My First Half Marathon- Complete!

myrtle beach half marathonMyrtle Beach is supposed to be sunny, a terrific place for my first race. But I’m not going to lie. It was a crappy morning. I woke up at 4:45am to the sound of rain pounding against the window. Palm trees swayed in18-35mph winds. Not awesome.

Wet, windy, cold days can be decent race days. The issue is that I hadn’t trained for it. I tied my shoes and thought, “Is it better to run in

wet shoes that are tight so my feet don’t slosh around or will being too tight and damp cause sores?” I had no idea. To make things better, the zipper on my Sheddable Shell jacket broke before I ever got to wear it. $10 down the drain. Thankfully, I had a North Face waterproof shell available. Bulkier than I preferred but better than nothing.

By the time that we walked to the start line, my pants, socks, and shoes were completely drenched. Alejandro tried to shield me from the wind. His effort made my heart feel a smidgen warmer.

Like cows we trotted little by little to the start line. Then the trotting broke into a jog. The rain stopped just as we started to run. How glorious! Too bad I was already soaked 🙂

Despite feeling unprepared for the weather, I enjoyed miles 1-6. Fellow runners and I joked about pulling over to Krispy Kreme–the hot sign is on!–or stopping on a random street corner to pee behind a stop sign. The camaraderie was a blast. I began thinking about other races I’d like to run in the future.

Running became an effort around mile 8. Runners on the return passed us on the opposite side of the street. For a millisecond, I thought about how easy it would be to just cross over and join them…

Then the wind picked up around the airport. One gust literally knocked me into the runner beside me, a tall man with graying hair. I mumbled an apology and he just smiled. I was so embarrassed. I blame my jacket. I think it acted like a parachute. The wind stayed against us for miles 8-11. I really started to hate life. It felt like GOD HIMSELF was pushing me backwards. At one point, I just stopped running because I felt like I couldn’t get anywhere anyway.

I’ve never hit the wall during a run before but I think my wall came at mile 11. It was the point where I seriously asked myself why on earth I was running when:

  • Nothing was chasing me.
  • I don’t like running.
  • I don’t need to lose weight. (Darn wind knocked me over, didn’t it?)
  • I should be in bed.

The only saving grace was that I was miserable–I told myself that if I walked, I’d only suffer longer so I should at least jog and get it over with. I promised myself I’d never do another half marathon again if I could just get through this one.Erica w Myrtle Beach Medal

Thoughts for miles 12-13 included multiple variations of: “I’m almost there. I have dry clothes waiting on me. Dry underwear! Almost done!” Pulling into the 13th mile I could see the finish line. It seemed small and uneventful and for a split second I was disappointed. Weren’t there supposed to be more lights? Confetti? Angels?

Wait. What?! THE FINISH LINE! 2:40:56.

A week later, most of my negative sentiments are gone. It was my first race and I’m proud that I made it through! I’ve got a 10k coming up in a few weeks. For this shorter run, I’m focusing on improving my time 🙂

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