Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Race Recap: Shamrock 8K

Time to recap the awesome weekend I had in Virginia Beach for the Shamrock Marathon events! I went into this trip with the mere goal of knocking off another state (#20!) and a much-needed getaway with my husband.  I tried really hard not to take the races seriously. What?! My running is not fast right now; I'm no where near my standing PR. I'm okay with that, but sometimes the time on the clock can overshadow the experience for me. Honestly, I felt like Virginia Beach was the first time that I was able to release myself from performance expectations and just be happy with where I was at.

We arrived in Virginia Thursday evening. (All four of our flights there and back were either delayed or cancelled. Travel was not the fun part of this trip.) Arriving in Richmond, we drove down to Williamsburg for the first night. It was such a cute historic town. In the morning, we walked around the downtown and university area. There were so many runners - since a large part of the roads were closed to vehicles. It seemed like a runner's paradise and my feet were itching to run there.

We took our time traveling the final leg into Virginia Beach, adventuring along some smaller roads. This is my favorite part of the #RaceAll50 quest... I enjoy getting outside the bustling cities and off the interstates to see the different countrysides and get a real feel for the area. We came into Virginia Beach from the north side, stopping at Fort Story to see the Cape Henry lighthouses.

We arrived at the race expo shortly after it had opened on Friday. Traffic and parking around the convention center was crazy, but I tried to remind hubby that we were on vacation; no hurries. Indeed, we took our time in the expo - nearly 2 hours! I'm usually in/out of expos because of the kids, but today we stopped and visited with everyone. Several of the races that I have earmarked for eastern states were there, so we talked with each of them in detail. I didn't plan on buying any clothing while I was there, but found some sweet deals and ended up with bags of goodies! We also happened to be the first people in line when they announced Yuengling beer samples...
Samples at the race expo was just the start. Beer became a popular theme for us on vacation...

After checking in at the LaQuinta hotel, we went in search of food since we had skipped lunch. We found an amazing seafood buffet... Not the best pre-race food, but it was perfect for two hungry travelers on a Lenten Friday!

I was having problems determining what to wear for the races. The temps were mild, but the wind was vicious (all weekend) and cold. I just couldn't shake the chilly feeling. On Saturday morning, I immediately grabbed the one and only long sleeve run shirt I had brought along. Our hotel was right by the 8K start, so I didn't leave my warm room until 15 minutes before race time. The sun was on its way up and I hurried over to the oceanfront to snap a few pictures of the gorgeous sunrise before jumping into my race corral.

I've run a lot of races - many who attempt to do corrals and fail miserably. J&A Racing, who hosts the Shamrock Marathon events, did an impressive job with their corrals and movement. The start was so smooth!!  I had planned on running the 8K with my husband, but he was unable due to a knee injury (He had surgery the day we got home). I lined up at the front of corral 7, which worked well for a nice start. My legs felt fresh and it was so good to run!

My goal for the 8K was to keep my pace around the 10 min/mile mark... in order to save something for Sunday's half marathon. I knew within a few blocks that I started too fast and reeled it back. For the first two miles, we ran south along Atlantic Ave, mostly hotels and tourist businesses.
Mile 1 - 9:34
Mile 2 - 10:00

At the end of Rudee Inlet, we looped around onto the oceanfront boardwalk. Oh-yeah! THIS is what I came for! It was a gorgeous sunny morning (and I wasn't cold anymore). This was exactly where I wanted to be!

It got a little congested along the boardwalk as people were stopping to walk. I don't mind walkers as long as they move to the side before they come to a stop. I weaved my way through and managed only one collision. I tried to relax, enjoy the ocean view, and soak in the sun. Shortly before mile 4, we zig-zagged back onto Atlantic Ave. The spectator crowds were big through this area so it was kind of fun. My posse of cheerleaders was waiting there for me there too...

 They had planned out the best race photo ever... photo-bombed by my own spectators! Ha!

The last mile was oddly the most congested of the run, as I was catching the slower folks of early corrals.  "What the heck, let's pick up the pace."  It's my own little quirk, but I love making the last mile of every run the fastest.
Mile 3 - 9:56
Mile 4 - 9:52

Mile 5 - 9:12

We turned the corner onto the boardwalk again, this time heading south - smack into the wind. The finishing stretch was pretty cool, lined with waving flags, spectators and the statue of King Neptune looking over us.

Official Chip Time 48:38
average pace 9:43
overall  #2230 out of 8310
F35-39  #151 out of 783
Females  #935 out of 5157

The first race of Shamrock weekend was done. I went a wee bit faster than my 10min/mile goal, but I felt good and happy. Somehow, I totally forgot about the post-party on the beach until after we were back at the hotel (Duh!).  Oh-well, I was able to use those beer tickets the next day.

If I were seriously racing this weekend, I would have relaxed the rest of the day to recover, hydrate and prepare for Sunday's half marathon. Instead, the hubs and I enjoyed our vacation time together. We rented bikes and tooled up and down the beach, stopping for drinks (the non-hydrating kind) and ice cream along the way.

After a fun afternoon, I was exhausted and ready for a nap. But there was no time for that! We hit up the pizza joint next to our hotel - sitting on the outdoor patio, listening to live music, drinking (more) beer and visiting with my dearly missed running pal.  It was perfect. Eventually, I grew tired and logic told me to go to bed.

The Shamrock half marathon was the next morning...


  1. We had an AWESOME time too!! Great after parties both days. I did see you early on Sunday morning, but did not want to bother you while you were talking to someone. :) I will definitely do this one again, my son wants to join me next time.

  2. sounds like a fun race esp running along the ocean.

  3. Whew... it looked like your foot was twisting in your photo bombed race picture!
    Great job!

  4. That looks like a fantastic trip and run! Great job ticking off another!

  5. It was awesome seeing you!!! There's just never enough time. I enjoyed every minute of it!

  6. Looks like you had a blast! I'm a local and I've rented bikes at the beach before - one of my favorite things to do. :)

  7. love that despite taking it easy, you killed your pace. Appears that the views were everything I pictured this bucket list race of mine to be!


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