I had just finished slipping on my Pure Barre sticky socks and placed my purse and shoes in my usual cubby when my phone dinged with a new text message. I quickly checked it as the loud thumping music signaled that class was starting in just a few short minutes.
“Want to come run Myrtle Beach with me in 2 weeks?”
It was my friend, Claudia, who by the way, introduced me to the idea of running 50 marathons in 50 states. She was feeling good and wanted to check off South Carolina in her pursuit to do 50 in 50. She was looking for a sucker.
“What’s the date? I cannot believe I’m contemplating this. Hahaha!”
If there was a picture in the dictionary to visually define the word “sucker”, it’d be my headshot. I can be convinced into doing almost anything. My level of fomo (fear of missing out) is always at an all-time high so when the question was asked, in the midst of all of this energetic and fist-pumping music, I agreed. And so this is how all it began - how I ended up running the Myrtle Beach Marathon.
My friend and coworker, Matthew, also came with us and was running the marathon. ROAD TRIP! We all piled in Claudia’s car and left for Myrtle Beach on Friday. This was going to be a short trip. We planned it so we would arrive on Friday and leave Saturday after the race to get back home. We arrived before sunset and picked up our race packets at the expo. This happened to be the 20th anniversary of the Myrtle Beach Marathon and they hooked us up with these commemorative socks and sunglasses. The race bibs were of really durable material and even had our emergency information already included on the bib. Nice! I must confess - I’m a slacker and fail to fill in this crucial information all the time.
We perused a little around the expo, but didn’t end up staying long because we were hungry. All we had on the brain was pizza from Mellow Mushroom! After we finally got our carb load in, we parted ways. Matthew was staying with one of our coworkers and Claudia and I made our way back to our hotel. We would all reunite in the morning at the start line (or so we thought).
Race conditions were set to be 37 degrees in the morning and would be in the upper 40s at race finish. We had no idea what to wear and had packed several options. We kept going back and forth with either wearing short sleeves and tights or long-sleeves and shorts or long-sleeves and tights. All of this back and forth on what to wear had us up until after 11 pm so when the alarm went off at 4:45 the next morning, it felt as if I had just finally closed my eyes. I hit snooze so many times.
In order to make our final decisions, we stepped out on our patio to see how it felt. I decided to go with my long-sleeved pullover and my Skirt Sports skirt and was ultimately happy with it. I also paired it with my new Swiftwick Vision Race series socks that just launched a few days ago. Of course, I had to rock out my 26.2 socks!
Once we finished eating and getting dressed, we headed down to the hotel lobby. The last race shuttle was scheduled to leave our hotel at 6 a.m. We thought we ended up missing the last shuttle since we saw one take off just minutes before. FYI - the race starts at 6:30. Luckily, we saw one down the street and jumped on board. After we shuffled off the bus and gear checked, Claudia and I ended up running through a very sparse start line since, oh you know, the race had STARTED 6 MINUTES AGO. Oops!
By the way, this is the first time I’ve ever been late to a race. I didn’t even get a chance to take pictures of us lined up at the start! Amazingly though, I wasn’t freaking out at all. It was nice to just be super casual about the whole race. The bad part though is we ended up missing Matthew at the start since we were so late. We’d reunite with him at the finish.
Claudia and I stayed together throughout the entire race. Neither one of us had any intentions of racing it. With good conversation and great company, the miles just flew by. We were feeling great! I highly recommend this marathon! It’s flat and takes you through different parts of the city- the tourist-filled beachfront attractions with all its hotels, ferris wheels, and gift shops, through the trendy Market Common (a redeveloped Air Force Base) with its townhomes mixed in with restaurants and retail shops, to right along the coast that's lined with magnificent beautiful homes and scattered cute little beach bungalows, through a shaded trail at around mile 22, and back to the modern Broadway at the Beach area.
I really wished that I had trained for this one! With the weather, this race would be a good one to try and PR. The winds were a bit gusty at times and there were parts of the course that had a good deal of headwind, but I’ll take that and the cold over heat any day! With it being so cold though, I couldn’t even move my fingers. At mile 12, my Huma gels had fallen out of my pocket and my hands and fingers were so numb that I struggled to put them back in my pockets. I had to wait until we got to the next water stop before I could stuff them back in my pockets. Speaking of, there were many water stops and aid stations adequately along the course! There were also many bands. Many of them were just one-man bands with a guy on a guitar, his amp, and his mic. I loved it! They were all singing songs that kept us pumped!
We were coasting and before I knew it, we saw the 24-mile marker - which is where I usually am just completely exhausted and those last 2.2 miles feel like an eternity. I practiced my breathing and was taking deep breaths through my nose and exhaling from my mouth. Doing this over and over keeps me grounded and calm. In addition, I absolutely LOVED that each mile marker had “You Can. You Will.” on them. Every time I would run past a mile marker, it gave me that extra push I needed.
We rounded the final corner and saw the finish line chute and pushed it to the finish. We were both excited that we could officially check off South Carolina in our pursuit of 50! Technically, I already have South Carolina checked off with the Delirium Ultra I ran two years ago. It counts according to the 50 States Marathon Club, however, the Myrtle Beach Marathon is officially a “marathon”.
As Claudia and I ran through the finish, we gave each other the biggest hugs! We did it and managed to have fun along the entire 26.2-mile jaunt around the city. We collected our huge beautiful medals (my largest one yet) and searched for Matthew. We walked over to the finishers area and ran into Matthew who killed it with a 30-minute PR!
We snapped a bunch of finisher photos (duh!) and I began devouring everything in sight. They fed us with Krispy Kremes (I’ll have 2 please), Mellow Mushroom pizza, and the normal post-race foods of bananas and orange slices. After I consumed enough for the three of us, we jumped on a shuttle back to our hotel, showered, and had celebratory lunch at the River City Cafe (Matthew’s recommendation) before we hit the road back home.
Overall, even though this racecation was short and sweet, it’s great to share in these experiences with awesome company. Even though this marathon wasn’t planned in my schedule, I’m happy that I did it. I had fun spending time with my friends and creating memories that I’ll look fondly back on.
Now, seriously, my next marathon is the Steel City Challenge in Pittsburgh in May. I don’t plan to do another marathon until then. You can’t talk me into it! Nope, nope, nope.
If you look up the idiom "on-the-run", it means to constantly travel or moving from place to place. Welcome to my life! I get asked the question - "Do you ever sleep?" at least once a week. The truth is - I am always on the run. My weeks are filled with work, training runs, dropping kids off to school and extra curricular activities, traveling out-of-town for races and soccer games, theatre rehearsals, civic duties - you name it. In addition to being an avid runner, I'm a happily married wife, mother of two, an actress, singer, a Fleet Feet CREW coach, and work full time as the Marketing Manager for Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co. I love being on the run!