Sunday, March 11, 2012

2012 Myrtle Beach Marathon

My quest to run a marathon in all 50 states continued in Myrtle Beach, SC on 2/18. When I set this thing up in early January, I was looking to use my AirTran reward miles to make the trip out. The best airport option appeared to be Raleigh/Durham in NC about 220 miles from MB. Fortunately my co-worker Julie lived close by and offered me some hospitality for when I was traveling in. I arrived on Thursday evening and we enjoyed some conversation. Friday morning, they made me a great breakfast of bacon and eggs and we sat around the breakfast table having more enjoyable conversation.

Me and my new buddy Lauryn.
A rest stop in NC
The weather was shaping up for a beautiful weekend in SC as I traveled south east towards the coast.
My friend Joel Maxwell had offered me a bed to crash in but I have an aversion to hide a beds and I politely declined his offer. I had booked a hotel room at the Springmaid Beach Resort on Hotwire for about $50 but really wasn't thinking that it would be that great for that price. I arrived to the expo between 1 and 2 and wasn't really impressed with anything there. I decided to drive to my hotel to see if I could check in a little early to chill in my room. They let me check in but told me my room would not be ready until 4. I walked out on the pier and took some pictures and then decided to drive back out to the strip to obtain some food for the next morning.
I settled on a Dollar General and was able to get some Jif 2 Go packs and a loaf of bread. I scouted out the strip for a place to eat some pre-race pasta later. I had tentatively talked with a couple of Maniacs from Springfield about meeting up with them for dinner but they weren't to arrive for some time later. After getting back to the hotel around 3:45 the front desk staff continued to insist that housekeeping wasn't done with my room and I spoke with a manager about getting me another one. He was very accommodating but you can tell that rooms booked with Hotwire definitely are given a lower status because the hotel doesn't make as much on those rooms. After getting all of my clothes laid out for the next day, I decided that I wanted to get the pasta meal done earlier than later.

I drove down the strip and found a little local joint that had pizza and pasta on their sign. The spaghetti was respectable and a perfect size. The waiter was a local runner and we chatted about the race the next day as there was no one else even in the restaurant at that time. After I finished eating I headed back over to the expo to meet up with my local running Maniacs and while I was there I ran into Joel. He was heading over to the 5k area to watch his son Jeremiah run. We talked about heading to the race together the next morning and we settled on me picking him up at his hotel so his wife wouldn't have to get up so early to drive him in. I chilled at the expo for a few more minutes until Brian, Adam and the other Springfield runners had gotten there to pick up their packets. I met up with them at Carrabas restaurant to enjoy some conversation and meet some new people. I had a great time as watched these guys stuff themselves with pasta and I sipped on water. It was such a great time. I headed back to the hotel, hoping to get some sleep as the morning would be coming quickly.
Race morning
Joel and me
Brian Wright, Adam Irvin and myself.
After some decent sleep, I got up and ate a peanut butter sandwich. I didn't drink any coffee as I usually do because I wanted to use my 5 hour energy for the race and I didn't want the diuretic effect. I headed down to pick up Joel and we had a nice chat on our way to the race. The parking was about 1/2 a mile away from the starting line. It was still pretty dark when we arrived. I decided to use a drop bag because I didn't want to carry the car keys the entire race. I wasn't sure what to expect of myself for today's event. I knew the course was flat and the weather would be decent. Right before the start of the race, I drank the 5 hour energy.

The first few miles I did my best to settle into my plan for the day, attempt to run another negative split marathon. The first mile I looked down and my split was 9:09 and I thought to myself I really need to back it down. My next mile I did in 9:41 so I had done a good job in reeling in my pace. For the first half I held that pace around 9:35.

Around mile 9 I started having some back pain. I had forgotten my little bag of tylenol that I usually carry for a halfway med stop. Another maniac offered me some Ibuprofen 800 and I gladly accepted it. I thought her name was Magda but I can't seem to track her down now. I hit the half split at 2:05:05 so I thought my dream of a negative split was in serious jeopardy, but I decided to keep pushing hard. At mile 18 it was a little bit sad to see another runner had collapsed on the course and there were other runners as well as paramedics who were doing CPR on him. I'm not sure if that person made it or not. I think they were getting ready to load them into the ambulance so I think they probably did live. I caught up to Adam at 18.5 and we exchanged greetings as I moved past him. We had talked the night before about his strategy of going hard as long as he can then walking it in. He wasn't walking at this point. At mile 20, I was still feeling pretty good though the sun was out and was beginning to heat up. I made a point of dumping a cup of cold water on my head at every water stop to keep me from overheating. To this point in my running career I had only one time run faster than 4:17 and that was a brutal 3:59:59 marathon in 2009 in Tulsa. I had a feeling that today was going to be a good day from a time standpoint.

As I got closer to the finish, my hunger for the negative split was still there though I was pretty sure I wasn't going to get it. I hit the 26 mile mark right under 4:10 so I knew I was going to be a tad over. I finished strong through the chute and hit 4:11:38. For the first time in many marathons, I wasn't nauseous but I started yelling "chocolate milk" and I had a big smile on my face. For the first time in many marathons, I had not carried any water bottles and I had successfully fueled on Clif Shot blocks and water.

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