Myrtle Beach Marathon Race Recap (2017)

From start to finish, this race was the best experience I’ve had so far. The start area was well organized, the course wasn’t boring, the views at times were breathtaking, the support – while minimal – was encouraging and uplifting, and the finish area was even more organized than the start. I especially liked the food area with immediate access to donuts, pizza, fruit, and other goodies.

Kevin and I drove down from Virginia to stay with his parents for the race weekend. I was so antsy the entire drive and because I was really focusing on hydrating well, we had to stop for quite a few bathroom breaks! Kevin was a trooper – he’s not a fan of stopping!

We arrived in Myrtle Beach around 3, said hello to his parents, discussed dinner plans, and then immediately got back in the car to go to the race expo. This is where my only complaint is. We had to pay to park at the expo and while $5 isn’t breaking the bank, it was still frustrating to have to pay to pick up my race packet.

The expo itself was well organized with lots of great vendors with friendly staff and was even handing out free beer although Kevin and I both knew it wasn’t going to live up to our craft beer standards. We still indulged and I treated it as more hydration. πŸ˜‰ After I got my packet I bought some arm warmers, we took some pics, and then headed out to dinner at Mellow Mushroom with his family. Their pizza is amazing and they have a decent craft beer selection so it pleased us both!

Upon returning home, we settled on the couch to drink one more beer, calm the nerves (that were surprisingly not bad!), and watch some TV before an early bedtime.

The next morning, we woke up at 4:30am after a somewhat restful night of sleep. I’m up a lot naturally because of the kids but I still felt refreshed enough. Kevin made me some coffee and pancakes – my pre-long run breakfast ritual – while I showered. (yes I like to shower before a race!) I got dressed, ate, and just like that it was time to leave. I’m very surprised at how calm I was considering how lofty my goal was and how vocal I was about it with the public.

We were able to find parking very easily at Broadway at the Beach and walked to the start with about 15 minutes to go. Kevin waited with me, his bike in tow, until there were just a few minutes to go. We said our goodbyes and he told me he’d see me at mile 2.

The race started right on time and just like that I was off and running. I settled into a 7:45-7:50 pace and the miles quickly ticked by.

Mile 1 – 7:53

Mile 2 – 7:50

I saw Kevin and immediately had a huge smile on my face. He handed me 2 honeystinger chews and some water. Our plan was to meet up every 2 miles to hand me chews and alternate water and nuun until the half marathoners turned off the marathon course where he would then ride with me until mile 24. I was really excited about this plan.

Mile 3 – 7:49

Mile 4 – 7:50

More chews! More hydration – this time nuun! I was feeling really great, confident, and happy to be racing. The sunrise was pretty beautiful too!

Mile 5 – 7:45

Mile 6 – 7:45

More chews and hydration! It was really fun seeing Kevin every 2 miles and broke the race up into nice little chunks that made the first half of the race fly by. The plan was working effortlessly, Β it was so nice avoiding the water stations, and knowing I didn’t have to drink liquids from a small cup was awesome! I always spill it all over myself or end up choking.

Mile 7 – 7:46

Mile 8 – 7:43

At mile 8 when my watched dinged I told Kevin “I think I’m running too fast!” but it felt good and despite my efforts to reel in the 7:50 pace I was trying to shoot for, I stuck with what felt good. My concern was running this pace would come back to haunt me because mile 8 is where the wind began.

Mile 9 – 7:45

Mile 10 – 7:44

I knew the next time I saw Kevin he would be joining me for good and I was so excited! Before the race I told him I wasn’t going to talk at all but sure enough every time I saw him I couldn’t help but talk! I was having a blast!

Mile 11 – 7:46

Mile 12 – 7:45

The course really thinned out after mile 11 with the half marathoners turning off so I decided to start focusing on picking people off. Kevin joined me after mile 12 and I told him I felt good.

Mile 13 – 7:44

Mile 14 – 7:50

I passed the halfway point in 1:40:45 (a half PR what!! 😳) and struggle a bit on 14 due to some crazy gusts of wind. My previously injured knee was letting me know it was there too. I was praying hardcore at that time that I would make it to the finish. Crazy enough, Kevin snapped this picture of me during that time and the light is shining right down on me. It was a sign!

Mile 15 – 7:45

Mile 16 – 7:48

I was still dealing with wind here but I knew I just had about 2 more miles of it and then the course would turn back the opposite way and I would either have no wind or a tailwind.

Mile 17 – 7:47

Mile 18 – 7:49

At this point I was confident that as long as my knee held up, I would make it to the finish with a BQ. A few times I had to push it out of my mind because it was making me choke up and get emotional. Especially with Kevin saying such sweet things to me while I ran.

Mile 19 – 7:35

Mile 20 – 7:35

Umm hello no wind!! πŸ˜‚ I was flying at this point! It’s crazy how not dealing with steady 10 mph winds and gusts up to 15 mph can make you feel like you’re running with complete ease! My knee was still bothering me but it was nothing I couldn’t run through. Otherwise, I still felt great and hadn’t hit a wall.

Mile 21 – 7:41

Mile 22 – 7:44

This part of the course was desolate and it was literally just Kevin and I for at least an entire mile. My pelvis was slowly beginning to ache but thankfully my knee had stopped bothering me.

Mile 23 – 7:43

Mile 24 – 7:33

Two things are special to me about these miles. I ran past my friend Elizabeth during mile 23 and she was doing so amazing! It gave me a huge burst of energy! I also ran past Kevin’s mom and Mamaw at the 23rd mile marker and during mile 24 and it nearly brought both myself and Kevin to tears. Their support was such a surprise and it just meant so much to me that they came out to say hi! Ironically enough, it was my fastest mile of the entire race! Mamaw even ran with me for a minute exclaiming “you better not let Mamaw pass you!!!” It was the sweetest thing. I’m so thankful for them!

Mile 25 – 7:46

Mile 26 – 7:52

Last .2 – 1:44 (6:48 pace)

Final time – 3:23:15 (BQ baby!!)

Kevin went ahead after mile 24 to head to the finish line and his mom drove past me right at the 25th mile marker so the last mile was all me, all alone. I kept telling myself the pain was temporary – at this point my feet were killing me, my pelvis was on fire, and my knee was barking at me again. When I rounded the corner at mile 26 and saw the gated finish line, I took off! I don’t know how I found the energy to run a 6:48 pace after 26 miles but I did. Crossing that finish line with a 17 minute cushion and a BQ in just my second marathon gave me an indescribable feeling. I immediately burst into tears.

I grabbed my medal, regained my composure, and walked over to Kevin. We hugged and he told him how proud he was but I owe so much of my success in this race to him. I would have skipped out on so many runs if it weren’t for him. He was always making sure I stretched, foam rolled, bought me a torture device of a foam roller to keep me injury free, always told me how proud he was of me, and rode nearly the ENTIRE marathon course to ensure I could get my best time by avoiding water stations and slipping into self doubt. He is my rock! ❀️

I’m not sure what my goal is for the Boston Marathon but I’m confident I left some time out on that course. Boston is a harder course than Myrtle Beach and I’m not sure I have it in me to train for 20 weeks again using such an intense program but I do know that I will thoroughly enjoy running the Boston Marathon!! See you in 2018 Boston!!

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Myrtle Beach Marathon – Week 20

It’s the final week! All the preparation, the blood, sweat, and tears comes down to this final week! 

Sunday: 6 mile progressive run @ a  7:56 average pace. Oh boy this run nearly didn’t happen. I was just over it and it took the entire day for me to finally get it done. I don’t normally run past 5pm but I ran at 7pm and surprisingly felt okay. Splits were 8:16, 8:06, 7:59, 7:54, 7:43, and 7:40. 

Monday: 6 mile “easy” run, 2 alone @ a 7:50 average pace and 4 with Kevin @ an 8:29 average pace. The weather was nice outside so when I got home, I laced up and ran until Kevin got home and then he joined me. My legs feel ready!

Tuesday: Another day, another 6 miles in the books. This time I ran 4 on the treadmill and then 2 with Kev when he got home from work. We got caught in a rainstorm which – aside from hating the rain – was actually pretty fun! 

Wednesday: Happy birthday to me!! Rest day. To celebrate, the night before we went to dinner with my parents and tonight we sung happy birthday and had cake with the kids. I also got the coolest news! I was selected to be a momentum jewelry ambassador. Their inspirational products are amazing and helped me get through the final stretch of my training! My heart is so happy today! 

Thursday: 4 easy miles @ an 8:45 pace. This is my final training run and it almost didn’t happen. At this point I was just over it but after the kids were in bed, I was somehow able to muster up the energy to get it done on the treadmill. I’m glad I did! 

Friday: Rest day. We spent the day driving to Myrtle Beach, going to packet pick up at the expo, and eating dinner with Kevin’s family at Mellow Mushroom.   I really enjoyed the expo aside from having to pay for parking. I bought some arm sleeves to wear at the start of the race because the temps were going to be a little colder than expected, we took some pictures, and sampled the nasty beer available -Michelob Ultra lol. 

Saturday: Race day!! After dragging myself out of bed at 4:30am, I raced 26.2 miles @ a 7:45 average pace for a finish time of 3:23:15 – a Boston Qualifier by almost 17 minutes!! I’m keeping it short and sweet here because Im going to do a full race recap soon! 

Total Mileage for the week: 48.2

Last weeks recap: Myrtle Beach Marathon Training – Week 19

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Myrtle Beach Marathon Training – Week 19

This week was so weird weather wise. It was beautiful nearly the entire week and it made me wonder what race weather will be like and if I’d have to adjust my race goals because of it. The taper crazies also greeted me towards the end of the week! I can’t believe the race is one week away!! Kevin keeps talking about how excited he is for it and I honestly don’t know who is more excited between the two of us! Here’s how my second to last week of training went:

Sunday: 6 mile easy run turned into a 3 mile trail run. Kevin and I went to Richmond for half the day to check out the James River and ended up turning our 6 mile run into a 3 mile trail run with some beautiful scenery! It was really hot out which made us thankful for the shade from the trees! After our run we stopped at The Answer for some beer flights! 

Monday: 1 up, 6×1 mile repeats with 400m recovery in between, .75 down for 9 total miles @ a 7:15 average pace. Seeing as this was my last speed session before the marathon, I wanted to push myself a little. Judging by the 3 new watch PRs I got, I’d say I accomplished that! Mile splits were 6:47, 6:47, 6:51, 6:55, 6:41, and 6:30. 

Tuesday: Rest day! 

Wednesday: 1 up, 9 tempo, 2 down for 12 total miles @ a 7:42 average pace. This was my last tempo run and I was thrilled to finish it!! The 9 tempo miles averaged out to a 7:20 pace which is 30 seconds faster than my goal marathon pace so I’m feeling very confident that I can meet my goal as long as the weather cooperates! 

Thursday: 9 easy miles @ an 8:51 average pace. I ran the first 6 on my own before Kevin got home and then he joined me for the final 3. It was another hotter than normal day for February in Virginia but it wasn’t humid so it didn’t feel too hard. I’m really hoping the heat wave leaves the area and doesn’t head south for the race! 

Friday: 7 easy miles @ an 8:36 average pace. I needed to rush through this run before picking up all the kiddos for the weekend and I almost forgot to take a picture! We all know it’s “picture or it didn’t happen” with regards to running lol. It’s all easy runs from here to the finish and I’m enjoying every single one! And yes, the heat was still around in Virginia! 

Saturday: 8 mile “long”/easy run @ an 8:31 average pace. I had to take this run to the treadmill because of a looming hail storm that hit shortly after I finished but I didn’t want to risk getting caught in. My youngest woke up from her nap around the same time and wanted to help me stretch. 😊 The taper crazies have also found their way into my home! 😳 

Total Mileage for the week: 48

Last weeks recap: Myrtle Beach Marathon Training – Week 18

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Myrtle Beach Marathon Training – Week 18

2 weeks to go!!! I am so excited to run this race. This was my 2nd to last week of hard running and included my last back to back 10 milers. My marathon shoes are now feeling broken in and ready to go, I’m feeling zero twinges, aches, or pains, and my outfit is picked out and ready to go. Here’s how the week went! 

Sunday: 8 mile recovery run @ an 8:18 average pace. My legs felt good after yesterday’s 16 miler so I didn’t worry about the pace being faster than normal. I was just so excited to get back to the family because the kids’ cousins were hanging out for the afternoon/evening and I love a full house!! 6 kids, 2 adults, loads of fun! The weather was gorgeous outside and I even broke a sweat! It felt amazing to run in mid 60s and sun and I’m officially over winter and ready for spring and summer. 

Monday: 1 up, 4×1.5 mile repeats with 800m recovery, 1 down for 10 total miles @ a 7:39 avg pace. Repeat averages were 7:04, 7:03, 7:02, and 7:04. I felt really strong running these and I think my first race after the marathon is going to be a 5k to see if I’ve gotten faster. After my run I used my new roller that Kevin got me. Oh it hurts so good!! It’s definitely helped work out some kinks that started creeping up in recent weeks. 

Tuesday: 6 mile run broken into a 3 mile run in the morning and a 3 mile run in the evening with Kevin. I started too late in the morning to finish all 6 miles so I asked Kev if he wanted to run with me after work and he said yes. Don’t all couples run together on Valentine’s Day? 😍

Wednesday: 1 up, 10 miles @ ~20 seconds faster than goal MP, 1 down for 12 total miles @ a 7:40 average pace. I ran in the morning because I was picking the kids up after work and thankfully I never felt zapped of energy. It felt controlled and I felt strong. I was even able to pick up the pace as I went along. 1 more tempo run left! 

Thursday: Rest day.

Friday: 10 mile easy/long run @ an 8:29 average pace. My new momentum jewelry bracelet came so I took it for a test drive and I love it!! It’s going to be my motivator during the marathon. I want BOSTON. The weather was really nice and this run felt effortless! 

Saturday: 10 mile easy/long run @ an 8:13 average pace. Kevin ran the first 3 with me and then rode alongside me on the bike for the last 7. It was 70 degrees out and I could tell I’m so not used to running in that kind of heat! I drank ALL the nuun! Kevin was super supportive and motivating too which helped me as I picked the pace up. It turned into a nice almost progressive run! Splits were 9:00, 8:52, 8:23, 8:21, 8:28, 8:09, 7:44, 7:46, 7:46, and 7:41. 

Total Mileage for the week: 56

Last weeks recap: Myrtle Beach Marathon Training – Week 17

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Myrtle Beach Marathon Training – Week 17

At this point in my 20 week training program I for sure thought I would be completely burned out and running on fumes/dead legs but it seems like each week I feel stronger than before. I cannot believe I only have 3 weeks left. 21 days!!! I’m honestly just as excited about NOT training and running for fun with Kevin as I am to race the marathon! This week Kevin got me the Roll Recovery R8 roller and I have to say it is quite painful but after one half hearted use just to test it out I can tell it’s special! I highly recommend it. Best Valentines gift ever!! Onto the recap! 

Sunday: 6 mile easy paced run @ an 8:40 pace. Kevin and I had such eventful morning sleeping in and taking care of things around the house that I nearly forgot to get my run done. I was feeling completely unmotivated so thankfully he agreed to ride his bike alongside me to keep me company. It really helped! Afterwards, we headed to the brewery he used to host trivia at for a private Super Bowl party. It was a blast! 

Monday: 1 up, 3×2 mile repeats with 800m recovery between, .5 down for 9 total miles @ a 7:51 average pace. 

1 up @ 8:47

3×2 mile repeats @ 7:36, 7:33, 8:34 (800m recovery), 7:28, 7:30, 8:32 (800m recovery), 7:21, 7:19

.5 down @ 8:23

I was up late the night before for the game but I didn’t let that deter me! Although I’ll be honest, it almost did. Just 2 more strength workouts remain before the big race!! 

Tuesday: Rest day. The weather was amazing all day so after work I opened up the back door and listening to Kevin and the kids play in the back yard while I made them dinner. I loved every second! Autumn wouldn’t lay still for a pic haha. 

Wednesday: 1 up, 10 @ ~20 seconds faster than goal MP, 1 down for 12 total miles @ a 7:39 average pace. I was super happy with my consistent effort on these splits until the last mile. I was feeling antsy and just wanted to be done. 

Tempo splits: 7:31, 7:29, 7:29, 7:29, 7:29, 7:29, 7:30, 7:32, 7:29, 7:04

I immediately ran into the house to see what Kevin was cooking for dinner (he was surprising me so maybe that’s why I was antsy!) and he greeted me with some of the best pretzel bites and cheese I’ve ever tasted! Such a yummy appetizer. 2 more of these tempo runs left! I’m feeling strong and confident and ready to tackle the marathon!

Thursday: 7 mile easy run @ an 8:51 average pace. After work, I drove home to get my run started. I ran the first 4 on the treadmill while it snowed (Virginia weather is so wacky!!) and then when Kev got home, we ran the last 3 together outdoors. I think we’re both ready for my marathon training to be done so we can run together more often. πŸ™‚

Friday: 8 mile easy run @ an 8:30 average pace. I woke up a little early to get this run done before work because it’s our weekend with our kids. I love these weekends!! Full of insanity and laughter! In the picture are what I thought would be my marathon shoe (pink Launch 4s) and what WILL be my marathon shoe (grey Launch 4s) because after doing some math I realized I would have too many miles on the pink ones by race day. Running is expensive!! 

Saturday: 16 mile long run @ a 7:51 average pace. Splits were 8:14, 8:09, 8:07, 8:05, 8:05, 8:02, 7:46, 7:41, 7:41, 7:43, 7:44, 7:47, 7:45, 7:44, 7:44, and 7:18.  My older daughter attends gymnastics on Saturday mornings at 10am so I stuck to the treadmill to ensure we wouldn’t be late. I broke the run up into 2, a 6 mile run close to goal marathon pace and a 10 mile “tempo” run, to break up the monotony. The hunger was real while sitting at gymnastics directly after completing my LAST long run before race day!! πŸ™ŒπŸ»

Total Mileage for the week: 58

Last weeks recap: Myrtle Beach Marathon Training – Week 16

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Myrtle Beach Marathon Training – Week 16

Another good week of running is in the books. I realized this week that by the time of the marathon, my new shoes will have more miles on them than I’d like so I had to order another pair that I will switch into in about a week and a half. I want my marathon shoes to have about 100 miles on them when I line up on race day. I can’t wait for this month to be over! Race day, my birthday, I can FINALLY file for divorce. So much to look forward to! Onto the recap.

Sunday: 8 miles @ an 8:43 average pace. My legs felt pretty heavy all day from my long run the day prior and Kevin, myself, and the kids met up with the rest of my family for brunch to celebrate my stepmoms 50th birthday so this run didn’t get done until late in the day. It almost didn’t happen but thankfully Kevin understands the importance of each and every run and pushes me out the door – or into the garage in this case – even when I don’t want to! 😊

Monday: 1 up, 2×3 mile repeats with 1 mile recovery, 1 down for 9 total miles @ a 7:52 average pace. Splits were:

1 up – 8:52

2×3 mile repeats – 7:32, 7:27, 7:25, 8:38 (recovery mile), 7:24, 7:23, 7:23

1 down – 8:37

I used this run to test out my marathon outfit – though I’m still on the fence about my compression socks – and everything worked out great so I’m happy about that! And I’ll be wearing contacts for the race too! 😜

Tuesday: 6 miles @ an 8:37 average pace. I closed out the month of January with an easy 6 miles to bring my total monthly mileage to 240. 240!! That number is insane to me. I’ve never run over 200 miles let alone come close to 200 miles in a given month. I’m so happy because I feel stronger than I ever have when I thought I would feel incredibly tired. To celebrate, Kevin and I went to a tap house for dinner and drinks before heading home to catch up on some of our TV shows. 

Wednesday: 1 up, 9 tempo, 1 down for 11 total miles @ a 7:46 average pace. Splits were as follows:

1 up – 8:56

9 tempo – 7:37, 7:35, 7:34, 7:33, 7:33, 7:32, 7:30, 7:30, 7:30

1 down – 8:36

Considering I feel a slight cold coming on, this run felt really great. I was able to hold a consistent pace that is between 10-20 seconds faster than my goal marathon pace and I felt strong doing so. Not to mention I was up at 5:15am in order to get this run done. I’m NOT an early riser!

Thursday: Rest day. I actually wasn’t looking forward to this day. I always feel like I’m getting into such a good rhythm and then, bam! Rest day. 

Friday: 8 mile easy paced run @ an 8:37 average. I struggled to get through this run mentally and physically. The first run after a rest day is always so tough for me. While running though, I did decide it was time to let go of all my retired running shoes so after my run, Kevin and I went through our belongings and donated a bunch of clothes and my running shoes. 

Saturday: 12 mile long run @ a 7:52 average pace. I’m trying to run my last few long runs close to or at race pace to get myself ready for the marathon. Throughout the run I thought to myself “I feel like I’m slowing down” and when I would look at my watch, I was running faster than my previous mile so that’s a great sign! Kevin rode his bike with me and we rode through his old stomping grounds. We parked at Heroic Aleworks – a new brewery near us that has a comic strip super hero vibe – and ran through Veterans Park where he used to play baseball and then ran by Belmont Bay where we got married – albeit not to each other (can’t wait for that day to come!!) – and back to the brewery to enjoy some beer. A wonderful little Saturday. 

Total Mileage for the week: 54

Last weeks recap: Myrtle Beach Marathon Training – Week 15

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Myrtle Beach Marathon Training – Week 15

Another good week of training is in the books and I’m so happy with how it went. I was really nervous at the start of the week when I had to skip Monday’s run because of rain and travel and then had to cut my 7 miler down to 2 on Tuesday because dinner didn’t agree with me. I rebounded really well and am proud of myself for not getting down about it all. I ended the week with the strongest 16 miles I’ve ever run! Here’s the recap! 

Sunday: 8 mile easy paced run @ an 8:48 average pace. I ran an extra .6 to round out the .4 (according to my watch) from the 15k the day prior. Kevin ran the first 3 with me and then rode his bike next to me for the other 5.6. Having him with me makes time fly. It was pretty gloomy and my legs were pretty sore but it felt good to shake them out nonetheless. Love our time in Myrtle Beach together with his family. 

Monday: Unscheduled rest day. My plan called for 3×2 mile repeats with 800m recovery in between but it was raining pretty bad when we woke up and we had to get on the road to drive 6 hours home and get the kiddos so I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I was okay with that! 

Tuesday: 2 mile easy run @ an 8:58 average pace. I was supposed to run 7 miles but my dinner didn’t agree with me and was sloshing around in my stomach so I decided not to push further and try and make up the mileage throughout the rest of the week.

Wednesday: 2 up, 3×2 mile repeats with 800m recovery, 1.5 down for 11 total miles. I added a mile to my warm up to make up 1 of the 5 miles I needed from Tuesday. I was very eager to get back on track after an unscheduled rest day and a failed 7 mile run turned into 2 miles. Thankfully, this run went just as planned! Splits were as follows:

Warm up: 9:00, 8:53

3×2 mile: 7:24, 7:22, 8:28 (800m), 7:20, 7:18, 8:27 (800m), 7:18, 7:19, 8:25 (800m)

Cool down: 8:48, 8:43 (800m)

Thursday: 8 mile easy run @ an 8:40 average pace. The goal for this run was to keep it easy so after work I hit the treadmill since it was really windy outside and I knew it would take more effort than I wanted to exert to hold the same pace. I got to test out my  new shirt that I ordered and I love it!! I also switched over to my next pair of running shoes since my previous pair had about 315 miles on them. These are the Launch 4 (previous shoe was the Launch 3).

Friday: 1 up, 9 @ ~10 seconds faster than goal MP, 1 down for 11 total miles @ a 7:52 average pace. Splits were as follows:

1 warm up – 9:11

 9 @ tempo – 7:39, 7:34, 7:38, 7:38, 7:37, 7:38, 7:38, 7:39, 7:34 

1 cool down – 8:49

I had to get up at 5:00am to complete this run in time to be at work and I was so proud of myself for doing so. I’m the furthest from a morning person! My legs felt a little heavy since I had just run the night before but that’s my only complaint!

Saturday: 16 mile long run @ a 7:55 average pace. Yes!!! This run was such a confidence booster for my marathon! I ran an out and back route that can be quite windy at times and is mostly flat to simulate race conditions. I didn’t check my watch for the first 5 miles. I was running what felt like a super easy pace and when mile 6 beeped at 8:01 I though “wow!” and figured I would keep going with what felt good. A mile or two later I figured I would stick close to the 7:50-8:00 range but when mile 11 beeped at 7:34 I was even more shocked than before! I’m coming for you Myrtle Beach Marathon!!

Total Mileage for the week: 56.6 

Last weeks recap: Myrtle Beach Marathon Training – Week 14

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