Shamrock Half Marathon Race Recap – 1:35:56 PR

I mentioned the Shamrock Half Marathon in my summary of my Boston training, but since I wasn’t blogging at that time, here is a full recap for you…

After 6.5 years, I finally have a new half marathon PR!  My previous PR (1:37:10) was from the Columbus Marathon in 2008, which I ran with 3 other girls from UD.

I told my coworker who manages our events that I wanted to run a spring half marathon as a warm-up for Boston.  So it worked out that I was able to travel to Virginia Beach for the Shamrock Half Marathon.  I worked at the expo for the 2 days previous to the race, which I was a little nervous about because that meant being on my feet all day long.

I managed to get in 2 short runs (on Thursday evening and Saturday evening) of 5 miles and 3 miles. Each one was on the boardwalk along the ocean which was a great change of scenery, but it was also rainy and dreary during each.  Not exactly beach weather.   My 5 mile run on Thursday night worried me because I thought I was going along just fine, but I was struggling to hit a decent pace and ended up with an 8:17 average.  Just did not feel how I should 3 days before trying to PR.  I imagine I was just fatigued from the flight.

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Friday was a downpour, so I just got in a mile on the treadmill followed by some arm weights and core work.  Then Saturday evening was a 3-mile shakeout run after the expo ended.

OK, but now for the good part.  I was nervous for the race because it was going to be colder than I planned on, which meant I need to change up my race outfit.  Luckily I brought a long sleeve that worked perfectly underneath my UD shirt and a pair of compression socks that helped keep my legs a little warmer with the shorts.  I threw on an extra “throw-away” sweatshirt and jogged to the start line, still not knowing what to expect as far as how I would feel but was going to go with my race plan I had come up with, which was:

2 miles easy (not “easy” per say, but a more relaxed race pace); 2 miles hard; 1 mile easy; 2 miles hard, etc. til the finish.

This was actually the first time I wore my Garmin in a race I think.  Usually it would stress me out too much…and having to calculate my paces in my head at least gives me something to do while I’m running.  But I figured since I had this race plan, I’d use the Garmin and see how it works out.

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 The first 2 miles felt perfectly relaxed.  I was a little worried I maybe took it too fast because it probably just felt easy from the adrenaline of the race, but I think it worked out just fine.  Then my goal was to pick it up to 7:00 – 7:10 pace, so that was perfectly executed.  I was surprised I was able to hit under 7 minutes though, but happy with it.  I just told myself that I was pushing hard for those 2 miles and then I would get some relief.

After running those 2 hard miles, a 7:21 pace mile felt super easy.  But it was time to pick it up again before I knew it.  I hit those paces just as I planned, again a little surprised I was able to get a 6 on the watch (even if just barely…I’ll count it.)  I took it back down for mile 8 and that’s when I started to struggle.  I was doubting being able to pick it up fast again.  At this point we were on a military base, so there were no water stops.  I decided this was a good thing because if there was a water stop during that 8th mile, I would’ve stopped and been mentally really struggling to make myself start running again.

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There was finally a water stop right after we got off the base, so I took some water and walked for little while I drank it, but then forced myself to start going again.  I felt much better after this and gave a hard effort all the rest of the way to the finish.  There was no more distinguishing between “easy” and “hard.”  It just felt like I was giving it my all the rest of the way.

I was able to keep pushing those last few miles because I knew I’d be reallyyyy close to a PR as long as I didn’t crash and burn (a 2nd time).  Then I realized I could be under 1:36, so I really booked it in fast that last tenth of a mile.  Woohoo new PR!  And then I pretty much got straight on the plan to head home.

Do you generally try to run even paces during a race? Or just see what happens?

-For half marathons, I usually just go out and see what happens and try to run as fast as I can for as long as I can.  This was the first time I ever made a real plan and I guess that worked out well.

What is your longest-standing PR?

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