The Band at Warbird Park

You should have seen me and the other walkers and joggers at the back of the pack as we exited what used to be the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base last Saturday morning. We were juking and jiving to the sounds of “Kansas City” that came from a band set up at Warbird Park. One of the advantages of being in the rear is that since you don’t have to worry about time, you can relax and enjoy the journey. I’d be willing to bet that many of the speedsters ahead of us didn’t even notice the band, much less let it affect their pace.

This is absolutely my last post about Saturday’s half-marathon in Myrtle Beach. If I had allowed my qualms about finishing get to me, I never would have experienced that sight or those sounds. Those guys were really into their music!

For some reason, I always get anxious and uptight before any kind of event such as this one. Tossing and turning, I often move from one bed to another, sometimes ending up on a couch. Friday night and the wee hours of Saturday morning were no exception. Desperate for a few hours of shut-eye, I even succumbed to biting off half of a Tylenol PM.

At some point during the night, I decided that I just wasn’t going to do it. Nope. That was all there was to it. I could not and would not embarrass myself by going out and walking 13.1 miles on such a sleep deficit. When it began to rain, that cemented the deal. I finally dozed off, and when I awoke at 4:30 a.m., my first thought was, “Let’s do this thing!”

Because of that decision I saw and heard and experienced things that I’d have missed otherwise.  Here are a few of them:

  • The excitement and energy of the crowd as we stood in the rain under the streetlights on Bob Grissom Parkway near Broadway at the Beach. It was especially cool to share some of those moments with one of my brothers.
  • A man running barefoot. Ouch.
  • A woman dressed in yellow from head to toe including her yellow headdress that was supposed to represent the sun.
  • The man in the orange t-shirt that I used to pace myself. Although I passed him from time to time, he proved to be my nemesis and crossed the finish line several minutes before I did.
  • The man holding the American flag aloft as he ran.
  • The man holding up his left hand in a gesture of peace.
  • More colorful and zany outfits than I have time to describe.
  • The strong headwind that just about did us in.
  • The sun coming up over the ocean.
  • The light in the steeple at First Baptist Church
  • The woman from Delaware that I crossed the finish line with. She had left 60 inches of snow the day before to travel to SC.
  • The experience of Facetiming with my son and his daughter as I strolled down Ocean Boulevard.
  • The enthusiastic cheers of Coastal Carolina students who offered water and Gatorade.

I’m glad I got out there and made some good memories. If anyone out there in Blogland has some half marathon or marathon memories to share, I’d sure like to hear them. Mike? Elaine?

The Marathon That Wasn’t

A few people who didn’t know the MB Marathon was cancelled because of snow (yes, you read that right) have asked me how I did. Actually, I did just fine because I wasn’t under any pressure to achieve a personal best or even to go the whole distance. I just enjoyed the scenery and the experience.

Here’s what happened. As we were dining on delicious Mexican food at Abuelo’s on Friday night, the snow began to fall, and as we were enjoying our papas and enchiladas, the downfall became so heavy that the truck (yes, we were in my  hubby’s truck) had a couple of inches of accumulation by  the time we left. I’m serious.

Naturally, my husband the planner wanted to talk about contingency plans for Saturday morning. The marathon was to begin at 6:30 a.m., and he always drops me off around 6:00 or a few minutes after. Even under optimal conditions, the traffic is horrendous, and we both knew that the snow could make it a nightmare.  I managed to push negative thoughts out of my mind and insisted that there was nothing to talk about because the show would go on, so to speak.

“How will you get to the show?” he asked. “No one will be traveling the roads, and well, even if the streets are passable, we’ll have to leave here around 5:00 a.m. just to get to the start.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I said.

“I’m serious,” he countered. “We’ll need to get up at 4:30.”

“Whatever,” I offered over my shoulder as I left the room to get my “stuff” together for the next morning. I had just decided on the perfect pair of socks when I heard, “Jayne, you need to come back in here for just a minute. There’s something you need to see on television.”

In disbelief, I read the words across the bottom of the screen: “The Myrtle Beach Bi-Lo Marathon has been canceled.” I probably stood there looking like a dork for several seconds. I literally couldn’t comprehend that all of the  training and anticipation had come to naught. Yes, there was snow for the first time in ages, and yes it was breathtakingly beautiful, but….Well, you get the picture. I was upset (a nice all-purpose word).  Within a few moments, I had accepted the situation and had begun to think of it in other ways. After all, the streets and beaches would still be there, and I could walk/jog to my heart’s content without the pressure of finishing in a respectable time. 

The next morning, we took Hannah and Sallie out in the yard to frolic in the snow a bit, and then we decided to take them to the MB State Park. It was indescribably beautiful. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Anyone, including yours truly, who could witness that majestic scenery and remain miffed about the marathon cancellation could only be described as a first-rate grouch.

Walking on the pier was a treat. The winter wonderland was awesomely beautiful, and when combined with the beach itself…well, I have no words adequate to describe it. The little birds hunkered on the pier railings looked at us as if to ask, “What’s happening???” The sandy line between the ocean and the snow was a sight I’d never seen and will probably never see again. I even snapped a photo taken from the end of the pier that included the sun’s reflection in the ocean and the snow on the pier. To top things off, I met a fellow half-marathoner and new FB friend, Sandy Taylor. Somehow, talking to each other made the cancellation less disappointing.

We walked through the gift shop and bought a couple of souvenirs and then walked down on the beach itself. That’s when I parted company with the rest of the family so that I could walk, walk, walk, and revel in the splendors of the beautiful morning. As I began my walk, Amanda called, and among other things we talked about Olivia, the precious baby that she’s carrying and my granddaughter. Great way to start my walk!

I won’t go into all of my impressions and memories of that morning. I do, however, want to mention that although thousands of people who’d paid the registration fee were disappointed and perhaps angry about the cancellation of the marathon, hundreds attempted to make lemonade out of lemons as we walked, jogged, ran, hobbled, ambled, and sauntered along Ocean Boulevard, King’s Hwy, Market Commons, and the beach itself. Some walked/ran together while others participated solo. Some people whizzed by me like lightning while others sort of lumbered along. Still, I loved their spirit(s) of undaunted determination.

Me? I walked 11.8 miles and took tons of pictures. When I got home, DH asked why I just didn’t go the distance. One reason is that I didn’t know how far I’d walked until clocking it in the car later, and the other reason (probably more important) is that I had to save some energy for shopping. That’s another whole story. For now, suffice it to say that Lauren and I found some super good bargains in Homegoods.

Next year, I’ll register again. Why don’t you do the same? I only do the half-marathon these days (old knees, no time to train, etc.), and I’ve read that it’s become the premier event. Your body recovers more quickly, and it’s not as grueling.