Myrtle Beach Half Marathon Race Report - Saturday Feb 14, 2009
Up at 5:15AM and out the door by 5:45AM, Heather and I have our Myrtle Beach race morning ritual's down to a science after 5 years. We got to the race start and sat in the car until 6:15AM, drinking water, talking, taking silly photos and GUing up. Knowing that Heather didn't get in the traditional training for this race this year, I felt like I had to at least mention that she didn't "have to race " and that she should "be smart and not risk any injury" but I knew in my heart that if she chose to start the day, she would finish the race, regardless of the finish time. Her mind was made up so we got out of the car and headed for the start line together.
We popped by the Team Z Tent really quickly and wished everybody a good race and got into the starting area. Less than 10 minutes later we were underway for our 5th consecutive Myrtle Beach Half Marathon!
Here is what is important to know about my race goals. I was hoping for a PR (Personal Record) in the Half Marathon Distance on this day. Every long run since December was indicating that my pace per mile was decreasing as my training increased. My PR at the Half Marathon Distance was in Feb 2005 at my first Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in a time of 2:43:19. This PR is solid and it is the only 13.1 mile race that I have run PRE-CANCER diagnosis so to break that PR was significant on many levels.
My race was solid, after parting with Heather at Mile 3, I held back and raced my planned pace (12:00-12:30 per mile) up though Mile 7. Had there been at timer at mile 10.2, it would show that I PR'd at the 10K distance. I was feeling fantastic and except for the need for a quick potty stop (keeping well hydrated) I was having the race of my life.
Normally in this race, I fall apart around Mile 8-9 - it's what I expect and so after my brief Port-o-Potty Stop just passed Mile 7 I found myself having to deal with something unexpected...."What to do with my MIND when nothing is going wrong and everything feels GOOD..."
Holly, looking Strong around Mile 6.
Heather, looking strong but maybe a little unhappy with the Photographer...
It sounds ridiculous but the truth is that I had, up until this race, always broken down at Mile 8 or 9 - so I was "expecting to feel bad" and when that didn't come, I didn't know what to do with myself...physically or mentally - I was completely unprepared for a GOOD RACE DAY. So the struggle was turning off my INNER-VOICE, who was just beside herself with doubt..."When are the wheels going to fall off... Oh man you are going to suffer soon...Hey, um your still going strong, shouldn't you walk a bit..."
My INNER-VOICE just would not shut up and run! And so the self-doubt piled on and on and as expected, my head did the math and my legs listened to my head, instead of my listening to my legs and my pace for the next 4 miles was an erratic mix. Slow down Mile 9 because you are not going to PR, speed up Mile 10 because I still feel good and I am within the magic mark....Slow down Mile 11 because "What's the point..." Speed up Mile 12 because if you "HOLD ON you just might make it..."
2009 Myrtle Beach Half-Marathon - C'est Finis!
Heather's 5th consecutive Myrtle Beach Half-Marathon is done!
2009 Myrtle Beach Half Marathon
OFFICIAL CHIP TIME: 2:45:21
Exactly 2:02 separated me from a PR at the Half Marathon Distance. That is 2-minutes and 2 seconds of Porto-Potty break and INNER VOICE doubt when I should have just listened to my legs. That 2:02 represents a HUGE LESSON for me with regards to what I need to focus on (besides overall milage) in leading up to IRONMAN USA.
In the 2:02 seconds something else pretty profound happened. POST_CANCER HOLLY almost caught PRE_CANCER HOLLY. I think it is safe to say that I have made huge strides in recovering and finding a "New Normal" as a cancer survivor. That is a PR (Personal Record) all on it's own....
Oh and one last note:
In 2008, I ran 2 official Half Marathons:
Jan 2008 - Disney Half Marathon - FINISH TIME: 3:17:21
Feb 2008 - Myrtle Beach Half Marathon - FINISH TIME: 3:07:58
In less than 1 year I took 22:37 off my Half Marathon time...
Not bad for a BOP Cancer Survivor (Back of the Pack...) I see potential for a wonderful season ahead! Look out PRE-CANCER HOLLY cause I am COMING FOR YOU! And I am STRONGER THAN EVER!!!!
Life is Good! Live STRONG!