Whew, 2022 was my 9th year running the Shamrock Half Marathon and my slowest. But really, I have no complaints. When I left the desert about two weeks prior, I was dealing with peroneal tendon pain. I had taken a week off but had no idea if I would even be able to run.
Before Shamrock Half Marathon:
The week before the Shamrock Half Marathon, I realized I was healthy enough to run. So my goal was to start and finish healthy. Unlike the Surf City Half Marathon, I was also hoping not to fly and die. At Surf City, I had some serious (and rare for me) stomach issues. My first few miles at Surf City were around 6:50, and my least few were around 7:50. My goal was not to do that again.
I signed up for Shamrock Half Marathons a few weeks prior. Prior to hurting my peroneal tendon as well. It’s one of my favorite races, and while the weather is not always ideal, I love seeing friends in the area.
Two weeks before the race, I took a fun adventure to see friends and family on the East Coast, so I can’t say my body was “well-rested.”
Shamrock Half Marathon Race Day:
My dad and I arrived at the race around 6:30. We could easily check our bag, use the restroom and line up for the Shamrock Half Marathon start at 7:30 am. As mentioned, my only goals for Shamrock Half Marathon were to start and finish healthy and not take it out too fast.
The Shamrock Half Marathon went off right at 7:30. The crowds were huge, and I found myself running in a pack of people. I knew the 1:30/3 hour pace group was too fast for where I am right now, and I let them go. The first mile felt as though I was searching for my rhythm. I didn’t feel great but also not terrible. I ran a 7:05 while also weaving around people to get electrolyte aid.
The next couple of miles of the Shamrock Half Marathon went off without much note. My goal was to keep plodding along. I was running alone, and I mostly stayed running alone. I never really ran with anyone during the race.
There is a gradual uphill from around miles 3-5 but nothing crazy. I ran a 7:01 fourth mile and thought, wow, maybe I feel better than I thought. At Surf City, I hit the wall and had stomach issues after mile 5, so I didn’t want to count on anything. I felt fine at mile 4 of the Shamrock Half Marathon, but I also felt fine at mile 4 of Surf City.
The next mile turned into Fort Story. I had expected there to start a tailwind, but that never happened. In fact, once we entered Fort Story, it got hot, and the air felt stale. I started getting into a negative headspace in Fort Story. It was hot; it felt like “everyone” was passing me, and I started not to feel great. Would I begin creeping up to 8-minute miles? I felt defeated about it, and despite coming off an injury, I knew I would feel defeated about this time too.
Somehow I kept trucking along. I hit mile 7 in 7:07 and mile 8 of the Shamrock Half Marathon in 7:12. We began heading towards the exit of Fort Story. Every other year I’ve done the Shamrock Half Marathon, there has been a tailwind from mile 9 to the finish. I had mentally prepared myself for that this year too.
As we exited Fort Story and found the crowds again, I thought: here comes the tailwind. I was preparing and excited. It had gotten me through the last few miles.
Except there was no tailwind. There was a slight headwind. Immediately I thought: oh no. I told myself “just” 4 miles to go. I needed to hold on. I was running better than Carlsbad, and Surf City, and my goal became to just beat a 1:36. I would feel great about that.
We hit mile 10, and I told myself, “only a 5k to go”. I hadn’t run the tangents well enough, so I was about .1 off. I desperately wanted to keep all of my miles under 7:30. Miles 11 and 12, I clocked a 7:25. I kept telling myself, you got this. I didn’t feel terrible; I just didn’t feel like I had the leg speed.
We rounded the corner and finished the last half mile on the boardwalk. The 1:35 pace group passed me somewhere during the last mile.
The Shamrock Half Marathon finish looked like it was never getting closer. But finally, it did. I heard them call my name, and I crossed the Shamrock Half Marathon finish in 1:35.27. My last mile was 7:16 as opposed to 7:55, so I have no complaints.
Shamrock Half Marathon Thoughts:
It was my slowest Shamrock half marathon ever (out of 9), but I am not sad. I was able to start and finish healthy, and I did not fly and die like the first two half marathons of the year. I didn’t even think I would be able to run until last week. I was about 90 seconds faster than Surf City, even with a hiccup in my training. In all, I can’t really complain. You can see my full Strava here.
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Questions for you:
Have you done the Shamrock Half Marathon?
What is your favorite race?
Shamrock was my first full marathon, back in 2004. It was a much smaller race back in those early days and the year I ran it the weather was ideal till the last three miles when the winds really picked up and of course it was a dead headwind. The race went well for me, and with my wife and kids there it was a very happy day and fond memories.
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