The picture says it all. The hot fast women of Greensboro returned to Myrtle Beach this year and put the hurtin' on the half marathon. Every single one of us had a fantastic run, with a lot of new PR's (personal records) being set. The weather was perfect - 40's and sunny and each of us was feeling our mojo.
Speaking for myself, this race was a 180 from when I ran it last year. Last year I ran the full marathon and I was all business. I had my food and drink and bedtime down to a science and was mentally a tight ball of wire as I prepped for the race.
This year I had no expectations. I'd run the Massacre only 6 days before so didn't know how the legs would take another 13.1 pounding. The night before Saturday's race I ate 4 pieces of pizza, a beer, and a cliff bar. No way I needed all those carbs to run a half but I was on vacation, so who cares? The other girls were in the same mindset. We were there to have fun.
This was evident in that we made it to the start line only minutes before the race began. We were in line for the port-a-johns and Lori's watch said 6:28 (race began at 6:30 am) and so we just skipped it and lined up with the other runners. My thought was that if I needed to stop mid-race and pee, so be it. I wasn't after any set time goal so what did it matter?
This was my first half-marathon run without my Garmin. I LOVED it. It was wonderful to run according to how I felt and not hold myself accountable to a certain pace. I'm almost certain I wouldn't have run as fast as I did if I'd had my watch on to show me my pace. I would have started mind games like, "Wow, you can't hold a 7:20 pace, you'd better back off," etc.
Instead, I finished with a new PR of 1:39:00, a 7:34/mile pace. I think I could have shaved another minute or so off my time except--not running with my Garmin--I lost track of the mile markers. I never saw a mile marker after mile 9. I knew I felt good and my plan was to really pick up the pace at mile 11 and start sprinting at mile 12. Well, I'm running and running and running and finally realize I must have passed the mile 10 marker and maybe, possibly, even mile 11. So I start to speed up and right as I do I pass this guy on the sidelines clapping who says, "Great job. Almost there." I'm thinking, "Right dude, but you don't have another mile to run." No sooner do I think that then I round a corner and bam! I'm in the chute leading to the finish. What the heck??
I put the hammer down and flew that last quarter mile to the finish, passing about 8 runners. I knew they were thinking the same thing I was--if you have that much gas in the tank at the end of your race, you didn't run your race hard enough.
All I can say is, I tried. I can't believe I somehow managed to lose 2 miles but it shows how in the zone I was. I had my iPod on and didn't even notice the miles go by as I ran to Lady Gaga, Maroon 5, Meatloaf, Eminem, and Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal." (GREAT running song.)
The Sole Sisters all had similar races and the best part was that this year we weren't too tired to go out afterward. We hit the post-party at House of Blues--and the free beer--and had a great time.
The lessons learned from this weekend?
- Garmins aren't essential to running a strong race
- All my "must have's" and "must do's" before a race are likely more mental than essential. A casual "what will be, will be" mindset can be just as empowering
- If you want to use the port-a-johns at a race, arrive early
- Beer is good
Huge shout-outs to this year's traveling Soul Sisters: Christie, Lori, Christine, Sarah, and Katherine. Great race and great times, ladies. Love you!
Stats are in:
- Field Placement: 254th out of 3568
- Gender Placement: 50th out of 2029
- Age Group Placement (women, 40-44): 7th out of 303