We live close to this area now, so my third crack at this race was out of convenience and the desire to follow my “just for fun” experience in Oak Island a couple weeks ago with another as my 63rd total.
I was out there simply to run. In fact, I didn’t even wear a watch.
A few runners on course commented on this; they all thought I had technology issues or forgot to pack it.
“Nope. I’m just out here to run. The watch is a distraction for me“
My friend Jackie is a seasoned runner with over 20 lifetime marathons and almost as many ultras.
As races in eastern NC and coastal SC go, I can usually count on her to be there and it’s nice to catch up frequently in this way.
I met Jackie in Fayetteville Running Club and was tickled to see many more members at the start and along the course- the club rolls deep!
Even though we have moved, I am grateful for the lasting friendships.
The half and full marathon begins together with roughly 5000 people, but it is always surprising to me how sparse this race feels.
It is well organized and clear Capstone Races knows exactly what they are doing!
Consistent with years past, it felt comfortably crowded the first portion of the race- enough people to feel like you were running with a group, not so many there was a bottleneck on sharp turns.
The course is a nice on foot tour of Myrtle Beach- downtown tourist area, along an ocean path, and centrally located residential areas.
If, like me, you came here in high school for spring break you’ll recognize spots like Peaches Corner and former Magic Attic.
Sure, it’s not the fanciest beach ever- but if you want a coastal spot with 90s nostalgia, there’s nowhere better!
My roommate in college watched Shag nonstop, so I have a soft spot for Myrtle Beach on many levels.
I wasn’t wearing a watch but I did have Strava going on my phone.
The difference between that and wearing a watch is this: I didn’t look at my splits or overall total time until after the race.
Since this was a “strong long”, it meant I could speed up or slow down based on how my body felt, as opposed to a measurement of time.
As it turns out, I was running a very even split, holding steady between 8:10-8:20.
Around mile 14, I felt something odd under my foot. I could’ve swore my socks were bunched up or something but a couple of pitstops proved otherwise.
I didn’t notice until after the race, but tag inside my shoe on the inside arch was folded in half.
Yep, bad news.
It created a blister that bothered me the rest of the race. Of course, it was a mystery during; I was convinced the shoe insert was bunched up.
Turns out the blister was growing!
Who knew 1/4 inch fold would almost debilitate me in less than four hours?
I’m laughing about it now, but it’s a reminder how something small and seemingly insignificant can create a real impact with consistency.
…and that’s kind of cool if you flip your mindset to “positive”.
Even without the pressure of time, my gut check in this race occurred around mile 23.
Side note: this is the reason I love the marathon distance.
There’s always a gut check.
It really doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it.
It’s a Boston qualifying time, which is always a win.
Foot aside, I felt amazing by the end- it was a great day for 26.2 miles!
You may have noticed I’m placing a little more emphasis lately on my total lifetime marathons. Here’s why:
100 marathons is a stretch goal.
I’ve only got 4 states to go until I’m finished with completing the 50 states plus DC challenge.
While the travel on that is a challenge itself, the end of that goal is realistically close, right?
When I was in my early 20s, I had a mentor who taught stretch goals- as in, always have a goal that’s a “stretch” (almost totally unrealistic) you’re chasing.
As I wrap what was once a stretch (the states), I’m now able to stretch to triple digits by participating in races a little more frequently.
As long as my body allows, of course! To this point, I’ve been blessed with really great health.
I joke that my talent and running is durability- I recover well, which will aid me in this new quest!