Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Divas Half Marathon N. Myrtle Beach Weekend Recap

Well, half marathon #5 is done, finally! It was a long weekend but fun and I was so happy to spend time with my best friend and my brother's girlfriend who flew down for the race! Even though the sun chose not to show up this weekend, we still had some fun!

Friday
What a crazy day! Everything was pretty hectic since my mom came to my house to pick Rusty up (she dog-sat all weekend) around 4am (long story) and I ended up oversleeping and was late to pick up my best friend Adrienne from the airport.  The normally 3.5hr drive to Myrtle Beach ended up taking close to 4.5 hours because of traffic and craziness once I got on 501. I went straight to pick Adrienne up and then we had a fun Mexican lunch at the mall near the airport while we waited to pick Rachna up from her Detroit flight.  It was SO FUN getting to see Adrienne again and catching up! I love how our friendship has evolved as we've become (somewhat) responsible serious adults and how we may not talk or see each other all that often but when we do, it's like nothing has changed and no time has passed! I'm so incredibly proud of her for sticking with her training plan for the past 10 (or 11?) weeks and running a great race (and she looks amazzzingggg). After picking Rachna up, we headed over to our resort for the weekend, the Beach Cove Resort, in North Myrtle Beach. Let me just mention that we had a great experience at this resort! We had a 2 BR condo for a great price and so much space for all of us! We changed for the beach and decided that we wanted to partake in some adult bevs so we ventured out trying to find cold wine haha
IMG 20130426 173455 572Clearly this was a place where wine shops and ABC stores are on every corner so we didn't have to look far! We had a fun afternoon laying on the beach even though the wind made it feel ridiculously cold! We headed back to the room and hung out until my sister got there (and we all chugged our wine like we're young college students hiding it from our RA haha).  My sister wanted to drive over to Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach for dinner so we all piled into her car and headed over and when we couldn't make a decision for dinner, my sister chose a fairly standard tourist location and we had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.  The food was standard, the service was weird (our server introduced himself as "Juice" and rushed all over the place), and the restaurant was freezing cold! We had a nice little dinner and then headed back to our room.  We were all so exhausted that even the temptation of the massive candy store at Broadway at the Beach couldn't  save us from our exhaustion! After a quick CVS run, we headed back to the room and hung out, watched tv, and talked.  Going to bed never felt so good Friday night!! (And our late night ice cream, right Rachna??!!)
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Saturday
Oh Saturday.. we all decided to sleep in a bit (or at least attempted to) but I was up and ready to go at 730! I ended up reading on my iPad while my sister was already awake and having a breakfast snack & reading on the balcony.  Once Adrienne got up, we went for a morning walk on the beach.  One of my favorite things about going to the beach (any beach) are the early morning/late night walks.  We went out planning only to walk for 30-ish minutes but we ended up walking a ton for over an hour.  We didn't want to be on our feet so much during the day so we were rested for the race but this was the perfect exercise but nothing to strenuous. I loved having time to just talk and catch up about life and everything and having a sounding board in Adrienne- seriously, best person to talk to about anything! I love that she supports me and pulls me up whenever I am getting too down/hard on myself! We had fun people watching too during our walk and seeing all the adorable pups enjoying the beach that morning! I wish I could've brought Rusty!

After our walk, we ended up getting ready for the day while my sis was still reading and Rachna was sleeping late.  Rachna is in the middle of her masters program for Nurse Anesthesia and had 6 exams in the previous 5 days so clearly she needed as much rest as possible!!! After we were all ready, we planned to head over to the community center where the race expo was being held so we could pick up our bibs, shirts, and check out the vendors.  We all got our things (and the ridiculously small race shirts) and looked around a bit.  I ended up purchasing some shoelace bling in the form of a 13.1 and a VT piece (that's going to be shipped to me soon hopefully) and a race shirt and tank.  Adrienne and I ended up purchasing the same tank and we decided to be twins for the race! The official race merch was pretty nice and not super expensive at all! I just wish the Expo was organized better-- all the vendors were not logically organized and were just placed in "pods" throughout 2 gyms in the community center and caused such chaos.  The one upside was that there were not very many vendors at all and this was a smaller race so things were not as crazy as a runDisney race. As we were leaving we got some sassy pictures taken with the Run Like a Diva banner- haha so fun!
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We decided (maybe I forced this option on everyone?) to head over to McCallister's for lunch (they ran out of baked potatoes, WHAT?!) and then ventured over to the outlets for a bit.  We were all tired but my sister was ready to shop! We go into the first store, a favorite of mine (LOFT outlet) and guess what happens? A NOSEBLEED.  You might be asking, "why did that happen, you're not 10 anymore" well yeah. I think that my allergies were out of control and with the combination of my allergy medicine (allegra, flonase, singular, visene-A), my insides went crazy and my nose would not stop bleeding. IN Loft outlet. UGH. I eventually got all cleaned up (thank god the bathrooms were right next to the store) and did a little shopping at Loft.  We ended up walking around aimlessly for a while just heading into stores when we saw something in the windows that looked interesting.  I'm more of a shopper that likes to make a list of where I want to go, I go to those stores, and then leave so this was not my plan but we had fun even though it was a long day on our feet.  My sis and Rachna were enjoying the Coach outlet and so Adrienne and I went over to Ann Taylor outlet because I wanted to see if I could find some work clothes and Ann Taylor and the outlet are my favorites to find great suits and shells, and dresses for work and court.  I got some great shells and an AMAZING brown-grey skirt suit on 40% off and then a 15% off and I had a $20 reward card from my CC points. I love sales! Before we headed out, we stopped by the Fudgery ( a childhood-fat kid favorite of mine at the outlets) and we all had a delicious ice cream cone. We of course needed to load up on the carbs before our Sunday morning races haha! I feel like I had the epitome of South Carolina in my ice cream- one scoop of SC Peach and one scoop of the Praline Pecan Crunch. It was so yummy!

After we headed back to our room, we all just wanted to stay off our feet and just relax. Rachna napped, Adrienne and I read on the balcony, and my sister went for a little walk on the beach. The dinner decision was pretty ridiculous because no one was really all that hungry and had any strong opinions so Adrienne came up with the best plan- order in pizza.  We found a great local pizza place from the help of Yelp reviews: King's Famous Pizza. We ended up running to BiLo for some bananas and then picked the pizza up for a later dinner than we planned but it was delicious nonetheless! We had our quick dinner, and finally got ready for bed!  We planned on leaving the resort by 5:15am so we set our alarms and made sure everything was out so nothing was forgotten!  I am so scatterbrained so this always helps me in the early mornings of races!
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What a crazy day! I know Sunday was just going to be crazier so I'm glad we got to bed relatively early!

Sunday= RACE DAY!

Oooh, Sunday came way too quickly! Adrienne and I planned on getting up at 4:45am but it was around 4:15-4:30 I heard my sister moving around in the living room so I was up earlier than expected.  My sister thought we were still sleeping and knocked on our door but we were already up and getting ready by 4:45! After we were ready, we had our pre-race food: half a banana & half Luna Bar (chocolate dipped coconut) for me and banana & CLIF bar for Adrienne with plenty of water! We were waiting for my sister and Rachna when Rachna emerged from her room sick as anything! She was so weak with a stomach bug, we tried to persuade her to stay in the room and just rest, it was no big deal but she was determined to go as far as she could.  I made her a gatorade and got her a cold water bottle but she still wanted to try to even just walk so I just told her if she feels weak/sick in ANY way to find a race volunteer and they will get her to a medical tent/shuttle her to the finish line. We finally parked and got to the starting line but looked everywhere for the bag check.  Adrienne and I took a risk and used the portapotties (ugh nerves) and then walked around to find the bag check.  Everyone was dressed so fun and VERY diva-like. I love running in these women focused races- everyone is so supportive and encouraging of other runners and just gives me warm fuzzies!

DSC07296Finish line, I'm ready for YOU!
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While walking back from the bag check, I saw a fellow Princess Posse (our PHM facebook group) member so naturally I had to stop and get a picture with her (HI Amanda!) and our amazing SparkleSkirts!
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We finally met back up with my sister and Rachna afterward and got a few pictures at the start line. Rachna still wasn't feeling so hot but she wanted to at least give the 5K a try.

 DSC07299Adrienne and I left to head over to our corrals and we decided to stretch onto one of the orange barricades first and that was when she really let me know how she felt about me talking her into running 13.1 miles:

DSC07304Hahaha, but seriously though, we were happy and ready to run!
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After stretching out, we headed to our own pace corrals. I headed to the 12:00-13:00 corral and Adrienne was in the 10:00 corral (did I mention my BFF is a speedy gonzales?!). The race started LATE. Generally, this irks me but I was trying not to stress too much since I was already anxious about how much I would be PR-ing.  I didn't hear anything to signify the start of the race but once I saw people moving I was ready to GO! It bottlenecked quite a bit at the beginning but the crowds thinned out before getting to the first mile.  

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Thinking back, I wish I started in the corral one ahead of the one I started in because there were SO MANY walkers/power walkers that it was hard to keep up with my intervals in the crowd.  The first 5K I felt AMAZING and was keeping a good slow pace (around 12:30-12:45).  I loved running through the neighborhoods and everyone sitting in their driveways/lawns cheering on all the runners with some pretty great signs!
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I was all set and on pace to PR by more than 30 minutes but then the worst happened after the third water stop.  Around 4.5-5 miles, I wiped my face on my hand and my nose had started to bleed.  This was one of the worst things I wanted to happen during a race. At the very least, after what happened on Saturday, I packed about 15 kleenex in my race belt and those definitely came in handy.  I used them to stop the bleeding and  then at the water stop I de-bloodied my face and rinsed my hands as well. For the next few miles, I tried not the breathe with my nose and attempted to regulate my breathing only through my mouth.  Clearly this hasn't happened to me before during a race so I was slightly panicked and then I got depressed at how much time I lost and my hopes for a 30+ minute PR was out the window. I continued on and kept running.  I didn't really feel much pain at all in my legs other than the bottoms of my feet (time for new race socks!). I knew I had slowed down a considerable amount after the nose bleed and it was so hard to speed back up for me.  

Once I saw the 13 minute mile pacer pass me around mile 11, I was full-on in depression. I was disappointed in myself for not sticking to the pace I had trained for the past 2 months, I was depressed that I let myself down by not being able to move faster, I was depressed that I've been carrying around this extra 8lbs of weight since February that also slowed me down. At mile 11, we ran through this beautiful and new residential development and during that part of the race it hit me-- I'm not running this race for myself, I was running for all those Boston runners who were either injured and cannot run anymore and those runners who were stopped .5 mile from achieving a life-long goal of completing the Boston Marathon. I decided it was time to put my big girl panties on and finish the race strong.  I tried as hard as I could but mile 12 was one of the hardest miles I've ever run.  I tried to think how much I ran and how little I had left and then I thought about the hot firemen waiting for me with my medal (seriously, there were some beautiful shirtless men 'medaling' the finishers). I started down the last .5 mile or so and saw all the early finishers cheering on all those who were left and it just pushed me to finished strong.  I literally ran the last .5 mile as fast as I could (my garmin told me it was an 8:50 pace!!!). I finally got my medal and stopped my garmin & Nike+ and headed over to the picture line (so short) after getting my rose and Champagne (ugh bad life decision).
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Afterwards, I tried to find Adrienne since she finished about 20 minutes before I did but I missed her at the finish line so we met up at the bag check.  I called my sister and heard the worst news- Rachna was incredibly sick and didn't even make it to the start of the 5K and my sister took her back to the resort so she could rest and  my sister was going to CVS to get some meds and then pick us up.  Adrienne and I had a nice little stroll past the finish so I could change my shoes and we could sit until my sis found us.  We made it back to the room and my sister said she paid for a late checkout at 2pm so we had some time to shower and clean up and Rachna could get some extra resting time. After Adrienne and I were ready, we ventured out to find food since I hadn't eaten anything after the race and Adrienne just had some snacks while I was showering so we were on a mission to find a Wendys.  We made it back to the room just in time to pack the cars and we got Rachna ready to go and then we headed to the airport and sat for a bit after Adrienne and Rachna were checked in.  After they went to security, my sister and I left to make our way to our houses.  Let me just say, the rainstorm yesterday was RIDICULOUS and made my drive extra annoying.  I was so tired, I broke my no coffee rule and stopped for an iced mocha latte at McD (ugh gross) but I eventually made it home!

Post-Race Thoughts

As soon as I got home, I had one thing on my mind- hook up my garmin and Nike+ to analyze my race.  Here are some of my stats:
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My overall time was a 20 minute PR and best half marathon time in over a year so that is worth celebrating! I am still slightly disappointed in my overall average pace because I KNOW I could have done better had I not had the nosebleed to deal with! My moving time isn't too bad but DEFINITELY much room for improvement on all parts.  I guess, at the end of the day, I'm glad I PRed even if it wasn't my goal PR. Adrienne tried to convince me that I am crazy to be disappointed with this much improvement since my last best race and my mom told me the same thing.  I pretty much had the exact opposite of negative splits, which is every runner's worst nightmare.  I know that my race wasn't the most efficient or anything near the sort but I'm glad to get #5 done! 

I'm looking forward to spending time the rest of this spring and the summer working on my speed. I'm also going to start trying different workouts to help my overall body strength and transform those last few pounds of fat into muscle.  I'm looking into swimming again, using my stationary bike some more, and working out to the Jillian dvds as well. 

Hopefully, I'll be back better than ever this fall! 

PS here's a quick peek at my bib & medal holder with all of 2013's additions (so far):

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