Monday, March 21, 2016

Myrtle Beach Marathon March 5, 2016

This was my 4th year running this event.  Each year has had its own uniqueness.  Yes its the same race, but each time I've been here its been a different experience.  This year is no different.  

Just so you know, this is another combined effort with both Ken and I sharing our thoughts. Not sure it can be called a race report as its more of a MB weekend recap. Kens thoughts are in blue.  

Yes its a race report, but its also a story of spending time with friends, second chances and the beginning/continuation of something really good that we are both incredibly thankful for... 
OK, so I’m not your typical runner and as you can tell I’m not a writer either.  I do not train for specific events but I do a variety of training from Weight lifting to Krav Maga, OCR and street racing but for the past year or so the running has been taking a back seat due to injury.  So just getting back into this running thing, my expectations coming into this race weekend is just getting to the end, running with Amy (if she doesn’t run off), knowing it will not be about any time or shot at a PR and enjoying the weekend.

There has always been a good turnout from the Raleigh area with NCRC as well as MTC.  Going into it I knew that there were going to be a lot of friends going.  With this race its not so much about the event as it is the weekend getaway with a race in the middle.  I still wish that the race was in February as it starts getting closer to other events like Tobacco Road and Umstead Marathon.  February was a good time as there are not a lot of races on the books then and many use it as their last long training run for events like Tobacco Road...  just my thoughts... Anyway...

This is my first time running the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon and everyone says not only is it a great race, flat and fast, it is a great weekend.  I’m a bit anxious coming into it but it’s all good.  

Took a half day from work and with typical Amy procrastination, threw everything into a suitcase when i got home and took off from there.  Ken and I were in no rush as we had friends who got there early and picked up our packets for us - thx Paula!  :D 

Amy and I left Raleigh in the early afternoon on Friday and headed south to Myrtle.  She wanted Taco Bell (yes, it is true) and traffic was a bit crappy to start but overall once we got to the highway, the Jeep aired out and so did the traffic… The rest of the ride was uneventful, just a lot of harmonizing and laughing.  We could have made it to the Expo but fortunately, Paula was able to grab our bags.  This is a double dose of good stuff.  1 – I’m not big on expos so we didn’t have to go.  2 – We got to hang out with friends for a bit when we met to get our bags.  Gotta say, I enjoyed the trash talk that “none of them” were doing… LOL - Friday night was a good chill night, then someone said we had to get out of the hotel by 5:45 to make it to the start.  Really?!?!  This race thing is messing up the weekend.

Checked into the Breakers and we walked over to River City for dinner - had a burger - no not exactly pre race pasta but it works!  Love that place. 

Checked in for the night for an earrrly start...  Why are races so early again?!? I also wonder what its like to have a weekend getaway without a race involved - ha!  We were downstairs in the lobby by 5:45.... 

Up and early Saturday and we are out the door…me with no coffee – grrrr!   We saw Peter Asciutto from Vac & Dash as we got in the elevator.  Walked and talked a bit on the way to the start and he took a picture.  Then Paula stopped to pick us up… YAY, thank you.  It was chilly and I really didn’t want to walk.  She parked and away we go.  We didn’t bring a bag to drop so we headed to the start area.  On the way we stopped and talked to a few more people along the way.

It was a chilly start - that is for sure.  The 3 weeks later in the timing of the event had no change for a warmer race.   

chillin at the beach
The goal?  lol yes there is always a goal... Elizabeth, Paula and I were going to all shoot for 2:00.  What that really means is keep your eyes out for them, know where they are, and be ready for the last few miles cause someone is going to try to win.  Yes, we do get a little competitive, and its a lot of fun. 

Got to the start and after chatting a bit with Amy and others (yes she knows a few people), the run started at 6:30 and the sun was coming up.  It was still chilly but not bad.  Amy got heckled early into the start but it was all good trash talk and the run was on.  A few miles in and I knew this was not going to be a stellar run performance.  Around mile 4 Amy spotted a pacer she knew so we hung there for the next couple miles.  The distraction was good for her and I enjoyed listening to some of the conversation but I knew my time was short and wouldn’t be able to continue much longer.  At some point during this time we were passed, yes more trash talking, but there was no way I could push to stay with them and Amy was in the same boat.  I think we both said noooooo… 

Charles was the 4:00 marathon pacer and we hung out with him and his group for a while.  It was a good few miles of new conversation and took my mind off how much I was not feelin the race....   

At some point - mile 5 ish maybe? Elizabeth and Paula passed us... noooo!  I tried to keep them within reach but the legs were just not havin' it today.  Seemed like a lot of work so early on...  hmmmm maybe I should have trained better for this?

Ken and I were each having our own struggles.  We kept encouraging each other along.  Ended up starting a run walk at some point, yes, like at the 50K, holding hands...  

My wheels started coming off around mile six, but Amy was encouraging me all along.  Did I mention how great she is?  Mile 7 was a walking point, grabbed a kiss from Amy and started going again.  Yes things hurt but so be it.  Miles 8 and 9 were pretty much the same but mile 10 was the best… I spotted a photographer, so I grabbed Amy and said “kiss me”, she did, we laughed and she smiled that smile.  The photographer was great and said something like “what a moment that will be on Facebook”.  Thanks to Drew McCrary Photography for capturing this great moment and contacting us with the pictures…mile 10 was the best.  

That was a fun break and put even more joy into the run.  Even though it was not a fast run or pace, we were having fun with it and enjoying each others company.   

The rest of the race was a lot of run/walk to the end with Amy by my side the entire way.  That is always a great way to spend a day.   For the record we were passed by another runner who said something like, I love how you two are holding hands while doing this.  Yessssss we are that couple.  We did finish strong, side by side and with a respectable time.  It really is a great course and would like to run it again with some training. 

Brrrr!!  But the chicken soup was good! 
We went through the line to get food and sat on a curb in the sun.  It was way chilly....   I enjoyed the live music from the band.  They were good and having fun with it.  

We hung out for a little bit in the post-race area but did not stay too long.  It was cold and we were offered a ride back to the hotel…so we grabbed some chicken soup and headed out. 

You all know what comes next.... even with the warnings about not swimming in the waters that weekend...

After a warming up a bit and having a few celebratory shots of liquid encouragement, we headed down to the beach.  No, I don’t like cold and the traditional Polar Plunge was like cruel and unusual punishment because the water was flat and shallow.  Yes it happened anyway.    

looks like im holdin them - lol!
We sat on the sand for a little bit before getting the nerve up to go in...  It was none to warm out and the water was cold too, but we did it... and promptly walked up to the hotel and got in the hot tub.  

I was in the hot tub for a while, then threw out there - "hey, lets jump in the pool!"  Ken was like "nooooooooooooo...."  So I did anyway... as soon as I cannonballed in I quickly realized that the pool was not heated.  o_o  I come back up for air and scream "ITS NOT HEATED!!"  it drew some attention from those looking down from their balconies.  Then they started giving Ken a hard time for not jumping in with me.  LOL!  He finally did jump in and we shared a good laugh over that one.... 

She’s like “Let’s go” and cannon balls into the water, jumps up and yells “It’s not heated”!!!  At that point I’m laughing and the balconies above fill up with people looking to see what’s going on.   So yes I was going to jump in but I had to give the hecklers above some grief about why I shouldn’t…yes cannon ball I go, then back to join Amy in the hot tub to the heckle of “get a room”. 

While sitting in the hot tub a random runner came into the pool area, yes you could tell by the way he walked and he was hurting.  So Amy being Amy struck up a conversation and we all talked for a bit.  He was contemplating getting in the pool but the temp was a little too much for him.  After a bit of conversation and warming up we were off for one more jump in, yes we asked if he wanted to join us but he politely declined.   We both jumped in…then a warm up…then back to some more liquid refreshments.
at lunch

 A good thing about an early race is you have all day to enjoy…and we did.  Post-race lunch at Dirty Don’s Oyster bar, stop at the candy and ABC stores, swing on the swings, walk on the beach was all very chill and relaxing.
It was a very chill afternoon with great company.

Later that day we met up with Paula and a group of friends and headed over to House of Blues for the marathon after party.  What a good time.  We had some pasta that HOB provided.  Saw a friend that I hadn't seen in years - she finished the half that day too.  So proud of you Jess!  and YES we DO need to get together again soon!!  

We hung out for a while talking with a lot of different people and enjoying the music.  Eventually Amy and I went for a dance, which is something I was looking forward too.  Then after some more conversation the girls went to dance, I went to watch.  Unfortunately some dude started to creep in so off I went, sorry ladies wasn’t having any of that.  With that we finished the night dancing until the band was done.   

This was a funny time - LOL!!
Next stop?  The arcade!  Had to see who was air hockey champion - Paula or Elizabeth!  Lets just say there was a lot of laughter and shenanigansJust my thoughts but not sure Elizabeth was playing by the rules - ha!!

All I’m going to say here is, “if you ain't cheatin’ you ain't tryin’”…no not me and none of them are competitive at all…LOL. 

Headed back, went for dinner, and turned in for the night. 

Woke up the next morning feelin pretty good.  Minimal soreness from the race and dancing - thats always a good thing.  

Sunday was a great day.  We slept in, were packed and out of the hotel on time.  

Breakfast at Lulus
Went to Lulus for Breakfast (Susan's recommendation) and it was really good. 

The experience of the weekend was fantastic.  If you get a chance to get here with friends I suggest you do it…

There are a few people we wanted to see but unfortunately missed.  Special thank you to Paula for taking care of us.

Another successful MB weekend.  Looking forward to next year!   :)  

Here's to a great 2016 - spending time with our kids, and our friends, building up strength and speed again, and enjoying every step of the way.  

Thanks again to Drew McCrary Photography for capturing that moment and creating this collage for us.

snapshot of the weekend

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