Shamrock Half Marathon (1:25.14)

I love Shamrock weekend.  I love it so much that I flew home to run the Shamrock half marathon, see my family and friends for a weekend.  I don’t love it because it’s an incredibly fast course or that I nearly froze my butt off at the start.  

But I do absolutely love seeing so many of my friends and this race is more about that than anything.  Running a race that it’s the ONLY marathon my dad trains for each year.  (I know shocker…my dad trains for only marathon and I don’t want to run a marathon)…neither of us are multiple marathoners per year.  It makes the travels all worth it (and for me it’s always worth seeing my family).

With that, I woke up at 4:15 (am I the only one who sets my alarm to a normal number these days?  Not 4:14 or 4:16…).  I had been very uncertain of what I wanted to eat beforehand.  You see, I have not had good luck with food during the last 3 longer races (half in late August, then in January the 20k, and Lake Effect last month) my blood sugars were very off (and I debated quitting in all three) and while my legs felt good in Lake Effect, nothing else did.  Nothing felt good in the other two.

So I decided to go back to what I had done for Plattsburgh when I had my previous PR and have a Panera bagel with peanut butter and no coffee (we were in a hotel and there weren’t any coffee options).  This race I clearly felt great so maybe I’ll just go back to that.    

I drove down to VA Beach from my house, secured a parking space in remote location and walked down to the start.  During that walk I realized it was very windy and dark and cold.  It was around 6:30.  I went up to check my bag and cried a bit while delayering.  I made some smartass comments about how I never get away from the wind and gave them my bag.

Though I kept my hideous too big tie die alma mater sweatshirt on as my throw away.  I would finally be able to get rid of that darn thing that people gave me so much crap for.  When it was a minute until race start I threw it off…freezing my butt off.  Only to have them delay the start for some unknown reason.  That 10 minutes was one of the most miserable times of my life…but I chatted with a few friends and pretended to be warm.

Then we were finally off and for some reason I had thought with daylight coming the wind would just go away.  It didn’t.  My first two miles were 6:42 and I was a bit upset (I normally have a couple of faster then settle into that pace to make up for when I will die later in the race).


Then we got to the only hill on shore drive…it’s more of a steady incline for a couple of miles.  Running in Oswego  has helped me because I run (when outdoors of course) 300 foot hills.  We don’t have anything more than a mile route without hills.  That being said I really don’t mind them and I was able to pass quite a few people.  There is no perfect race course, someone will complain about a perfectly flat and someone will complain about hills…most races you can look at beforehand to see if it fits your running style.

So anyways-hills and then around mile 4-5 we entered Fort Story.  The wind was blowing water in my face and I thought it was raining, I think I mumbled…oh I really do make it rain (no one approved of my humor).  Miles 4-9 were somewhat of a blur.  I just kept going feeling good and debating to take my gel.


Mile 9 we left the base and headed back towards the boardwalk to finish.  I kind of realized at that point I hadn’t died yet and I felt good so I myself at mile 10 I was going to crank it.  I hit mile 10 at 1:05.45.  I thought wow, if I run a 21 minute 5k, I could PR.  My mental talk when like this (though I could have said it out loud I don’t remember). You got this girl, your ass is already out…might as well faster.  (also I didn’t really think about how far below a 7 minute paced 5k I was already).

So at mile ten I started the “Heimertime Hammerdown” (don’t ask how this nickname even came…I think it’s because I seem to always have excess energy because I don’t start out fast enough).  By this point I got tunnel vision and focused on individuals in front of me that I wanted to pass.  I ended up passing about 10 people.

And also deciding to be socially appropriate by raising the roof before I crossed the finish line.
And also deciding to be socially appropriate by raising the roof before I crossed the finish line.

We turned on the boardwalk and got hit with the wind but I pretended I was a supermodel and they were blowing fan at my face so I wouldn’t think about my cold level.  People kept telling me to keep going as if I was going to stop.  (LOL, I love race spectators).  I high fived a little girl and then proceeded to focus on the finish.

For the last .3 you watch as King Neptune’s Statue appears to never get closer.  I watched as the clock as it went 1:23XX-1:24XX-1:25.XX.  Just not quite fast enough to break 1:25.

I finished with a 1:25.14 and 13th female overall (out of 5000+) and 4th in my age group.  I was greeted by a medal giver, water giver, cookie giver and snacks giver…but no pants giver.  I had to get those myself.

This is probably the reason my legs locked up post race.
This is probably the reason my legs locked up post race.

When they came over to give me a blanket (all finishers get a nice fleece blanket) I pulled the lady aside and said in a very Hollesc and serious voice: “I was hoping you were giving out pants”.  I think I made her morning and she probably told a lot of people about that…

I was greeted by Kris L and Renee H who both also PRed.  Kris ran a 1:20.XX and Renee a 1:17.XX.  I was like a little kid “oh my stars elite female runners chatting to me and I even got this photo with Kris as proof.”

Kris did you really just run a half?
Kris did you really just run a half?

And that is that.  I’ll do another post sometime later about my next few hours spectating the marathon and watching Dad and hanging out with friends but this is far to long.  You can know I’m entirely still sore and that is what I get for running 2 minutes slower per mile every day.  (10 miles  at 8:30 pace to 13.1 at 6:30…you’re going to have a bad time).

Questions for you:

  1. 1.       Did you race last weekend?  How did it go?
  2. 2.       What would be a perfect race course for you (or perfect workout)?