I went into the Run for the Dream half marathon as last years overall female winner. It was the race I broke the tape at for the first time last year. This year despite being about a minute faster I was the 3rd woman to cross the finish line.
I guess that must be how Shalane felt after Boston. She ran a personal best (for me it was a personal best on the course…not half PR) but there were faster people that showed up that day. Granted I didn’t have the weight of the US running community on my shoulders but unless you’re Jeptoo then chances are there are faster people then you. They can show up to any race. I won’t lie that it was hard to experience that first hand but every race teaches you something. I still had an incredible time and I think Run for the Dream is one of the best and most well organized races I add to my schedule every year.
Tim drove me to the starting line and we had a lot of extra time. (This barely ever happens). I chatted with several people and by the time I knew it, I found myself runderwear ready and it was time to race.
The race started and I found myself immediately third female overall. I was running faster then I was comfortable at (and I knew there were a ton of hills towards the second half of the course). My first mile I ran with a few males and we chatted a bit. When I hit the mile 1 at 6:14 all I could think was that was dumb real dumb.
After the first mile, hills began and I was also dropped by everyone around. By the second mile I had a clearing of .25 miles in front of me and .25 miles after me. I was running in a half mile space of no mans land the entire time. (A couple of spectators even said “how unfortunate”. It was okay on the road because I could see people up ahead as well as spectators…but unfortunately that was not the case on the trails and woods.
Mile 2 I hit at 6:29 and mile 3 at 6:26. I was already feeling the effects of the hills and it didn’t help that I was running all by myself. To me it felt like my own personal tempo run. It became mentally challenging for the last 10 miles. It’s never good when you break up a half marathon as the first 5k and the last 10 miles.
Until around mile 5 we were on pavement. It was somewhere between mile 5 and 6 that we went into some trails. They changed the course a bit so when I headed down the trails, I immediately fell even more into my own zone. I went close to 2 miles without seeing a single other person (not a volunteer nor another racer). The only reason I knew I was going the right way was because of the mile markers.
I found myself needing a forever alone meme. It was so mentally hard to push myself with no spectators and no other racers in sight. Each water stop gave me a burst of excitement. I thought about clever things to say at each one. (I forgot about 90% of them before getting to a water stop).
I just kept trying to tick off the miles. I found myself looking at my watch a lot more than usual. I failed to mention that in these woods was the biggest hill. Mile 9 hit 6:59 and I was going into cardiac arrest climbing up the hills. I was able to see a spectator and volunteer at the top of the largest hill. He said good job and the water stop was coming up. I dry heaved thank you. I think I could probably have gotten a role as Darth Vader’s twin.
Sadly that water stop didn’t come until mile 10. I found the human interaction of the water stop the best of anything. It provided me with Gatorade, some side fives and quick banter.
Mile 11 and mile 12 I spent just focusing towards the end. Around mile 12, I noticed another female beginning to catch me. Before entering the track myself, I heard them announce the overall female winner. You could hear the announcer from about mile 11.5 onward. That was about 10 minutes of wishing I was laying down on the track past the finish line.
Finally we entered the track for the final 400. If you have ever run a half marathon where the final 400 is on track…then you understand the pain. I saw the female catching me…all I could think was…I’ve just run close to 12 miles alone and I’m going to lose a place in the last 400. I dropped the last 400 at 5:38 pace.
I was so proud to cross the finish line as third woman overall. I was then surprisingly greeted by both my mom and dad as well as Tim.
It was mentally tough to accept that faster people showed up that day. My time was a minute faster then last year but I was higher in places. I’m not upset and I think I ran an honest race. It was certainly a new experience to race close to 12 miles by yourself and 6 miles not even seeing anyone else. Every race has a new experience though. No more half marathons until (probably)Rock and Roll VA Beach August 31st. Time to get these ostrich legs a higher turnover.
The Run for the Dream half marathon is one of my favorites . It has been well organized every time I’ve run it (3 our of 4 years it’s been held). (No they didn’t pay me to say that).
Questions for you:
Have you ever raced by yourself?
What is the hardest course you’ve run?
This half marathon is a pretty strong contender. The Flower City half marathon or Turning Stone half marathon (both in NY) are also not pancake flat.
My training this May was all over the place. I characterize it into two periods. The first was finishing my month of rest from the Atlantic City half marathon. After the Broad Street 10 miler, I took a few days to recover and began marathon training (phase 2). My marathon training for the next month isn’t really all that different. I’ve added an additional day of running weekly which has bumped my mileage back into the 70s. I’ve been trying to get comfortable with running 16 mile long runs in hopes to eventually bump that up to 17, 18, 19 and 20.
Total miles: 297 (no I didn’t feel like running 3 extra miles the night before my half…not worth it)
Total rest days: 7
Total races: 4
Broad Street 10 miler (1:05.20)
St. Pauls 5k (19:52)
Medford Lakes 5k (19:24)
Run for the Dream half (1:27.53) recap tomorrow possibly (spoiler: the last 400 is on the track)
Shortest run: 1.7 mile cooldown from Medford Lakes
Longest run: 16.25 mile long run
Range of paces: 6:02-9:58
Most proud run: In training my most proud run goes to my 16.25 long run I did last week. I’m not in a point in my training that any long run feels great and I really pushed hard (mentally and physically) to finish.
This month went well. I don’t have any complaints. My body is responding how it should with bumping up my mileage. I’m tired. My pace has slowed on runs due to heat, humidity and adding extra mileage. It doesn’t frustrate me because honestly that’s what happens. While I did take more rest days then I would have liked the last week, my body needed it. My legs were breaking down and needed a lot more recovery. It’s a good wake up call for me that your body is not invincible and you cannot get better without proper rest and recovery.
I would really like to make that bump and leep of faith over 300 miles again. I have a couple more races planned this month:
June 7th Scott Coffee Rotary 8k (Moorestown, NJ)
June 14th: CHKD 8k (Norfolk, VA)
Questions for you:
How was May for training?
What is on your schedule in June?
This was exactly an 86 second half marathon PR for me and the first PR I’ve gotten since July (technically I got 3 I guess). After having a frustrating Shamrock race last month, I was looking for redemeption. I was really hoping that Atlantic City would be that half. Anyways-
Tim promised that we could stay overnight in Atlantic City. I didn’t want to drive 2 hours before an “A” race. I wanted to relax and walk to the starting line (or even driving 15 minutes would be fine too..I didn’t want to drive from my house race day though). So we splurged and stayed down in Atlantic City.
The race started at 8 am, which happens to be one of my favorite race starting times. We headed to the race and after finding baggage we headed towards the starting line. (The mile walk to the start was a good enough “warm up” for me).
At the starting line they were playing one of my favorite songs. The first row of males were clearly elite. They were serious…they were in the zone. The second row of mostly elite runners were also in the zone…except for me I was dancing because it was my jam. I did manage to “look serious” for the race start so I wouldn’t photobomb the actual first row.
I chatted with Lauren for a bit (who ended up winning female overall!). During the first mile I was just trying to gauge how I was feeling. I felt really good (apparently) because my first mile was a 6:11. That was faster than last weeks 5 mile race.
The course was out and back. With the exception of some wind, it is a fast course. With many spring coast half marathons, the hardest factor could be the wind (like Shamrock 2013). While it was windy from mile 5-9, I didn’t find the wind as challenging as other half marathons though (The race was on the boardwalk for the majority of the time).
The second and third mile went by rather quickly. I found myself in a lady pack with two other women (Lauren, myself and another woman). There were also two cyclists beside us. I have to admit the Atlantic City half really knows how to make you feel like a Rockstar. We ran the majority of the race together.
I hit the 5k in 19:27. That is the fastest 5k I have run since possibly last summer. Somewhere after the 5k, a male joined our 3 woman lady pack. He expressed he was quite upset that people where cheering “great job woman, ladies, ect”. He wanted some great jobs too! After hanging around for a couple of miles he left and surged forward. I was sad because he was a little more chatty.
Around mile 5 we left the boardwalk and went onto the Atlantic City streets. It reminds me a lot of VA Beach.
While in the streets, we could see the overall males coming back towards us. They were seriously cruising and I knew by the look on their faces that it was probably rather windy coming back.
I hit the 10k mark at 39:04 (which is a 10k PR for me too). Between the 10k and half way mark, I grabbed some water that I spilled half of it on me and probably everyone around me.
I hit the halfway point in exactly 41:45. Right before the halfway I saw the male that had previously run with us. I chanted “Great job man” as loud as I possibly could…he seemed happy.
As we turned around I noticed how windy it was. It was a cross wind so it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t enjoyable either. At this point I realized how toast my legs were. Luckily we started to see other people going the opposite direction so it was motivating. The lady pack ended up dropping to just Lauren and myself. Without her I don’t think I would have held on for as long as I did.
Around mile 9 we headed back onto the boardwalk. Mile 9 was my slowest mile at 6:29. At mile 9 I began to wonder if I could maintain this pace. Would the wheels fall off…I felt awful and 4 miles seemed like a really long time. I just kept going though and I was still hanging on with Lauren. I also saw Victoria and gave her a side five! I had been looking for her for about a mile and was hoping I didn’t miss her. I needed something (besides my legs) to focus on.
At mile 10 I delayered my dollar tree gloves. Mile 10 is normally a good mile for me because I remind myself that (hopefully) I have about 20 minutes left. I can do it. Today, I was getting tired and worn out. I hit the 10 mile mark at 1:03.10.
Mile 11 was when Lauren began her kick. I knew at that point she would win the race. I did not have anything in me to keep up. I wish I could tell you I did but I gave everything to that race. I was struggling to stay where I was at let alone hammer down. I ran 11 at 6:17 and began the long mile home solo.
When I saw mile 12, I knew the end was near. Though I was running by myself at this point I just focused on finishing. It could have been the longest 7 minutes of my life. (Think 7 microwave minutes).
When I crossed the finish line I nearly ran into the people passing out medals. I am glad I didn’t finish with anyone else around because I probably would have toppled over.
After grabbing a medal, I sat down and just relaxed in the moment. It was nice to watch several finishers come in and be announced. I was hoping for a PR and I’m glad I was able to finally achieve that. Sunday was a perfect day for a race. I had been on the fence to run either the CGI Love Run (Philly) last weekend or the Atlantic City half marathon but I am so glad (weather wise) that I went for this one. You could not have asked for a better day. I had a great time and am glad to finally log a new PR. (something I haven’t done since my 5k PR in July).
Cliff notes: In summary this race was exactly what I wanted. A new PR, a great time and an even better end to that week. I can back with a 10k PR (39:04), a 10 mile PR (1:03.10) and of course a half marathon PR. (1:23.23). I should probably do other distance races to work on my other PRs.
Questions for you:
What is your optimal race temperature?
Have you ever run in a pack with people the entire race?
I thought it was fun. I just wish I had more people to chat with; it made the miles go by so slow.
Half marathons are my favorite race distance. I don’t really have an exact reason why but I have had the most success with the half marathon distance… We like what we are most successful at right? So I guess I truly believe the reason I love half marathons so much is that I’ve had so much success with them. There is enough time (for me) to get warmed up and race (5 and 10ks are so short) but neverending like marathon.
I’ve raced a lot of half marathons. I often forget them all but let me try. Until I actually compiled this list, I had no idea how many I had actually raced. I’ve raced a couple of 20ks too but these are all the half marathons.
April 2011 Plattsburgh (1:41) PR
April 2011 Flower City (Rochester) 1:39 PR
May 2011 Run for the Dream (Williamsburg, VA) 1:36.56 PR
March 2012 Shamrock (VA Beach) 1:33.29 PR
April 2012 Plattsburgh (1:27.17) PR and win
April 2012 Flower City (1:29)
May 2012: Run from the Sun (Watertown, NY) 1:33 Win
May 2012 ZOOMA Annapolis (1:31)
Sep 2012: Turning Stone Utica (1:33.33)
Feb 2013 Lake Effect Syracuse (1:31)
March 2013 Shamrock (1:25.15) PR
April 2013 Nike Women’s DC (1:24.49) PR
Some random fun facts:
Coldest: Lake Effect 2012
Best Swag: Scallywompus gave out a huge growler for winning. Also Run from the Sun gave out wine tour tickets so that is definitely a bonus. I think in general the best race swag comes from the Shamrock races though. (That is why I keep coming back). I cannot remember the item from 2012 (edit: It was a sweatshirt!) but last year we got a blanket and this year was a towel. (On top of a tshirt and medal and four free beers)
Best logistics: Any that I can physically park near the start or finish. (This probably includes all of the smaller ones). For the amount of racers Shamrock is very good at parking and logistics too. Actually any of the races except for DC have been great logistics wise. The only race I didn’t care for the logistics were Nike Women’s but I am not a city person.
Biggest: Nike Women’s DC (15,000)
Smallest: Run from the Sun (Probably around 300-400 racers?)
Best On Course Aid (water, fueling, ect): Shamrock, Nike Womens, RnR. (The pricer ones)
Worst On Course Aid: Run from the Sun had 2 water stations and you end up being in the middle of nowhere without a single person in sight. There were several times I hoped and preyed I was going the right way because I really didn’t know.
Coolest Medal: Lake Effect 2014 or RnR Va Beach
Most Zoned Out: Shamrock 2014. Where did this race go? In the blink of an eye I was done.
**Nike Women’s gave out a Tiffany and Co Necklace but I haven’t worn it. It’s not for me honestly.
Overall Favorite Race: Shamrock 2013 . It was a lot of fun to watch my dad run the full marathon, hang out with my friends, I PRed and the race is fabulous. Shamrock 2014 and Lake Effect this year are very close runner ups.
Least Favorite: While I don’t have a least favorite or any I regret doing, The Turning Stone half was pretty miserable. Also Run for the Dream 2012, my ipod broke at the starting line. The race was hot, hilly and it was the first race EVER that I did without music. (It is the reason I no longer race with music and haven’t since).
States Raced in: NY, VA, TX, MD (also DC_
I’ve won 5 (Plattsburgh 2012, Run from the Sun, Run for the Dream 2013, Scallywompus, and Lake Effect 2014)
I’ve placed second or third in 3.
I’ve come in places 3-10 in: 5 (My most notable is 9th in Nike Womens)
And I’ve had multiple half marathons with no placements at all.
Debut half marathon: The Plattsburgh half marathon in April of 2011. I didn’t know what to expect honestly. With less than a full year of running and never having done more than 10 miles beforehand I ran with friends. I took it out at a pace I thought that seemed maintainable and it was. I felt so confident crossing the finish line that I could achieve more.
Hilliest: Either the Flower City Half marathon in Rochester or the Run for the Dream half marathon in Williamsburg. They both have long rolling hills. I would honestly say that Run for the Dream felt a little harder but that is because it’s also very hot and humid.
Most Surprising time: Lake Effect Feb 2014. I was absolutely not expecting that time at all.
Most Surprising placement: Nike Half Marathon I was 9th overall. It was not expecting a PR either.
Worst Chaffing: Flower City 2012 (bad top…armpit chaffing) or Shamrock 2014 (thigh chaffing was awful).
Regrettable Races: Although I didn’t have the most desirable race at Turning Stone, I’ve fully enjoyed each race. I don’t regret any races I have ran because I have learned from each one.
Questions for you:
Have you run any half marathons? How many?
What is your favorite racing distance?
Since I am an avid promoter of Shamrock and J&A races I had to dedicate one last post to this race. I know a lot of people don’t want to race it because of cost but for everything you receive with the race it is truly one of the best values.
The race directors actually won the road race director of the year award. (It’s just that good). They truly take care of you and I cannot sing this race enough songs. If you are in Hampton Roads at another time they also host smaller races that I’ve done (Wicked 10k, Surf and Santa 10 miler, Virginia is for Lovers 14k and the last I haven’t done in October Crawlin Crab 13.1). Anyways if you are looking for a destination race, looking to race every state or want to come hang out with LOLZ, Shamrock is the race to do it.
This year we got all of the following from the race:
1. A nice technical (fitted) t shirt
2. Big medel
3. Beach towel (every year they do something different…last year it was a fleece blanket)
4. Post race food handed to you directly after you finished (water, pretzals, shamrock sugar cookie, bananas)
5. A sweet hat
6. Free Beer at the end in a huge warm tent.
7. The famous Murphy’s Irish Stew
8. Huge crowd supported flat, fast race course
Shamrock has one of the best race “after parties” across the nation and certainly the best I’ve gone too. I’ll honestly probably try and go back every single year (because it’s that good). If you are looking for a flat, fast early spring hlaf marathon or marathon course…give Shamrock a thought. (but give it a thought quickly because this year the 8k and half sold out!)
These are just my own personal opinions though and I’ll honestly never rave about Shamrock enough. Thank you to Jerry and Amy for hosting such a fun and fantastic race. I really hope to see more of you there next year. So yes go sign up.
Here are some more race reports from Shamrock. I can’t get enough of race reports and finding new bloggers so I hope you don’t either!
LOLZ Race report 1:25.29
Kellie Race Report (1:35.56)
Danielle Race Report (1:41.39)
The Fit Petite (J&A Ambassador)
Kristy (J&A ambassador) 2:03.19
*I also love this post Kristy wrote about dedicated to her friends and family. Truly lovely! (Kristy is one of the nicest, most genuine people you will meet or read her blog)
Dolphin Challenge (8k and half marathon)
Lauren Race Reports
Question for you: What is your favorite race?
Shamrock half marathon in summary can be known as all of the following races (for me).
The race with the most friends.
The race with the most side fives.
The race where one of my best friends depanced me and I made it to the start with one minute to go.
The race that I zoned out the most. Was this really a half marathon, I don’t remember?
I think those are all of the one line summaries I can think of.
Let’s get to the actual race recap though. Due to my phone deleting about 90% of my entire iphone photos and contents I have to rely on other people’s photos. (I’m still trying to figure out what is going on with that). Thank goodness there are a few.
I got to the race an hour before the start. While walking to the starting line I was trying to connect with one of my best friends Theresa. I finally met her at the baggage check and starting line. I was lucky she stood in line for the porta potty with me. At exact 6:55 am I realized that there was no way I would make it to the front of the line before 7 nor would I make it to the start before the gun went off. I still had all my clothes on and was 9 people in front of me in line.
Thank you to the very kind lady who let me quickly go to the front of the line and use the restroom. I hope I can find out who it was and personally thank you, it was so nice! I will not be able to thank you enough and I hope we are able to connect at some point. While standing in line, Theresa quickly de-panced me and with my runderwear ready I hopped the fence and was there approximately one minute (if that) before the race went off (that sounds like an epic youtube video). It gave me hope that maybe I could be hurdler without breaking something.
I began running with Mike. (someone I normally run the majority of VA Beach races with…he is slightly faster than me). We caught up on life and just chatted for a mile or so. We logged the first mile at 6:40. I wasn’t feeling great but not awful either.
Mile 2-3 were somewhat blurry and I logged a 6:27 and 6:31 mile. I chatted with a few racers, sponged off the energy of the crowd and just kept running. I was able to chat with someone who said they knew me from the internet. She later (I believe please let me know!! went to break 1:25.).
All of a sudden I looked down realized we were at mile 5. (This never happens and half marathons are normally a mile by mile race for me). I hit mile 5 at 32:40. From mile 4-6 there is a gradual uphill. Nothing crazy but it’s a slight uphill. I honestly wish I had something exciting or eventful to report but I don’t. Both miles were 6:27. I chatted on and off with fellow runners around me.
Mile 7-10 were on the base. I was running with a pack of people (both male and female) and together we were like a cluster of wind blockers. It was windy on that stretch. (But to be fair we had a tailwind at the start). I found the race to be windy but nowhere near as much as last year. It wasn’t too bad.
I hit mile 10 at 1:05.15. I changed my goal to breaking 1:26 at that point. I didn’t really do any calculations, I just thought that seemed like a good goal. I really struggled the final 3 miles. I didn’t feel great and I just wanted it to be over. I don’t really have a sappy story about how I overcome the difficulties but I just kept counting down the minutes. Tick tick tick. (Photo credit thanks to Amelia)
Mile 11 tick tick tick. 6:31 Hitting mile 11 is my favorite because I know I have less than 15 minutes to go. In some home workout DVD or P90X I did they say “You can do anything for 15 minutes). It’s always stuck.
Mile 12 tick tick tick. 6:31
I began to see some Oiselle teammates at 12.5 that really lifted my spirits. I was able to capture some side fives and then just focused on the last half mile. One woman passed me in the final home stretch.
I always hate the last .3 of shamrock because it’s on the boardwalk and you can see the finish line is about .3. It’s a solid 2-3 minutes staring at the finish line. I saw Mollie, my dad and then crossed the finish line.
I crossed at 21st woman and 100th overall. After I finished this race I felt okay. (After I finished Lake Effect I thought I might peel over).
Though I went the same time as the Lake Effect, this race was different on many different levels (indicating I’m making progress).
- At Lake Effect, I felt amazing. I felt great the entire race. At Shamrock I didn’t feel great. At all.
- At Lake Effect my mile splits bounced around from 6:15 to 6:40. At Shamrock my mile splits stayed very consistent between 6:27-6:29 (except for the first mile).
Similarities: Both were windy but not awful. The race conditions were not bad in either race. Lake Effect was little more flat, a little long of a course but Shamrock was a little more hilly and windy.
In summary I am happy with a consistent half marathon time. Everyone wants a PR but it was not my day. I know my fitness level is a bit faster than this right now so we shall see next time. I’m happy with this time and happy with the friends and family I saw (and wish I had gotten to see more people). Thank you everyone for your support.
Edit to add: I received an email with the official time saying I finished in 1:25.29…so 2 seconds faster than Lake Effect.
Questions for you:
1. Have you ever run the same time before?
2. Do you like out and back courses or big loop courses?
My training this week was spot on. I hit the pace, time and feeling that I wanted every single run. That isn’t something I can say very often in a weekly training post.
I honestly have nothing to complain or say went wrong with this week. So I won’t. I had a perfect lead up to Shamrock and I couldn’t be more pleased.
11.75 Treadmill Tempo
10 easy untimed
I’ve had really good luck with a two day taper for half marathons (which is what I did this week). I normally have a semi normal week with an extra rest day then rest and take it easy for the back half of the week.
On Monday I had an outdoor tempo run. I ran 6 miles easy and 6 miles hard. The tempo itself felt pretty smooth. I was able to hold a 6:50 pace without too much difficulty. I was honestly pretty surprised.
Tuesday I rested. On Wednesday I did a normal easy run around my area. It wasn’t anything exciting and what I would normally do to shake out my legs. I am pleased with how much faster my easy runs have become. 3 months ago I found myself slogging easy runs between 8:30-9 min pace.
Thursday’s tempo on the treadmill was a bit slower and from a naked eye you couldn’t tell it was a tempo run. My go to treadmill workout is 45 minutes of easy and then 45 minutes progressive (with a 5 min easy cooldown at the end). It seems to work well for me. I wanted a faster run to keep my legs ready but I didn’t want a run similar to Monday that would leave me needing more days to recover.
After Thursday’s tempo I drove home and took Friday off.
I spent Friday relaxing and going to one of the local school’s pep rallys. The Shamrock Race series also puts together a “final mile” for students in the area. They run 25.2 miles on their own and run the final mile to the finish line (the same mile the 8k, half and full run at the end). They raise money for Operation Smile. The school I went to help out with raised over 1600 dollars. It is truly remarkable to see how hard these kids work and love running so early! I helped volunteer at the pep rally and it was a lot of fun. Long story short, I rested.
Saturday was an untimed Shakeout run. I had a great, easy run. I focused on myself and my goals. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better week this week. (Maybe that is why I’m worried!).
I ran a 1:25.32 at Shamrock which is exactly the same as at Lake Effect last week. I’m relatively pleased with this time. I obviously wanted a PR (1:24.49) but it was not in the cards today. I could feel that around mile 5 I was not going to PR. I’m definitely pleased though and it is tied for my third fastest half marathon.
Since I didn’t draw any photos I’ll leave you with this one.
Questions for you:
Did you have Pep Rallys as School?
I loved them! (These kids on Friday did too!)
What was your best/favorite workout of the week?