My alarm went off at 4:15 Saturday morning and the time flew by. By 6 AM I headed out the door for my warm up run over to the starting line. Leaving the warmth of the hotel behind my shoulders were chilled by the morning air.
Conditions were definitely better that my last visit to Myrtle Beach. Snow came pouring down and they canceled the race.
This morning there would be no snow.
The weather was perfect. The temperature hovered around 40 degrees with very little wind.
I wished Adam Mays the best of luck. We saw each other in a side parking lot while doing strides. He was running the Marathon.
Once they moved Bubbles the elephant out of the way, the wheel chair athletes were off at 6:25. Our turn came some 5 minutes later.
The sun had yet to rise over the over ocean so much of the early miles were run under the street lights.
My first mile was spent just trying to settle-in to a good rhythm. I got in this group and it felt comfortable. I kept telling myself to just relax. The miles would be clicking off soon enough. I refused to look at my Garmin, but I could hear it chiming just as I was passing the mile flags. My way of thinking this is a good thing. I am running the tangents.
I made the turn at 6 miles in 34:51. The guy who I had been following grabbed some PowerAde from the aid station. I watched as he drank it and then went sprinting off. I just shook my head. There was no way that I could match his new effort. But I also wondered what was in his PowerAde.
There were several turns during this section of the course. For whatever reason, I didn't run it very well. By the time I closed in on the 7 mile point, my Garmin rang well before 7 mile mark. I thought I was doing a good job of it, but I guess that I didn't.
The Market Common was a tough section for me.
But once we were back on Farrow Parkway, things were looking up. I wasn't expecting it but I could hear people shouting my name. I saw Sharon, and I believe I saw Mitchell Rippy and Allen Strickland. I cannot be sure. My peripheral vision isn't what it used to be.
From here, we ran along the coast for miles 8, 9, and 10. I never felt the wind much during this section but I sure did feel like I was climbing up "Worthington Street" here in Charlotte. I was pumping my arms to keep the legs moving. I am not quite sure why but these miles seem to drag. I thought they never would pass.
In the 11th mile, I get to the point where the ½ and full races split. Being that this was my first time, I got a little confused by the guy giving directions. At first, I thought he was saying turn left, but then as I was slowing to turn left, I realized that he was saying move in the left lane. Ugh, I had to resume running hard for another block before turning left.
Once I turned left, miles 12 seem to come up quick. Then, 3 guys who had been just behind me made their move. I tried to respond but my legs just didn't have any more "go power".
I made the turn into BBT field and saw the 13 mile clock. It said 1:15:48. I thought "man" I got my "1:16" in the bag. But then, I realized the clock and the 13 mile was not in the same place. The 13 mile mark was well behind the clock. Thinking about it now, I guess the clock was setup for the 26 mile mark.
I could see the finish clock clicking toward 1:17. I dug down and pulled out everything that I had. I knew it was going to be close. Pressing the stop button on my Garmin, I glanced down at it – 1:17:00. Well, I tried.
I grabbed some water and headed back to the hotel to clean up. By 9 AM, I was back at the finish area to check out the results. After talking with Richard H. for a few minutes, I waited for the awards.
The directors of the race present the awards a little differently than most races. Age group awards can be picked up any time after the results are posted. The open and master awards are called out in front of the stage. Making it even more interesting, they had monkeys and a baby tiger at the awards. I got a cool photo of me with them. This was definitely one of the more memorable awards ceremonies for me. I need to thank Lauren for my awards photo with the monkeys and the tiger.
The Myrtle Beach awards are pretty nice. My third pace masters' award was a framed certificate for the 3rd Male Master and a half marathon finisher medal.
The two Masters' runners that beat me ran in the 1:14s. I couldn't match those efforts.
I was happy with the results. I finished 18 overall out of 5000+ runners. I got my last major shake out race before my marathon in 4 weeks.
Now, I have a few days of rest and then it will be time to finish up the training going for my marathon.
Sharing one thought at time,
The Cool Down Runner