Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Shamrock Half Marathon Recap

Shamrock Weekend seems like it happened ages ago, but I just haven't had the time to sit down and write about it like I wanted.  As you guys know, I LOVE that race and it just didn't seem right to rush through a recap.

You know those races where you do everything right?  Training goes well, you eat pretty well, and get enough sleep?  This was not one of those races.  My training had gone ok, but with the snow and ice I didn't log very many miles outside.  I threw my speed work to the wind after my first set of half mile repeats and just didn't feel very speedy.  Fast forward to race weekend: I ran the Shamrock 8k faster than I should have, was on my feet most of that day, drank more beer than someone wanting to do well in their race should, and ate a monster plate of nachos as my pre-race meal.  (Yes, they were good, too.)


We really love the post race parties!


I spent a lot of time debating joining up with a pace group.  Part of me felt that it was doable to stick with the 2 hour group and the other part thought that I was being a little too optimistic.  I knew it would be hard and I couldn't decide if I wanted to just relax and have a fun race or go for the gold and break two hours.  After talking to Bart Yasso some at the race expo I was feeling really inspired to kick butt.  My best friend (seriously guys, I wish she could be your best friend, too, because she is THAT amazing) calmly listened to me go on and on and on and eventually we determined that I should start out with the pace group and if I needed to back off as the race went on then I could. 
  

If your bestie AND Bart think you can PR, then you can PR.

Race morning arrived and I ate my Power Bar and drank my hotel coffee and we headed off to the starting line.  There wasn't too much time to spare, so I found the 2 hour pace group and chatted with them for a while about some of our goals for the race.  A couple of the girls and I realized that we all had the same goal and were pretty darn close to reaching it so we decided to stick together for the race. (Hi Kara and Ruth!)  

Joining the pace group was probably the best decision I made all race weekend.  It was so nice having the girls to chat with and the pacers were really fun.  I felt like the number of neighborhood alcohol stops grew a lot from last year, and they made sure to hydrate at each of them.  There was a lot of "When I say drink, you say beer!" going on and it was just fun to be loud and obnoxious.  We went out a little fast for the first mile, which was nice because we could kind of just cruise for the rest of the race. For the majority of the time I felt really great and that we were at a solid pace.  


No doubt in my mind that they would be fun!

There were a lot of water stops and I made sure to take advantage of almost all of them.  At one of the stations we got a little ahead of the pace group and it was really nice to know that as long as I stayed in front of them I would meet my goal.  I didn't check my watch at all until mile 10 and just trusted that the pacers had us going at the right speed.  When I finally did look at my watch I had one of those "oh my gosh, this is really going to happen" moments.  And then mile 11 happened and my legs really started to feel it.  I was hurting SO bad, but my running buddies were still trucking along and I didn't want to be the only one who didn't break two hours.  I kept trying to convince myself that breaking two hours would feel better than quitting.  I felt like I was slowing down so much and kept waiting for the pace group to run by me.  When we got to the final stretch onto the boardwalk there was a water stop and I looked at my girls and told them that if I stopped I wasn't going to be able to start again.  From that point on I tried to get in my zone.  I focused on the ocean instead of the finish line (it just seemed too far away!) and forced myself not to look at my watch.  I finally crossed the finish line and was a super happy girl.  I broke two hours with a little time to spare!  New PR: 1:58:58!  Guys, it feels SO good to have a 1 in front of my half time.  




After the race I got all my post race snacks, met up with my best friend, and then rang the PR bell with my girls!  I was so proud of them for breaking two hours and so thankful that I had them to keep me going!  I met up with Edith, an amazing J&A ambassador and to make a great race even better, she pointed out dolphins in the ocean!  Seriously guys, it was my perfect race day.  After a quick hello to Mar, my best friend and I drank a celebratory beer and then went off to eat my PR pancakes (pecan pancakes at Pocahontas Pancakes!  Kind of a tradition now!).  





Since the race I've been taking a break from running (and am now getting excited to start up again!  Took me a while to stop being sore ha!), but have gotten a lot of quality walks in with my pup.  My mom and aunts came to visit and they kept me busy, too!  Next up is the ODU Big Blue 5k!  Can't wait for more best friend time!

Don't forget that I'm linking up with fellow J&A ambassadors Jenny, Nan, and Sarah for our recaps!  I promise I will get to all of them now that life is settling down a little!  You have until April 22 to post your Shamrock Recap.  

**Disclaimer: I'm a J&A Ambassador and was given a free entry to this race.  All opinions are my own.  I think by now you guys know my love for these races is real.