Another marathon on the books.
Here's the short version: Hot. Flat. New PR!
Here's the long version:
This was my first marathon without Blair. Instead, I traveled with my Sole Sisters--six "hot fast women" (painted on our car)---to Myrtle Beach. I was worried about not having Blair waiting for me at the finish line. I'm typically in intense pain for the first 40 minutes after a race and Blair all but carries me around. Surprisingly, I finished in good form. I kept moving after I crossed the finish line and while I was stiff, I was walking around after the race with little difficulty.
The big surprise was the weather. I spent 16 weeks planning on being freezing cold at the 6:30 AM start. I've trained in ice and snow. I packed gloves. The temp at the start line? 57 degrees. It was above 70 by the time I finished and I came home with a whopper of a sunburn on my shoulders.
I liked the Myrtle Beach course much more than I thought I would. That long 10 mile stretch that I was worried about? Not so bad. It was on the strip so there were hotels and stores and restaurants and things to look at. I could have done without the smell of bacon and doughnuts wafting through the street, but the crowds were decent and a few waitresses stood outside in their uniforms and cheered and clapped for us, which was kind.
There was much more shade than I was expecting--thank God. Miles 17-20 and 23-26.2 were full on sun and they just sucked the life from me. When I ran in shade I was still tired, but I found myself much more "up" mentally than when I was in full sun.
As in every race, a couple of moments stand out above all others:
- A woman who gave me an appraising look at mile 16 then nodded and said, "You look comfortable with that pace. Keep going."
- The runner behind me at mile 24 who, when I started running after leaving the water station then started to walk yelled, "Keep running girl! We've come too far to quit now!" I didn't even look back, just threw a thumbs up as I started running. He shouted, "Don't let me catch you!" and I didn't. He found me after the race and I thanked him for giving me the motivation when I needed it.
- Coming down the final .2 of the race, a male runner was maybe 5 or 10 steps ahead of me. I was so tired. Hurting. But a male spectator leaned over the barrier, looked me in the eye and motioned with his head toward the male runner in front of me. "Go get him." I thought, no, I can't immediately followed by HELL, YES. Passed him with about .1 to go.
Bottom line: I made my goal of coming in under 3:40 and set a new PR of 3:38:38. No false modesty--I am really proud of that time, especially given that we didn't train in warm weather. I felt decent for most of the race. Not great, but nothing fell apart for which I am grateful.
I'm also grateful for the fabulousness of my training and running partners. Every single one of these women ran a great race and I'm walking away from this marathon with something much more important than just a new PR.
I've got a whole new group of wonderful friends.