Sorry for the quality of this picture.
I snapped it with my cell phone without much thought. I was tired, ok.
Y'all are not going to believe this, I can barely believe it myself. Today, I ran my 4th half marathon....the last one just two months ago in Colorado. Even though I think my training has not been up to snuff, I have actually made improvements. I had a personal best today. I ran this half in 2:52 hours/min. There were 3122 runners in all and I finished 2581 out of the 3122. I am so pleased.
This race took place in Myrtle Beach, SC. Just a little less than half of it was on Ocean Blvd. with the beautiful Atlantic Ocean within plain view. My friend and running partner, Christie, and I road together to the start line...Coastal Grand Mall parking lot. There was people coming out the wazoo and it appeared that a good portion of them were lined up at the porta potties, which is exactly where Christie and I were headed. About that time, I had a great idea. Let's go to the Burger King and bypass all those people at the porta potties. So we walked across the parking lot and wouldn't you know, they were closed. So we were doomed to line up and take our turn. We only had like 20 minutes before the race started, but it had to be done. Holding our noses, we took our turn and then left the area just a couple of minutes after the race started. The good thing was that runners were still going across the start line and we just fell right in behind them.
And we were off. We ran a loop around the mall and exited to take Grissom Parkway for the next 7 miles. Once we made the right turn onto 62nd Ave., Christie and I were like....home turf, yeah! Our training runs last year were run on this route. One more mile and we were on Ocean Blvd. Now it was straight on for the next 5 miles. Christie did an awesome job. She ran today with a cold. I know exactly how she felt because I ran the Revel Rockies in Colorado with a cold. You certainly don't feel your best, but I'm sure adrenaline helped us along. I felt great the whole 13.1 miles. I didn't really start getting tired until around mile 11 or 12. We had such a great pace going, I didn't want to let up and I actually thought it might be possible to finish in 2:50 hours/min. So we pushed on. The last water stop was around mile 12 and it was sponsored by the Grand Strand Running Club. Cliff was helping pass out water. It was good to see him there. It gave me a little pep to my step. About this time I picked up the pace just a bit. And let me tell ya, by the time I rounded 6th Ave. and made it onto the board walk, I was practically heaving. I think that may have been the fastest I have ever run across a finish line. Just shy of the 2:50 hours/min that I thought I might make, but I was happy just the same. I had accomplished another personal record. Of course, I have no pictures to show. I just didn't have time for that. I may post a picture or two when the official race photos are released.
Now this may be boring to most of you, but for those of you, like me, who want to pick the brains of all runners, I thought I might tell you how I handled nutrition and hydration. Personally, I like GU Gels. Espresso Love is my favorite and has 40 mg of caffeine. I, also, like Tri Berry and the Salted Caramel. I carried all of these with me today. I have a 12 oz. bottle that I carry in my hand and it was filled with Gatorade. I took one gel about 10 minutes before the start. I took another gel at about 3.5 miles, 7 miles and around 10.5 or 11 miles. It was very cool today...in the 50's at the start and rose into the 60's by the end. So, the Gatorade lasted me until about mile 10.5-11 miles. And then........there was Cliff handing me a cup of water at mile 12. I found this to be enough nutrition and hydration.
****Edited 10/22/2014 - I need to make a clarification here. I know the recommendations for taking a Gel with water and I usually do that. Although I carry Gatorade with me and drink it during my run, I try to take Gels with water at the water stations. However, I didn't study the map to know where the water stations were this time which led me to taking the gels with Gatorade. Not a good idea, apparently. So from now on, I will do my research on the water stations before I begin the race.
I was kind of dreading this half. I don't know why. I never was nervous or anxious....and it turned out to be my best. I've grown to love the half marathon. It's short enough that you are not dying for days afterwards and long enough that training is very necessary, which keeps me running. I have some goals, as far as the half is concerned, that I'm working on. I'll share them with you when I get them ironed out. I don't have another race anytime soon. I'm going to take it easy for a couple of weeks. I'll continue running through the winter, hopefully keeping my long runs, well....long. There is a half I'm looking at that takes place in March 2015...more on that later. Tomorrow, I'm getting on the bike to start training for a bike ride coming up in November. For Cliff and a couple of friends of ours, the ride will be many, many miles over several days. For me, I will only do a couple of short ones...maybe 30 miles.
Well, I'm calling this day to a close. I've got some serious resting to do. But first, I'll share the following pictures with you. I took these a couple of years ago...but, I just wanted you to see how beautiful it is here in Myrtle Beach.