It's taken me longer than I'd hoped, but today I'm finally making good on my promise of a Myrtle Beach Mini-Marathon recap post! After training for almost 4 months, it still seems pretty crazy to me that I finished my first half-marathon over two weeks ago. The race was hard--both mentally and physically--but I can truly say the experience was worth it. I had so much fun! I loved having something to work toward and crossing the finish line was exhilarating.
But let's back up--the morning of the race I was nervous. Lots of traveling and a bout with bronchitis during the month leading up to the race left me only able to get a 10 mile training run in as opposed to the 11 miles on my plan. Even though this turned out to be no big deal, it did nothing to help my confidence starting out. Something that did help, though? My top-notch family. They got up bright and early to take me to the starting line and stayed to cheer me on at the end. I'm very lucky to have 'em!
Once my family dropped me off I made my way to the 9:30-10:30 minute mile group (you can check out the course map here). It was still dark while we waited, but the loud music and the energy of the crowd made the time fly by. After crossing the start line it took me a while to find my pace. Maybe it was nerves, but I think the hardest part of the whole race for me was the first few miles. I fell into a comfortable pace around mile 3, and I'll be honest--looking back, 3 through 8 kind of blend together. There were water stations around each mile marker so I gladly (and quickly) walked through and grabbed a cup at each one. Around mile 8.5 we turned and started running on Ocean Boulevard, which meant beach views. By this point anything pretty to distract me was welcome!
The last mile and a half were tough. My legs felt like lead and I really wanted to walk. Thankfully around that time I spotted my family & my boyfriend and their cheers made me smile and remember how close I was to the end. The race finished up right on the boardwalk with a cheering crowd to the left and the ocean to the right.
Crossing the finish line was an awesome, rewarding and relieving feeling. I was all smiles--happy to have met my goal of running the entire race with a decent time. I ended up finishing in around 2:18 which I'll take any day of the week. I do have to take a sec to brag on my cousin. She finished in 1:49, PR'd and placed 9th in our age group! She killed it. And the medals are pretty cool too--they are shaped like a surfboard and double (triple?) as a magnet and a bottle opener. Ours are currently living on the fridge :)
Like I've mentioned before, running has never (& still doesn't) come naturally to me--it's a challenge and I doubt I'll ever be a really fast runner. But it is something I genuinely love. You can't beat the high, the mental & physical benefits and the satisfaction of meeting a goal. It truly is a battle of wills between your body and mind and conquering that is an addicting feeling. All-in-all, I can't wait to run another one. That's a recap in-and-of itself, right?