Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon 2018

Things have been honestly hectic in my life in the last four weeks.  I cannot believe that two weeks ago we were driving down I-95 for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon which my husband and I ran on October 21, 2018. (This post contains affiliate links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you when you opt to buy through my links.)

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week 16 (October 15-20)

A crazy life means I never got around to posting week 16’s dedicated post. Good thing it is quick and easy!

Tuesday 10/16: 3.12 miles, 11’28″/mile. Get me angry and I will run like I mean it. This run felt SLOW which is insane considering that speed AND that I ran through the Strip District > 31st Street Bridge (0ver and back) > then down Liberty Avenue and encountered some non-pausing street light stops. My first half mile was done at a 10’57” pace then I climbed the bridge and slowed a little bit, ending that mile at 11’33”. The third mile was 11’18”, so there is proof I can run faster than I let myself. Again, I was angry and felt like I wasn’t moving. This made me think a big PR was coming my way.

Thursday 10/18: 2 miles, 11’07″/mile  This one was with Greg who had been having some knee pain. Even at that, I’m sure I held him back on our quick out and back on the trail through town. We talked the whole two miles and while I struggled a little, it was tough to think that I would be anywhere near my 12’04″/mile pace from Pittsburgh 2018. (I should note here because it becomes important for my next big run, it was in the low 40’s for this run and I felt a cold coming on.)

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon 2018: Prep Days

We left after my work won Best Places to Work Pittsburgh: Medium Sized Business (talk about a gut-puncher) and the twins got off school. We were surrounded by angels for the drive down, narrowly missing be part of at least two known accidents and another few that could have been. It took Friday evening and Saturday most of the day to get there.

Saturday 10/20: 

The Expo. Call me spoiled. The Expo wasn’t much to write about – maybe 12 vendors and nothing really caught my eye. The kids got some water bottles from Publix and we had a fun photo opp.

It was a Clemson game day, so we booked it to Conway (where Greg’s parents live) and watched most of the game before I got super cranky pants (I barely slept the night before, Greg and I had shared a teeny double bed that my feet hung off, but the suite we got was great for all the kids).

We went to House of Blues for the “carb load dinner” but there wasn’t anything gluten free so I had some plain salad (ie no dressing) and watched Greg eat some boring pasta and sauce. Wendy’s for some MEAT was on my list, but first I needed to find my Gatorade Chews and we headed to Walmart – and came out empty. (Don’t #bebecky – get them here before race day.) Another Walmart (because Myrtle has like 8, one around every corner) near our hotel did.

Checking into the Extended Stay, we called it an early night after I foam rolled the 10-hour car ride out of my calves.

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon 2018

Sunday 10/21: 13.1(++) miles, 11’59″/mile 

Waking up with about an hour before race time was a complete bug out for me. We didn’t have to travel far – staying less than a mile from the start helps – and the race was small (1246 participants) with no corrals. I ate my race day essentials (sausage links and a cheese stick) and shook while watching Greg drink his aminos because I’d ran out and had to settle for some Propel instead. (Bad planning, again, don’t #bebecky and get your aminos in advance from BPI Sports.) Greg had breakfast too. Breakfast isn’t his norm and that came to bite him in the first few miles, but this isn’t his story. 😉

We got to the Coastal Grand Mall at 6:45 and I started to hyperventilate. It was cold and I was in a tank top and shorts. I think it might have been my coldest half start YET. Really. And I needed to pee but the porta potties weren’t as close to the start as I would have liked and they were NASTY.

We snapped a picture at 7:00 just before the gun went off then plucked ourselves into the crowd and we were off. Within feet of the start we ran into our friend Ody and her family, cheering us on and Facebook Live’ing the race (Rico was running too). Hugs then I completely lost Greg which was fine by me.

There were pacers, but I didn’t want to settle into a 12-minute pace. I’d hoped for 11’45” but didn’t know how it would go because within the first half mile the crowds were gone and the tight running was already dispersed. So weird to me, but this is what smaller races are like I guess. At mile one, I knew I was on my own here – there were no clocks at the mile marker so I took my own note of the time via text and carried on.

My splits, while unofficial, were mostly 11’40” to 11’51” consistently with the exception of three miles that were 12’15” to 12’25” and a complete mind boggle to me because I’d drop back to the 11’40″s pace the next mile. I’m thinking, based on some results from others’ watches and apps, that the course was a bit longer than 13.1.

About the crowds…Along the course there were a few dedicated fans of some of the runners near me + Ody and the kids kept popping up which I loved + my doTERRA upline was cheering me on just after mile 10 + my family (kids, Mom-in-law, and sister) were just past mile 12. I knew Greg would be waiting for me at the end. Other than that, I had no energy to feed off of.

Other runners near me were pretty consistent too. There were some run/walkers who made my time in mile 6 a bit of a pain because we go up a pretty decent hill (don’t let them tell you it is fast and flat) then down to a narrow trail for a bit. It wasn’t made for more than 2 people across so stoppers would be a hindrance to those trying to run the whole way. I survived.

Water was plentiful but it was not sitting well with me. I clung to my Gatorade Gels like they were saving my life.

The truth is, this one was kinda tough! It wasn’t as flat as I expected, I wasn’t getting energy, my legs were tired from the driving, and I knew Greg wasn’t feeling quite in form to run it at the pace he wanted. I just wanted to say I’d done number four and in a new place after I finished mile 10 and started to try to calculate my finish time. But when I crossed mile 12 and saw my family? All bets were off and I was PUSHING.

That last “half mile” back to the finish was mentally painful. You pass the finish then loop back to it, so you’re hearing cheers that aren’t for you. Then you twist up a sidewalk into the WIND (which was rough the whole first 7 miles, blew sand in your face at mile 10-11 then again after 12) and onto a boardwalk that needs some new boards.

But crossing the finish line in my “2nd home” to “Let It Go” and knowing all four of my kiddos saw Mama complete Half Number Four even if I crossed it at 2:38:09 and missed my PR by 5 seconds was priceless. After I had a momentary lapse of my brain and took a bite of a bagel (which I threw up immediately – gross), I realized MY CLOCK TIME WAS GUN TIME AND NOT CHIP TIME AND HOLY CAMOLY I SET A PR!!!

This one was a 1:07 PR officially finishing at an 11’59” pace in 2:36:57. Boom! And my hubby is a Half Marathoner now, too! LOVE IT!

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Keep up with the blog to see where I am running next and check out past posts from this training cycle.

Total Miles to Date:

July: 10 runs, 26.39 miles, 11’33″/mile

August: 14 runs, 48.96 miles, 11’17″/mile

September: 13 runs, 68.59 miles, 12’00″/mile

October: 9 runs, 49.46 miles, 11’49’/mile

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Marathon Monday: Week 7 of 16

I’m starting to feel all kinds of excited and ready! Saturday morning, I even starting telling the kids it’s time to get training for their one-mile run. While I need to stop comparing myself to the 2013, 2014, and 2016 runner, I have lots to be proud of this week. Read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 7! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 6 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

Monday 2/26: 3.53 miles, 12’04” – Something pretty big happened in my husband’s life on Sunday (and as of the drafting of this post, he hasn’t made it *Facebook official* yet, so I’m holding out), and that gave me some physical and mental freedoms that can only be explained as works of God. My shoulder stopped hurting and running was a breeze. I could have kept going on this one!

Tuesday 2/27: Speed Work – I set out to do 6×400 as fast as I could. It got a little hot and tough in the middle, but I ended up doing a .35 mile warmup then .35 mile cooldown around my 1.5 mile speed. The speed work averaged out at 9’17″/mile, and it showed through the rest of this week’s training!

Wednesday 2/28: 2.5 miles 12’12”– I was warm for this one and it showed a little. It still felt really good, and here I am, right where I want to be for the half. This one took me over 16th and up the trail a little.

Thursday 3/1: CrossFit – This WOD started with strict press for strength. I don’t have that yet, so I just worked on the PVC pipe. The WOD was leg and shoulder intense:

  • 30 Front Rack Dumbbell stepups
  • 60 box jump overs
  • 30 Front Rack Dumbbell stepups
  • EMOM 5 burpees

Guess who actually did about 30 of those burpees real? Yup. I’m getting back!!! The WOD and other 70 were still scaled, but gosh it feels good.

Friday 3/2: 5.26 miles, 12’07” – Amazing. I ran 31st street bridge, Washington’s Landing, Rachel Carson, through the Convention Center (getting lost thanks to some sidewalk construction), then the strip. It was cold but not too cold, I actually overdressed. My music wasn’t syncing, so this was all me and my brain and it felt awesome.

While I say I overdressed, that was in the way of my hat and fleece. I was wearing Fusion Sports USA Hot Pants running tights (that they sent me to try out after my fall a few weeks ago) and my legs felt awesome. If you’ve not heard of these yet, check them out here – I’m eyeing up the shorts because I feel like spring just might be around the corner.

Saturday 3/3: Bubby had a derby car race today, so I was home with the three girls. Friday was my long run instead, but I spent some time making fall plans and I am 99% sure I’ll be doing the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon in October. That medal, yo!

Follow me on Instagram to see how this week goes!

March totals: 5.26 miles, 12’07” pace (and my NRC is finally showing lifetime at 12’59”!!!)
February totals: 38.41 miles, 12’06” pace
January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace
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Marathon Monday: Week 5 of 16

I feel more “on” my running game than usual in my training plan – that’s a good thing, right? Five weeks are done and I totally can see positive changes in my running, body, and mental clarity. Read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 5! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 5 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

Anyone else excited to have another week done?

Monday 2/12: 3 miles (12’18”)I opted to take this run straight up to Lawrenceville. It was in the forties (amazing) and sunny, so much so that I actually got too hot in my fleece! The weather break is coming, I promise. This felt good, and even though it was my slowest run of the week, it felt so good. There was a nice incline and some ice to dodge, then I got to turn around and run straight back the route the ends the Marathon. Totally loved that and feel like I got some redemption from that same path in the 10-miler.

Tuesday 2/13: Yoga – This was my first time “back to the mat” and I opted for a restorative I found on demand. Arianna (my 9-year-old) and I somehow found mental focus for 25 minutes while my younger three played in another part of the living room. Om!

Wednesday 2/14: 2 miles (11’23”) – It was my first time to run a full training run with a co-worker! I was amped by this quick run to the 16th Street Bridge and back. It is so nice to have someone push you!

Thursday 2/15: Crossfit – With 1200m in the rain plus some scaled lifts, how could I not have been thrilled?! I think my face in this picture was one of “thankful I survived” because I took it easy on my mat work and gave it my all out on the pavement.

Saturday 2/17: 4.5miles (12′ 06″) – BADABING. This one was in 18 degrees and completely floored me. I had negative splits, starting with almost 12.5 minutes for mile one and dropping to 10.5 in the last half mile. I don’t know how to describe it other than absolutely incredible. Everything felt right. I didn’t get inside my head. I enjoyed the sunrise and trail and just ran the thing. Let’s see what happens this coming Saturday when I do it again!

Follow me on Instagram to see how this week goes!

February totals: 20.61 miles, 12’05” pace
January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace
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Running Shoe Fitting

(Disclaimer – I went shopping for a new running shoe all on my own. I was so impressed with the experience that I wanted to share it here. All opinions are my own.) (This post may contain affiliate links.)

When I started running seven years ago, I knew nothing about the gear and importance of a good running shoe. My only thought was that I needed athletic shoes. Due to my recent CrossFit injury, I started seeing a chiropractor and it’s become clear that because everything is connected, good shoes are a must.

Running Shoe Fitting at Fleet Feet Sports Pittsburgh

Why it took me seven years and 3 weeks into training for my third half marathon is a mystery to me; however, I am so thankful that Fleet Feet Sports (in Pittsburgh’s South Hills) offers running shoe fittings. As far as I know, these are a free service from their store – as you’ll soon see, I was immediately hooked on a pair and bought them (so maybe it is rolled into the price?).

After the Half Marathon Kickoff Training Run, I went to Fleet Feet and met Brad. He took me to a bench and starting taking a listen to my concerns in finding a good running shoe. We talked about my history with running, my goals for this year’s half, my chiropractic care, and what I’d done shoe-wise to this point. I was wearing basic athletic shoes from Under Armour, and while they weren’t bad, they weren’t great for what I was putting my body through.

Your feet take on 3-5 times your body weight with each running step, Brad told me. Insane to think about – making it clear that it is so important to have a good running shoe.

After we chatted, he went through the next steps of Fleet Feet’s Fit Process and watched me walk barefoot. Pittsburgh’s Fleet Feet store has the Fit Id, so I stood on the machine which took images of my foot and confirmed things that Brad noticed while doing his initial analysis. We found out my feet are two different sizes (like most people) and that I’d been wearing the right shoe size (a 10, which gives me some space for running motion). My arches are high enough that he recommended an insert and my heels are just a wee bit wide, but for the most part, my feet are pretty normal (or “neutral” in shoe terms).

Picking my Running Shoe

That doesn’t mean Brad was able to pull just any pair of shoes off the shelf. Because I had no brand preference (hey, newbie), he took control and went to the back. The one thing he did ask was whether I had any color preference. When Brad returned, he had three pairs of running shoes for me to try on as well as a running sock.

Did you know that running socks are fit for your left and right feet? My mind was blown.

First, I tried the New Balance 880v7. It felt supportive but cushiony and really cradled my feet. Next up were Saucony’s from the ISO series – I want to say the Freedom ISO. These were SO cushiony I felt like I was on a cloud and could propel myself right across that finish line with no issues. Heavenly. Last I tried Hoka One One and was also pleasantly surprised with the comfort. It came down to the Saucony’s and New Balance and after the fall in week 3, I decided I needed the stability of the New Balance (although I loved all three).

The Final Details

Before I could check out, Brad measured my foot for an insert. This will last me through two running shoes, so probably next summer I’ll go for another. He cut it down to size right there in the store so I was sure it fit my shoe. Such a win!

I picked a pretty pair of Balega running socks and headed to meet Brad at checkout. I was seriously wowed by the service at Fleet Feet and with my purchase. Honestly, I wanted to switch out of my “old” shoes (only worn for three runs at that point) and go for another run, but with almost 16,000 steps in the day already, I knew better. My shoes would need to wait to make their debut until Monday (and that they did).

Was there some sticker shock? Nope. I knew coming into this I’d be spending a good amount of money. The price is totally worth it – these are going to last me through the Half (about 200 miles of training and race) and this fall’s 10-miler (about another 200) plus random training in the summer. In the past, I’ve spent $50-75 a few times a year on shoes that “just worked”!

If you are in Pittsburgh and part of our running scene, I highly suggest you check out Fleet Feet. If you just love running, do yourself the favor I should have seven years ago and get yourself a good pair of running shoes now.

Note – as we started our conversation, I also chatted with Brad about compression socks that I received as a 10-miler participant, more to come on that in another post!

Marathon Monday: Week 4 of 16

While most people who are training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon are starting today with 12-week plans, I am so happy that I got an early start and am four weeks in. There is nothing wrong with starting now (in fact, I didn’t start until after this for my first Half – and I’d never done an actual 5k at that point!). For me, these four weeks have been helpful in baselining and dreaming of that PR. Read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 4! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 4 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

This weather. Can it please make up its mind? I am hearing 50’s next week (week 6), but I am not sure I believe it. This week was all about adjusting and going with the flow of what the week brought. Golly.

Monday 2/5: Unintentional rest day. There was ice. Enough said.

Tuesday 2/6: 3 miles (12’06”) – This run was my first run in my New Balance 880v7’s. It felt incredible, but I found myself still being cautious. Ice. Sidewalk bumps. Feeling all things new in the shoes. I am pretty darn pleased with it and my shoes!

Wednesday 2/7: CrossFit – We got 5 or so inches of snow dumped on us, so a lot was cancelled. The commute. The Bigs’ school. Church. It was like I wasn’t supposed to do back to back runs, so instead I got to be part of Clint’s 37th Birthday WOD. Although I scaled it, I got my speed work in – 400’s at 10:00/mile and 9:13/mile where the others rowed. Boom!

Thursday 2/8: 2 miles (12’21”) – Have I mentioned I am over the snow? I decided to run a bit on Railroad Street which at lunchtime was super busy, so I headed to the Railroad Building and ran in the front of the warehouse back and forth twice. It worked, because it wasn’t snowy or windy. Running back to the office was frigid!

Friday 2/9: Rest and Chiro – I am healing, but still not 100%.

Saturday 2/10: 2.56 miles (12′ 12″) + 2.68 recumbent bike – If there is one thing I hate more than snow, it is the treadmill. Unfortunately, I was supposed to do four but when I saw ice all over the sidewalks + rain + cold, off to the Y I went. I couldn’t stay focused, even though I was listening to Peak Performance. At 2, I thought I should quit because my collarbone hurt so bad. I walked a 1/4 mile then got on the bike. My brain still wouldn’t shut off that I needed to do four, so back to the dreadmill I went. Another 1/4 mile and it was clear I didn’t need to be on it. My feet and body kept moving and that’s what’s important. I left the Y thinking #iwouldratherbelifting. Sigh.

Never fear, I am still 100% in it to do this thing. Sometimes I struggle, and that’s normal. If running a Half was easy, everyone would do it, right?

Follow me on Instagram to see how this week goes!

February totals: 11.07 miles, 12’00” pace
January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace
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Marathon Monday: Week 2 of 16

Week 2 of my 16-week Marathon Monday series brings a new addition – my *official* logo for the series! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 2 of 16

This week I started out incredibly motivated. We started a 10-week Weight Loss Challenge at work and it was the start of our Sales Kick-off. Required reading was “The Slight Edge“, which made me realize the dedication and drive that training for a Half Marathon brings to my life.  I won’t tell you all of it *yet* because I have a lot more to say (stay tuned).  Did it end as well? Read on to see!

Monday 1/22: 2 miles (12’42”) – This was a warm one, somewhere in the 50’s! I ran through the Strip District between SKO and our evening event at LumberJaxes. I wasn’t pressed for time, I actually had lots, but I had stood up in front of about 30 co-workers and told them my goals for the Half (a 12:12 pace). I had to do work. My first mile was just that, but as I started the 2nd, I started to feel a bit of a shin splint (I needed to bring out my new shoes), so backed off a little and just enjoyed the sun.

What shoes do you wear to run? Mine are currently Under Armour Women’s Speed Swift 2‘s (which I bought at Kohl’s, but as you can see can be bought on Amazon). I was fitted for them in 2014 and probably need to get a new fitting. But these are so comfy! 

Tuesday 1/23: Stretch. I took a .5 mile brisk walk in the cold and met a former co-worker who is also running the Half. I also did some stretching in the evening because I sat so much.

Wednesday 1/24: 2 miles (12’08”) – Oh, buddy. This run felt AMAZING. It was just about 30 degrees and at 6:00 AM. Light snow was falling through the Strip District as I ran down Penn Avenue then halfway across 31st Street Bridge (my nemesis). That pace, yo. I was motivated.

Clint & Me after the WOD

Thursday 1/25: Crossfit (scaled way back) – It was leg day, but I scaled with my pvc pipe and turned the WOD into something that worked for me. I did PVC pipe Deadlifts and Front Squats then more air squats for the Wall Balls. For the HSPU I did sit-ups and for the row I ran on the treadmill. My splits for those calories were amazing – the speed work I need to hit my 12:12 goal (or crush it) – 10:54 (34 cal), 10:00  (21 cal), 9:31 (13 cal).

Friday 1/26: Rest and Chiro – because this is important!

Saturday 1/27: 3 miles (12’41”) – This one felt so good. It was my first long run since November and truly felt right. The weather was nice and in the 40s, there may even have been a light fog on the Armstrong Trail. My shoulder hurt after, but I think that was due to the discovery of a knot just under my collarbone on Friday. Feeling like my goal is in reach!

So yes, the week ended on the same foot as it started. I am pretty proud of my progress so far and feel more like 2014 me than I have since then. Just wait until I share what happens in week three, though. Or, follow me on Instagram for a sneak peek…

January totals: 18.63 miles, 12’41” pace