I woke up at 5:30 AM on Saturday and left my house. I drove back roads instead of interstates since that was the way my GPS decided to go. It only took 3 hours and 15 min to get to Myrtle Beach. That’s definitely faster than the interstate route. Of coarse, it helps that I was mostly driving in the dark, early morning hours on a Saturday. It was not fun driving into the rising sun, but it was worth it to get there early. I met up with Nicki and the PBRC crew at Johnny D’s for some late breakfast. They had all just completed the 5k that morning. I got a French toast waffle that was really good and looked pretty, too.
After finishing up, I followed Nicki back to the townhouse of her friend. It turns out the friend was unexpectedly out of town. So, we were house and cat sitting as well. Nicki showered and changed while I changed out of my comfy travel pants into jeans. By the time we were done, it was after 11. I needed to go to the Expo and pick up my bib and shirt. Nicki had already been there twice, so she drove. The Expo is in the Marina Inn. You need to make the left just before the guard station. The parking lot is small, so we had to wait on someone to leave to get a space. It didn’t take long. Soon we were walking into the Expo.
It is on the smaller side, but still nice. The first thing we came to was the Publix booth. We both tried our luck on the Plinko game. I got a small bag (thing reusable Publix shipping bag only mini-sized). Nicki got a shoe wallet. Then, I headed out to get my bib. I had #600. I tried to double check that since pickup was by bib number, but the internet on my phone did not work here. It turns out I remembered correctly anyway. I decided to go ahead and get the arm band for the beer garden after the run. In hindsight, I really didn’t need this. I don’t like beer and ended up carrying my ID with me anyway. Once I had my bib, pins, and bag, we headed back through the doors to the rest of the Expo. Nicki bought a short with the course on it that I liked. That booth was the official merchandise and it was outside the rest of the vendors. I found a similar shirt and bought it. Then, we braved the other area. The back corner of this area was the shirt pick up. I had registered for a large. They said we couldn’t swap until 5. Well, it looked okay and I wasn’t going to be back, so I took it. We walked around the circle of vendors. I ended up buying a pair of Zenzah calf compression sleeves in a more neutral grey color that were on sale. I have 2 pink ones and a peach one at home.
We decided to go to the boardwalk from there. We found a metered spot only a couple blocks away. Nicki told me I had to do to the Gay Dolphin. It’s a gift shop that is huge and has strange multi-leveled areas. If you can’t find something there, you didn’t look hard enough. We even found a Zoltan machine.
After we looked through the whole store, we went out to the boardwalk. We even went for a short walk on the beach. Luckily, they have a foot wash on the boardwalk by the stairs. Since we were meeting the PBRC guys for an early dinner, we decided to get ice cream in lieu of lunch. We stopped at a little shop on the boardwalk. I got a mint chocolate chip cone. It was a single scoop that was really 2 scoops. At this point, we were almost out of time on the meter, so we walked back to the car.
We went back to the townhouse to chill until dinner. We found National Treasure: Book of Secrets on and both took naps while watching it. I woke up to a painful headache making me nauseous. I knew it was sinuses since they had been acting up before. Nicki and I walked to the Walgreens so I could get some Aleve-D. It’s the thing that works best for me. By the time we got back, it was almost time to leave for dinner. I took my medicine and started feeling better shortly after.
We made out way to Angelo’s to meet the group. Mel told us we would be joining this large 30 person group. We only waited a little longer before we were seated. They brought us salads for the table and rolls. We all decided to do the buffet. Upon getting in line, we saw it was a different system. All the food is on the other side of the glass with the servers. You tell the server what you want and they dish it on a plate. At the end of the line, they pass it out a window to you. I guess this is more hygienic, but the line did get long. One my first pass, I got spaghetti, cheese ravioli, tortellini with alfredo sauce, a stuffed shell and cheese pizza.
The spaghetti was disappointing. The cheese pizza and cheese ravioli was okay. The stuffed shell was pretty good and the tortellini was the best thing. I ended up getting another plate with 2 stuffed shells and some tortellini. After 2 plates, I was done. We talked for a little while and then all left. We had an early wake up the next morning and my football game was on at 8 PM (FSU). We got home with about an hour to spare. I turned on the UNC game until it was time for the FSU one. Nicki and I both caught up on social media and email. Once my game started, Nicki decided she was ready to turn in. Even though my game was exciting, I kept dozing off. Finally at half time, I gave in and went to bed. My parents were at the game. I think my dad forgot about my race and called my cell phone just after midnight when the game ended. It was enough to wake me, but I couldn’t get there in time. I checked my text messages for the final school and went back to bed when I saw FSU has won.
For some reason, I woke shortly before my alarm was set to go off. Good thing I did because my cell phone never did sync with my FitBit which is what I now use for my alarm. I got up and got ready. Nicki was ready before I was. I remembered to get my sunglasses out of my car. Since I didn’t have any pre-race food, Nicki stopped on the way at a convenience store and I got a protein bar. I decided to take my water bottle even though there were plenty of water stops on the race. I’m glad I did because I did use it. We got to the shopping center with very little traffic. Nicki found the first entrance and we easily made our way to a parking space. We were on the opposite side of a store, but used the walk as a warm up. The other entrance did have a back up. As we made our way to the start, we saw the bank of port o potties and the long line. It was one line for all the PoPs, so I’m sure it moved quickly. By this time, I had finished my bar. We ended up going right passed the car some of the PBRC members were in to keep warm. It was a little chilly. Once they saw us, they got out and we all made our way towards the start. We found a few more and took a pre-race photo.
Then, we walked to the back of the starting chute. The pace signs did go all the way back to 14 min/mile+. We stayed in the back. Soon, the crowd quieted and we heard the National Anthem. A couple minutes later, the race officially started.
It took us a few minutes to make our way up to the start line. Nicki said she was going to go very slow on this race, so I told her I’d see her at the end. I wanted to see how long my body could handle the 1min/30sec intervals I had been training with. Luckily, 2 other ladies from PBRC (Linda and Emily) decided to stay with me. They pushed me for the first 2 miles before I told them I needed to slow down a little. The first mile is a big loop around the shopping center parking lot. I really didn’t mind this.
We got to Mile 1 before leaving the loop.
Then, we made our way out and onto Seaboard street.
We turned left on 17th.
You can see the cars lined up at this point. Even though they had a lot of notices out about the street closings, there were many unhappy drivers. We turned left on Robert M Grissom Pkwy.
Then came the first water stop. This was a picture back at it since I was too focused on running to remember to take a picture.
We were on this road for quite a while. Next came Mile 2.
We got to the second water stop as the sun was rising.
For some reason, we all thought it was funny that we were in Horry County and had to take a picture of the sign pointing it out.
I think Cameron joined our little group at this point. She was the one in the second water stop picture. Soon we got to Mile 3.
Still on the same road, we passed Mile 4.
There were some great spectator signs in this area, but most of my pictures were blurry. This is the only one that turned out.
Next came Mile 5 just after a water stop.
Some singers along the course.
We reached Mile 6.
A news reporter was by the side of the road.
We ran uphill at this point and I could feel it.
We then left the main road for a trail.
Mile 7 was along the trail.
Towards the end of the trail were some singers from the House of Blues.
Finally we turned off the trail and onto 62nd.
Along this road, we got to Mile 8. This is where Emily and Linda left us in the dust.
There was a water stop just after Mile 8.
We left 62nd.
At this point, I started doing modified intervals. I believe this was our turn onto Ocean Blvd which we would stay on until the end of the race.
The nice part about this road is you can see the beach along a good stretch of it.
We made it to Mile 9.
Ocean Blvd does a funny little bend.
After the bend, we were mostly between hotels.
We reached another water stop. They did a great job with waters stops every mile.
We reached Mile 10.
I did an accidental switch of intervals in mile 11. We started running 30 seconds and walking 1 minute.
There was a very speedy walker that also had on the Surf City SparkleSkirt.
Another water stop.
We were very happy to see Mile 12.
You can see the Ferris Wheel. Also the lady in the pants that made me want to run faster so I didn’t have to look at them.
I encouraged Cameron (and myself) to push through the last 1/2 mile. At this point, we passed the Finish Line and Beer Garden area. You can see people crossing the course that are done.
We turned off Ocean Blvd by the flashing arrow.
We ran into the sun and onto the boardwalk. There was a band playing in this gazebo area.
We were running right next to the ocean at this point.
The walkway had a nice design.
I decided to walk to the end of the boardwalk bridge with handrails.
I ran to the end. I actually had a kick to the finish line (first time ever).
Finished in just under 3:05 which was way better than I expected
I got my large, heavy medal of a surf board. One of the requirements of the design is that it must be a bottle opener. I think that makes it interesting. It is one of the biggest medals I have received so far. It even has a magnet on the back. I also got a bagel, bottled water, banana, and a bag of pretzels. I took an official finisher picture since I was already there.
I wanted to cheer Nicki in so I went over a block to the race course and texted her to see where she was. While I waited, 2 ladies that had finished walked passed me and said I was very encouraging and helped them since they were right behind me. That was probably one of the biggest compliments I have received. Shortly after that, Nicki texted me back. She had only been 10 minutes behind me and was already at the beer garden. I immediately headed that way. I met up with her and found a Publix bag for all my goodies. We took off our shoes and went into the water. It was nicer and just as effective as an ice bath.
We took several pictures in the ocean.
We washed the sand off our feet and made our way to the shuttle. I think this was when Mel texted Nicki asking where we were. He was already in the shuttle area. I put my shoes back on halfway there since I stepped on something that didn’t feel good. We went to Mel and took an after picture with the others there. We waited quite a while for buses to come back since the line was too long for the first round. Since it was getting late, I decided not to eat with group afterwards. I did enjoy my time with them, but I wanted to get home. Finally, the buses arrived back again (after about 30 minutes). The bus we ended up riding had a messed up transmission. It did make it back to the shopping center parking lot without incident (just lots of noise). We got back to the car after walking through the parking lot. We drove back at the townhouse with really no traffic issues. I showered, changed, and made plans for future races with Nicki. We will be driving down to SpaceCoast together. I then said my goodbyes and got on the road. I drove home same way I came, the back roads. I had to stop briefly for gas or I wouldn’t have made it the whole way. Luckily, I was able to listen to Panthers game during the drive. They were playing so bad I was glad I wasn’t watching them. I kept missing any drive-thrus during my trip. I ended up eating the pretzels from the race and not stopping for lunch. I did make it home for the end of the game.
Overall, this was a great race experience for me. I will definitely do this race again as it is well organized. I also believe it is one of my better chances to PR in the future if I train properly. I do want to run Hershey at some point and they were the same weekend this year.
My app was slightly off due to a pause towards the end, but here are my stats:
Official finish time: 3:04:19
Lap Times (via app)