Carpe Run

Seizing the day (and the run) one day and mile at a time!

Race Recap: Yuengling Shamrock Marathon 2013

on June 25, 2013

I know it has been 3 months, but I am SO excited to do this race recap!  I don’t have as many pictures anymore as I wish I did but I love talking about this race weekend and all the awesome things it holds for me.  I have to preface by saying that Shamrock weekend is by far my favorite race production I’ve participated in thus far.  That’s not saying a WHOLE lot since I haven’t done huge races in a lot of other towns, but it is pretty daggone top notch.  Shamrock was my first half marathon in 2011 and it holds a place in my heart for that reason too.  Plus the weather is always great and it’s pancake flat, what’s not to love???!

Logistics

Starting from square one, emails leading up to this race are great and very informative.  They send out newsletters beginning in the fall with race information, tips, news, etc.  I like that they keep me focused on my goal throughout the training season.  Before the expo they send out race bib emails with numbers and corral information which makes packet pickup a breeze.  Speaking of the expo and packet pickup, I find all of J&A races’ to be convenient and fun, but that is my opinion.  Shamrock’s expo is held Thursday (I think?) through Saturday at the Virginia Beach Convention Center which has plenty of free parking and is right off the interstate.  I did take pictures of the expo, but they were misplaced sometime between March and now…opps.  But there are always a good smattering of the usual suspects.  Plenty of shopping and free crap you will throw away in two weeks, if you are into that sort of thing.  I always get excited about the free stuff until I realize how much I don’t need it.  I bought a shirt from Raw Threads this year that I actually wore for the marathon.  I never do that but I really liked their shirts a lot!  It ended up working out well and being super cute, I also got lots of compliments and shout outs on the course with it on 🙂

Nerdy pre race pic

Nerdy pre race pic

The swag for this race, and all J&A races, is always great in my opinion. We received a long sleeved tech shirt, bag, and personalized bib. Shamrock is big on finisher items, and they don’t disappoint. The medals are always awesome, and this year’s special item was a soft fleece blanket that had everybody stoked and I was happy to wrap myself in after I finished and went from hot to sweaty and freezing.

AWESOME swag

AWESOME swag

Going back a bit, the half marathon starts at 7:00, which trust me, is brutal if it is cold, but the marathon doesn’t start until 8:30. I really like the marathon start time since it gives me more time to sleep and not have to eat so early. I like to have time to eat and…ahem…digest/empty my stomach etc. It goes without saying that the start is always super organized and the corrals are perfectly spaced. It definitely makes running any other large race pale in comparison.

The after party is stellar. Irish stew + the usual after race snacks + 4, yes you read that right…4 Yuengling beers.  That is actually pretty ridiculous but I was able to share with my supporters, so that was cool.  There was no way I was drinking even a full beer after a marathon, but that’s just me.  They also have cookies but I usually don’t even want to look at them after….shocker.

Blurry up close of the medal, which is large and yes, a beer opener also

Blurry up close of the medal, which is large and yes, a beer opener also

My Race

I think I am still glowing from this year’s experience.  This runners high is lasting so long, I am getting ready to sign up for marathon #2 for 2013.  I know I usually say I will only stick to 1 a year, but this was THAT good.  Apparently last year I blurted I would never do another one after finishing, but this year I was all smiles and ready to do it again.  Hmmm amazing was training does!  Feast your eyes on a comparison, last year at the finish v. this year approaching finish.  Both super unattractive but it proves my point:

Clearly dying

Clearly dying (2012)

Stoked! (2013)

Stoked! (2013)

Miles 1-6 were a breeze I think.  I was feeling great and really confident with my choice of attire.  It was threatening rain all morning and around 45 degrees at the start, but I knew I would get hot and just wore a toss windbreaker and cheap gloves.  The windbreaker was dunzo at mile 2 and the gloves came off at 4.  I don’t remember my splits off hand, but I know I was on pace to PR for sure IF I kept it up.  I reached the 7 mile mark in 1:07.

Miles 7-13, also not bad.  I was getting really nervous because right after the half mark is where I took my first gel and had the bathroom incident that really slowed me down, but I saw my cute friend Lauren who ran the half and her sister, and that gave me a jolt that re-energized me for a few miles, which was great because we were headed for the long haul down Shore Drive.  My 13.1 split was 2:11.

Miles 14-20.  This was the toughest section for me last year.  I struggled to 19 and then had to walk run the rest last time, so that was a mental block for me.  I was still struggling this year at this point, but I knew my training had me prepped and I used that as my mantra to push on.  I got past 20 without walking and I knew there was no turning back.  I thought I had an 18 mile split somewhere but can’t find it, but the thing was, I knew I was rocking it at this point.  Many people hate this part of the course, but I like the serenity of the base and love the lighthouse!

Small sliver of lighthouse in the corner

Small sliver of lighthouse in the corner

Miles 21-26, it was go time. I was determined not to walk at this point, and by some miracle, I didn’t. Shout out to some random dude on the last stretch down Atlantic, we basically paced each other and ran side by side. We never spoke, but we were definitely helping each other hang in there. After the finish line I looked for him to say thanks, but he disappeared into the crowd. I had lots of people try to get me to drink their beer on that last stretch, but I told them it would be my reward for finishing! I loved that my shirt got me lots of healthy encouragement along the way. At this point I was delirious I guess and made all kinds of ridiculous gestures and signs to the photogs. When I saw my family on the boardwalk, I was feeling golden. Finish in 4:49:24.  Nearly an hour off of last year’s time, and well under my goal of breaking 5.  I couldn’t have been more on cloud 9 than that moment.

Post race badassness

Post race badassness

I enjoyed that beer I worked hard for, well half of it anyway, and then went home and had a couple of harps and made my parents and Ben cook me the most random recovery meal, Ham, Potatoes and Cabbage, and rolls.  I wanted to feel St. Patricky lol.

Sweet victory in the finishers tent

Sweet victory in the finishers tent

I can’t say what the future holds, but I will run this race as long as I am able. I love everything about it and it is hard to beat the organization and hard work that go into this race. Other fun weekend facts, the 8k on Saturday is super popular and fun as well. I usually know people running so I hang out and the after party is always just as kickin on day 1. The live music is stellar, and the atmosphere is spot on.

Glad to finally get this out, and looking forward to a sweaty run and RPM class at the gym this afternoon. Getting back to healthy habits by staying accountable, getting sweaty, and posting my meals again! Last night’s dinner, BLT’s and sweet potato tots for the win, always with greens 🙂

YUM

YUM

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