2015 Shamrock Half Marathon Race Recap Part 2

March 26, 2015

Missed Part 1? 2015 Shamrock 8K Race Recap.  It has been fun reading everyone’s recap/account of the weekend through the linkup.

The 8K was held on the most beautiful Saturday.  The post race festival/tent was on the beach and temperatures were in the 60s by the afternoon.  Below is the King Neptune statue basking in the sun (random….I always think of King Triton from the Little Mermaid whenever I passed the statue).

Following the race I headed back to the hotel to get ready for my volunteer shift at the expo.  I was running late and thought I would forgo a shower….but quickly changed my mind.

Expo / Volunteering

I made my way back to the Virginia Beach Convention Center around 10:00am (luckily my hotel parking garage does not exit on Atlantic Avenue – which was closed off for the race).  The parking lot was packed, but when I entered the expo it wasn’t too crowded.   Apparently there was a Mary Kay Convention (no wonder there were so many pink cars) and a Craft Show held in the center as well. 

Mar came by the table after she picked up her half marathon bib, and KathrynKathleen and Preston also made a visit when they returned to the expo for wrist IDs – nice to have visitors! Towards the end of my shift I was able to meet Bart Yasso, of Runner’s World fame.  He was posing for pictures at our booth prior to his speaking session later in the afternoon.

Pre-Race Dinner

After my volunteer shift I headed back to the hotel and sat on the beach for an hour or so.  It was still chilly, but the sun felt nice. 

Then I made the short walk to Mannino’s Italian Bistro, where I met Mar for a carbolicious dinner!

I ordered the baked penne with bolognese sauce – so good! I also had a cup of the award winning crab soup, that was delicious as well. 

Post dinner selfie.

Image: Courtesy of Mar

Race Goals (“A” least probable and “C” most probable)

As described in my 8K race goals, I planned to go for a PR during the 8K and see what I had left in the legs for the half.  Here were my half goals:

  • A – Break 2:35 (11:49 min/mile)
  • B – Break 2:40 (12:12 min/mile)
  • C – Break 2:45 (12:35 min/mile) 

I did not think I was in shape to PR the half (my current half PR is 2:33:32 from last year’s Philadelphia LOVE Run Half Marathon) and my confidence was iffy.

Shamrock Half Marathon

The half marathon started at 7:00am, so an early wake up call it was.  Once again I ate a banana, honey stinger waffle, and drank some water.  I did not dress up in costume, but I went with green to go with the Shamrock theme (I realized I’ve been wearing the below shirt for so many of my races this past fall/winter, it will change up once spring arrives haha).

The half start was about five streets north of my hotel… it was a quick walk.  I did not check a bag, but all the UPS trucks were neatly labeled with a corral number.  I met up for a J&A Ambassador photo and made my way to my corral (after not finding another meetup location).  I saw Julie for a few minutes.

A pre-race picture with Kathleen and Kathryn, my corral buddies for the weekend!  We were discussing goals and Kathleen and Kathryn were very encouraging – a PR was possible for me (since I’ve been a bit fixated with a 2:30 overall goal, which is 11:27min/mile, I didn’t do the math for me to break my current PR of 2:33, which would have been 11:43/min).  I figured I would see how my legs would feel for the first few miles. 

The half start stretched both side of the road – plenty of room to start.

Another out and back course, the route took us north along Shore Drive before entering Fort Story .  At that point runners rounded the cape before heading back south on Atlantic Avenue.

Image: Shamrock Half Marathon

Corral 7 before the countdown…3…2….1….we’re off! 

Miles 1-3 took us along the neighborhoods of Shore Drive.  Regular neighborhoods…nothing too cutesy.  The course was super flat.

  • Mile 1: 11:41 (first glance at my watch.. I was on pace to split around 10:00…slowed down)
  • Mile 2: 12:02 (hmmm slowed down a little too much…legs are still heavy)
  • Mile 3: 11:45 (the sweet spot…but ugh the calves are still tight)

Following Mile 3, the course took us along the tree lined Shore Drive.  I thought the straightaway was a bit boring, but I found this portion of the course to be very calming. 

  • Mile 4: 11:56 (loosen up calves please)
  • Mile 5: 11:48 (legs are feeling better)
  • Mile 6: 12:00 (yessssss finally…legs are ready)

There were also several signs along this stretch of the course (another J&A fave of mine). 

Of course I had a few giggles along the way.

The trees of Shore Drive.  By this time I was getting a bit warm, but I kept on my long sleeved shirt.

Around Mile 5.5 we entered Fort Story where we were greeted by servicemen and women.  There were some slight slight elevation changes.  Around this time I thought…..Kathryn and Kathleen were right… a PR was within range, I wish I pushed it a little more.

  • Mile 7: 11:25 (feeling good)
  • Mile 8: 11:46 (just cruising)
  • Mile 9: 12:02 (liking my consistent splits)
  • Mile 10: 12:04 (ruh-roh legs are not feeling too hot again)

Then I saw the lighthouse, which I became very familiar with after reading Tracy’s blog (who ran the Shamrock Marathon this past weekend with an amazing PR).  During this approach there was a slight incline – for the half not too bad….for the full (this would be in the 20s) I could only imagine how steep it felt. 

Following Mile 10, my legs were not feeling too hot, so I did 2 minutes of running followed by 30 seconds of walking – which helped alot. When I approached Mile 11 my watch ran out of room (I used a Chrono watch instead of my Garmin) to store the lap. Below were my last few splits based on memory.  

  • Mile 11: 11:56ish
  • Mile 12: 12:00ish
  • Mile 13: 12:00ish

Once I entered the boardwalk for the final stretch I saw 2:31 hit – based on the amount of distance left I knew I could not sprint the final section to PR.  Hmmmm…I could go for a second best time (which I thought was 2:36)…..I cruised a little bit towards the end (I should have sprinted) and finished with a time of 2:35:57.  I thought “yesss second best….not bad on tired legs” Then I went onto my website to check my Rock ‘n’ Roll Half time from last year, 2:35:03….oops, ok this was my third best time then.  We made our way through the medal chutes (thanks to Christine for volunteering) and we were handed our half medal, food, finishers hat, and beach towel.  

I picked up my dolphin challenge medal here (which was towards the end of the finisher’s chute).  Dolphin challenge runners had a different bib, which is how volunteers differentiated between the runners. 

I found KathrynKathleen, and Sarah and was so happy to hear how their races went (two huge PRs by Kathryn and Kathleen). 

 Image: Courtesy of Sarah 

My half medal! 

My dolphin challenge medal! 

Happy to be finished! 

And of course…had to show you the beach towel and hat 🙂 

Final Thoughts

  • I like early start times in general so a 7:00am half start was perfect (I like having the rest of the day free).  The marathon runners started at 8:30am.  If you participated in the Neptune Challenge, runners had the 8K + Half + Full (you had to finish the half in 1:50 in order to move on to the full).  
  • Again, a nice quick walk to the start.  
  • A really nice flat course.  Not the most scenic, but not horrible. 
  • There were water stops maybe every 1-1.5 miles.  Perks of sharing the course with marathoners (they followed our course for the second half of the marathon). 
  • I forgot which water station, paper cups were all over the middle of the road.  I wish runners discarded them to the side… that is more of an education thing (as well as not stopping).  There were some water stations that were on both sides of the road. 
  • Approximately every 15 streets = 1 mile (kept me occupied towards the end)
  • Thank you volunteers (who were outfitted with ponchos). 
  • Mile 10 there was an Oreo/cookie stop…and some people were giving out Flav-Or Ice.
  • Happy that my splits were pretty consistent…I wish I pushed it a bit more.  
  • RWB handed out oranges, which was a really nice treat.  
  • Great medals and swags once again – this was my first beach towel post race.  
  • I heard from a few friends the runner tracking was not working, too bad.  
  • There was a post race festival, including a beer tent.  
  • Loved seeing people lined up for the PR bell, including all the photos that were posted on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

I had an incredible weekend and will likely sign up for the Dolphin Challenge again.  This half helped me confidence wise, and proved to me that I was not as out of shape as I thought I was….I think I was more mentally out of shape.   In hindsight, I probably was capable of a PR…lesson learned.  

Since I have not posted a post-run treat in awhile…here is one from the weekend! 

Disclosure: As a J&A Ambassador I received a complimentary race entry.  All thoughts and opinions on the blog are my own.

Do you have a favorite race sign? 

Did you ever have a race in which it turned out better than expected? 

Interested in more Shamrock Weekend fun? Check out the 2015 Shamrock Race Recap linkup below, hosted by J&A Ambassadors Nan, Sarah, Lindsey, and Jennifer.  

  • If you wrote a 2015 Shamrock Race Recap  (spectator and volunteer recaps are also welcome) feel free to add your blog post to the linkup.
  • Link back to the blog host(s) in your recap so your readers can find the list.
  • Love reading recaps? Here is a one stop shop for some Shamrock goodness!
  • Not a Shamrock related post? Linkup hosts have the discretion to remove your link.

Note: This linkup will be open until April 22, 2015.

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    1. Congratulations on a great race! It’s neat that you ran your 3rd fastest half ever on tired legs from the 8K (and also from standing at the expo, btw I think the pink car thing for Mary Kay is hilarious). This looks like a really well executed race, I love the signs on the course to keep people amused and also all the medals and cool swag you got. I understand the shirt thing too (I recognize that shirt from Charleston) bc I’m the same way- I like to look different in race pictures :).

      Awesome job taking on the challenge and good luck recovering this week!
      Amy Lauren recently posted…100: Head/Heart/Feet Film ScreeningMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Haha I am glad you feel the same way about shirts 🙂 Thank you for the kind words! It is nice when you see racing organizations improve from year to year on what has historically been a well executed event.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        I love those signs, glad I am not the only one that would appreciate them 🙂 The beach towels reminded me of the Richmond blankets, in that it was nice to have as a wrap following the race.

    1. Congratulations on your OTHER race, Jenny – whew! I can’t imagine running a challenging half marathon the day after running an 8K PR – you are a rock star! I love the picture of you on your new beach towel with your hat; so cute, and what great swag, right? Love this! Thanks for another great recap; I always feel like I’m there with you when I read these. 🙂
      Tara @ Running ‘N’ Reading recently posted…Smoke by Meili CadyMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        J&A races are swag heavy haha. I think if you participate in all their races you get a special gift mailed to you at the end of the year. Haha I could not resist the beach towel pic – such a blogger thing to do, right? 🙂 Thanks for the nice words!

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Mar, you too! Yes, hope you do the challenge next time 🙂 Hope the ankle felt okay during the 17.75

    1. Congratulations on completing the Dolphin Challenge, and on finishing a half on tired legs! That’s great that your splits were consistent, and it looks like it was a beautiful course. I am especially a fan of those jokes that they had posted along the course – definitely a nice pick-me-up when you’re running for so long!
      Gloria recently posted…Throwback Thursday: All Smiles EditionMy Profile

    1. Woo congrats on a great race! Loved hearing your all your thoughts, especially about the course. I’ve never been a huge fan of the course but I didn’t find it as boring this year as I have in past years, for whatever reason. You’re right, it’s not horrible, it’s just nothing special for the most part. I think the weather played a huge part in that this year, as it was the best the weather has been in the now 4 years I’ve run Shamrock, by far! Usually the weather on Saturday is gorgeous for the 8k, then it turns crappy on Sunday for the half and full. Huge congrats on making it through Fort Story! 😉 That’s a tough part of both races for a lot of different reasons – I always feel so much better one I pass that last gate!
      Tracy recently posted…Spring Capsule WardrobeMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Kudos to you! It was a pretty view though. Too bad about the weather the past four years. Congrats on the marathon. For some reason your comments get filtered into my approval box, I’ll have to ask WP to see if they can go straight through w/o approval.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Lacey! It was a bit chilly, but always happy to stop for some ice cream. Do you think you would do the Whale (8K + Full) or Neptune (8K + Half + Full) challenge?

    1. Congrats on a great race! It sounds like you did a great job and your paces were really consistent. I feel like we should run a race together – our paces are so similar when I’m fully trained!
      Kristen recently posted…My First Winter in AlaskaMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Kristen! I agree, I thought of you during the Love Run this past weekend!

      1. Run Jenny Run

        It was really nice to meet him and he ran with the 2:30 pace group! It would be nice to meet Meb one day as well.

    1. Nice work on the half. That finishing stretch along the boardwalk seems to go on FOREVER. I always hate it when you can see the clock ahead but it is like slow motion trying to get across the line while the seconds keep ticking. Amazing you raced both days. I can run two days in a row but to try to get PRs two days in a row isn’t in the cards. The fact you were that close is amazing!
      Kelli recently posted…Are you eating enough for optimal training?My Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Kelli! Ha you described it perfectly – felt like my legs were moving quickly but it was going so slowly.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Sherry! It was a fun weekend. Challenges are great, but not something I could do all the time 🙂

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Brittney! You should haha…one of my favorite parts 🙂 Perhaps you can do a fun one in front of the Chicago Bean?

    1. Great job on your race, Jenny! Looks like pretty decent conditions (thankfully no snow!) and a great time! I’ve never done a challenge like the Dolphin Challenge, but I’d be curious to try it out in the future.

      Looking forward to hearing how the Philadelphia LOVE Run went too!
      Jess recently posted…Optimizing My Health, Part IMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Very happy there was no snow! If I hear of any challenges in NorCal/SoCal I’ll send them your way!

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Kristina! Tend to have more in Mar/April and then Oct/Nov 🙂 Luckily so many of them are walking distance to my place and road runners has a very active (free for me) event schedule.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Jenn! I plan on re-reading some of your older posts on the metal aspects of running, I will need to pin them too!

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