 2011
#1154 out of 3570 runners (top 32.3%)
The winner of the half marathon set a course record in 1:07:57.
#404 out of 2033 women (top 19.8%)
The female winner (15 years old!) also set a course record in 1:16:43.
#88 out of 372 in sex/age division (top 23.6%)