Shamrock Half Marathon Race Review

Todays Workout-

5 miles easy- I have not done this yet and it’s going to be ugly. So sore!

Renee and I…..freezing but happy!

Yesterday I ran the Shamrock Half Marathon here in Virginia Beach as a Boston Marathon prep race. It went well and I could not have asked for a better race execution ….well maybe 8 seconds faster πŸ˜‰ I missed sub 1:20 finishing in 1:20:07. It was a 2 minute PR for me and an 8th place finish in a tough field so I will not drag myself down over 8 little seconds.

Race morning started early. I woke up at 4:45 to eat my usual breakfast- toasted, buttered everything bagel with large red Gatorade and loads of coffee. I put on my new green Running, Etc. singlet and green bunhuggers. The race is Shamrock themed and everyone goes all out for it. I was supposed to meet friends, Renee and Rob, at the starting line at 6:00 and I managed to be 10 minutes late trying to check & recheck everything I needed. Then during our warm up I realized I let my gel, sunglasses (crucial for blocking wind!), and lucky Twin Cities ear warmer in my checked bag. I left our warm up early thinking I could get the bag back…no luck! Luckily a friend lent me a gel but obviously I was feeling a bit squirrely with pre-race jitters.

None of the nervous tendencies mattered though. When the gun went off my mind immediately focused on executing a solid race. The Shamrock half course is perfect for that. It can be broken up into nice, even segments: 5K until we turn left onto Shore Drive, almost 3 miles until we turn right onto Fort Story, etc. The course is almost flat but the wind can be brutal. The race organizers J&A Racing gave the elite athletes a folder with course review and wind directions inside. It was such a thoughtful touch and it kept my mind busy during the race. I always had a small distance to mentally work on and never allowed myself to panic when the head winds were terrible (as they were) because that little course review had told me the wind direction would change. Little things like that can make a big difference.

The big starting crowd started to thin out just past the 5K mark. I hit that target on time but there was a strong headwind. I had the choice of slowing up and running alone or speeding up and running with a pack, so I sped up. Around 5K I found a pack of about 4 guys to work with. Despite trying we never could block the wind for each other along the Fort Story stretch (a military base along the beach with strong winds) but the pack allowed me to focus on maintaining a good pace. If I was alone in that wind I may have slowed but I forced myself to stay right with them and tried to take my turn leading too. We hit the lighthouses which are around the 8-9 mile mark and I could start to see two girls a few hundred feet in front of us. I kept my head up and eyes on them and slowly tried to real them in leaving my pack in the process. Whatever it takes to keep that mental focus. In the past I would have been hesitant to leave a safe pack of guy runners but I was feeling strong and brave. I passed the girls right before we turned left onto Atlantic Avenue and when the bands and crowd started cheering for us I couldn’t help but show a huge smile. I was working it and hurting but I knew I was heading for a big PR. My form was still strong and I was confident I could up the pace a bit. Coach Hadley had prepared me well. From Mile 10 on each mile was faster and faster. We did have the wind on our side but the faster pace was also do to all of Coach Hadleys reminders to practice negative splitting on each and every run. It is now programed into my mind and legs. I focused on the street signs, knowing we had to run from 77th street down into the low 30’s (33 I think?).

With two miles to go I KNEW I was cutting it close to 1:20. I was digging deep and my final sprint on the boardwalk to the King Neptune Statue finish line was as fast as I could muster up. I glanced at my Garmin and it read 5:25 during the last 700 meters. I gave it all I could so while I missed sub 1:20 by 8 seconds, I am thrilled to have run faster than I ever have by two minutes. I crossed the finish line and high fived a bunch of volunteers. I was so darn happy! πŸ™‚ I saw friends and hugged them, grabbed water, gatorade, pretzels, cookies, bananas, a Shamrock Hat, and a great finishers item…a fleece blanket. Perfect for a cold day at the beach. J & A Racing does races right. When I saw Renee and Hollie and learned they both PRed too, it was icing on an already great day. We took some pictures and I went to the post race party. Here are my final race stats and a picture of Hollie and I. I’m only wearing forty layers in that picture.

Post PR Happiness

Now it is time for me to rest up and focus purely on Boston. Thank you for reading everyone and thank you for your support!


24 thoughts on “Shamrock Half Marathon Race Review

  1. Congrats, Kris! I was anxiously tracking you yesterday and you KILLED it! You definitely earned that fleece blanket πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to see what you do at Boston


  2. Way to go! I think your practicing negative splits really helped too. Your time is amazing :). Plus it’s great that the organizers were prepared for elite or more serious athletes with the wind directions and stuff, I’m sure that eased your mind a little bit. Gotta hate headwinds!


  3. Congrats, Kris! You’re a fighter and a true inspiration! I opted not to race and stayed home to pace a friend in the RnR DC Half Marathon. She PR’d by 6 mins so I think I did a decent job! It was weird not being at Shamrock this year but I did NOT miss the wind a bit! Gaah Fort Story kills me every time! See you in Boston!


  4. I am so excited for you and such a well deserved PR! I never thought of the course in 5k segments but now that you mention it. I thought it was raining as first when we hit for story but then realized that it was water blowing from the ocean.

    Anyways-it was great to see you and Renee as it always is. I’m hoping to be back in this area this summer with a full time job (as I’m declining to renew my contract in Oswego working on campus). Then maybe we can run together! Anyways great job again!


  5. Great write-up. It’s good to know that elite runners go through the same pre-race crap I do. LOL. By your description, I could feel the intensity of your efforts, especially as they increased. Great effort & congrats on your 2+ min PR! That is huge! Then it was especially cool to see a friend in your pictures! I knew Holly did that race but didn’t expect to see her in another bloggers photos! How cool is that! πŸ™‚ Totally AWESOME! Congratulations to both you & Holly on your PRs! Thanks for sharing too!


  6. Awesome race and PR πŸ™‚ I PR’ed in the Shamrock marathon last year and YES, the winds can be brutal! It is so cool that you got a packet with info like that πŸ™‚ I agree that J&A Racing put on a good event. Everything was top notch! Can’t wait to see what you can do in Boston! I’ll keep my eye out for you!


  7. haha…gotta love how the runner logic is, “a HUGE PR…SWEEETTTT!” then right on the heels, “what the heck, those stupid single digit seconds are taunting me.” πŸ˜‰ glad u’re not gonna let those dumb 8secs damper u at all because a 2 min PR is awesome! great job!
    haha…hope those 5 miles weren’t too ugly. πŸ˜‰


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