A picture of my cat, Shitten. Just because she's cute.
The start line was the Grand Coastal Mall, just a short drive from my house, ten minutes or so. And of course, start time was 7am with gear check until 6:45 (the course was A-B, not a loop or out and back).
So it's dark as a pocket and coooold, well, cold for here. It was 47. People are bundled up in garbage bags and throw away gloves, hell, I almost busted out those hand warmer packets that you shove into mittens. I'm a pussy about the cold.
Ten minutes before go time we all try to squeeze into our corrals. There were around four thousand runners trying to jam in. I'm not quite positive what pace I'm going to run, but I line up in the 9-10min corral.
OK, here's a spiel.
Every damn event feels the need to play the National Anthem. Ok, that's cool. But what the fuck is up with all the artistic liberties being taken with this song? It's the godamn National Anthem. Sing it the way it's meant to be sung, it isn't some shit rap song for every Joe, Dick, and Harry to re-mix.
I propose that the current president has to sing it and we just use that version throughout their incumbency.
Or Danny Elfman could do it. There, I solved another problem.
After the National Anthem we get the countdown."On your mark", "Get set", then...not a horn, but what sounded kind of like a four year old with a kazoo. It was hilarious. Maybe the DJ squeezed a duck or something. Some how we all managed to squeeze under the starting arch and get on the course safely. Road races are always such pandemonium.
I mentioned the cold, ya? Well it takes me a good three miles to warm up, at which time I have got to pee like a sumbitch. And thank goodness there's porta-jons on the sidewalk at about mile three.
Being the polite runner that I am, I look over my right shoulder, to make sure it's clear, hell I even signal, then I jump onto the sidewalk and sprint to the shitter. And of course I tripped and fell.
Tis but a scratch.
This is another reason I really enjoy trails so much more. Having to wait for designated porta-jons sucks.
I heard a lot of bitching while sitting in the porta-jons. There were a few Jons with no line when I got there, but then some people queuing out front were complaining they were losing precious seconds waiting.
What the hell. You ain't winning bitch, take a pill. If you're really trying to PR, just subtract your wait time from your bib time, nobody cares about your PR anyway.
From this point on, the course was rather nice. We previously had been on some major roads (closed for the race, of course), but now we were on a nice wooded bike path. It was a bit congested, but nothing too horrible.
The bike trail, unbeknownst to me previously, spit us out where we often start our Saturday group runs. Cool beans, home territory and I now know where we're going. To the beach! Well, sort of. To Ocean Blvd anyway.
It was fantastic running the last few miles down Myrtle's main drag. There were a good bit of people out and about, many cheering for us. Although the ocean itself wasn't always in view, there's plenty of other distractions on the boulevard, all kinds of souvenir shops, T-shirt shops and general goofy Myrtle Beach stuff.
This course does something a little cruel to the competitors. We've been running south on the blvd until, I'd guess, maybe mile 12 or something like that. At mile 12 you basically run past the finish line which is just to the left of you. You can see it! But you run past it then do a full hairpin turn and run down the boardwalk. And the boardwalk is constant chicanes. It's kind of funny because your legs are shot, everyone near you at this point is cooked and yet we're all trying to kick to the finish while navigating this. I'm glad/surprised I didn't crash here again.
The finish line is quality. You're basically under the SkyWheel, a big Myrtle attraction. There were bottles of water, bananas, apples, nuts and cookies. And of course the legendary big ass medal.
There was a post run party area set a bit further down the boardwalk. I was ID'd at the entrance to the beer garden which was pretty empty when I got there. But hey, the beer supplier had a bunch of cups ready, so I just walked up and took an Octoberfest.
Shuttle service back to the mall was quick and easy. Although our bus was having some serious mechanical problems, it only took about ten minutes to get back to our vehicles at the start line.
So like I'd mentioned, not a lot to tell.
If you're a runner, it was fun. It was pretty well organized with plenty of volunteers, staff and police support throughout. The pre-race expo on Friday was good sized with lots of vendors. Registration and gear check were efficient and easy. There was musical entertainment along the course and at the finish. The swag was decent with a tech T, gear bag and that monster bottle opener medal.
Surprisingly subdued colors for Myrtle. Where's the Neon?
If I'm still in Myrtle maybe I'll do it again next year.