As I ran along Ocean Blvd for about 9 miles, there were times when I could spy the ocean. A lot of the view is obstructed by hotels but there are a few piers and off to the left here one of the views. Believe it or not, it was probably close to 70F by the time I was seeing the ocean. The day was heating up and I am not use to running in the heat at this moment. I don’t mind running in the heat in the summer but I was not happy to be running in it now, not when my last training run was in 12F weather. There is the ever present north wind along Ocean Blvd also. I am very thankful for that as I do not know if I could have completed the race if it were not for the wind. It kept me cooled off a bit.
There was a good crowd along Ocean Blvd until about mile 11. That photo above was at about 11.5. At mile 11, the half marathoners turned left while those of us doing the full kept going along Ocean Blvd. I had had lots of running company up until that point. Now there were not so many of us still there. Unfortunately, I was not paying the attention I should have been to my body. I got some Powerade at mile 12 but did not go to the portapotty. (Female runner alert – meaning you guys may want to skip over the next few sentences.) I was having my period during the marathon. I knew that somewhere along Ocean Blvd I was going to have to use a portapotty to change protection. I had meant to stop at mile 12 and do that but didn’t even see the portapotty. About mile 13, I was sure I had waited too long but I managed to hold out until mile 14. About a half mile before 14, there was a house having work done on it. There was a portapotty in the front yard. Two men running in front of me stopped and used that one. Had I not needed to wait in a line, I would have done what needed to be done there. Instead I kept going. Mile 14 came and there was no line and I was in and out of the portapotty. (End discussion of my female issues.)
After going down Ocean Blvd, the road curves a bit to get closer to the ocean. I had been going back and forth with a woman who was a Team in Training member and whose significant other was riding a bike along the course as support. I saw her head up the hill through the intersection at the Cherry Tree Inn. I was pretty sure I needed to go right but there was an officer directing traffic. He let the woman run right in front of him. I started to and he told me that was not the rifht way. I pointed her out as I was not sure how loud I could yell at this point and continued on the route. When I first turned, the sight was beautiful.
As I was running along this portion of Ocean Blvd, I spoke with a guy who was running pretty strong but stopping ever few minutes to walk for a little bit. He and I talked for a while. He was driving to Gainesville, FL Saturday afternoon to run a race on Sunday. I was in total awe. I could not imagine at that point, as I was struggling a bit to put one foot in front of the other, running a race on Sunday. He hit a run segment and took off about mile 16 as his running partner – a man who was heading to Maryland to run a Sunday race – stopped at the mile 16 portapotty.
A little aside that I noticed back about mile 3 – I was hearing a cacophony of beeps. I am really amazed at the people who not only had a plan but it was to walk and run. They had their iPods, their Forerunners, their sports watches set to remind them of when they needed to walk. I was equally amazed by the number that were advertising their method by wearing shirts with http://www.JeffGalloway.com on them.
The race turned up Grand Dunes Blvd and the wind did not stop. After crossing US-17, there was the mile 18 medical tent and a water stop. At this point, the medical personnel were trying to get a verbal response out of people as they went past. One even swore the wind would end when we turned around at up the street and headed back towards the ocean. It seems that developments in Myrtle Beach all have ponds with mechanical water spouts in them. The breeze made it so that a gentle mist would occasionally get me and the other runners. This was nice as it was cooling.
Heading back to US-17, I passed a man in a Marathon Maniacs shirt. I had watched him for miles as he ran and then his timing device would beep and he walked. I had noticed, as I was trying to run through two of his run and one of his walk times before walking a bit, that he had been doing nothing but walk lately. I asked if he was okay. He said no. His upper leg was sore before the race started and on the turnaround it had gotten considerably worse. He was going to walk the rest of the race. I wished him luck, told him I hoped it wasn’t too bad and ran on.
It was somewhere in this area – mile 18-20 – that I saw two women who were running together. I had passed these two somewhere on
Ocean Blvd (around mile 9, I think). At that point the older woman had been overheard saying that she was doing good now but would slow down. Evidently, so did I. The younger of the two women was probably in her late 20’s or early 30’s. The back of their shirts were labeled – daughter and mother. You can’t see the writing on the shirts but this shot was taken about mile 20 or just after that.
At mile 20, I reset my Garmin. I wanted to have good mile times for the last 6.2 miles. I have to tell you those last miles were not good miles. At one point along the bike path close to mile 22, a woman with a temperature app on her iPod touch checked the temperature. It was a shady area – one of the few as most of the course is along streets and highways – and it was 70F in this area.
There was another up the street and back with an aid tent in the middle. This was my last portapotty stop. I ran past the portapotty and up to the turnaround before realizing I really needed to go. I crossed over to the portapotty on the way back. I don’t know that I have ever used so many different portapotties in one day.
The last 6 miles are seriously just a blur in my mind. I recall the trail area but that is it until I saw Broadway at the Beach. I knew I was close by then and was not going to take a break but was going to move. When I hit the end of the race, I wondered how many different people could fit in a chute if there were a lot of people finishing at once. As I came to the turn, I saw Rob’s wife waiting for him. I waved. I handed my water bottle off to Ben as I saw him. He had everything with him I wanted him to bring, except I had forgotten to remind him to bring a camera. I allowed a young man to put the finisher’s medal over my head. Wow! was all I could think. That medal is heavy.
The race was over. I was trying hard to not cry as I had felt tears several times along the route, including just before the finish line. I walked and walked some more. I went to get food and drink – water, Powerade, chips, bagels. I waited for a massage. My legs were tight but not overly painful. Then, Ben told me the car was about a half mile away. I was not sure I liked him anymore (LOL!). The walk was fine and my legs are still functioning. Now on to the next race…..