Shamrock Half Marathon Weekend

by - Monday, March 17, 2014

Here's the Cliff Notes version of this weekend:

It.was.amazing! The weather was gorgeous, I kicked butt in the race for not being trained, and this weekend out of town with friends was exactly what I needed.


I think I might have a new favorite race.

Dianna, Aila, Emily and I piled into my car Saturday morning to head to warm, sunny Virginia Beach. The sun was shining, the traffic wasn't too terrible and we took our time on the drive down.

We obviously made a pit stop for some Wawa for lunch.

Wawa picnic - Dianna, me, Aila, Emily

After swinging by the expo for packet pick-up, we headed to the beach to scope out the start and finish area.

Expo - Aila, Dianna, me, Emily

It was so warm and gorgeous we couldn't help sticking our toes in the water and playing in the sand before settling in at the hotel for the night.

Emily, Aila, me


Our alarms went off around 5 a.m., which actually wasn't too bad for a race morning. Aila, Dianna and I were running the half, which started at 7 a.m. and Emily was running the full which started at 8:30 a.m., so the three of us wished Emily luck and headed to the start line.

It took us a little while to find parking, and after using a hotel bathroom we had to jog to the start line and got there just in time for our corral to go off.

My plan for the course was to run three miles and walk the remaining time to the bottom or top of the hour. So I ran the first three miles, had about two minutes left until 30 minutes on my watch and pulled over to walk.

Running through Ft. Story.

Then I ran until mile six and had five minutes left before 60 minutes. I was feeling good and being a bit stubborn (or stupid, you decide) and decided there was no way I was walking five minutes. So I walked another two minutes and repeated that for the rest of the course.

I loved this course -- it was a flat, gorgeous, lollipop course that started right downtown and and then looped up through Ft. Story -- a military base on the coast -- before finishing on the boardwalk.

Entering Ft. Story.

I felt surprisingly good the entire time. I kept running waiting to completely bonk at some point. I mean I hadn't trained at all other than some really long brick workouts in the last several weeks. But zero running specific training.

Pretty views of the water

By mile 11, my legs were getting tired, but other than that I felt great. When I passed mile 12 and then made the final turn on to the boardwalk for the last half mile, I looked at my watch and realized I could finish below 2:05.

I pushed it a bit in the home stretch and crossed in 2:04:54. I was ecstatic. I can't believe I pulled out such a great time after dealing with so many injuries and not being able to train. Man, imagine what I could have done on this course if I had actually been able to train.


After meeting up with Dianna and Aila -- who also both rocked the course -- we headed back to the hotel to change out of our nasty clothes, shower and head back to the finish line to cheer for Emily.

Emily had told us the night before that she was hoping to PR and that her big crazy goal was to get a BQ. She had no idea if that would be in the realm of possibility, but as I was getting her text alert updates, I realized it was totally within reach.

Through the first 18 miles she was holding an 8:08 pace. I knew if she could hold that pace the rest of the race she'd make it with some time to spare.


I got to the finish line early to stake out a spot and wait for her to finish. As the race clock edged closer to 3:35, I was getting more and more nervous.

I finally saw Emily coming down the stretch, she looked great and was pushing so hard. I looked at the race clock and it said 3:37, so I figured the BQ was out of reach, but she had still smashed her PR.


When my phone vibrated with her final time, I saw it was 3:35:31. It kind of felt like a little bit of a sucker punch. After such an awesome, awesome race, to miss Boston by like 30 seconds, man I think I would have cried.

But Emily just had a big smile on her face. She crushed her old PR by 20 minutes.


We stuck around for a bit to warm up in the beer tent before hitting the road back to DC.


After getting stuck in some terrible traffic and a three hour drive magically turning into a five hour one, it's safe to say I'm beyond stiff and sore today. Also, I got a nasty, nasty blood blister during the race that is literally the size of my entire toe. (It seems mean to post a photo of something so nasty here, so if you want to see it, it's in my Flickr album.) Even though I drained it yesterday it's still throbbing. So my ability to walk today is supremely compromised.

But this entire weekend was so worth all the soreness today. It was so great to get out of town and spend a weekend with the girls and it was so wonderful to run again.


Emily and I spent a large portion of the car ride back figuring out what races we want to run next. :)

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  1. Whitney6:17 AM

    Congrats! You did awesome :)

  2. Nice job! Glad you hear you like that race! Was thinking about doing it this year, but it didn't work out. Will definitely keep it on my list for a future runcation though!