A Belated Race Report: Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon

Last Sunday, I ran my eighth half marathon–the Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach.

We came up on this on the beach near the finish line area the day before the race just as the guy was putting the finishing touches on it.

I’ll just cut to the chase.  While I did PR with a time of 2:13:20, I did not have the race or the outcome I had so hoped for.  So that’s how the story ended.  Now let’s start at the beginning.

It was a long haul from West TN to Virginia Beach.  I was pulling out of the driveway at 6:15 Friday morning, and D pulled us into the parking lot of the hotel almost exactly 15 hours later.  (We split the driving in half–5 hours me, 5 hours D, 2.5 me, 2.5 D.  That helped break it up some.)  We did nothing that night but check in and hit the hay.

The next morning I woke up and hopped in the shower because we had plans to meet Michele and her family at the expo as soon as it opened at 10:00.  When I got out of the shower, I could hear all kinds of hootin’ and hollerin’ outside.  I got dressed and stepped out on the balcony to find this going on right outside our hotel.

It was the 8K!  I had no idea it was running past our hotel or I would have been down there cheering them on!

So then we headed to the expo.  I’ll tell ya, the Days Inn we stayed in might not be fancy, but it was in the perfect location.  Ocean view, right on the strip and boardwalk, and within walking distance to everything–expo included.  We walked just a tad over a mile to the convention center and we were some of the first ones there.

No wait line for the packets, no waiting at the Solutions desk (so I could change corrals so that me and Michele could start together), and easy maneuvering around the booths.  Perfect!  I was super glad we got there early because by the time we left over an hour later, the crowds had already started filing in and things were starting to get tight.

The rest of the day was spent just knocking around the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area.  Among other things, we walked down to the boardwalk to scope out the finish area.

They had already set out the food, water, and finishers’ hats and hoodies.

Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the hotel, get everything ready for the next morning, and turn in.

The outfit!

With the Irish mani as the final touch. 🙂

Five a.m. came way too fast, but it was just enough time to get up, get dressed, and walk to the corral for a 7:00 am start.

I fired my photographer.  He took this at the start and didn’t even get one at the finish.  Many thanks to Brightroom for the only proof that I was at this race.

Eventually corral 3 crossed the start line, and we were off.  The first couple miles felt effortless, and we kept having to reign ourselves in to keep from running too fast.  However, that feeling didn’t last.  Just to put it bluntly, that flat course beat the living shit out of me.  The course’s elevation chart showed that there was an ever-so-slight uphill grade for the first half and then back down the last half.  Well, damn, that first half I was thinking, “Man, I didn’t think I’d feel that slight of a grade!  If I feel it going uphill, I’ll be coasting downhill to the finish!”  NOT. THE. CASE.  I never once felt a downhill grade.  I guess after you run on flat for so long, it all starts to feel like an uphill battle.

We did fantastic for the first 8 miles.  At the water stop at about mile 8, we walked for just a minute to get something to drink and for Michele to grab her Chomps.  (I had been fueling with Shot Bloks as we went along.)  When we picked back up and started running again, we were still at a 10:01 average pace–dead on for my 2:10 finish goal.  And then from that point on, I watched it slip farther and farther away.  We never got our rhythm back. We ended up separating at mile 9.  Michele wanted to stop and walk again, but I was still hoping I could find my groove and recover.  (Remember, Michele is coming back from injury.  She had been running a max of 4 miles, then ran 9 once the week before the race.  So a huge KUDOS to her 2:18 UNTRAINED finish!)  Well, I never did find my groove.  I couldn’t get my pace back down to save my life.  My legs were toast.  My hammies and hips were desperately begging for a hill that never came.  I walked for a minute or so at miles 10, 11, 12, and even for 30 seconds at mile 12.6.  Right after that, we turned onto the boardwalk for the final stretch to the finish.  It was painful, but I picked it up to a sub 9:00 min/mile for that last half mile to finish in 2:13:20.

Note to self:  ALWAYS WEAR SUNGLASSES.  They go a long way in hiding pain.

So relieved to be done!
So, to sum it up, If I may steal a page from Adam’s book, while what I had hoped for was this,

what I ended up with looked more like this.

Quick, somebody call Guinness!  It’s the World’s Worst Race Photo EVER!  Even sunglasses couldn’t have saved this one.  It seriously deserves an award.  The fact that I’m even sharing it says a lot about my self-deprecating sense of humor.

So there you have it.  Overall the weekend was unbeatable.  I had a wonderful time with my husband and our friends, relaxed on the boardwalk and the beach (if only it had warmed up about 20 degrees after the race!), did a little shopping, and just had a glorious weekend away.  But if I’m being honest?  The race in itself?  Meh.  Don’t get me wrong, it was nice and all.  Great volunteers, great schwag, very organized… I just didn’t find that it lived up to all the hype.  The course was nothing spectacular, the spectatorship was spotty at best… I guess I just had it built up in my head to be something it wasn’t.  Maybe I’m just getting too old?  haha  I tried to take a nap after the race, but our hotel was too close to the finish line party.  I couldn’t sleep for the music.  So I figured, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!  I had planned to after a nap anyway.  We just headed down earlier than I’d planned.  I really wanted to enjoy the post-race festivities, but the Yuengling just did not sit well on my belly.  Every racer was entitled to four free beers, and I ended up tossing mine before I made it through the first one.  If that’s not a sign of old age, I don’t know what is! Or dehydration.  Or exhaustion.  Whatever.

Me, sporting all my finisher schwag.

So HM No. 8 is in the books, and I have one more shot at my goal this spring–April 21st.  I can only hope that it isn’t 90 degrees by then.  The way this spring has been going so far, I wouldn’t bet against it!

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One Week!!!

Exactly one week from today, I will be sporting this medal

Do YOU have a race medal that doubles as a bottle opener?

(hopefully with a new PR that is just as shiny and awesome) and partying it up on the sands of Virginia Beach.  To say I’m excited about this race is an enormous understatement.

  • It’s a weekend away for the hubby and me.
  • It’s on the beach!
  • I’m running with the most awesome friend and running partner a girl could ask for.
  • We are both UNINJURED and HEALTHY!  (Although her goal of a sub-2 has been put on the back burner until the fall because she is just coming back from a knee injury after the Richmond half.)
  • The after party.
  • SOOOOOOO many more reasons!
I just keep looking through their Facebook page  getting more and more excited.  Shoot, I’ve already got most of my clothes and my race bag laid out.  It’s ridiculous, really, for a grown person to get this excited about dressing in green and running.  But I have no shame!  BRING IT ON!!!

Tuesday Tidbits – So many things, so little time…

  • I went from having NOTHING to say over the summer to having SO MUCH to say now but never any time to say it!
  • I participated in a 10-mile race at Chickasaw State Park last weekend.  I usually do a race recap, but this was simply a training run for me.  It doesn’t even warrant a post of its own.  The only thing I have to say about this one is HOLY HILLY HELL.  My legs and glutes are STILL feeling the effects of that one.  Oh, and I did have a little bit of a breakthrough during this race.  I discovered that when one gets hot enough, one WILL take their shirt off and run in a sports bra and not give a FLYING RIP what anyone thinks.
  • D and I are flying through Weeds on Netflix.  AWESOME show.
  • I fell off the vegetarian wagon Friday night.  We were invited to a friend’s house for dinner, and there were ribs.  RIBS, Y’ALL.  Ribs that had been in the Big Green Egg since like 1:00 that afternoon.  Ribs that I was watching everyone else eat.  Ribs that were falling off the bone.  It was torture.  And I ultimately caved and ate the living shit out of some ribs.
  • Today is my 32nd birthday.  🙂  I hate when my birthday falls in the middle of the week!  I had planned on taking today off like I always do, but those plans fell through when HR scheduled my fill-in for out-of-town training this week.  BLAH.  This is the first time I’ve worked on my birthday since 2006.  Not that I had any plans or anything.  But that was kind of the point.  We’ll do something this weekend, although I have no idea what yet.  In the meantime, I’m gonna try to sweet-talk the hubs into a birthday massage tonight.  🙂  That man missed his calling.  He gives the best massages!
  • Over the weekend, I got online to register for the same Cupid’s Chase 5K that I ran last year.  And then I saw that the registration went from $20 in 2011 to $35 in 2012.  Seriously, a 75% increase????  And that’s if you pre-register!  If you register on race day, the fee is $50.  FOR A 5K.  (For a point of comparison, I paid $55 to run a half-marathon in the same city last year.)  I find that ridiculous, and I told them so.  Needless to say, I didn’t register.  I understand that it’s for a good cause, but come on.  Every 5K I’ve ever run is for a good cause (Lion’s Club, local high school track team, fundraisers for a specific family in need), and I’ve never paid over $20 for any of them.  If they’re trying to raise more money, it seems like this is a little counterproductive.  Seems to me like a fee that high will scare off more runners than it will entice.  It’s a total bummer, too.  I’ve really been looking forward to running that race again.  
  • There was a picture of the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon finisher’s medal posted on their facebook page yesterday.  I can’t wait to make it mine!  It doubles as a bottle opener and has a detachable pendant.  BRILLIANT!
  • I’m kind of obsessed with Chobani’s new flavor.  Who needs birthday cake???
  • Remember back when everyone was having problems with blogger deleting posts just being all wonky and stuff?  I never had any problems then, but blogger sure is pissing me off  now.  After  I hit the “publish post” button, it MIGHT publish within the next day or so.  It SHOWS as being published, but I had a sneaking suspicion that it wasn’t actually publishing, so I “followed” myself.  And sure enough, it’s not showing up in the news feed for seeeeeeeeeeveral hours.  I’ve got this one scheduled for 6:00 am Tuesday.  Let’s just all see together when it actually shows up, shall we?

Luck of the Irish?

Okay, so I’m not Irish, but I sure am feelin’ lucky and this IS the SHAMROCK Marathon we’re talking about here…

A few weeks ago, the fabulous Amanda was doing a giveaway for an entry to the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon or Half-Marathon.  I entered the giveaway, as I so often do, and didn’t give it any more thought.  I never thought I’d actually stand a shot at winning!

Skip ahead a couple of weeks.  While I was in Virginia at the Richmond expo, we overheard the girls at the Shamrock Marathon booth telling people that the half would probably be sold by the end of the month.  We decided if we were going to run it, we’d better register quick!

So I registered.

Skip ahead a couple more weeks.  I see this comment from on one of my posts.

No freaking way!

After I finished kicking myself for already throwing down $101.50 to register, I checked with Michele and found out that she HADN’T registered yet.  So after a couple of emails with Amanda putting her in touch Michele, TAH-DAH and MERRY CHRISTMAS, MICHELE!  🙂

Let the race outfit planning commence…