A Simple Running Log

March 17, 2014

Shamrock recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:09 pm

Shamrock was a success!

I ran two good races this weekend, and have no new or old aches, pains or injuries. I’m pleased with how the whole running thing went, and I’m psyched to finally train for a race again. Two months to St. Michaels!

Anyway, back to this weekend. Clark and I left here around 2 p.m. Friday. We stopped first at 3rd Wave Brewing in Delmar to try their special St. Patrick’s Day brews, and to fill up a growler I accidentally took home from the beach house in Rehoboth that belonged to another Loop runner’s husband.

As soon as we got to Virginia Beach, we made a very quick stop at the expo so I could pick up my race stuff. We made it to the oceanfront beach house just in time to hitch a cab ride with everyone else for dinner at the Abbey Road Pub. A lot of other people from the Loop were staying in hotels closer to the race finish line. Eventually just about everyone from the Loop who was in town for Shamrock made it to Abbey Road.

When we got back to the house, Clark and a few of my friends who weren’t running the 8K on Saturday morning wanted to keep the party going. I think I held out until almost midnight before I finally had to go to bed.

Saturday morning was perfect for a run. Those of us in the house running the 8K posed on the balcony just as the sun was starting to come up:

8K prerace

Left to right: Jack, MJ, Steve, Mike, me, Caitlin, Ed and Brenda.

The race started on time at 7:45 a.m. I was seeded in the second corral, but I started in the fourth with MJ, Mike and Ed.

I don’t think I’ve ever run with someone who got as much nonstop love from the spectators as Mike did in his Superman costume. People loved him, and the cheering was infectious. I couldn’t help but smile pretty much the whole way. We saw a few more Loopsters out cheering around mile 4, and stopped to give them all hugs. It was a good time!

8K final stretch

Rocking the race shirt from the 2010 Shamrock Marathon, my only DNF. No hard feelings, Shamrock.

The four us tried to leap across the finish line together, but I haven’t seen that picture yet. I’m sure one of the pro photographers got it, but it doesn’t look like all the pictures have been uploaded to the website yet.

My chip time was 43:20, an 8:44/mile pace, which landed me in 66th of 793 in the F 30-34 age group, 342nd of 5,157 women and 1,046th of 8,310 total finishers. We later found out MJ finished fourth in her age group, missing the top three, and thus the awards, by about a minute.

We met up with everyone else who’d run the 8K, had a couple of free beers and then went back to the beach house, where Brenda and Ed made a big brunch.

That afternoon was gorgeous on the beach. It was almost 70 degrees, and clear and sunny. We sat out on the beach for a while. Unfortunately, there were zero waves, so Clark didn’t get to take out the surfboard he’d brought.

There were two small breweries near the house. About 10 of us visited them that afternoon.

Anyone who’s read any of my race reports knows I have a real problem with my digestive system when I run anything that takes longer than an hour. Usually I try to avoid things like beer, sugar, grease, fiber and caffeine the day before a long race like a half marathon, but I wasn’t about to pass up trying new beers because of a silly thing like a race in the morning.

brewery inside

Our group at the Young Veterans Brewing Company in Virginia Beach. Clark ducked down at the last second.

I had two pints at the Young Veterans Brewing Company and two more at the Beach Brewing Company right around the corner. We got back to the house in time for the big group dinner, where I ate white pasta, but had more beer, along with salad (fiber!) and one of Carissa’s homemade blondies. (Sugar!) I was almost 100 percent certain I’d have to stop to use the bathroom at some point in the half marathon, and 50 percent certain I’d wake up with a hangover.

Who cares, I was having fun! The early evening was just as gorgeous on the beach as the afternoon had been, and we all wound up down by the water after dinner.

Loop ladies making a pyramid.

Loop ladies making a pyramid.

loop ladies on the beach

I went to bed that night around 9. I had a hard time getting to sleep, and then I kept waking up during the night. I don’t know why, but I never got any good sleep in that house the whole weekend.

The alarm went off at 5:05 a.m. Sunday. I woke up without a hangover, much to my delight, and as soon as I got out of bed, my butt decided it needed the bathroom, which made me even happier. Of course, that’s never a guarantee that I’m not going to have to go again later during the race, but it was a good start.

Even though I’d tried it before without much success, I took two Imodium too. It couldn’t hurt, right?

I had an English muffin and a big mug of water for breakfast, and then everyone headed for the race. Sunday was much colder than the day before, and it was windy on top of it.

I’d never run the half marathon at Shamrock, which starts at 7 a.m., an hour and a half before the full marathon. I’m used to waiting around for a while before running, and starting after the sun has come up.

This time, I had to strip out of my sweats first thing so I could check my gear. We got to the starting corrals almost a half hour before the race started. That’s a long time to be shivering your butt off in the cold wind! There’s a point before just about every race when I wonder why in the world it ever sounded like a good idea. It’s usually when the alarm goes off, but for this race, it was definitely those 30 minutes when I was feeling the wind cut right through my tank top, capris and arm warmers.

It was finally time for the race to start. I couldn’t wait to get moving! Brian and I started in the first corral together, though he was aiming for a much faster finish time than I was. Someone performed the national anthem, the horn sounded and we were off!

I immediately felt better as soon as we started running. I should have just worn a long-sleeved shirt though, because I knew from the start I definitely wasn’t going to be adjusting those arm warmers.

Brian dropped me within the first quarter mile probably, and that was the last I saw of any of my running friends until the race was over, other than Jillian and Brenda, who were cheering around mile 11.5.

I wore my Garmin in a race for the first time this weekend, for both races. I didn’t pay any attention to it during the 8K, but for the half, I wanted to know my pace. Based on the sluggish, crappy 9-miler a few weeks before Shamrock and not as crappy but still kinda sluggish 11-miler last week, I was really not going to be surprised if I ran my slowest half marathon ever, slower than the 1:54 I ran in my first one back in Sept. 2009. That was an 8:46/mile pace. Just running sub-2 sounded like a huge goal for this race, and I sure hadn’t done myself any favors with all the crap I’d eaten and drank the day before.

I didn’t see the first mile marker, but I heard the Garmin beep: 8:12. Felt pretty good too.

Somewhere in the second mile, I passed a Team Hoyt wheelchair racer. A lot of them blast music through a speaker attached to the wheelchair, but this one was a little different. Instead of a pop song, there was some hardcore rap music. I heard a few “motherf—–“s, and would have thought I was just imagining it if the woman right in front of me hadn’t snapped her head to look at the wheelchair too haha. Whatever pumps you up!

Anyway, the second mile beeped in 8:21. A little slower, but still feeling good. Mile 3 sped back up a tad to 8:15.

In the fourth mile, I had to stop at port-o-potty, but only to pee. I don’t think I’ve ever before had to pee so bad I had to stop during a race, but there’s a first time for everything. There was a line of three port-o-potties on the side of the road with no line, and one opened up just as I ran up to it. It probably only took me about 30 seconds in there, because mile 4 was 8:44.

The next few miles were 8:06, 8:14 and 8:16. I was stopping to walk a few seconds at every aid station, so I could make sure I got some water down instead of just spilling it on myself, and I ate a GU at the aid station at mile 6. Other than that, I was cruising right along.

The eighth mile was when things started to suck just a bit. We were running through Fort Story, which is always boring, but now we had the wind in our faces, and a slight uphill to deal with. Miles 8, 9 and 10 slowed to 8:19, 8:25 and 8:17.

Running through Fort Story.

Running through Fort Story.

This is also where we pass a lighthouse. There’s always a photographer here. A couple of years ago, one of my friends ran this marathon, and didn’t even realize she’d passed a lighthouse until she saw the pictures, so it always makes me think of her.

lighthouse

Where’d that thing come from?

After we left Fort Story, we were back on the main road going back to the boardwalk. Mile 11 picked back up to an 8:13. Not long after I passed that mile marker, I saw Jillian and Brenda on the side of the road cheering for me, which was awesome.

I think it was during this mile I passed the beer stop, set up for runners every year by some locals. I stopped for a few seconds to gulp a small cup of whatever cheap (but appreciated) light beer they were handing out. Mile 12 was 8:22.

Well now I only had a little more than a mile to go! I sped up a bit as we made our way out to the boardwalk for the final stretch to the finish line. Mile 13 was my fastest of the race, 7:57.

I crossed the line in 1:48:43 by my Garmin, which said I’d run 13.16 miles, an 8:16/mile average. One of the reasons I’ve never raced with a Garmin is because I didn’t want to know how much extra distance I cover, since no one runs the course tangents perfectly, but less than a 10th of a mile isn’t bad at all. The 8K was similar; it’s supposed to be 4.97 miles, and the Garmin measured 5.02.

Something went wrong with my chip though. It claimed I’d run a 1:37:54, and had passed the 5-mile timing mat in 30:54, a 6:09 average pace. I’d set up Clark’s phone to get texts with my 5-mile and finishing times, so he was shocked to see those splits haha. I’ve never run one mile in 6:09, let alone five in a row!

I was really happy with how that race went. So happy, I even stopped to pose for one of the photographers to show off my medal:

half marathon finish

It wasn’t anywhere close to my fastest half marathon, but it wasn’t anywhere close to my slowest either, and best of all, I never had to poop! All day, people would ask how my race went, and the first thing I told them was how I didn’t have to poop. It’s been so long since I ran anything longer than a 5-miler without having to go to the bathroom, and it felt amazing! I guess the key is to drink as much beer as possible the day before.

Even outside the absence of gut troubles, the run itself was great. I haven’t run that far in three months! I don’t think I could have pushed myself to go any faster yesterday, but I feel like I can finally start training to do so again. I also couldn’t fathom the thought of still having another half marathon to go when I crossed the finish line, but I’m already working on picking a fall marathon because I know I can get back to that distance too. I hope to be in better running shape for the St. Michaels half in two months, which also happens to be the next time I’ll get to see several of my friends who were at Shamrock this weekend.

Anyway, as I walked through the finisher’s chute, I was given a new Shamrock finisher’s hat (gray this year), a finisher’s beach towel, water, Gatorade, a granola bar, pretzels, a banana and a sugar cookie. At the end, I got another medal for completing the Dolphin Challenge, the first year they’ve given extra medals for that, instead of mailing a pin a few weeks later.

Two finisher's medals, one Dolphin Challenge medal and both race bibs.

Two finisher’s medals, one Dolphin Challenge medal and both race bibs.

I had a pretty high bib number for the half, which worked in my favor after the race when I went to get my gear check bag. Most of the runners with numbers as high as mine were still running, so there was no line at the truck that had my bag. This was important because while I was comfortable when I was running, I quickly got cold as soon as I stopped, and I needed my sweats back. On the other hand, since most of the other runners had similar bib numbers as they were finishing, the lines at the other trucks got really long. Some people had to stand around in their wet running clothes for 45 minutes to an hour waiting to get their stuff back.

I’d brought an entire change of clothes for after the race. There were men’s and women’s changing tents near the gear check trucks. Nothing beats taking off a soaking wet sports bra after a run, especially when it’s cold like yesterday. I felt so much better.

I had originally planned to go out and cheer for the full marathon runners, but the warm beer tent just sounded so much better, so I went there instead with everyone who’d run the half.

Technically, we were only supposed to get four beers each, but it wasn’t hard to find a volunteer who’d look the other way and give us another one. I was in that tent for hours. As the full marathon runners finished and showed up in the beer tent, we just kept drinking. Other than the sugar cookie and banana I’d gotten at the finish, and a little bit of the beef stew they serve in the beer tent, I pretty much just had an extended liquid lunch. I was smashed!

Caitlin, me, Jillian, Brian and Allison.

Caitlin, me, Jillian, Brian and Allison right after we got to the tent in the morning.

And most of the whole group late in the day. My favorite part is the disapproving look on the face of the old guy on the right haha.

And most of the whole group late in the day. My favorite part is the disapproving look on the face of the old guy on the right haha.

Luckily, Caitlin doesn’t like beer, so she was able to drive home Allison, Brian, Jillian and me. As soon as we got back to the house, I crashed in bed. That was probably the best sleep I got all weekend.

I woke up a couple hours later feeling much better. I felt even better after I took a shower, and then we went upstairs, where I finally ate some dinner.

A lot of the Loop runners not staying at the beach house had come over for dinner, so I got to hang out with everyone again one last time. The better I get to know these people the harder it is to say goodbye to them after one of these big race weekends.

This morning, Clark and I got up early to leave. I wanted to get back home for a birthday lunch with my sisters, mom and aunts, and Clark wanted to get in at least a half day at work so he wouldn’t be charged for a vacation day.

It was raining in Virginia Beach, but as we headed north, we saw where it had snowed overnight. The roads were already pretty clear though, except for the Salisbury bypass. We didn’t have any trouble getting home.

However, my family had decided to hold off on the birthday lunch until Friday. Clark did make it into work, so it wasn’t a waste to drive home so early. Plus, I got to see Pepper, who wasn’t impressed with this late winter snowstorm.

Pepper said he's not getting off the couch again until all the snow is gone and it's at least 60 degrees outside.

Pepper said he’s not getting off the couch again until all the snow is gone and it’s at least 60 degrees outside.

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