Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon – Myrtle Beach, SC (2015)

This was the third year in a row I’ve done this race and this time it was supposed to be part of a 23 mile training run. Since I was at the race by myself and I had to drive back the day of the race, I knew I didn’t want to try to do the whole 23 miles on Sunday. Instead, I planned a 5-mile run on Saturday afternoon and then about 19 miles the day of the race. 

The first thing I did was head to packet pickup to grab my bib and check out the vendors. This has always been a really small expo, but last year I had bought a great pair of running sunglasses for $15 and unfortunately right before I went to New Mexico, I broke them. I was able to piece then together for that trip, but they were officially scrapped when I got home. I was definitely excited to find the same vendor there again this year and even though I didn’t find my $15 sunglasses, I did pick up a pair that have been working well for me. After the expo, I headed to a small park so that I could get my 5-mile run in. I really struggled during the this run. I think it was a combination of the warmer weather and timing – I started around 3pm, and I hadn’t eaten lunch yet. I did take a GU before I ran and I had lots of water with me, but it still felt really hard. I ended up running a 10:47 pace which was actually a lot better than I expected given how I was feeling at the time.

After my run, I checked into my hotel and signed up for their pasta dinner that night before heading up to do some work. My job has been pretty crazy for a few weeks and I knew I was going to have to work on this trip, so I had brought my computer with me and worked for about 4 hours on Saturday night. The fact that the hotel had a pasta dinner at the hotel was awesome and meant I didn’t have to try to find somewhere to eat. Last year, we did find a great Italian restaurant, so I would have loved to grab food from there again, but I went for convenience instead.
Since I wanted to run more than a half on Sunday and because this is a point-to-point race with my hotel being about a mile and a half from the finish line, I decided I would run from my hotel to the start and then back to my hotel after the finish to give me 19 miles total. It actually worked out really well since I didn’t have to worry about the post-race shuttle which I would have had to have taken if I parked my car at the start line. The race started at 7:00am and I had about 4.5 miles to run, so I left about 5:45am to give myself enough time to get to the start, hit the portapotty and then start my race. When I got to the start line, it was still dark out, but the sun was starting to light up the sky. 

I ended up in a huge line for the portapotties and missed the start of the race, but since I wasn’t running for a specific time, I just jumped into the corral and started near the 12:00 pacer. Since I had already done 4.5 miles I planned to just continue my 5:1 from the start of the race instead of running a couple of cycles first. I think I only had about a minute of my run time to go, so I did skip the first walk cycle and ran for 7-8 minutes before walking, but other than that, I kept pretty close to the standard 5:1.
  • Mile 1 – 10:09
  • Mile 2 – 9:36
  • Mile 3 – 10:10
  • Mile 4 – 11:17
  • Mile 5 – 10:36
  • Mile 6 – 10:57
  • Mile 7 – 10:25
  • Mile 8 – 11:01
  • Mile 9 – 10:17
  • Mile 10 – 10:22
  • Mile 11 – 10:20
  • Mile 12 – 10:20
  • Mile 13 – 9:20
  • Mile 14 – 10:40
  • Mile 15 – 10:10
  • Mile 16 – 9:40
  • Mile 17 – 10:18
  • Mile 18 – 9:52
  • Mile 19 – 10:05
Since I do the 5:1 ratio, on my watch, I can see my current pace (within that time period) and my overall time, but I can’t see my overall pace. Instead, I spend some of my time distracting myself by trying to do the math in my head as to what my overall pace is. As I went through the race, I came upon the 11:00 pace group around mile 7 or so and realized that I must be running pretty fast to have caught up with them, so I started doing the math and realized I was keeping a less than 10:30 pace. I figured there was no way I would be able to keep that up, so I just continued to run by how I felt and I couldn’t believe it when I finished and my average pace for 19 miles was 10:21!

After I finished the actual race, got my huge medal, and took my obligatory post-race picture, I ran back to my hotel and quickly changed out of my shoes and headed to the beach for a quick dip in the ocean. I figured since I had walked in the Pacific this year, I might as well head into the Atlantic as well. The water itself wasn’t cold, but the air temperature was, so as soon as the waves headed back out to sea, I got cold when the wind hit me. Overall, it wasn’t a great substitute for an ice bath, but it was still fun.

This training cycle, short as it was (7 weeks total) was all over the map, so I really have no idea what to expect for the full marathon. I’d really like to break the 5:00 mark – that was my goal for my first marathon and while I wasn’t able to hit that mark, I’d definitely like to do it this time! 

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