I signed up for this race because I needed a tune-up race to complement my marathon training and it was the best option I could find within traveling distance. I really wanted to run a half marathon but I just wasn’t able to find one to meet my needs that was also 4-6 weeks away from marathon race day. Thankfully, my boyfriend’s family lives nearby so we made a long weekend vacation out of it to visit with them.
We drove down to South Carolina on Friday afternoon after dropping the kids off at daycare and running my scheduled 10 miler. The race was on Saturday morning at 9am which I loved because I didn’t feel rushed once we arrived to eat dinner and immediately go to bed. I did get a good nights rest though after having some really good pizza from a local pizza place and a beer. Pizza and a beer is my go-to pre-race ritual dinner as well as pre-long run ritual dinner. It has worked for the longest time so I’ve “run” with it!
I woke up really nervous as I usually do on race days and it made it incredibly difficult to eat breakfast. I was able to eat 3 small bites of a plain bagel and that was it. I chose not to bring any race fuel either because the nerves didn’t seem to be letting up. The weather forecast also didn’t look too enticing – scattered thunderstorms for much of the day with a high of 60- but thankfully the temperature was inviting enough.
Kevin accompanied me to the race which was really nice and was the first time I’ve had someone eager to do so. He’s probably my biggest cheerleader and it just really makes me so happy that he cares so much. He waited around with me at the start line, then ran to a few different areas on the course to cheer me on and snap some pictures before seeing me through the finish line. I don’t think I say it enough but I love him so much!!
The race itself was great and the rain held up for most of it. It was drizzling a little at the start and there was a nice downpour during mile 7 that made it hard to see because the rain was flying into my eyes but otherwise it was clear and thankfully didn’t feel humid. Wind was also a non-factor which is something to take note of when running a race near the beach. Non-weather related, I had a side stitch around 1.5 miles until 3 miles in that set me back on my goal pace some but towards the end of the race I was able to pick the pace up enough and make up some of that lost time. Aid stations were conveniently located at miles 1.5, 4, 6, and 8 and I am pretty sure the 2 early ones saved me from what could have been a DNF because of the side stitch debacle.
When I crossed the line and Kevin ran up to me exclaiming I got 2nd overall female all I could muster up was “are you serious?!?!” with a lot of laughter. When I started the race, there were quite a few females ahead of me but most of them must have run the 5k which shared the first 2 miles of the course with the 15k. A few people came up to me to congratulate me on my finish and it really made me feel so good! The running community is so amazing and friendly!
My goal for this race was to finish at a 7:25 pace and I am pleased to say that I nearly accomplished it! I finished in 1:09:09 for an average of 7:26 per mile which was good enough for second place overall female. According to my Garmin my splits were 7:24, 7:36, 7:30, 7:29, 7:25, 7:20, 7:13, 7:14, 7:25, and 6:45 for .3 miles. You can definitely tell what miles I was dealing with the pesky side stitch! I finished this race feeling like I left some time out there which only adds to my confidence for my marathon pace goal.
Overall, it was a great race experience and an amazing tune-up race for the Myrtle Beach Marathon on March 5th, 2017. I am looking forward to closing out marathon training on a really strong note and tackling this race with everything I have. This race gave me a newfound sense of excitement and enthusiasm for what it is I am trying to accomplish – not like I really needed it though!! 5 weeks to go!!