Well I made it! My fourth half marathon in five months, whew! And also my first race of the hubby’s current deployment. I must give a BIG shout out to my parents for coming down and watching the kiddos. Without them this trip would not have been possible. Thanks Mom and Dad, love you. I was joined by two great friends and fellow “Divas” Cara and Katie. I love these girls and we have a great time together. We even managed some shopping and found our favorite pre-race meal fajitas…yum. On a funny side note it was also “Bike Week” in Myrtle Beach. Bikers and Divas together hmmm, interesting. The bikers outnumbered us about 1,000 to one, but it made for some interesting conversation. Apparently someone in charge has a funny sense of humor.
The Diva Half in Myrtle beach lived up to its name. This was the first year Divas Half Marathon Series was in Myrtle Beach and for the most part they did a really great job. The expo was a little small but I have seen that with other first year races. I was glad I planned ahead and brought my favorite GU and energy bar. However packet pick up ran smoothly, no issues and volunteers were friendly and helpful. By the way the t-shirt is also awesome. I hope you can see it in my cupcake picture at the end of this blog.
The course itself was a beauty and probably one of my favorites so far. The weather didn’t hurt either. Starting weather was sunny, low 60’s and finish was sunny, 70’s with a nice breeze….sweeeet. After a forecast that called for rain and a possible visit from a tropical storm we really lucked out. I am pretty sure Mother Nature is a Diva 😉 and she worked it out for us so thanks. The only thing I missed was an actual view of the ocean. However that’s probably because we are super spoiled in Virginia Beach. Most beach races here start/finish on the boardwalk at the oceanfront. But back to the Diva: The course support from both residents and visitors was also better than expected for a first year race. That’s always nice, especially for participants traveling without their entourage. WHAT no entourage?! I know very un-diva like, my bad. This was also my first ALL WOMEN’s race. (by law I believe they cannot deny a man from entering.) The finish stats say there were only 20 male finishers in the half. There were 3,043 female finishers!! Go Divas….Awesome!!
After leaving the main strip much of the course ran along tree-lined shady (bonus!) neighborhood streets. I was a little worried at mile 2 when I started having slight knee/IT band pain, but I made a very conscious effort to keep my form in check throughout the race, by mile 4 I was all warmed up and feeling great! Part of the course passed by million dollar homes and a rolling green golf course which made for some pretty views. Only a short part of the course consisted of a busy main road, maybe a half mile, and I believe that was in order to turn us back toward the finish. In my opinion we had plenty of running space and cones separated us from traffic so I felt safe. The entire course was flat with two very, very slight inclines. Water/Gatorade stops were plentiful as where porta potties. Somewhere between mile 12 1/2 -3/4 there was a tiara and boa station. You were quickly handed your boa and tiara and kept moving. The finish line itself was located around a corner so it kind of snuck up on you (I would have liked to kick in my after burners a little earlier) I ended up grabbing my tiara off my head and carrying both it and my boa over the finish. My tiara started to slip when I kicked it in for my big finish. I probably won’t have the best Diva photo finish but maybe the most motivated Diva photo? I passed a lot of runners that last stretch and the crowd was behind me 100%…that felt good. As I finished I glanced at my watch and was so excited to realize that I might have tied my Shamrock PR. In the end I actually ended up beating it by a little less than a minute, I’ll take it! Thus the sweet surprise! After battling with injuries since late December and no runs over 6.5 miles since my last half in April this was totally unexpected and I couldn’t have been prouder of myself. I Found MY Happy Pace for the day and that was just what I needed. Check out my best Diva pose:
Speaking of the finish line WHAT A FINISH LINE IT WAS! The Diva medal is HUGE and was handed out by super hot guys (yet another bonus), some shirtless (double bonus. Hey I’m married not dead) including some local Fireman. Each Diva was also handed a red rose and a cup of champagne. When does that ever happen at a race!? As my final act of Diva-ness during the ride back to the hotel, boa and tiara still in tact, I gave my best Diva wave to every Diva- sister and Biker we passed. I’m a little goofy after a race….ok I’m just a little goofy.
All in all my friends and I agreed we had a great Diva experience. Topped off by our celebratory cupcakes and chocolate milk!
I have heard a few negatives (not enough Gator Aid and water out of a hose?) on-line. I did see one suspicious water stop so I skipped it. I have also heard on-line that Diva Myrtle Beach went better than Diva San Francisco. But as for my overall experience I give it a thumbs up! I would do it again next year if the chance arrises, you might want to check it out if it comes to your town.
Anyone can be a Diva, even me, even if only for a day.