Sorry I’m a day late! Where did I leave off? Race morning – I was wearing tights, a tank top, quarter zip long sleeve, a fleece, and a raincoat and I was nervous that I would overheat during the race, but since it was still raining pretty steadily at the start, I didn’t want to part with my raincoat.
So I left with Corral 4 – nothing special, just ran across the start line and told myself to just keep going and take breaks when I needed to. It was only a long training run. At this point the rain was still coming down, my shoes were soaked, and the wind was blowing straight into us. Throughout miles 1-3 I had some shin pains, which I have been having while training, but I just stopped every so often to stretch them out real quick and by mile 4 they were gone.
To be honest, most of the race is a blur to me. It seemed like it went by so fast! In the early miles there was a good amount of spectators and cheering and somewhere around mile 2 there was a guy giving out beer – love that, although I didn’t take any. My stomach is iffy enough while running. No need to introduce beer into the situation.
There was definitely a noticeable 1-2 mile incline around miles 3-5ish that I didn’t think was going to be there. The course map made it look very flat! It wasn’t terrible though and I continued to trudge on! It was around this point that I noticed a man running with a flag and I made it a point to stick with him throughout the race since he seemed to be running a similar pace. Once we got to mile 6/7, we entered the Fort Story base and while there weren’t many spectators, the rain at least stopped and I was able to take my glasses out of my pocket and put them back on. And then there were things to look at!
Throughout the entire course there wasn’t anything spectacular to be seen, but it did provide some nice change in scenery the entire time – boardwalk, woods, military base, town streets.
I hadn’t looked at my watch the entire time, although I had started it, since it was under a few layers and it had been raining. I decided that since I was just running the race as a training run, I would continue to not look at my watch and just run to get the miles in.
Around mile 9 we got back onto town streets and off the base and it was at this point that I started to feel ready to be done. My mantra became, “Training run, forward motion.” I just wanted to log the miles, and finish this training run. When we reached mile 12 there was a clock and it said 02:08 when I passed it, so I knew I could PR – huge! I checked my watch for the first time the whole race and my watch said 02:03, so of course I kept it moving! I was going to PR big time!
It really was the funniest thing, because before I knew it, we were turning onto the boardwalk and I could see the finish line! It was still 7-8 blocks away. I knew I couldn’t sprint the whole thing, so I just told myself, “Slow and steady. Bring it home.” With every breath in – “Slow” – and every breath out – “and steady.”
And I crossed the finish line! The clock said 02:19 – I had run a huge PR! I stopped my watch, but forgot to check its time, and I went through the finishing chute to get my water and goodies. I must say, the swag at this race was great – shirt, towel, medal, drawstring bag, and hat, in addition to the normal finish line snacks and beer!
I finally found Bradley and he hugged me and said, “You ran so fast!” Melted my heart that he was so happy for me ❤ He told me, since he got the text alerts, that my official finish time was 2:14:47 – 8:36 minutes faster than I had run at the end of October! 🙂
We took a few photos on the beach before walking the 10 blocks back to our hotel to warm up and put dry clothes on. After we were dry, warm, and checked out of our hotel, we walked back to the finish line to check out the party and have some beers. You get 4 beers with your bib – I shared mine with Bradley, as 2 beers was way more than enough for me on an empty stomach!
After enjoying the music and our beers, we walked back to our hotel and headed home. We did stop for some treats on the way home and of course I wore my medal the entire time!
Overall, I really liked this race weekend. The expo was good, with lots of affordable Shamrock specific merchandise. The course was flat, and the views were varied. The spectators and volunteers were amazing. And personally, I ran an awesome PR that didn’t feel super strenuous – a big confidence booster going into these last 2 months of marathon training!
Would I do this race again? Absolutely! But next time I want to attempt the Dolphin Challenge [8K + Half]!