It’s taken a week and a day for me to dry from the rain, but I wanted to tell you about the Shamrock Half Marathon weekend. Don’t worry, it didn’t rain all weekend, just Sunday when I had to run the half marathon (and those poor marathoners.) Anyway let me go back and start from the beginning.
Every year I try to get friends to come to Virginia Beach for this race. It is a great weekend and a ton of fun. A few years ago, I finally convinced my bestie Marion and I think she had a great time. Last year, my friend Lisa went down, but I missed it. I wasn’t ready for a half last year at this time and you know, “life” got in the way. So I deferred.
This year my family and I headed down on Thursday morning to Virginia and made it down there by 2pm. We spent some time with my kids’ cousins who live down there and then checked into the hotel and relaxed for the rest of the day.
This race has a great expo so after a 6 mile boardwalk run on Friday, I headed to the convention center (which is only a few block from the beach.) Sadly, my timing was off to see Shalane Flanagan and Bart Yasso – but luck for me, I’ve met them both.
When I packed for the weekend, I did a crappy job of being prepared. I forgot a rain jacket and back up running clothes for inclement weather. I did however have a sparkly skirt that I borrowed from Michele. So I picked up a few shirts at the expo and some shamrocked arm sleeves to work with the skirt. I also bought a hat (for a dollar!!!) since I was sure that the rain was coming by Sunday.
Saturday morning was the 8k. I ran faster than I planned… well I actually didn’t have a plan. So basically I ran faster than I thought I would. According to Strava, my splits were 8:49, 8:39, 8:39, 8:26 and get this… 7:56! What?! Who am I?
Afterwards as I walked to the beer tent on the beach (yet another reason to come and do this race), I texted Michele with my time and splits. She reminded me that might regret it the next day for the half. Yupper, oh well, then I drank beer at 8:30am. Yup, run a race and then drink a beer. Time is not relevant.
We spent another nice day with family at the mall and then the hotel indoor pool on Saturday.
Then I prepped for Sunday’s race. I knew it would not be pretty. And when I woke up, I seriously considered skipping it. Legs were tight and it was dark, cold, pouring and just overall nasty out there. Luckily my hotel is about a block from the start and when I finally went outside I literally walked into my corral as we started. I was grateful not to be standing around in the rain and since I had no real time goals I could warm up for the first few miles. Well, honestly my pace was all over for this race, but aside from mile 2, I stayed under a 9:30 pace. There was an amazing tailwind that was literally propelling me forward starting around mile 7-8 in the military base.
By mile 9, my goal was just to sub 2 hours. I gave it my all for the last mile with 8:05 and finished officially in 1:58:55. I caught my breath, got my medal and headed back to the beer tent.
Luckily they sell swag and gear there so I bought a shirt and took off my shirt and rung out the water. The walk back to the hotel was cold and not fun, but I did get to see the marathon lead as I walked to Dunkin Donuts. (Yup, beer and then coffee!)
We were back in NY Sunday evening with two shiny new medals.
So basically, give this race weekend a shot! And if you do, let me know and I can give you tips on restaurants and hotels that will make your weekend even easier and more fun!