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Shamrock Half Marathon (1:29.52)

Shamrock Half Marathon (1:29.52)

This was my 8th year running Shamrock. Many long term readers know but I grew up in the greater VA Beach area. 1:29.52 is neither my fastest nor my slowest Shamrock. It’s on the slower side, but that’s okay.

Last year I had an incredible experience that would be hard to beat and ran a 1:23. This year the goal was just to finish healthy. My training over the winter was nothing to write home about, and I’ve come to terms that this Spring might be a rebuilding season for me (something I personally seem to need after every marathon?).

Anyway, I arrived at the start around 6 am. The weather was ideal. It was low 40s, some wind but not much. Most importantly, it wasn’t raining. Two years ago,it poured rain and was low 30s.

Before the race, I met up with my good friend Jen. We haven’t seen each other since we both lived in NYS. We’ve both since moved, but it was nice to catch up. She ultimately ran a 1:18 and placed 3rd.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

After that, I tooled around and got to the start about 5 minutes early. I talked with rabbit teammate, Nick, and by the time I knew it, we were off.

Since the half and full start together now, it was crowded. Right off the bat, I felt decent. Plus unlike the day prior, I remembered to start my watch. I plugged along and cruised the first mile in 6:44. I felt good and realized a sub 90 minute half was doable if I continued to feel okay through the race — a great goal to make a mile 1.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

At mile 2, I saw my dad’s friend and waved. I started getting into a rhythm.  The next three miles were relatively boring. I logged 6:44, 6:44, 6:40 (mile 4 on the gradual uphill was my fastest), 6:44. At mile 5, I was feeling good. I thought wow, this is much faster than I anticipated (I didn’t have a goal prerace, but didn’t anticipate being that fast either).

Then we entered Fort Story, and it all changed. Fort Story is a lonely part of the race. Unless you have a military ID, spectators can’t get on the base. It’s right along the water so extremely windy. In fact, one year there was a layer of sand across the entire course.

Miles 7-9 broke me both mentally and physically. I didn’t feel good, and I was running alone. There was some wind but nothing terrible. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel good because I had raced the day before, I just mentally felt disconnected and my legs felt stale. I told myself, make it to mile 10, and you’ll be heading directly home. I ran a 6:55, 6:59, 6:50, and kept it barely under 7 minutes.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

I knew the 90-minute pace group was probably catching me soon.  Around mile 10, a man started talking to me about “my form”.  I wasn’t feeling the greatest and not in the mood to chat. We kept plugging along.

Mile 11 went down with nothing major. I ran a 6:55 and we had some wind at our backs. At mile 12, the 90-minute/3 hour marathon pace group engulfed me. I thought, wow I really did slow down. I also felt my shoe beginning to come untied, and it just felt like the wheels had come off.

The group engulfed and went around me and it stung. I hit mile 12 just over 1:22 and I knew I was still at 1:30 pace. Now I was just much closer than the start of the race. It made me feel a little better the group was ahead of their goal pace.

The last mile goes to directly into the wind. When you’re close to a time goal, running into the wind the last mile is the last thing you want to do.  You can see the tent and King Neptune and it just never feels like it’s getting closer.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

Then at mile 13, I saw it click 1:29:10.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

I tried to sprint as hard as I could to the finish. I didn’t have much gas left but it was enough to get right under 1:30.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

Thoughts:

I’m pleased with the race but know I have a long way to go fitness wise. In all, another good Shamrock. It’s one of my favorite races of the year and I always enjoy seeing local friends as well as others that come from far.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach

Chilling on the beach with Nick

Questions for you:

Have you run a race for several years in a row?

What is your favorite race? 

 

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Leprechaun 7 Miler (45:51)

Leprechaun 7 Miler (45:51)

I haven’t run the Leprechaun Run in a couple of years. Last time I raced, there was only an option to run 5 miles. Since then, they’ve added a seven miler as well. I decided to run the seven milers because it was a fun distance. The race goes along the Kelly Drive and Schuylkill River.  Despite being 15 minutes away, it’s been nearly a year since I raced in Philadelphia.

The race started promptly at 7:30 am.  The start time was perfect because I could get back to work in NJ on time. At the time, I felt like it was too early, but it all worked out. Truthfully I had no idea what to expect in 7 miles. After running a few 5ks and four milers around 6:30 pace, I figured somewhere around 6:50.

I ran about a 2-mile warmup.  I got to the start at 7:25.  There were a short speech and dedication to Special Olympics. I always appreciate this race because the proceeds go directly to Special Olympics. We got going around 7:35.

The five and seven milers both went off together; the seven milers just went further. Around .1 into the race, I realized I forgot to start my watch.  I started it, but it meant all of my miles were off. It was fine and no big deal.  I ran the first mile with my husband, and we hit it in 6:39.

During the second mile, I started to find my rhythm. I ran the race almost all alone.  Most of the race was without event.  It felt like a time trial with myself. Since I’ve been running hard 5ks alone, it was no different. I hit the second mile around 6:35 and I was pleasantly surprised. I felt good.

As we went by mile 2.5, I noticed the only female in front of me turned. She was doing the five miles, which meant I was in first place. I was pleasantly surprised. I hit mile 3 in 6:34 and felt great. I knew I hadn’t taken it out too fast and felt relaxed; it was just a matter of counting down the miles.

We turned around at 3.5 and headed back to the start. I saw my good friend Pat (who took the photo), who is the race director for many unique and local races.

I like a good out and back course because I feel like I excel in an out and back course.

I hit mile 4 in 6:34. I told myself, “it’s only a 5k left”.  Because that’s all I’ve been running recently.  When we hit the 2.5 mile/5 miles turn around, we began to cross paths with other runners.

I ran mile 5 in 6:30 and felt good. I couldn’t believe I was running at nearly the same pace as the weekend before.

I found myself weaving around other races for the last 2 miles. It was no big deal. I ran a 6:28 and 6:28. I crossed in 45:51 and I was pleased with that.

Thoughts:

I’m pleased and excited about that. I wasn’t expecting to run 6:33 pace for 7 miles but truthfully I had no idea what to expect.  It’s been hard not to compare myself to previous fitness levels, but I know the fitness will come back.

I’m looking forward to getting more races under my belt and getting faster again.

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Questions for you:

Have you ever run a 7-mile race? It’s like a 10k with a bonus round.

Do you prefer loop courses, point to point, or out and back? 

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (25:55)

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (25:55)

This is my fourth year racing and my fourth year winning. As I posted on Instagram, it’s my slowest year yet, but I’ve been running less this winter as well.

The race started, and 10 and my husband and I arrived around 9. We picked up our bibs and warmed up. We had gotten a lot of snow and rain the week prior, so the course was torn up. The course itself is an easy trail, but after weather, the path can be flooded muddy, and slippery.

At 10 am, we went off. There were a few men, including my husband, that took off in front of me.

Before entering the trail, the race goes around a huge loop in the park. This particular year, some barricades crossed the regular path. The first 20 people or so, including myself didn’t think much of it and just kept going straight.

You would think running the course four times; I would know that’s wrong. All of a sudden we heard yelling and saw other runners going the other direction. We cut across the field and got back on track.  The field was muddy and with plenty of potholes. I didn’t sprint because I didn’t want to misstep into a pothole.

me running grilled cheese and tomato soup 4 mile

Messing up the course messed with my rhythm but I found it again around mile 1. I hit the first mile in 6:31 which was slower than I wanted to be but put it in the back of my mind.

The next mile headed straight. At this point, there were two males in front of me, including my husband. I was essentially running alone. I hit the second mile in 6:26.

me running grilled cheese and tomato soup 4 mile

The third mile had a turnaround, and with the mud, I took that extremely slow. Slow enough I know I lost a solid 5 seconds. Doing a 180 in mud, I could visualize myself falling into the canal next to the path.

me running grilled cheese and tomato soup 4 mile

I caught the second place male and found myself second overall. The third mile goes straight back, so you see everyone running in the opposite direction.  I appreciate this aspect because I like seeing other racers and friends. It also lets you know where you stand in the race. I hit the third mile in 6:26.

me running grilled cheese and tomato soup 4 mile

For the fourth mile, I just focused on getting back. We got off the path and ran towards the start. About 40 seconds in front of me, I watched my husband break the tape. I sprinted towards the end and finished the last mile in 6:31.

me running grilled cheese and tomato soup 4 mile

Thoughts:

I’m happy with my effort. It can be hard not to compare yourself to previous fitness levels, and I’m trying not to do that. I know it will take a long time for me to get where I want to be. After any of my marathons, I’ve felt like my speed has taken a hit and it takes me a lot longer to gain it back.  Finally, many people asked but after the race, there is an unlimited grilled cheese and tomato soup buffet.  Plus all racers get a free tomato soup/coffee mug. (one of the reasons I enjoy the race is how unique it is)/

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Questions for you:

Have you done a 4 miler before?

Would you rather run in mud or sand?

Training: Just Staying Consistent

My training for last week was solid. My goal for March is to stay consistent and just get the miles in.  Running last week was fine, but it felt like a never-ending week everywhere else!

Monday: 30 minutes easy/1 hour hiking
Tuesday: 60 minutes easy/20 minutes core
Wednesday: 5X1000 meters averaging 6:35 pace
Thursday: 60 minutes easy/20 minutes core
Friday: OFF
Saturday: Easy 75 minutes easy
Sunday: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (25.55) Total 12 miles/20 minutes core

Thoughts:

My goal for February was to stay consistent and the goal for March is to stay consistent while also adding racing. I want to slowly build miles, cross train with hiking, strength work such as core, and now include a race weekly. That sounds like a lot of cooks in the kitchen. I know long term consistency is what will help me get back to where I want to be.

Workout Wednesday: 5X1000 (6:35 average) with 90 seconds rest

I wasn’t not in the mood to run on Wednesday. I spent at least half an hour trying to motivate myself. The weather and just my general mood were not there. It was windy but nothing too crazy. In all, I’m happy with my effort and just getting out there.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (25:55):

I’ve run the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Race four times and I’ve won four times. Not many races I can say that. This year was by far my slowest year. I’ve run the least amount prior to the race as well.

Somehow I ended up making a wrong turn so it was a little long this year (probably not more than 10 seconds). My splits were 6:31, 6:26, 6:26, 6:31.  I’m happy I raced but I am also looking forward to racing more and getting faster.

Thoughts:

I’m happy with my week and the fact that I got a workout and race in. It wasn’t the most productive week but I was able get a workout and race in. There are races most weekends now, so my goal is to keep getting out there.

Posts from the Week:

Hoka One One Mach 2 Shoe Review

February Running Recap

Benefits of Collagen Creamer

If you are interested in more running related news, subscribe to my free newsletter.

Questions for you:

Have you run a 4 mile race before?

How was your week of training?

Race 13.1 Baltimore (1:30.58)

Race 13.1 Baltimore (1:30.58)

I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts about the Race 13.1 in Baltimore. I made the decision to race only a few days before. It’s not the first time I’ve decided to race a half right before and I figured it would be a good workout.

We drove down the night before and got to Baltimore around 9 pm. I couldn’t fall asleep and since the race started at an early 7 am, the alarm clock at 4:45 wasn’t welcomed. There have only been a few times an alarm clock has jolted me awake, and of course race day was one of them. On race morning, it was one of a few things that went wrong.

I got ready and on our way our for coffee, the hotel door lock mechanism wasn’t working, so we got locked out of our room. I had things I could race with so instead of wasting time with that situation, we just went over.

Then race packet pickup took over 30 minutes.  That wasn’t too big of a deal, because I had no plans to warm up anyway.

Because of the packet pickup, the race was delayed, and I stood at the start freezing. When the race finally started, I was stiff, tired, and running 13.1 miles was the last thing I wanted to do. I reminded myself the race was a workout to get towards fitness. I’m far away from running another 1:22, but every PR starts somewhere.

As we were off, I settled in with a few high school kids. The race went out past a bagel shop, and helicopter pad did a 180 turn around .75 in. I hit the first mile in 6:37 which was relatively shocking.  That is faster than one of my miles last 5k.

As we rounded another turn, we saw the 5k/10k off, and I saw my husband. I started to settle into a groove and hit the second mile in 6:47.  That was better, but I struggled to get into a groove.

We went around the Harbor on a very narrow path. I could have easily fallen into the Harbor, and the number of turns on the waterfront made it impossible to get any momentum.  I surprised myself and consistently ran around 6:40.

Then we merged with the 5k and 10kers who were mostly walking. It was an extremely unpleasant and dangerous situation for everyone. The half marathoners were forced to weave around 5k/10kers who were walking or walking 2+ across. I watched as two people collided (both were fine).

None of the half marathoners were able to get water or Gatorade at the stop, because of crowding. Sure, I could have stopped and waited for water, but I didn’t.

Around the water stop, there was a direction for 10k/13.1 to go one way, and 5k to go another. It seemed like they needed a few more volunteers there because many people went the wrong way. Following the crowd didn’t “cut it” because the crowd was so large.

me running race 13.1 baltimore

After that, the race spread out because it was just the 10k and half.  We ran straight through Baltimore and then around the Harbor.  On the roads, I was maintaining between 6:40-6:45 mile and on the harbor pier, I was maintaining about 6:50. I was pleased because my body didn’t feel that great.

I needed to pass a few 10kers on the Harbor Pier. The path was narrow, and as I tried to pass, I slipped on the slick Harbor Pier. While I was able to catch myself and not fall, I became worried I had strained something (I strained my quad a long time ago, running on a slick surface).  Luckily, it was nothing.

I passed the halfway point in 44:20.  I was surprised but happy. I thought, wow I could break 1:30 again today.  Clearly, that didn’t happen.

The second half of the race got much rougher for me. Mentally, I wasn’t into it.  Mile 7 felt as though it took forever.  I saw the leaders coming back towards me. I saw the first guy and decided to see how far ahead he was. I watched my clock, and he was almost 3 minutes ahead of all racers.

Around mile 8, we did a 180 around the Under Armour Headquarters to head back. I’ve always wanted to see the Under Armour building and it was massive. The next few miles, I just focused on trucking forward.  My miles were slowly creeping into the 6:50s.

Around mile 9, two people who weren’t racing began jogging by. The race volunteer almost missed me to tell me the turn (which I cluelessly would have missed too). I yelled, do we turn here and said: Are you running?

At mile 10, I told myself “just a 5k” to go. I remembered the New York Marathon when I said the same thing.  Mile 10 was lonely, and I ran a 6:55.

The final two miles went along the pier. It was almost as if right at mile 11, my lefts seized up and got heavy. I never felt great during the race, but I went from eh, to not feeling good at all. I ended up talking with a guy for a few seconds which broke up the monotony.

The final two miles felt like the final miles of a marathon.  We met back up with more 10kes, and I weaved around people on the narrow pier.

Finally, we rounded the last turn, and I could see the finish. I just wanted to be there.  I ran the last two miles in 7:22 and crossed the finish line in 1:30.58.  The 10k/13.1 finished together and I only wish I had noticed what was happening around me at the time.  I make a finishing cameo around 1:02.32

I am pleased with my effort. From the number of runners on the narrow course to the amount of turns, I didn’t find it to be an easy course. I know I didn’t run the tangents well, and I believe my GPS said 13.3.  I don’t put much stock in GPS data, but I didn’t take the shortest possible route.

The weather, however, was beautiful. I am glad I chose to run the race, untapered and to see where I was at. I don’t regret running and I had a fun time in Baltimore.  I am glad all of the small issues came up during one race: lack of sleep, hotel issues, and race course woes.

I’ll continue racing as much as the weather cooperates in hopes to build back fitness.

Questions for you:

What is the most dangerous race you’ve run?

Are you good at running tangents? 

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