Thursday, February 24, 2011

Race Report: 14th Annual Myrtle Beach Half Marathon

Myrtle Beach Half Marathon
Chip Time: 3:08:59
Myrtle Beach, SC - February 19, 2011

Michalob Ultra/Conway Bike Ride
14-miles: 60:00
Conway, SC - February 20, 2011

Executive Summary: 7th Consecutive Myrtle Beach Race Weekend - LOVE THIS WEEKEND!

Well another Myrtle Beach weekend has come and gone and it was WONDERFUL!  Perfect Weather, lots of time spent with both family and friends. This is one of my favorite times of the year, regardless of how my race day goes.

And this time, that is a good thing, because my Half Marathon was kind of *BLAH* from a race perspective. I'm pretty sure I know why the day went badly. It has everything to do with my current weight. You can't expect to run 13.1 miles easily carrying an extra 25 pounds - and I didn't expect a PR.


Based on recent training and the MS BLUES Half Marathon last month, I was expecting that a sub 3:00 finish was a given. And I was wrong. Oh well, at least I finished and have a fun day!

The race started out with the traditional early morning wake-up call (4:40AM) and obligatory "Goofy Pre-Race" photo with my sister Heather.  Then we made one last bathroom break, dropped out gear off at the Grand Strand Running Club tent near the finish line and then headed towards the START.

I got a chance to say Hi to several of Heather's friends, including Christine, and then we parted ways, since they were running the full Marathon and I was running the Half. While waiting for the start, I was happy to stand with my good friend Shawn and we talked about the upcoming VA Beach/Shamrock Weekend and her upcoming nuptials at the Las Vegas Marathon in December. I love waiting for race starts with Shawn and was so happy to know that I would at least see her ahead of me out on the course somewhere before the finish!

The race started at 6:30 and away we went.  I started out slow and easy and I felt just fine for the first 5 miles - I even ended up running the first 5K a little faster than I had planned (Sub 36) and maybe that is where the problem really lies.  By the time I was on my way to Mile 6 - got a rousing "Yahoo" from Shawn passing Mile 7 going the other direction - I just felt like I was dragging.

I just told myself "It's just a phase, it will pass" and continued to tell myself that for the NEXT 7 Miles!

Only, sadly, it wasn't just a "phase" and no amount of water or GU would fix my slow pace. So I did what I knew how to do, just kept on running.  And as my pace got slower and slower, I kept on making silly challenges in my head to keep myself from walking more than running. "Run 4 Light Poles - Walk 1 Light Pole" and "Catch the TNT Walker and then you can walk 1-minute recovery."

Finally, I was at the 12 mile marker and I just wanted to be DONE for the day.  So I told myself that there was no choice but to suck it up and "Run/Walk One Minute Intervals until the Finish Line was in sight" because I simply *had* to finish within a few minutes of Christine", who was running the Marathon and who I knew expected to finish between 2:45 & 3:00.

I had joked with Christine, before the race start, that if she saw me, she needed to "Pat me on the shoulder and tell me to Get Moving!" Little did I know that Christine had a bit of a rough day herself and was a few minutes behind her Finishing Goal.  As I ran into the last 1/10th of a mile to the Half Marathon Finisher Chute - along came Christine in the Marathon Finisher Chute running parallel to mine and true to her word, she yelled "Come On Holly, Let's Finish STRONG!" so I did my best to pick up the pace so that I could Congratulate her on the other side of the Finish Lines.

Coming into the finish of Myrtle Beach Half Marathon 2011

 Ron S., Shawn N., running friend of Heather,
Holly S. (me), Christine R. and Heather G. - Post Race
Nothing so humbling as meeting a friend at the Finish Line and knowing that in the time it took you to run 13.1 miles, she ran 26.2 miles, on a recently smashed big toe! I was honored to share the Finish Line with Christine and she was as kind to ask about my race as she was humble about her own day.

I met Jim and Ron and Shawn at the Finish Line, grabbed my bag from the Grand Strand Runners Club tent and got a little snack from the Finish Line Expo and then we headed back to the other side of the chute to cheer in my sister Heather, who had chosen to run the full Marathon this year.

After 6 years of running the Half Marathon distance together, she decided to do the Marathon distance and was going for a solid PR effort.  It was an honor and a thrill to yell and scream as loud as I could as I watch Heather cross the Marathon Finish line with a solid 11-minute PR. (Read her Race Report HERE)
With Heather, showing off another year of Finisher Medal Bling!

Sunday's original plan was to ride the 33-mile Bike ride with Ron S. and Jim.  However my quads and IT band were having none of it, so I left the longer bike ride to the guys and did a nice easy 14-mile bike ride. It was the right choice and the guys had a great ride themselves!
Finishing up 14-miles - Zone 2: 60:00

Ron S. and Jim - looking fresh after a quick 33-miles at the front of the pack!

 Watching Heather finish strong, knowing that just 7 years ago, in 2005 the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon was her first road race ever! I was inspired.  I have decided that every 10th Anniversary of our Myrtle Beach Race Weekends, I will go ahead and run the Marathon distance. (2015)

However, for now, keep those Myrtle Beach Half Marathons and Bike Rides coming! There is no better way to celebrate my "LiveSTRONG - Cancer-anniversaries" than this race!

Bring it on 2012 - I'll be coming for you, minus 25 pounds (or more!) - There's got to be a PR on this course for me someday!  I'll just keep running until it comes!

Next UP: VA Beach/Shamrock Dolphin Challenge: 8K & Half Marathon with Team Z - Bring it ON!


Jess said...

You are a total ROCKSTAR Holly! you continue to amaze and inspire me! :)

joe said...

Tough day but good on you for taking this on! know you're going to kick some serious arse this year. goodluck and have fun