Firstly, I have no pictures of our trip to Myrtle Beach. I'm sorry. I slack sometimes.
Secondly, you probably wouldn't really care to see pictures of this trip to Myrtle Beach anyway. This trip mainly included going to the movies [we fully took advantage of the fact that matinees were $5.50 per person], eating, and laughing. Laughing. Lots of laughing. We took this trip with our couple besties [remember Robert? I love Wifey just as much as I love him...and she's a great running buddy who doesn't mind my over-sharing nature.]
Thirdly, if I had actually taken pictures of this trip, I would have been sure to properly document all of the times I had to stop during the 1/2 marathon. I honestly lost about 15 to 20 minutes making bathroom stops between miles 2-6.
A few months ago, Jen, a PriorFatgirl wrote a post about the "problems" that we sometimes have as runners. Lots of bathroom breaks. My Sista taught me a very valuable trick about avoiding this problem last year, but unfortunately I didn't pack properly for Myrtle Beach.
Poops. I forgot.
Rather than become frustrated with this minor setback, I decided to use it to my advantage. Fortunately, by the time that I reached mile 6, I was feeling fine, and the frequent breaks at the beginning of the race encouraged me to pick up my pace more from miles 6-13.
Since I always feel strongest at the beginning of the race, I had planned to run straight for the first 20-30 minutes. I began at a very slow place so that I wouldn't burn myself out, and this was a great decision in hind sight. I usually start off too fast [because I'm usually running with faster runners and I try to keep up], but this time I made up my mind to let Wifey pull out ahead since she's faster.
I really don't mind when people leave me in their dust. I usually prefer to run alone anyway.
I ran my first two miles at around a 13:00-14:00 pace, and then had to stop for break # 1. After that break, I started running 5:1 intervals, and I carried on with that plan through the rest of the race. Once I got through my "situation", I was able to pick up my running intervals to a pace between 10:30-11:30/mile. This had me rather impressed, especially since I was feeling awesome running this pace.
The peak of the race for me from a physical standpoint was around the 8th mile. I seriously couldn't believe how great I felt. I was enjoying the flat course, smiling, and probably eating some Cheez-It's.
Cheez-It's proved to be a great mid-race snack for me this go-around. Something about eating Cheez-It's at mile 8 made me feel like a rebel.
I planned my run intervals around water stations so that I wouldn't end up walking just before a water station, then walking through the water station. If my run interval was technically over just before a water station, I'd continue running until I grabbed a cup of water, then used that as my walk interval. It proved to be effective, since I was able to walk through all of the water stops.
In addition to my rebellious Cheez-It consumption, I also slurped on 3 GU Energy Gels throughout the race (the Chocolate Outrage is my favorite). In the past, I have used ShotBlox, but I found that I had a difficult time eating them while running, and the fact that I had to breathe through my nose to chew caused me to snot on myself uncontrollably. This is never good on race day, since there are sneaky cameras all over the place.
[p.s...am I the only one whose nose runs uncontrollably while running--even on hot days?]
When I got to mile 12, I was feeling worn out. Just before I got to BB&T Coastal Field, where the race ended, I had to take an unscheduled walk break, but then I managed to pull it together and run to the finish. Because one must never walk across a finish line.
All in all, this was a really nice race for me. The course was not very scenic (despite the fact that they market it as a race along the ocean, it's really not), but it was flat. I like flat.
My official race time was 2:50:41, which puts me at about a 13:00/mile pace. This is interesting to me, considering the fact that my pace at last January's Disney Princess 1/2 was 13:35/mile, after having died and came back to life from October 2009's Baltimore Marathon. This year, I'm running at around the same pace, but I'm feeling awesome with no injuries!
I'm moving right along to the Virginia Beach 1/2 marathon over St. Patrick's Day weekend, and really looking forward to it! I have 3 training weeks until the run, so I'll be focusing on improving my pace between now and then to see if I can pick it up a little. My goal for the VA Beach 1/2 is to finish between 2:30-2:40.
I don't anticipate any problems with meeting that goal...as long as I pack properly.