Race Flashback and A Tip for Other Runners

My first marathon was the Myrtle Beach Marathon way back in February of 1999.  Since I’m returning to “The Beach” on Saturday for my 1/2 marathon, I thought I’d share my #1 tip in marathon running that I learned when I ran that first marathon, 15 longishly short years ago.

It’s amazing how young I was when I ran that marathon. And it’s amazing how dumb I was about training too. Yes, my view on running was different back then, but I so totally wasted my youthfully fast running potential.  I think back and wonder what I could have done had I trained and gone for time goals.  I was so fresh and injury-free.  Sigh.  My only goal back then was to finish a marathon.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would become a tried and true marathon addict and end up qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  So I didn’t take it too seriously back then, but I did do the work… sort of.  My training consisted of running a little bit (I had no way of really measuring since Garmins weren’t around, that I know of anyway) during the week and then running a long run on Thursdays, up to one 20 miler.  I didn’t do any tempo or speed work, and although I knew of the word fartlek, I wouldn’t have known what it really was.

I don’t remember a lot of details about that first marathon, but one certainly sticks out.  I was with a group that included my husband-to-be and my sister who were doing the marathon relay, and we were hanging out in the parking lot – doing what I do not know. I remember the National Anthem playing and saying something like, “Shouldn’t we get to the start area?”  We meandered over there and I knew I needed to pee again before I started running, and while I was IN the port-a-jon, the start gun went off.  Oh crap! (No pun intended.) I remember feeling like I missed a pretty big moment and that I was screwed, but I had a chip timer (I think one of those clunky ones on my shoe) so it really wasn’t a terrible deal, but I scurried to the back of the pack. Whew! Made it.  It is not good to feel as if you’ve actually missed your race, so here it is, my #1 tip for racing: Don’t be in the bathroom when the race starts. D’oh! And if you’re wondering, I’m still a little scarred from that experience and I will never, NEVER be in a bathroom when a race is close to starting. EVER.

The only other thing that sticks out in my memory is that the course past the half marathon split was boring.  BOR-ING.  I got sore along the way, which is pretty much a given for any marathon, and I remember the weather was nice.  That’s about it.

1999 Myrtle Beach Marathon

1999 Myrtle Beach Marathon

I don’t know where that picture above was taken along the course, but look at that oversized cotton shirt!  What IS that? Does it actually say, “SPRING BREAK” on it?!  I’m probably wearing cotton socks too! Wow.  But no matter the fashion blunders and location errors when starting the race, I was so proud to finish my first marathon in 4:37.  I still am very proud of that.

Just for kicks, look at the picture that was taken a year later when I was running the marathon relay.  What the HELL is the race bib doing that high and why didn’t someone make me lower it???

This is just a mess.

This is just a mess.

So as I sit here watching icy tree branches fall while I ready my race playlist and make a list of supplies I need to take with me to Myrtle Beach on Friday, all I know for sure is that I will NOT be in the port-a-jon when my race starts on Saturday.  Wish me luck, I’m hoping for a PR!

Anyone else make blunders before a race?

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Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Race Flashback and A Tip for Other Runners

  1. mtbader

    Ha! Great marathon tip! I’ve seen many (myself included) a runner sprinting out of the port a potties when the gun goes off.

  2. Love this 😉 My first marathon was Chicago and as the starting gun went off, I was exiting the kybo. I quickly jumped the fence amongst a massive crowd of people to start running (that was blunder #1). When I realized all the people surrounding me were running much faster than me, I looked at the sign of a nearby pacer and realized I was by the 3 hour runners. I was hoping to finish in about 4:30:00 (blunder #2). There were no corrals back then…I’m quite certain I’ve had a few more blunders along the way, but those are the two that stand out as being the most significant 😉

    • I have to comment that kybo is such a “Midwest” word. I’m reminded from when I mentioned them and my husband, who’s from North Carolina, didn’t have a clue to what a kybo was 🙂 Anyway, I think many of us get into the race when we start and go too fast too soon. It’s hard NOT to do that! And I want to do Chicago sometime in the next few years…. I’ve just heard too many good things about it. Do you agree? Any bad press I should be aware of?

      • I love Chicago!! I’ve run it twice and want to do it again someday. Kybo is very Midwest 😉

  3. Pingback: Wrightsville Beach Marathon Relay Recap | Running Boston And Beyond

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