I’ve been a bad girl.
When it comes to the bandit debate I’ve always gone with the notion that race bandits are cheap, space-stealin’, moochin’ S.O.B.s so it’s embarrassing to say I bandited my first race. In my defense I was there to support my friend so I was more of a mobile cheerleader, I ran with my Nathan HPL so I never took anything from the course, we started in the back and were never in a crowd, it wasn’t a closed course, and I did not take a medal (even though they were seriously the coolest medals I’ve ever seen) or cross the finish line.
It was my friend Ellie’s first half marathon. She’s an amazing woman and a core member of my trainwreck running club. I paced her in a 5k in April and she ran a PR, which led to an invitation to pace her in the Pikermi. I declined at first because I had already signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon, which is only 7 days later and I didn’t think I’d recover in time. As summer turned to fall and I started getting stronger and recovering faster, I took the plunge, only to find out race registration had increased to $100. I would have paid $50 or $60. Maybe even $75…but $100 for a small race (only 2,600 finishers) on it’s inaugural event is a bit ridiculous to me…esp since I was just a mobile spectator. So, I did it – I bandited.
I met up with Ellie and her sister in Myrtle Beach for dinner Saturday night. Ellie’s sister has a condo there and they’re Italian so they already know all the good pasta places. I should have gotten a pic of my whole wheat linguine with chicken, roasted garlic, and sundried tomatoes but it was sooo yummy I was too busy inhaling it!
My bedtime was 10:30, which is probably a Saturday night record for me. Luckily I resisted temptation to stay up – Ellie’s an early bird and woke me up at 5 am! She’s lucky I love her!
We’re Pikermi Pumped!!!
The race began in the parking lot of Medieval Times in the shadow of the Freestyle Music Park, a failed attempt at a theme park. The abandoned park reminded me of a zombie movie. I love zombie movies. What better way to get in the mood to run?
The Medieval Times people came out bright and early to send us off. I’ve never been to one of the shows, so it was interesting to see the fights so close. There were sparks coming from the swords…they must train a lot!
Princess and the Queen
Thanks royal pooper scooper for cleaning off our course!
After the royal pooper scooper got the horse sh*t off the course (no joke) Bart Yasso was there to send us off. They didn’t have a waved start and we started in the 13:00-14:00 min mile corral (aka LAST) so the first half mile was slow until the crowd thinned out. My garmin died around the first mile but luckily we had been running long enough to make sure the pace felt right (better it die there than at MCM).
Running into the sunrise around mile 2
The first 10 miles was pretty boring other than the sunrise. They announced that the field was 70% women and the course took us through 2 different mall parking lots….I wonder if they wanted to make sure we knew where the shopping was?
Around mile 9 the sun was higher in the sky and we were running towards it. There was very little shade and it was heating up fast. This was when I had to pick up the cheerleader. All along the course I was yelling at silent spectators and trying to make it as much fun as possible but during this stretch I switched to encouraging mode.
She’s lookin good at mile 7!
Ellie did really well the first 11 miles. Although we had some times in mind to shoot for (gotta beat a certain co-worker), all along Ellie’s main goal was to finish. A little after mile 10 the ocean came into view. I swear I never get tired of seeing the ocean. However this stretch took us down long streets with run down hotels. We crossed the 11 mile marker at 2:30 and I was hoping to keep her on pace for sub 3 for the remainder of the race but she was hurting. My loveable girl had turned grumpy on me and even threatened to throw me under a car (with love folks, with love)!!
“Cross the line and I’ll throw you under a car”
We came up on this poor woman, who looked totally locked up. She looked like she was in serious pain and she had two friend basically carrying her the last 2 miles. I told Ellie I’d carry her if I had to but the scene had encouraged her to run again.
I’m in pain just lookin at her!
Finishers were on the course now but none seemed to be cheering. I yelled congratulations and got lots of “you’re almost there!” Boo. Runners should know better than to say that at mile 11.5 of a Pikermi. Some weren’t wearing their medals because they said it was too heavy. When I finally saw one – OMG that suck is huge!
The final stretch seemed to last forever because you hit mile 12 on the street paralel to the finish line, could see the finish, and hear the announcer….but had to go a half mile out and loop back around. Beyond mean! Worst of all because of the wind, buildings, and winding path you quickly lost all hints of the finish for the final mile. Seriously, even at mile 13 I couldn’t see nor hear it! Ellie was having a really hard time then. She almost broke down saying, “what did I think I could do this?” HUH? I quickly reminded her she had already done it – she’s basically on her victory lap and how proud I was.
Demoralizing, winding path
I left Ellie at the entrance to the boardwalk and ran around in the sand to catch up. I had hoped to get a pic of her crossing the finish but had to settle for the post medal pic.
Awesome medal…it has a magnet on the back and is also a bottle opener!
I’m beyond proud of my amazing friend, who’s now an official Pikermi Princess. Final time was 3:04 and she looked great at the end. I’m so happy I got to be part of her special day. In all, the race was really well organized and I will most likely sign up for real (early) for 2011, esp if the medals remain that cool (I’m not really a medal whore, I’ve donated one medal and my fav half ever didnt offer a medal…but I seriously wanted one of those!). I dont think I’ll bandit another course again. It was sad to run a race and not cross the finish. And I still feel a bit guilty for it (I know it’s a hot spot for some people so if it offended you I’m sorry!).
Post race celebration at Margaritaville (burger and beer!). Time to rest up for MCM (yes, I’m registered ) this Sunday!!!