Myrtle Beach Marathon 2017

ISN'T LIFE SURREAL Y'ALL!? Man oh man. I kind of can't believe that I have sat down to write this post. I genuinely just keep asking Tanner if that was me and my body that crossed the finish line in 3 hours and 5 minutes and 59 seconds, and while we are talking about this time, can we discuss something? When someone asks me what my PR is, WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO SAY? I mean CLEARLY my PR is a 3:06 now, but it's in that 3:05 window and who likes to round up??! 

HAHAHA! 

Okay, I know I know it's 3:06! ;) Also, who asks people what their PR's are? That's right. No one. MOVING ON! 

I will say, if you're prepared for all the antics that Katiesfitscript normally brings on race day, you might be disappointed. There's one detail that's typical me, but I think I'm finally maturing in this racing business, and not acting like an idiot. After yesterday, in all seriousness, I'm feeling very motivated for my eventual goal that I've shared of a sub 3 and ready to really take things to the next level with training and documentation. I skip too many runs, I don't track data enough, I know y'all will think I'm lying but I eat SO SO bad sometimes that I then feel really crappy on runs, and I literally didn't do any speed work for this training cycle, and that's embarrassing but I was scared with my hamstring issue.

So, I am hoping and praying and praying some more that I can keep miles steady, slow, and build up a heavy heavy base (using Boston as simply a slow easy long run) to go into Chicago this year and going to push higher mileage than I've ever done before with MOSTLY slow easy miles and then to add in those tempos and speed work. I DO NOT want to be one of "those people" that doesn't do the training and then gets the times on race day. I want to do the work. There are 3 take aways from yesterday. 

1 - YOU ARE CAPABLE OF FAR MORE THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE 

2- MAYBE A SUB 3 IS ACTUALLY POSSIBLE

3- I QUALIFIED FOR NYC MARATHON AND THAT MEANT THE WORLD TO ME!!!! 

If you've followed my journey, you know that qualifying for NYC was my A goal and has been for a long time, and I love New York City with my entire full heart, so being able to qualify for the race is just one of my biggest dreams, and if I'm being honest, probably more than Boston. EEK, I said that out loud. I feel that's blasphemous. 

Let's get to this recap before things get too long!!! :) 

This is for good measure to show what this PR really looked like HAHA! 

This is for good measure to show what this PR really looked like HAHA! 

Okay, so if y'all will remember last Thursday, there was the tornado-ish thing that happened in North Carolina, and it cooled the air from all the heat we have been having #byewinter #iloveyou #seeyounext year. The start of Myrtle Beach Marathon (which I will now abbreviate as MBM for the rest of this blog) was supposed to be 35 degrees. Y'all know I love cold, but I absolutely HATE freezing while I'm standing in a starting line corral pondering life like "Why do I do this to myself again?" hahaha! So, I wasn't thrilled about the change, but as usual, it was a good thing and I take it back and I'm thankful it happened. 

The start time was 6:30am but I don't like to wake up and immediately run, so I woke up at 4am to make sure that I was WIDE awake by start. I ate my typical bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, and I was still hungry so I made a peanut butter sandwich and then had some chocolate. I realized I had no gloves or a head wrap and just knew I was going to freeze. I am SO thankful for what we did next. We left the house at 5am and stopped at Walmart. I went in and looked all around finding NO winter stuff. SHOOT. I asked the workers and they said they had just put the gloves up and handed me a pair of kids gloves that were on sale for 25 cents and I'm so so thankful I had them. My hands FROZE even with them on. I don't generate heat well, and so I stayed cold the entire marathon to be honest, but I run well in cold so it's okay. 

I got to the start super early so we got a parking spot close, and just sat in the car (and ate a cliff bar). When I see Facebook groups and people talk about what they eat on race morning, I am shocked at the answers people say. I eat A LOT on race mornings, much more than normal, but everyone finds what works for them. I took 4 Gus with me, only used 2 and savagely ate a banana on the course. I'll explain later why I only took two. 

I like to get out of the car RIGHT before start, but I judged that wrong, so I ended up in the corral about 15 minutes early. I had asked a friend (Brad Mckee) the Thursday before to run with me, and we live 4.5 hours away from MBM so I didn't expect him. I did know there were tons of runners from Shelby there, and I looked EVERYWHERE for them, and could not find one single runner. I know my friend George will read this (Hi George) and I knew he was running the half. I wanted to run with him, but just couldn't find him, so I just accepted that I'd be doing this one solo. Right about that moment, Brad walks up and I gave him a big hug like THANK GOODNESS someone to pace me. I told him my plan which was to do 7:30 for the first two miles then settle into 7:15 pace. Yeaaaaa, I basically never did either one of those paces. Oopsies. 

Miles 1-6

There's was a 3:10 pacer, and I thought I'd keep my sites on her, but race how I felt. I took off and felt great and kept looking down at my watch and kept slowing myself down. My first mile was 7:05. I honestly was mad at myself like KATIE SERIOUSLY DO NOT DO THE STUPID RUN TOO FAST THING! But I majorly believe in going by feel. So I kept running by feel. At about mile 2, Brad was like "Do you want me to slow you down because I can?" And I said yes. And then we hit 6:59 for the second mile (again totally my fault as I roll my eyes at myself lol). I really thought I would never be able to hold that. Brad was chatting, and I caught a cramp. Yes, at mile 2-3, I had a side stitch and thought how I could have probably done without the PB sandwich. So, I just ran by feel and started taking deep breaths. 

Let me stop right there for a second. I talk about PR's, and I go for them. I show up on race day with my mind focused. HOWEVER, I really really am not emotionally invested, and never have been with PR's. If I had not got the time that I had, I would NOT have cared, and I mean that. I love to run. Period. Stressing over PR's DOES NOT AND WILL NEVER wake me up in the morning to run. Stressing over PR's will never get me to the finish line. Enjoying running and pushing myself to the best that I CAN BE in those moments is what does it. Bottom line. I seriously mean that or I wouldn't say it. That also doesn't mean that PR's can't motivate you, but I've realized that having that pressure on me actually makes me dislike it, so I try to really not focus on it.

When I got the cramp, I told Brad that I was just going to do whatever and that if I have a cramp that early, it would probably be a bad day. He told me to hush (in a nicer way hehe), to breathe in through my nose and out of my mouth and that it would go away. He kept talking, and the side stitch was there until about mile 5-6. I was so focused on my cramp and breathing that I just didn't look at my watch and kept running. At the end of mile 6, I took my first gu (salted caramel is my one and only choice of gu). My splits for Mile 3-6 were: 

3- 7:04:55                  4-7:07:33                    5-7:10:29                     6-7:07:89

Miles 7-11

At mile 7-8, Brad and I were still talking and I told him that I thought that I should probably just go into quiet mode to focus. I really wanted to see what I was capable of without playing around. I told him that I wanted to hold the 7:10 pace and that I felt perfectly content there. Right about this time, we ran into a pack of guys who said that their goal was 3:05-3:10. I was EASILY hanging with them, so I thought to myself that I would hang until I couldn't and then I'd let them trail out ahead. {Spoiler: we finished within one minute of one another}

Brad talked to them. I just stayed behind them and let them chat while I listened to their conversation and just kept my breathing. I never focus on breathing. Details are not my forte, but I was scared of another cramp. I started chatting with this guy beside me and YEP INSTANT CRAMP AGAIN. UH. 

At mile 8, I stopped talking pretty much for good. 

Let me remind you guys of my previous PR (3:15 at Thunder Road which was 1.5 years ago) where I was being a ham the entire race shouting things like I LOVE RUNNING while dancing. Don't get me wrong. In my mind, I felt these things on Saturday but I just felt much more in a zone of solitude if you will. 

At mile 11, I spotted people from Shelby on the side walk. The reason I saw them is because they had made signs of a sweet lady in our town named Lisa who was doing her first marathon, and put her face on the sign. hahaha!! They had SO many made, and it just made my day to see this sign and be able to laugh and they cheered for me, so that gave me a boost. I knew Tanner was in between miles 12-13 so I was excited to see him! 

My splits were: 

7- 7:09:06          8-6:58:69             9-7:10:50        10-7:11:92           11-7:04:97

You can see after mile 8, I got mad at myself and told myself to stop being reckless and slowed down. HAHA! 

Miles 12- 18

At mile 12.5, we passed someone that said "Wow, you go girls" and it's always an indicator of like "Wow, how are you up here with all of these guys?" haha! The girl behind me that ended up in 3rd place ended up being a friend of a friend of mine and went to the same church as me from NYC so that was a CRAZY CRAZY small world.

Right about that time, I spot Tanner, and he has the camera out. I smiled of course, but for whatever reason, again, this race I just felt laser focused, I asked him to stop taking pictures. LOL! Not rudely but just asked him not to. He said he was shocked when I said that. HAHA! Clearly, I always want the camera apparently! ;) He asked how I was, offered me Starbucks (haaa) and ran with me for a hot second, then we were on our way. Brad said "relationship goals" which he doesn't know made my day brighter, but it did. haha!! 

This is when I saw Tanner! ha!

This is when I saw Tanner! ha!

At the half marathon mark, it said 1:31, and I was just in complete shock. My half PR is a 1:32!! The guys with me talked about how we were on track for a 3:05 and I thought to myself how that was a cute plan for them, but that I would never make it that far. I knew that 20 mile wall would hit me like it always does...like it has EVERY single marathon before except one. I anticipated it. I was prepared for the mental and physical pain of it (which is something I had never done before-prep for the pain). [I took my second gu at this point. I had two Gus in each pocket of my vest. I realized that it was a little difficult to get into my right hand pocket and my hands were cold so whatever I got out of the left.]

I told myself to keep breathing like I was, keep focused, and just keep doing by effort the pace that I could. I know the exact feeling of my body's movement just from so much running where I know I'm right at the brink of a heart rate that I can sustain for long periods of time and I wanted to hang there. 

This was also where the head wind was of about 20mph. We knew that if we could just get to the turn around point then we would be fine, but it was a good 10 miles I want to say of just straight wind. I don't want to say it was brutal. Everyone kept mentioning it but I legit just kept thinking how I didn't think it was slowing my 7:05 average pace, so I was fine with it. 

At mile 15, Brad had decided that was where he would split off. He had planned a 15 mile long run, so that was perfect for him. At this point, two of the guys with us had dropped back, and it was just me and this guy who Brad had been talking to who was shooting for 3:05 and ended up with 3:04. YAY! I never even got his name, but we chatted for a little bit.

At mile 16, I started approaching the second place female which ended up being my sweet dear friend Rhea!!! (Let me just plug in here that Rhea's plan was 100000% what she planned and what she did but she's TOTALLY one BEAST of a runner and her PR is a 2:53. She's incredible, and wayyyyyy better runner than me. She has been coming back from injury as well.) When I was approaching her, the guy I was with said "I think second place female is slowing up" and I said "No! I don't want that! She's my friend!!!" And he was like "oh oops sorry!" LOL! Don't mess with my friends HAAA! I actually had never MET Rhea in person until that moment when I saw her side profile and was like "Is that her? I can't tell." And then she recognized me, and we did the whole OMG OMG HIII (But also it's mile 16 and we are running fast paces so let's talk later) kind of thing. HA! 

But at that point, I went into 2nd place. The third place girl was right behind me still. Reminder everyone that I actually KNOW the girl behind me. I just don't know that I know her, and she doesn't know that she knows me. HAHA!

RHEAAAA! FINISH LINE HUGS!

RHEAAAA! FINISH LINE HUGS!

At mile 18, the guy that I was with says "GIRL YOU ARE GONNA GET THAT 3:05. EIGHT MILES LEFT?!" And I literally said out loud, "Heck Yes. Let's do this!" 

I reach down to get a third gu from the right hand pocket and my hands were warmed up by this point. I come to realize (and this is the only hilarious OMG moment of the race) that when I had put the bib on, I had put the safety pin through the zipper of my vest so I had literally locked my Gus into my pocket and could not get to them. I start panicking a little, and start trying to un-do my bib. My hands were warm-ish but not warm enough to do that. I try to take off my glove, and still couldn't get it (all while I'm trying to run 7min/miles here). I just said "Forget it. I'll start taking Gatoraid at aid stations, not water and it'll have to do."

The splits for this segment were:

Mile 12- 7:05: 73     13-6:58:40.     14: 6:59:84    15-7:05:02 16-7:00:29    17-7:00:84   18-7:02:88

Miles 19-23

I think that my friend I had made on the course had his plan for mile 19, and that was for him to take off his top shirt, throw it into the bushes, and then take off. And that is exactly what he did. For a split second, I thought I had slowed up without realizing it, as the girl behind me took second and I went into third. I was like "Shoot! Am I slowing up because that SUCKS! I always hit this stupid wall!" And then I looked at my clock and for miles 19 and 20, I clocked in at 6:53 and 6:54! No no no. I was NOT slowing up. They had sped up, which was AWESOME for them, but I knew better for me. I slowed back down to what felt comfortable. That was when I texted Tanner at mile 20, "Send En" which the phone autocorrected to exactly what I wanted which was "Send Encouragement". YES I TEXTED WHILE RUNNING. CUE EVERYONE FREAKING OUT THAT I SHOULDN'T DO THAT! lol!! This is the result and my husband officially is the cutest ever. 

It was EXACTLY what I needed. He just kept blowing up my phone to the point where I was like "okay dude love ya but enough encouragement. My phone is gonna vibrate off my hand" but it distracted me with sweet texts while I kept running. I also got a text from Bethany "I know you have your phone"... she knows me so well and then she started sending encouragement too. It.Was.Great.

Yes, the dog saving one is the best! Glad you think so too! :P 

I could NOT believe my paces were still consistent going into mile 21-22. I stopped looking at my watch mid miles, and just would run at what I felt to be even consistent pacing with heart rates I could handle, and each time I would look down and it would STILL be on target. I was freaking out with excitement. It was right around mile 22, when we were running through this park, and we hit 22 and my watch read that I had done a 7:10:80 that I just knew. I knew I had a huge PR and I was so giddy inside. I had had this intuition that I rounded the corner and the clock read 3:09 and I sprinted to get under the 3:10 mark. I thought in that moment how awesome that would be (so clearly STILL completelyyyyy not expecting what I ended up with and happy as a clam regardless). 

Splits were: 

19-6:53:57          20-6:54:59              21-7:05:50           22-7:10:80

Miles 23-26.2

At mile 23, we went through this really fun aid station. I decided I wanted to dance with the volunteers as I couldn't believe how great I felt so late in the game. They, of course loved it and danced with me. I was able to grab a banana and I just sunk my teeth into the entire half (hard to explain in a blog) and ate it in one swift bite. YAY CARBS AND THE LOCKED IN VEST POCKET! 

I started to be able to see the second place female. Placing is really fun and cool, but me racing for me personally is all I care about. I've had so many people ask me about like sprinting down the girl to get second vs third and that is literally not what happened at all. I just kept running the same consistent pace I had been running, and it just happened. 100% truth right there. Also, the girl who got third is about the sweetest chick on the planet, who got the BIGGEST PR and I am so so excited for how awesome her day was as well. But either way, at mile 23-24, I went back into second place. 

At mile 24, I just was in shock and awe at how well my body felt and then my calf like grabbed. I joked with my family after that I like yelled at my calves like 'DON'T YOU EVEN THINK FOR ONE SECOND YOU WILL FAIL ME NOW. YOU BETTER HANG TIGHT!' and they did!!! YAY thanks calf muscles!!! However, I kept that pacing started to fall. I started looking at my clock every two seconds and it was falling into the 7:30 range. I thought to myself at that point how I had been keeping the 7:10-7:15 range and 3:05 was SO SO CLOSE, I just couldn't let it slip through my finger tips. I could do anything for 2 miles. So, I prepared my mind and went into that over drive, fight or flight mode. 

I went into the deepest place I had and started cranking my arms. Volunteers were yelling and holding out water and I was to the point where I can't smile at them. I can't tell them 'thank you' like I always do at every aid station. I just had to ignore them, and focus. I hit the brick wall...straight to the face. That's always how it comes but it wasn't awful like usual. It was just semi awful. I hit the end of mile 24 at 2:50:00. I thought to myself, "Could I make under 3?" Clearly, brain wasn't functioning at that moment because DUH, NO. LOL! But I COULD DO 3:05! I hit the end of mile 25 at 7:24. 

KEEP. MOVING. KATIE. PUMP ARMS AND KEEP MOVING. 

I was alone. I didn't have George yelling at me like my last PR. There were minimal people at this point on the sidelines as we went through this park. And my minimal, I mean literally zero. It was me. That was it. My clock hits 3:00 in the middle of my last full mile, and I almost start crying that moment. It was so surreal, and I'll never forget that moment. I'm in my FINAL mile and I just NOW hit 3 hours. How? How did I run this fast? OH.MY.GOSH.KATIE.

I gave it everything I had, and ended up finishing mile 26 at 7:23 as we rounded the corner into the crowd for the final 0.2 where everyone was yelling. 

I could see the clock. It read 3:05:20 (I think-my vision was blurry). I HAD TO MAKE UNDER 3:05. I started sprinting with everything in me. I could hear people who must have known me screaming on the sidelines. I heard Tanner's voice. I heard my mom's voice in the distance going absolutely insane yelling "GO KATIE GO!!!!" I hit the time chip at 3:05:59, and I went off to the side and did my usual "crying while I catch my breath and all volunteers ask if I need a med tent moment." 

I look over and can see my mom and Tanner and I start yelling and they have their arms in the air yelling "WOOOO!!!! YEAAA!!!" and I run/hobble over to them and give them the biggest hug. I knew Rhea would be coming through soon though so I told them I was going to stay in the corral for her to finish and give her a hug! She finished shortly after me and I got a cute video of her crossing the finish line and got to give her a big hug!!! YAY!! 

Splits were: 

23- 7:10:40            24-7:14:64         25-7:24:34             26-7:23:66     26.2 (sprint to finish)-6:15

This is what walking looks like post marathon HA! 

This is what walking looks like post marathon HA! 

WHAT A RACE. WHAT A MOMENT!

It has given me SO much confidence in myself, and as I tell Tanner I don't mean that arrogantly but objectively. As they say, we are our own worst critic and this just opened my eyes to what could happen if I could get all of the pieces to fall into place. I cannot WAIT to see what happens in the next year with running!

I love this sport.

Sometimes I wonder what the world would be like if everyone ran! <3 

Maybe like this? ;) 

Maybe like this? ;) 

Here's some data for those interested, and obviously this marathon was FLAT AS CAN BE...JUST LIKE I LIKE IT!!! lol!

Avg heart rate: 172 Max Speed @ finish line: 5:22min/mile 

And this for good measure because who doesn't LOVE adorable teacup yorkies falling asleep on the ride home from exhaustion from mommy's marathon? Peyton, I'd sprint to that finish line to save you (context: Read texts from Tanner above). HEHE! ;) 

 

 

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