Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Location: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Half: BEACH RUN
Date: June 4, 2020
Finish Time: 1:43
Who’d I travel with? Nick
Pre-run meal? Pasta, pizza, some red wine, and a shit ton of Moscow Mules
Guess I’ll Just Make My Own Damn Race…
Just a few months ago I had my shit together, man. I had races planned for nearly every single month of 2020 – new places to travel, exciting races to participate in, bigger goals to achieve… and then… Corona Virus. Covid had such an unforeseeable impact on so many – and I refuse to complain about something like my races being cancelled when I compare those races to the life changing damage done to so many others. So, instead, I decided to continue my journey anyways.
Running wasn’t cancelled. Road tripping wasn’t cancelled. Exploring wasn’t cancelled. So, I decided that instead of participating in those now-cancelled races I had registered for, I would simply make my own. I would still travel each month to different states and run my own 13.1 miles in each one. I decided that I will still explore new places and spend precious time with people I love... Starting with…
And guess what?! After 9 hours of being trapped in a car together… he STILL LOVED ME. I know, pretty amazing. After a long car-ride and a bit of a mishap with the lock at our Air B&B, we were finally settling into what would be our home for the week. When it comes to Nick & I, I have to admit that we’re a bit of a competitive couple.. Okay, we’re an extremely competitive couple. So, when we saw that our place was right next door to several putt-putt courses – well, it was pretty obvious where we’d be spending most of our vacation.
In case anyone was wondering… I won (well, I won at least one game out of four). The remainder of our vacation was split between relaxing on the beach (where I forced Nick into listening to the remainder of our true crime podcast), eating LOTS of food (where Nick gently encouraged/forced me to try oysters), and playing soccer with a volleyball in the sand (where we both completely embarrassed ourselves by pretending we still had the same touch on the ball that we had when we played in college).
Let’s pause for a moment here to talk about South Carolina’s race preparation – or rather, the lack thereof. Due to the fact that this vacation was FREAKING AMAZING – I wasn’t overly concerned with strictly preparing myself to run. Life isn’t just running. Life is spending all day long at the beach, drinking Moscow Mules and playing corn-hole and mini-golf in the afternoon sun, ordering Hawaiian pizza at 9 p.m. because Nick and I got lost in a crime podcast once again while drinking a bottle of wine on our patio. Life is so much more than trying to be “good” at running, or trying to always do your absolute “best.” Sometimes, other things are simply more important. And, you know, that whole lack of preparation thing likely would have been fine… had it not been for Nick’s suggestion (or challenge, rather) to run my 13.1 South Carolina miles on the beach. But hey, at least my emotional tank was full, right?
Morning came, and…well…Nick and I slept in a little later than we had planned (classic). Sometime around 9 a.m. we finally stumbled down to the beach for my “race” to start. Nick dragged a stick across the sand to create my starting line as I continued to panic about the race (who knows why, but I was still my normal pre-race nervous-Nelly self even without an actual race). See evidence below.
Eventually, I finally came to terms with the fact that I was about to run 13.1 miles in the sand – so, I waved goodbye to Nick and took off down the beach! Let me be clear here: RUNNING IN THE SAND IS THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE. I am not kidding. I have experienced many terrains during my 29 states – the hills, the heat, the humidity – and yet NOTHING compares to the challenge of running in the sand. Nothing. It feels like you’re putting all of your effort into each and every step, yet you’re somehow just still moving so dang slow. For the first 6-7 miles, I simply tuned the world out and enjoyed the scenery as I bobbed and weaved between beach-walkers and sand-castle-makers – simultaneously trying to avoid the approaching tide. And although it was hard as hell – it was also incredible. It was a once in a lifetime type of run – the type of challenge I wouldn’t have thought to try, or even have had a chance to, had it not been for the change of plans this year.
The last few miles were by far the most challenging. My calves felt like they were going to explode (I don’t recommend trying to run 13.1 miles the FIRST time you ever try beach-running). My body simply wasn’t prepared. I’ll spare you some of the details, but, essentially, I added a bit of additional mileage to my race due to the fact that I had to keep running up and down the beach to the garbage cans (that whole pizza and wine combination ultimately didn’t go so well). I was freaking EXHAUSTED as I approached the final stretch. But. The moment I saw Nick standing there, my spirits rose. I was so excited to hug him, to celebrate with him, to share the entire experience with him. I crossed the home-made finish line he had prepared while I was running and collapsed into the sand. Armed with water in one hand and alcohol in the other – he congratulated and hugged me (despite the extreme amount of sweat being inevitably transferred to him).
After a quick splash in the ocean, it was time to celebrate! We spent the remainder of the day drinking, laughing, exploring, and social distancing, of course. State #30 was so unique – sure, my time wasn’t great, my preparation was… welll, there was no preparation, and my body wasn’t necessarily equipped to run that far in the sand – but you know what? It was absolutely perfect. I had challenged myself to do something I had never done before, and I did it. I ENJOYED myself without stressing the whole time about my performance or my time. I took a road-trip and vacation with someone I love. And even though there wasn’t an actual race…
I had still run 13.1 miles in my 30th state!