I'm just curious, does Objective-C compile into C code or does the Objective-C runtime work like a layer of abstraction above the program? Sorry in advance if I don't know what I'm talking about!
Compiling Objective-C into C doesn't make sense, because then it would need to parse the C code and compile it.
Objective-C compiles into machine code. Remember that the language (Objective-C, C, C++) only defines the rules to correctly write code. The compiler checks to see if your code is correct and compiles it, i.e., translates it into executable code.
Also, don't confuse Objective-C language, and the Objective-C runtime. The language defines the syntax, the runtime allows the compiled code to run (in a way it's like you say, it is a layer, but it doesn't get compiled every time with your program).
The runtime implements the core behavior of a computer language. The runtime contains compiled code of functions in a similar way a library does. In C, for example, when you call
printf() your code is compiled into machine code and linked with the library containing the implementation of that function; what this machine code does is passing parameters to the executable code in the library.