Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Race Report: Myrtle Beach Half Marathon 2/14/09

Warning: Extremely long post, you may require coffee refills and bathroom breaks before you get to the end.
The night before: We got home from work, loaded the car with our bags and all 4 dogs and headed to the kennel. We got the pups dropped off and then hit the road from Charleston to MB. It's about a 2 hour drive, and we got to the convention center hotel/expo around 8pm. We picked up our packets and made a quick loop through the expo. I got some new shorts, we each had a free beer, then we went up to the room to order pizza. The pizza was delivered about half an hour later, Rich had beef and I had cheese. We have always been a fan of pizza and a beer the night before long runs. I think I was asleep by 10:30, and actually didn't wake up until the alarm went of at 4:30 which suprised me because Thursday night I woke up every hour thinking about the weekend.
. This pic is me modeling my new shorts, tech tee(very nice but I felt wrong wearing one that said "marathon" across the front even though it was a different color from the full marathon shirts), and our free beach towel, which living near the beach with a houseful of dogs always comes in handy.

The morning of: We got up at 4:30, and I immediately brewed a pot of coffee. We each ate a Cliff bar and chugged a cup of coffee and sat around watching the weather channel trying to see if we were going to get drenched or not (turned out it stayed dry til about 3.5 hours in, so we were fine). After 15 or 20 minutes we both realize that the coffee isn't doing it's job. Rich says "It's not decaf is it?" Me out loud "Um, noooo why would I make decaf" Me in my head "Oh sh^$ I bet I picked up the wrong packet of coffee, the hotel wasn't kind enough to give us 2 packs, they gave us a regular and a decaf, doh!" So I remade the coffee and we each chugged a cup of the leaded version. It never kicked in for me, which I hoped would not result in a bathroom break during the race (just in case you were wondering, it didn't, I never had to stop.) We both got dressed, Rich applied his NipGuards (which he now loves by the way), we both got BodyGlided up (for all you non-runners who might read this, that is in no way dirty), I made sure the Ipod and Garmin were charged and functioning, we got our various nutrition packs (I like gels, he likes beans and bloks) and we walked the 0.7ish miles to the start. There were lots of porta-potties, although the lines were pretty long. There was a band, and dancing Chic-fil-A cows for our entertainment. The start is on a road with 2 lanes going each direction with a median, so the halfers started on one side and the full on the other and it merged half a mile or so in.

Here we have sleepy 5am Richard not looking very excited that I have the camera out.

Who has two thumbs and loves her new running skirt? Amanda!!

We're getting excited, it's almost time! What a way to celebrate our 7th Valentine's Day together.

Now he's ready, the Nips are Guarded. I'm not really sure what the chipmunk face is about. While I was going for the jungle cat runner girl look, Rich was going for more of an 80's clashing shades of red look, nice headband:)

The 13.1: We started off together, with the plan that we would each go at our own pace and meet up at the finish. While I truly love my new skirt, I hate it for the first couple miles of a run because it is just a bit big and feel like it is falling down, ok..I don't just feel like it is, it really IS falling down, especially with pockets full of chapstick/id/gels/etc. So I spent the first couple miles yanking it up every few minutes which was supremely annoying. After you get a little sweaty it "sticks" in place and the slipping is no longer a problem. I started out with the Ipod and Rich let me run with Gary (the Garmin) since I wouldn't have him as my pacer. In my previous 2 half marathons, I didn't even feel like I was running the first 3 or 4 miles, but with the electronic gear I had for this one, I was acutely aware I was running from the first step. I was afraid this was a bad sign, but it turned out just fine. I decided not to wear my fuel belt and just drink at the aid stations every 2 miles, but I was thirsty from the start. The stations were well-manned and stocked with water and red Powerade. Thanks Volunteers, you did great!! We did the first mile in around 10:40 which is faster than I planned, so I slowed down a bit and Rich went ahead.

It turned out to be a great run, with no major aches/pains/emergencies. I had my virtual trainer set for a 10:55 pace, but I don't think I had a single mile at that pace, they were all in the 10:30s-10:40s. During the first half I debated with myself about whether I should slow down or keep up the pace. I was worried about crashing in the 2nd half, but decided I would rather have that happen than finish and feel like I could have gone faster. Luckily it worked, and I was able to do the entire thing much faster than I expected. I never had a point where I doubted if I could finish, and after the first few miles I realized that if nothing changed I should be on pace for a nice PR.

Now here's a part where I would like to know ya'lls opinion: At mile 12, I walked a few steps to sip water and this nice guy (late 40's I would guess), looks at me and says something like "only 1 more to go." I stay probably 10 steps or so behind him for the next half mile, then with about half a mile to go I realize that I am going to get my PR, finish strong and feel a huge relief. I let out a big sigh, and he heard me and slowed down and turned around. I think he, we'll call him Rob, thought that my big sigh was a sign that I was struggling and about to give up whereas it was really just the opposite. It was my sigh of "yes, this is almost over, I did it, let everything go and just run as hard as you can to the finish." So misguided, kind Rob decides to be nice and "help" me by slowing down to run beside me and chat...we are in the home stretch here people...but I don't know how to handle this. I have to take my Ipod earphones out to hear him, and run with them in my hand. He asks me my name, says he heard lots of people just yelling at me calling me "leopard girl" which I never heard because of the Ipod, tells me that I should smile and finish strong (thanks for that, I would have never come up with that on my own). So I find myself slowing down from the pace I could have been running at this stage to talk to this guy, who thinks he is slowing down to encourage me. I speed up, but he didn't really speed up with me but was still talking. So what do you do? I finally pulled ahead and crossed ahead of him, but I'm pretty sure he slowed down on purpose so we wouldn't cross exactly together. My final time was 2:20:02 (chip time, not clock time) but I am 99% sure had Rob not been so kind as to help me get through the last half mile, I would have finished under 2:20. Grrr!! My question to you is, how would you have handled this situation? Rich said I should have just semi-ignored him and done my own thing, but I guess I felt bad doing that since Rob thought he was helping me. Afterwards he told me Congrats and that I finished strong, he really was being nice, but it was an aggravating situation to be hijacked there at the end.
Post-Race: Rich met me for a picture, then we grabbed waters and free beer and stretched. Then we walked back to the hotel, had a little champagne and trailmix, showered then took a nice long nap. We woke up around 3 starving, but most restaurants weren't open yet, so we wound up having steaks at Lone Star steakhouse at 4pm. There was a marathon sponsored postrace party at the House of Blues from 5-7, so we hit that next. There was plenty of food (had we known we would have waited and not gone to dinner before) and more free beer, kudos to race officals for all the free beer! They were playing videos on all the TV's of the various races and finish lines (5K, full, half). There were 6 marriage proposals so that was fun to watch a few of those. What a great story to say you got engaged at the finish line of a marathon you ran together, that's pretty deep and stuff...embarking on the metaphorical marathon of marriage together while finishing a literal marathon. Anyway, it made me tear up at the sweet guys and gals that got engaged. Next we made one last stop on the romance train....Hooters. Yes, my husband took me to Hooters on Valentine's Day. I didn't really mind, we weren't quite ready to call it a night (it was only 7pm) and Hooters happened to be right on the way back to the hotel. After a quick drink there, it was back to the Sheraton for a long night's sleep. We had brunch the next morning, drove back to Charleston, went to see Confessions of a Shopaholic (payback for Hooters), picked up the dogs from the kennel and took them home and went to our favorite Mexican restaurant to celebrate the end of a wonderful weekend.
Here I am resting after we got back to our room, my legs were tired!

Rich and his free beer, and some champagne, still rocking the headband.


Ok, ok, maybe Gatorade would be a better idea than all champagne.

Rich hearts NipGuards, no bleeding this time!
This is me before our hot night on the town at the steakhouse, House of Blues, and Hooters. Don't be jealous ladies if your man didn't treat you this nice on V-day, there's always next year;)

Aww, he loves me.

This is me and Melanie, our Hooters waitress. You can't see it in this pic but it always cracks me up how there is way more fabric in their big white scrunchy socks than in those orange shorts.

I think we have decided to run the half at the ING Atlanta marathon at the end of March!!


BeachRunner said...

Great Race, Great Report, Great duds! Fabulous skirt.

I think the theme of this post is ummm, nips? Or maybe Hooters?

Marlene said...

Congratulations!!! Sounds like a great experience overall, even with your little hijacker friend at the end. Not sure how I would have handled it... I don't like to socialize during races so I probably would have just smiled, said thanks, and tried to ignore him after that.

Great pics!! Looks like quite the post-race party. :)

Caitlin said...

Loved the recap, congratulations! Such a bummer about the "friend" at the end, I probably would have done the same thing as you feeling bad for the guy. Adorable skirt too by the way.

Jess said...

Congrats on a great race! Love all your pictures!

aron said...

awesome report!!!!! you did SO great and you looked sooo cute too :)

honestly i have never had anyone try to talk to me during a race, i think i put off some kind of "dont talk to me" vibe :) lol... but i think if someone did i would probably just ignore them or pretend like i couldnt hear them ESPECIALLY in the last part of a race! that is no time to be chatting :)

great job again!!! looks like an amazing weekend :)

Alisa said...

Awesome re-cap! I love the skirt! I ran AZ marathon in the same skirt and got sooooo many compliments!

I've always been open to talking to peeps during a race but never really had anyone talk to me, except about the skirt or about my coughing in AZ.

Great work on the PR's for both of you.

I had to say I love the pic of you drinking straight from the bottle!!!!!

Kim said...

Okay...the best idea ever...your new black top (sooo cute) with your running skirt...you could be Pebbles for Halloween next year! Too cute!

Melanie said...

Yay, way to go! It sounds like it was such a great day!

Anonymous said...

You look so cute in your race outfit! Congrats on the PR. Sounds like an awesome race!

lindsay said...

love your report! the nip guard pic was funny, looked like britney-esque just needed bigger nip guard circles. lol. i'm sure the 'rob' guy was just trying to be nice, thought he was being helpful. with your headphones you probably could've gotten away with a smile/wave gesture and pushed along in the pace? but i can completely understand feeling a little obligated to hang back. you still pr'd and you know you can pr even more next time!

MCM Mama said...

Awesome job on the race and LOVE the skirt. I want one. ;o)

I probably would have just started speeding up, but then I'm rude like that (comes from living near D.C.) Then again, I must put off some vibe because no one ever talks to me LOL.

Brian said...

Awesome report!!

"embarking on the metaphorical marathon of marriage together while finishing a literal marathon" is such a good line, well worded!

I never heard of NipGuards before! Rich just saved my day because I thought there wasnt anything I could do about.... ya know..

Awesome time!

Carolina John said...

Nice job on the 2:20 pr! my half pr is 2:21, so now i'm going to have to train up and make you look bad. payback is not always fun.

i thought about running the ing atlanta as well. it should be really cool, and i've got plenty of friends in atl that are running it. but i've got a bike ride paid for on the same day. so have fun with that one, it will be a blast. www.chasingiron.com is doing that one, and you would like her perspective.

Good job down at MB. i hate that i got sick and didn't get to meet up with you guys there. kelley rocked the full mary. it sounds like you guys had a blast with the whole environment. congrats on a great race!

Carolina John said...

oh, and tell rich I always just use round band-aids instead of paying for the brand name nipguards. they have saved my hide (literally), and i slap them on anytime i go over 7 miles.

Kristin said...

Hey! Just found your blog. I am also in Chas...

Myrtle sounded great! I would have definitely ignored that guy at the end! How weird is that?? If you have to take our your headphones, it's just too much. :)

I LOVE that you made him see Confessions in payback for Hooters! I would love to drag my bf to that movie. Looking forward to reading more!