Shamrock Half Marathon (1:25.29)

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.

Side fives for everyone!

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.

Mike and I post race.

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.).

Oh look friends!
Oh look friends!

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

No really...side fives for everyone.
No really…side fives for everyone.

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.


Finish line yet?
Finish line yet?

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).

  1. At Lake Effect, I felt amazing.  I felt great the entire race.  At Shamrock I didn’t feel great.  At all.
  2. 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? 


  1. Nice race recap! I’ve never run the exact same time before. Every race feels totally different for me. I remember running one a marathon and being upset because I had so much gas left in the tank at the end. I also have run races where I feel I’ve run faster, but the time is more or less the same as a previous one. They are all over the map. I think it’s because my training is very inconsistent, which is something I constantly struggle with.

  2. Out and backs are okay. I like to see the lead pack and count how many runners are in front of me. My finish times are fairly consistent. My PRs are usually only a few minutes better than the normal times. Normal keeps moving up every year.

  3. that lady would be my hero too, strangers who are awesome on race day make me happier than ever. I kind of love those pictures you are basically raising the roof. I say lots of these are buying worthy haha

    1. Actually lucky for me all of these were taken from friends so need to buy them. I am going to buy the finish line one winking though just because LOL…

  4. Great job Hollie! Sorry about losing your photos on your phone. I hope you can recover them. I think I had the same thoughts about the course, although I was running way slower than you. That last stretch seems to go on forever. And I felt that slight uphill as well.

  5. The race with the biggest sandcastle :-O Sounds like a struggle but a fun atmosphere, kudos for letting that carry you through! Big win for staying consistent when not feeling great.

  6. I’ve never run the same time, but I once ran one second slower than my 5k PR. I was pissed because I was gunning for a new PR that day. I saw the clock as I was approaching the finish line and definitely let out an audible “f***!” which Danielle heard from the side of the course. Oops!

    I typically find out and back courses to be kind of boring. I don’t mind a few spots that double back, but if it’s mostly out and back, I find myself getting in my head about what’s still ahead on the way back. Though, there’s the obvious plus side of knowing what to expect as you’re coming back.

    1. UGH that is frustrating. I think out and back courses really depend on how many people are running. If people are motivating you then it’s way more fun then if you are by yourself.

  7. I love your attitude about running! I love that you are energetic and talk to people and have fun with your racing. You’re such an inspiration! I love your humor, too. You are awesome!

  8. I love your pictures!! You always look so happy when racing – I feel like every picture I have is “pain train” face haha.
    I’ve done a few races with an out & back and I feel like I have a mental block for running almost the same route twice…I much prefer giant loops, but not running that loop twice. Basically I don’t like to run in the same spot more than once during a race.

    Great recap – thanks for sharing!!

  9. Sometimes I think the best races are the ones we have to fight for – but that doesn’t mean I dint love the ones that feel amazing all race long! Great race and sounds like a positive experience! Have you ever thought about becoming a running coach?

    1. I used to coach a youth running club which I absolutely loved. I have thought about getting the necessary certifications. I actually have thrown that idea around a few times. I don’t like to follow a training plan though so I don’t think I have a lot of credential to make others one!

  10. Oh, and I don’t mind either course. What I hate is when the marathon course runs past the half finish and keeps on going. Such a letdown when the crowd cheers you on at mile 13.1 and you have to keep on going!

  11. Congrats on another half :). I’m glad you enjoyed it and got to meet with so many friends at the race and I love all the pictures!

  12. Congrats! Another solid race (despite not feeling the greatest). A few years ago, I was struggling like hell to break 1:50 in the half. I had 3 in a row that were 1:50:1x – nightmare! Felt good to finally break it.

  13. I ran the Disney Marathon in 4:00:50 and less than a year later ran the Richmond Marathon in 4:00:52. I love the Shamrock race!!!! It is where I have my 1/2 PR! Great Race!!!!

  14. Congrats on another great race! I found it interested that while you felt great at Lake Effect, you wanted to fall over, compared to this race where it took more effort on the course but you were fine after. Just goes to show how different the experiences are at each race.

    1. That is what I was thinking too. I felt awful after Lake Effect and I didn’t actually feel too bad post Shamrock. I think that shows my fitness is a little higher then it was.

  15. Congrats on your race! It was a solid effort and you got an INCREDIBLE time 🙂 I’m a big fan of loop courses–I think the monotony of out-and-back courses is a big psychological drainer for me. Have a wonderful Tuesday!!

  16. Nice running Hollie!!! I prefer big loop courses. Out and backs tend to play with my mind mentally a bit. I see all the runners headed back and I start psyching myself out thinking about how much farther I have to run haha. I have never run the same time before in my life.

  17. The fact that you can feel like crap and A. Still run that time and B. run same time as Lake effect amazes me. Speaks volumes about how awesome you are training and how I see some huge PR’s for you this year.

    I don’t mind out and back races because I like being able to see more people!

  18. I don’t mind out and back- but I LOATHE double loops. HATE. I second (third? 4th?) everyone else- clearly you have gained fitness if you felt like crud and ran a more consistent race. The next one won’t know what is coming 🙂

  19. Great recap. You are such an inspiration. I don’t mind out and back for races. I think the crowd support is better than way.

  20. Very nice, congrats!!! I had some friends running that race too and it looked like they all had a good time.
    I personally prefer a big loop. But I do NOT like a two loop course.

  21. Your race recaps are always so fun and funny to read. Not to mention inspiring. Reading about your dedication and journey helps me!

  22. As a spectator this year, I saw a different side of shamrock. My heart was out there on the course with each of my friends, and especially you Hollie! You are a true, fantastic inspiration to everyone. I haven’t really wanted to race since my injury, but being there, feeling the energy…and getting your runder-buns to th starting line helped me realize that racing, specifically this race, was a part of who I am. I will be there next year. 🙂

  23. I was the chick who knew you from the internet! Haha – somehow managed to pull off a 1:24.03? …beginners luck; I tried to capitalize on it via buying a lottery ticket post race, no dice there. Great job on a solid run despite not feeling great, those last three miles definitly felt like a journey! It was awesome ‘running’ into you!

  24. Congrats on another awesome half marathon. Your pictures make it seem like you were having a blast!
    I like loop courses. When I run out and backs, I stress out when I’m running big downhills, knowing that I have to run up them on the way back.

  25. Awesome race – even though it had its challenges for you! You still had loads of memories and some great pics … and apparently loads of side-5s, which really ARE awesome!

    Most of the stuff I have run is ‘point to point’ type, and have found on the only ‘out and back’ marathon I ran that since I was discovering that the description of hilliness on the race website (it was the firstyear) was inadequate (by a lot) … that I got to dread the ‘back’ part …

  26. Excellent half time and race recap! Yes, I’ve ran the same time on a 5k before but with different routes. The difference was I beat my previous 5k time on one particular route and season so I still count it as progress!

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