Shamrock Race Weekend Recap

This past weekend is easily one of my favorites year after year. For one, its my youngest childs birthday and two, its Shamrock races weekend. Shamrock, in my opinion, is the big kick off for Spring in Virginia Beach. Most people are aware of the half and full races but there is also an 8K, Final Mile for kids, and the cutest Leprechaun Dash you’ll ever see making the whole weekend a family fun celebration complete with an after-party in a huge tent on the beach (band and beer too!).

Friday I was lucky enough to be one of the elites asked by J&A Racing to speak at a local elementary school pep rally. The kids in this school have been training for the Final Mile and enthusiastically raising money for Operation Smile.  Hearing their stories, seeing their excitement, and learning the “ice cream & cake” dance meant more to me than I’m sure my appearance and little talk did for them. I’m always so focused on the goal oriented aspect of running, that while I try to be a good ambassador, the social & community side sometimes evades me. This was a huge reminder that while PRs are great, the things people (and you) will remember the most years from now are the friendships and smiles made. The other speaker for our pep rally was Joanna Zeiger, last years Shamrock Marathon winner and, no big deal, but she’s also an Olympian.  Big thanks to our coordinator, Jess Horton, for introducing us so graciously. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the three of us, but here is one of Joanna, a friend Justin Turner, & I right before the Shamrock Half. Justin also spoke at another school.

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Myself, Justin Turner, Joanna Ziegler pre-race.

Sunday morning I picked up my friend and training partner, Megan, at 5:40 am and we headed to the oceanfront as we were both entered in the Half marathon.  I think I may have mentioned it before but this was not a race for me. The Boston Marathon is a month away and with my calf only 90% healed, now is not the time to risk restraining it so the plan was to run for fun. I thought it would be difficult for me to see friends racing while I was running, but honestly it wasn’t.  I ran the first half with friends while we chatted, then after we got separated I seemed to run from pack to pack to talk to friends along the way. In one group I found Hollie.  I was laughing because she had a whole pack of runners laughing and chatting along with her. She’s like a really speedy running party.

There is not much to recap about my race. I did not wear a watch and later my coach pointed out that I ran 10 miles at sub 6:50 pace while having fun. With the amount of cross training I’ve been doing, I’ve been questioning my own fitness, so that was nice to hear. I may not be in the shape of my life for Boston, but I’m not at my worst either. We are making the best of the situation and I’m still a little a lot on cloud 9 about my Boston bib so nothing is stopping this smile. My finishing time for the Shamrock Half was 1:31:33 for 48th female.

We rocked Shamrock!

We rocked Shamrock!

After my race, the real fun began. All of us halfers celebrated briefly then the cheering for the full was underway. Shamrock brought in an amazing elite field on both the mens and womens side.  Also, two of my good runner friends made their marathon debuts. Ben D. and Kellie both killed it!! Kellie’s recap is worth a read so check it out. I got a little sunburn out there cheering even with the new hat we received at the finish line.

Myself, Shamrock Co-Race Director Jerry Frostick, & Kellie after her 3:16 debut! Look at the huge sand sign in the background!

Myself, Shamrock Co-Race Director Jerry Frostick, & Kellie after her 3:16 debut! Look at the huge sand castle sign in the background!

Sunday afternoon, I was exhausted from the weekend festivities. I iced, rolled, stretched, and relaxed. I’ve been doing a bunch of reading during my rest time and thought I’d let you all know about this great new book. Runners World has sent me Meb Keflezighi’s new book called Meb for Mortals. It’s sooooo good! I don’t want to give anything away but here is the link to purchase- Meb for Mortals.  He touches on diet, mental game, stretching, & his own personal story…basically everything he currently does or has done to become the great Meb. Rarely do running books address how to feel or react when you prepare perfectly and DON”T meet your goal, Meb does in this book and I think every one of us can appreciate that. I know I do.

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Congrats to all the Shamrock runners!! I feel so lucky to have met a few of you this past weekend.  Enjoy that well deserved recovery time!!

Shamrocks & Unicorns

If you had asked me 10 days ago if I was going to be running the Boston Marathon, I would have replied with  a “maybe”. While my running life is going really well, because of a minor 3-4 week set back with my calf, I am not near where I had planned to be at this point, and with the end goal being a 2:43 marathon, “going well” is not going to cut it. I need to knock it out of the park. Then last Friday the below pictured email popped up in my inbox and I reread it about ten times while mumbling “Do they have the right Kristen Lawrence?”

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If you are friends with me on social media, (Instagram) then you’ll know I mentioned this was the best running related email I’ve ever received. That wasn’t an exaggeration. I have dreamed about standing in the Boston Marathon elite field, listening to the Star Spangled Banner, seeing Shalane Flanagan & Desi Linden take off, then later watch Meb and the rest of the elite men fly by me at low 5 minutes pace. (Elite Women start 30 minutes earlier than the Men). I really want this experience, I’ve worked so hard for it and I’ve earned it. So barring any unforeseen incidents in the next 38 days, I’ll be on that Boston Marathon starting line wearing a Running Etc. top, bib # F32, and a HUGE smile on my face. I may not be the speediest one there but I could argue that I might be the happiest. I can’t wait to take it all in, earn my third medal with a unicorn on it, and leave Boston with a better experience than I did in 2013.

Obviously that means I better be fit or get fit.  As I mentioned, running is going well. I think I have finally kicked this calf issue. I’m not running nearly as much as I was or as I wish I was, but I’m running. The majority of my time is spent cross-training and while I miss my miles, I’ve loved something different! I’ve always enjoyed indoor cycling, but the rower and elliptical have been keeping me busy too, plus strength work; which just destroys me, like I can’t finish the reps or have to adjust the weight/size/etc. There is some sort of strength every single day of training. One day will be squats, lunges, step-ups, and the following will be upper body focused. Tons of core work is thrown in there as well.  If I ever get a bit more organized I will write about it.

The additional strength work leads to one of the goals we have for 2015; to make me a better overall athlete instead of just a better runner, with the hopes that it will translate to a better marathon time through less injuries, additional strength, & speed. I’m putting my trust in this new program and will be patient that it takes time to get the results I want. Also, for the friend  that asked; for the first time in my life I can do 2 pull-ups! Four weeks ago I could only do 1/2 a pull up.  We haven’t been doing pull up specific stuff at all, just regular strength but we have a pull up bar that my kids love to play on and  I can get a little competitive with my 7 year old. <-He busts out 6-7 pull-ups in a row!

My next race will be the Shamrock Half Marathon.  This won’t be a “race” for me. We are still being conservative so it will be a quick long run to see where my fitness is at. I really can’t afford to take recovery time off and risk injury to race right now but Shamrock is a favorite of mine so a great workout in then cheering for friends during the full marathon is a perfect plan. I hope to see many of you there!!  This is a short blog post so I will leave you with some of my running photos from the past few weeks.

New gear from Running, Etc.

New gear from Running, Etc.

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Easy run, gorgeous view!

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Searching and analyzing bib numbers is one of my talents.

Thank you everyone for reading and for all your support lately. I appreciate it more than you know and hope to see a few of you at Shamrock & Boston!