Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Recap: Lessons Learned From My First Half

I know you have just been chomping at the bit waiting for me to reveal how the race went, right?

Well, it was amazing! It’s hard to believe that after training for so many months, it’s now over. What’s a girl to do? I guess cut back on all those extra calories I’ve been eating. Boo.

And no, I didn’t get a bagel. In fact, I didn’t eat any of their food. Monica has freaked me out from eating grapes.
Chip time ended up at: 1.53.59
Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Race Recap

If I have learned anything from running it’s to keep things simple, race day is not the time to experiment. Stick to what you know works.

With that being said, I made the three of us drive to Target Saturday night to pick up food for breakfast. I knew we needed something in our bellies and I wanted that something to be easy to get down and stay down.

At 5:15 am I was greeted with a 100% whole wheat sandwich thin, Justin’s almond butter and a banana. Yum! Thanks Target.

Yay… I love race day! 

Around 6, we headed towards the starting line. I am completely anal when it comes to getting to places on time and though I had an idea where we needed to be, I made sure we left with plenty of time to get there. Good thing because we did end up a little lost, only for about 10 minutes though.

Of course we still arrived around 30 minutes before the start time and of course it was freezing outside. So Sarah and I huddled together. During this time Dan snapped some pictures.

Then he got tired of being cold and left us to go hang out at Starbucks. I was just a bit jealous.

Lessons Learned From My First 1/2 Marathon

The race started exactly at 7… I just love when that happens. I was actually pretty calm considering I had a terrible sleep from excitement and nerves (the kind where you wake up every hour to make sure you didn’t miss the alarm).

At the start, I just reminded myself of the training I had put in, that I had an awesome book on tape to listen to, and that one of my best friends was by my side.

Lesson 1: Leave the jacket at home. 

I was freezing before the race and decided that I would keep my jacket on. When I got too warm I would just tie it around my waist. That’s exactly what I did but it was so annoying!

Not to mention that I warmed up by mile 1… so for 12 miles I had that thing around my waist. The idea of tossing the jacket came to mind several times, but I knew I would be mad if I did that. If you think the weather will warm up enough to not need a jacket, just leave it behind. What a pain in the butt!

Lesson 2: Don’t look at the mile markers… for the first half of the race. 

To be honest, the first 3 miles seemed to have been the longest 3 miles ever! When I saw the 1 mile marker I thought.. “ugh, I still have 12.1 miles to go!” Even during my training I found this to be the case. But once I got to mile 8, the miles seem to just fly by. And then once 10 rolls around I just reminded myself… it’s only a 5K left!

Lesson 3: Set a goal and figure out how to make it happen. 

I know some people just want to get out there and complete the race. For them it doesn’t matter how long it takes. And that’s fine.

But for me, I knew I couldn’t just settle for a completion. Saturday I sat down with my calculator and punched a few numbers to see what pace I would need to hit my goal of finishing in under 2 hours. That also helped me to find the coral to start with (they had pacers).

It was so amazing to look down at my GPS from time to time and see that I was doing better that the goal pace and feeling great. In fact, I kept the same pace from the start to the last mile. Success!

Lesson 4: Running is 90% mental. 

This is a lesson that Sarah taught me. Since moving to DC she has started grad school, moved into a new apartment, dealt with being sick a few times and because of it, her training kind of fell apart. She was pretty nervous about her abilities since the longest run she has EVER done was 6 miles.

It was hilarious when about 10 feet past the 6 mile point she looked at me and said “Look, each step is one step farther than I’ve ever run before.” She stuck with my until mile 10! That’s incredible. But what’s even more insane is that she finished just 2 minutes behind me. Freaking crazy, she was a machine. She said it was all because of her state of mind.

Her ipod was pumping out her favorite running tunes, she kept smiling at the people cheering us on and kept herself in a positive zone. It worked.

Lesson 5: The last 25 feet matter.

The last 1/2 mile of the course is on the boardwalk, as soon as we got there the wind was in our face and I was huffing and puffing. I was okay with the pace I was doing but when I saw that there were just a few people in front of my at the end, I turned it on full throttle and sprinted to the finish.

As I did so did one of the guys I was trying to get past. It was awesome to finish strong like that… oh and I beat him 🙂

Lesson 6: Feel like a rock star. 

When I crossed that finish line I felt like a rockstar! And you know what, I should. I worked my butt off to not only accomplish my goal but to do much better than it! Like I said, my goal was to finish right under 2 hours.

My actual time was 1.53.59. 

I ran every mile faster than I ran my 10K back in March! So yea, I think celebration is a must! Dance, brag, and maybe go jump in the freezing cold water!

And eat whatever you want. Though, I didn’t feel the urge to put down the calories and go crazy so I went with a veggie burger with side salad and I took the bun off.

I was so excited to see this vegan burger on Hard Rock Cafe’s menu! After lunch, we said our good-byes and headed back to Charleston.


This race was well organized, there were water stations every mile, bands randomly placed on the course for some fun, great  pacers, and of course flat roads. The flatness of the course was the reason I chose it for my first 1/2 and I am glad I went with it.

I definitely have the running bug now and can’t wait to decide what’s next! Any suggestions? 

As for my workouts, it’s time to make some serious changes. I am going to keep my runs in there but my strength training workouts are going to get a bit more intense and a lot more heavy. I gotta get some more muscle!

I am so proud of Sarah and I, it seemed to happen so fast!


  • I am SO happy/proud/excited for/of you!! You absolutely KILLED it! And it’s awesome that you made a video right after. I can definitely tell you put it all out there. Awesome job and I’m so glad it went well. 🙂

    • Thanks friend! I am reading up on your race right now! What a great time, and the video is thanks to my tech savvy husband waiting at the finish line! lol.

  • Samantha

    Congratulations on your first half! That’s awesome you came in under your goal time, definitely be proud of yourself!

  • You can apply these lessons to many different things. Great list.

    The pic of the lady is cracking me up!

    • haha, it cracks me up too Carli! You’re right about the lessons, trick for everything is to just keep pushing ahead.

  • Amy

    26.2 with Donna February 17, 2013. They have a half marathon option too. 100% of proceeds go towards breast cancer and breast cancer research. It fast and flat for most of the race. The community participation is AWESOME!!!! And …its in Jacksonville FL.nice Nice cool weather in Feb and warms up during the race. Only 2 and a half hours from Disney. Another fun one is Disney Princess half or any of the Diva halfs. Have fun….

    • Sounds great! I really wanted to do Disney but it’s already full for 2013 🙁 Jacksonville is great though, I’ll check that out!

  • Ronda

    Congrats!!!!!!!!! That is a GREAT time 🙂 We have some flat half marathon courses here in Texas if you ever want to make the trip!!

    • Thanks Ronda! It does seem like we have to get together at some point! Perhaps a mid run! Though I would love to run in Texas! Might have to make that happen!

  • Jeanette

    I always take a shirt I can throw away and won’t miss to keep me warm. Someone told me once if you pin a few dollars on the shirt with your name and address someone might send it back to you.. that didn’t happen. I guess someone got my shirt and my $2.00 🙂

    • That’s a good idea! lol, too bad it didn’t work. $2 is enough for a post run coconut water! Ugh.

  • kathy c

    Congrats!!! Way to go girl!!! Thank you for sharing your adventure.

  • Melissa Luebke

    Great job! I have a question for you. I’m hoping to run my first half in May 2013. Had you run 13 miles before your race? Quite a few times? I plan on starting a half marathon training schedule in the spring once the snow clears, but that will only have me running up to 11 miles, and only ONCE before the race. That makes me nervous. Maybe there’s a better plan?

    • Great goal Melissa! Yes, I ran the 13 before the race for my mind’s sake. Though most people only train to 10-12 miles so you should be fine, in fact a lot of runners avoid going the race distance ever before the big event. I actually am sharing my training plan tomorrow 🙂 and why I decided to go against “most runners”

  • Congrats Taylor!!! That’s so awesome and you did a great job. You rocked it and the video. As others have said, I usually bring a throw away long sleeve shirt to wear at the start of the race. The running bug is kind of contagious, isn’t it?

    • Thanks Christine! It’s very addicting and I am definitely going to take everyone’s advice and do toss away next time.

  • Congrats on completing your first half marathon!! It sounds like you had a good experience and made it a point to have fun!!

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