Here in the Hampton Roads area, Shamrock Weekend is THE weekend for our wonderfully large running community. If you aren’t one of the over 20,000 people running, then you are usually volunteering, spectating, and/or cheering while sometimes handing out free beers to runners along Atlantic Avenue. As a runner, it’s easily one of my favorite times of the entire year, so much that I refer to the whole week leading up as Shamrock Week. Making these days even more special is that our youngest celebrates his birthday. Suffice to say, the excitement is brimming here in the Law household. We are all going to need a huge nap next week.
Thanks for permission to use the above photo of the finish line area set up Willian & Minday
This time last year I was coming back steady from yet another frustrating injury. I ran the Shamrock half and had a fun time with friends but I wasn’t able to race it (pic below). This year, things have changed. I had just started with a new coach and training plan that time last year, so the needed time to adjust has kicked in. I have completed an 8 week strength class that kicked my tail and kept up with the work. I’ve had a hiccup here and there but nothing the guys at Direct Performance could not handle in a matter of one or two appointments. If I combined my unplanned days off due to pains/sickness/travel/etc., I think it adds up to maybe 7 days in the cycle. That’s pretty huge for me as someone who has gone through cycles of months off at a time. The consistency is there. My mileage may not be in the 90’s like it was before my marathon PR but I have a good 18 weeks of steady, consistent training under my belt.
Honestly I do not have a time goal for Sunday. The pressure is off to reach some magical number and I feel a huge weight of relief in that, JUST RACE. My main goal is to be competitive for 26.2 miles. Another goal of mine is to try to negative split. I’ve had some fantastic races but I do not believe I’ve ever negative split a marathon. So with nothing to lose, the plan is to go out conservative (the OPPOSITE of what I did at Philly) and see where I’m at at mile 13-15. Everyone says the halfway mark is the 20 mile marker in a marathon but I say it’s closer to 18. Once you get there, it’s a grind no matter what. I begrudgingly did many a tempo on the hardest part of the Shamrock course so I have no excuses on race day.
What have I done this past week to prepare? My mileage has dropped considerably, in the high 30’s with Saturday off completely. Today being Thursday I will start adding more carbs to my diet and today is the last day I’ll be eating lots of salads and veggies to avoid stomach issues on race day (tmi?). I had one dry needling session which involved laying on a table with five needles up and down my left let. I swear it sounds awful but I love it. Some people love deep tissue massage, some love compression gear, I think the dry needling works miracles for me.
Also, earlier in the week I was grateful to attend a Shamrock Race Directors Chat with Amy & Jerry Frostick at Lululemon, Town Center VB. (pic above by Lululemon) We were given a fantastic list of tips and advice, like where to park, how long it takes each corral to start, and such. Myself, being the run nerd that I am, wrote down a million of their tips on their handout and later after viewing what I wrote down saw my own note to myself- “DON”T FORGET GELS AND HAIRSPRAY!” These are my priorities, can’t forget the hair 😉 Speaking of crazy hair, the weather is predicted to be not-so-perfect. As much as I feel for the spectators and our awesome friends who will be working on race day, not-so-perfect would be perfect for me. My friends and I have literally trained through every race condition- snow, sleet, rain, heat, and winds that would knock you over. Even with strong predicted headwinds, I feel confident that we are ready!
Alright guys & gals, I’m rambling but that’s what happens when you only blog once a month. For those interested, I am bib number 7. 007 is my lucky number (James Bond fan!) so I am thrilled to wear it. The marathon starts at 8:30 am on Sunday and I cannot wait to hear Leprechaun Bob (pictured below) to say my name as I cross that finish line as he has been doing for many years for as many runners as possible. Wishing all the runners an AMAZING day!! Very excited to see so many of you out there and meet a few new friends faces from out of town. Happy St. Patricks Day all!
What matters most is how well you walk through the fire. -Charles Bukowski