There was a lot to take home from the race, but I think the most important thing I learned was you can crash a continental breakfast at a random hotel and no one even bats an eye.
Anyway, I had no plan for training. I’m an architect: I don’t read directions or follow instructions, so why should this be any different? I was relegated to a bunch of longer runs all week because getting up so early for work made doing doubles impossible. I had a bunch of 50+ mile weeks and I topped out at about 56 miles. Eventually I got bored from training and took on the small project of redoing our train wreck of a garage. I started on a Monday, finished by Sunday and still managed to get in 25 miles that week. It’s harder than it sounds when the previous owner was similar to the likes of Woody the woodpecker when it came to hanging shit on walls, but I digress.
My hotel selection for this race could have been better, but to be fair I originally planned to go alone…and my standards are far lower when traveling alone than with my girlfriend (see diagram below for visual aid).
I managed to swing the ocean view, which was actually a view of a parking lot and the hotel across the way…and to the right you kind of saw the ocean. I got lucky the hotel was one of the designated race hotels because it wasn’t a factor when booking. The full beds sucked, I’m not even going to talk about it because someone had made sure to make her opinion about them known all race day morning.
The food in Myrtle Beach tends to have shitty reviews. The Loco Gecko brought me a burger that was a hockey puck it was so well done. That was certainly not medium rare, but being the consummate garbage disposal I am and sensing the incompetence of the staff I just ate that shit anyway along with the fried pickles. I eat like a savage to begin with and I’ll eat anything. I once ate 20 left over chicken wings for breakfast before an Ironman. Much like a whale shark, if you saw the contents of my stomach you could find the bumper of a ’72 Buick Skylark along side a half digested butterball turkey. Which brings me to my next point…crashing the La Quinta Inn continental breakfast.
I was doing my warm up run in sweats because it was cold as fuck outside and stopped in the La Quinta to stretch because it was the only thing open on that stretch of road. They had been serving breakfast since 6 AM, so I just took a minute or two to peruse what was there for a little snack. No one said anything to me because they assumed I was staying there.
The bag checking shit at the start of the race was a pain in the ass. It bottle necked everyone from going to the start line. I was wearing shorties and a singlet, where am I going to hide things? This isn’t prison, I don’t have to smuggle my shot blocks & SaltStick to the start line in my ass. I ended up saying “fuck it,” ran across the field into a crowd of bystanders by the fence at the start line and hopped the rail so no one saw me.
I was actually pretty bored during the race. Mile 5 saw some excitement when here was a knife in the middle of the intersection. I told a traffic cop he should pick that up. The next 10 miles or so had a nice, consistent headwind. I was at 1:29:59 for their half marker, which was 2-1/2 minutes under my PR for a half. However all of their markers seemed to be almost 0.1-0.2 miles off of my Garmin distance until the end. At about mile 20 I couldn’t hold sub-BQ pace and started to fall off. At mile 21 there was a bunch of hypodermic needles on the path. At mile 22.5 I decided to visit the John. There was no need to hold it anymore since I was over BQ pace. Apparently my brief stop freaked out a lot of people following along on the GPS. My ankle had been bothering me from the slope on the road so those last two quick hard right turns going into the finishing chute killed. I did manage to pull it together and finish strong (video).
The ride home sucked big fat rhinoceros dick. The speed limit was unofficially raised to the Ricky Bobby minimum and it was a rental car so I was going to do the driving. Those stellar employees at unnamed rental car company whom hires a bunch of former collegiate athletes need to learn how to clean a car. The inside of the windshield looked like it was cleaned with with white shoe polish.
It wasn’t a bad race overall. For a first marathon that wasn’t part of an Ironman I’ll take 3:17:03. Next time I’ll run it differently and just wait till I’m 35 to try to BQ.