Road ID

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Ebb, Flow, & Snow

The temperature was 43 degrees, wind speed around 12 mph, and rain fell as I watched the steady stream of runners dotted with umbrellas, ponchos, trash bags, and such, headed towards the Starting Line of the 17th Annual Myrtle Beach Marathon.  At 0610 am, February 15, 2014, I peered out my hotel room window, while thinking how happy I was for deciding to splurge for our last minute reservation at the only hotel located at the race venue (Hampton Inn, Broadway at the Beach).

Armed with a Garmin on each wrist, a heart rate monitor, dressed in my black CW-X Endurance tights, a black dri-fit Fleet Feet t-shirt, and covered by my Sheddable Shell disposable jacket,  My feet were socked by Balega socks and placed snug inside my Asics GTX 2000 Trail Shoes.  You read that right, I opted to wear my trail shoes made with Gortex material so they would drain and dry from the rain.  And let me not forget my Tifosi Running Glasses and my old faithful neon yellow Nike running hat.  About half past 6, I headed out in the blowing rain to claim my spot among approximately 10,000 marathon/half marathon runners,

After meeting up with a handful of North Carolina Troopers there to run the marathon as well (all were returning MBM marathoners, but me), I couldn't find DM Friend Brad G. in the crowd, so I took my place, started my GPS watch satellite finder, and anticipated the start of my first sanctioned marathon.  I've ran a 50k, but never an official marathon.

Miles 1-12

My pace stayed between 8:40ish and 9 minute miles as planned.  I also shed my disposable rain jacket within the first mile or so after the rain ceased.  The marathon's first few turns led by the Pelican Park/Finish Line Chute Entrance, out to King's Highway toward the south end of Myrtle Beach.  A few more turns and miles, and the route took the runners down the main drag running parallel to the ocean.  Now running north and somewhere along this area, I had a brief conversation with an older gentleman named Vince from Ontario.  I noticed Vince due to his grey hair and older look.  I shared with Vince the fact that I always kid my wife about wanting to be that "old guy" running when I'm 70.  Well, come to find out, Vince was 70.  We talked a few minutes, encouraged one another, and I told Vince farewell and wished him luck completing his half marathon adventure.  Yes, both half-marathon & full marathon runners left at the same time and location, but the half-marathoners split off the route around 12 miles to headed back towards Pelicans' Park to the Finish Line.

Somewhere around mile 11

From a physiological standpoint, I felt well rested, and strong in my pace of sub-9 minute miles.  Every 2 miles I hydrated with fluids and electrolytes.  At miles 5 & 10, I fueled with a Huma Energy Gels made with chia seeds and other natural ingredients.  

Miles 13-20

Who flipped the switch was what I was asking myself.  Almost like clockwork, as I hit miles 13 and beyond,  there was an appreciable drop in my energy levels.  I didn't feel like I was bonking, but my body was almost saying to've reached the distance you've trained at/for, so why are you not hitting the stop time button on your Garmin.  As a result, somewhere between miles 15 and 20 I incorporated some walk breaks to include, but not limited to the hydration stations.  During this segment, I remember seeing a woman sitting on the cement curb, hole torn in her black running tights, and a quarter size bloody gash in her knee.  Needless to say, she looked like she was a DNF and was being assisted by the MBM staff.  Ouch.  Again, at miles 15 & 20 I fueled with Huma Energy Gels.

Miles 21-24

Still trying to minimize the damage of my energy loss/slower pace, I tried to push where I could and walk where I could not.  I will have to say at somewhere along these miles, I reminded myself I was not competing as a professional athlete and just finishing the marathon was a huge accomplishment for a 41 year old male.  Somewhere around mile 23, I fueled with the last item left in my 2 bottle Nathan Hydration waist pack, a package of Extreme Sports Beans with Caffeine, watermelon flavor.

Miles 25-Finish

I passed a Myrtle Beach Police Officer, who I had thanked for what he was doing earlier in the race.  This officer now returned the nicety and said " You better keep going Trooper, you're almost there."  I was encouraged by his words and continued towards the finish.  At some point, I found myself running between Jersey Barrier type partitions, which formed the funnel to the Finish Line.  I crossed the line with no increased, or burst of energy, but remember one of the volunteers saying "You can stop running now."  Just then, another volunteer placed a MBM Finishers' Medal around my neck.  It was over, my first official marathon.

My take:
Although I was disappointed with not running a sub-4 hour marathon, I was very happy about the fact I'm 41 and can traverse 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 19 minutes.  I do want to return for the 18th Annual MBM for a little revenge if you will, but in the interim...I'm going to focus on my base, work in a handful of half marathons, and try to run a full this fall.

My Stats:
Kelly Stewart, Newton, NC
Bib# 2219
10K Split- 58:07.5
13.1 Split- 01:57:36.2
18.3 Mi Split- 02:52:14.6 
Gun Time- 04:19:07.7  
Chip Time- 04:18:47.5 
Pace-9:53 41
Age Group-93 out of 155 
Overall- 708 out of 1620

The Snow:  Besides the 4-5 inches on my driveway before we left for the beach, it was the multitude of runners of all walks of life that ran with me, in front and behind me.  The hope of another race, and accompanying my wife as she completed her 1st Official 5k, The MBM Neon Night 5k the night before my marathon.

My Wife & I after completing her first 5k together