Shamrock Half Marathon Weekend

I just got back last night from an amazing weekend in Virginia Beach. It was the Shamrock marathon weekend!  I had the luck of the (half) Irish, even though it wasn’t all fun in the sun.  Actually quite the opposite. Still the weather held for the races and that’s what mattered most.  It was my fourth time participating in these events and it was the best year yet.  I have so much to tell that I am going to take you through the 8k.  We’ll talk about the half marathon in a separate post.

We drove out of dodge at the crack of dawn on Thursday morning and it was smooth sailing for the 6.5 hour drive from Staten Island to Virginia Beach with a stop in Maryland for some breakfast.  It was during the drive that I learned about Jaime Rowley, the mother runner from Virginia who was killed by a car during her Wednesday morning run.  I immediately thought of Meg Menzies, who the world lost to the same fate in January.  I decided then that Saturday’s race would be for Jaime and Meg.

We were able to check into the hotel upon arrival which is always a good thing.  My husband’s family who lives nearby came to the hotel and we made the most of a cool day.  Three words: indoor swimming pool.  This is a deal breaking when I am choosing a hotel during 3 out of 4 seasons.  It worked out perfectly because we spent most of the day relaxing.

Beautiful view, but so cold.

Beautiful view, but so cold.

My nephew in the hotel pool

My nephew in the hotel pool

On Friday I hit the expo, which is one of the highlights of this race for me.  There are always great vendors and lots of green items for sale.  This year I was proud of myself for not going overboard with the shopping.

They found the gold!

They found the gold!

I also skipped the smoothie samples from the McDonalds truck.  Something about McDonalds at a race xpo doesn’t feel right.  I spent the rest of Friday with hubby’s family and then my friend, Marion arrived.  One great thing about this year was that one of my BFFs from high school, who is now a BRF came down for the race as well with her family.

Selfie with my niece

Selfie with my niece

Future running partner, my niece Cheyenne

Future running partner, my niece Cheyenne

 

Saturday morning was the 8k.  Yes, 8k which is 4.97 miles.  If you have never done it, it’s a guaranteed PR.  It’s a fun run and a great opportunity to loosen up before Sunday’s longer races.  If you are a medal fiend, it also means that you get THREE medals.  I do the “dolphin challenge,” but they also have a “whale” challenge which is the 8k plus 26.2 on Sunday.  Regardless why you do the 8K, it’s a great opportunity to start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a day earlier.  There are people clad in green and ready to party.  I also found that there were many children running this race.  That is uncommon in large races in NYC.  It was great to see the future of running.  At mile 4 I looked over to see a 7 year old and her mom running side by side, I told her that I hope my little girl grows up to do the same.  As I enjoyed the race around me, I kept Jaime and Meg in my heart.  I remembered how lucky I was to be a mother runner.

I ran the race at a mostly comfortable pace after warming up in the first mile.  I kicked it in that last half mile just because I had the energy to give.  My official time was 44:49, compared to 46:09 last year.  The weekend was off to a good start.

8k Finish line selfie

8k Finish line selfie

xox

Jen

 

 

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