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Shamrock Marathon Race Recap

So, yes, Sunday I ran the Shamrock Marathon in VA beach. I went into the race weekend fairly relaxed.  I was, surprisingly, not that nervous about the race.  Unlike, my first marathon. Saturday, I walked all over with my family, ate well and stayed very hydrated.  I felt like I was doing everything I could to have a good race on Sunday.

I had no definite time goal or pace plan until Saturday either.  I really just wanted to PR, which I did not think would be hard to do.  I ran my first marathon in 5:08:10 on a very hilly course with an IT band issue that kept me running a very conservative pace.  Shamrock is FLAT, I had more miles under my belt and I was not injured.  I planned on maintaining a 10:50 pace (4:45:00 finishing time).

The marathon start was late, in my opinion; 8:30 AM (the half marathon started at 7AM and I think they wanted to give lots of time between the races so that the faster marathoners would not get stuck behind the slow halfers). Anyways, I woke up, took a shower (yes, I shower before spending 5 hours sweating!), and went down to get breakfast where I talked to some other marathoners.

Our hotel was about a mile away from the start, so I left the hotel at about 7:50AM and went to my corral.  Still, all this time, I was fairly calm!  And then we were off . . .

The first few miles were down Atlantic Ave and I ran past our hotel!  All my boys were out to cheer me on and I gave them hugs.  I was running about 30 sec. per mile too fast, but by the 4th mile I was able to slow myself down to my goal pace.

I won't bore you with a mile by mile re-cap.  I was feeling good during about 95% of the race and had fun.  Around miles 7 and 8 we ran through Camp Pendleton, a military reservation.  There were service men and women in their uniforms yelling, clapping and cheering us on.  I slowed down a little to high-five as many as I could.  So cool.

High-fives with my boy at mile 12
It was around mile 8 that I noticed a man and a woman, who had been doing a run/walk method too, run passed me again.  I noticed that we had been passing each other for miles.  So I decided to talk to them and ask them their goal time.  We started talking.  They said they were on track for a 4:30 marathon. I was shocked, because I knew I was running slightly faster than a 4:45 goal, but I did not think I was that close to a 4:30 marathon finish time.  They offered to let me run with them. We started chatting and I quickly found out that they were military and they homeschool!! How funny is that that out of 4,000 + runners, I start talking to two that homeschool!  Anyways, I ran a few miles with them before I realized that my pace was slowing. At first I thought maybe they were slowing for me, but as I tried to push the pace a bit, I noticed they started to lag.  They were both seasoned marathoners (who run faster normally) and I thought if they could push me to run faster that would be great, but I began to worry when they said they barely trained for this one.  When the man finally said that he needed to slow down the pace, I used that as my moment to break away from them.  I said I was going to pick up my pace a bit and thanked them for letting me run with them and I was off.

Running with my little man

Between miles 11 and 12, I got to see my family again and my boys ran with me a tiny bit.  After I left them, I was trying to get my pace back up after having several miles below goal pace (from running with the homeschooling marathoners . . . I do not regret it though, AT ALL!).  I was able to get my pace back up to goal pace until about mile 16 when I slowed again.  I was feeling good, but mentally I started doubting.  I was running a good race up until that point, and I think I just let myself slow.

Around mile 20, we were running on another military base, Fort Story.  We passed a cute little chapel of St Theresa and I asked for her intercession.  I picked up the pace again and ran a strong mile 20 and 21.  And I really did not feel tired exhausted until about mile 23.  It was cloudy most of the race, but somewhere around mile 21 the sun peaked out of the clouds and it felt hot!  I started to lose energy pretty quickly at that point.

But, I gave it my all at the finish.  I picked up the pace as much as I could for the last 1.2 miles.  And once we turned on to the boardwalk and toward the finish line I was so happy.  I scanned the on lookers for my hubby and kids.  I really wanted to cross the finish line with my boys.  But, when I found them, only my 5 yr old was adventurous enough to run the rest of the way with me, so K and I raced each other to the finish!  I finished with a time of 4:50:33, 18 minutes faster than my first marathon!
K and I racing to the finish

I got my medal and K put it on me.  That little boy is so sweet  . . . every bottle of water, banana and snack I was handed, he would take it from me and said, "Mommy, I'll carry it for you."  I got my finisher's hat and sweatshirt, seriously the best SWAG of any race I have done!  I met up with the rest of the family and we all headed to the after party.  We enjoyed some Irish stew and my husband drank my beer (I do not like beer) and we sat on the beach enjoying listening to the band while the boys played in the sand.  It was really so great!
Modelling my medal and new sweatshirt!

I am writing this post two days after running the marathon and I am still in the "marathon after glow."  I did NOT feel this after my first.  I was sore and miserable after my first marathon.  But, this time, even the following day, I felt good. I was sore, but only a little and walked miles with my family up and down the beach.  Today, I am not even sore anymore.

I am pleased with my time.  I felt good, but as with most of my races, I would not say that I really pushed myself hard.  But, more importantly, I enjoyed the race. I have memories from this race that I will remember because I took the time to give high-fives and to talk to other runners.  Things I would not have done if I were solely focused on my time.

Finally, I just have to say that I loved this race!  I would totally run it again.  The Shamrock marathon is flat, and fun.  There are DJ's along the course to keep up pumped up and moving.  There are beautiful views of the ocean.  The medal is nice and I LOVE the hat and the sweatshirt!  The biggest bonus of the race is that there was so much for the family to do while I was running the marathon, so I did not feel too guilty for running it!


  1. I am so impressed that you can run for almost 5 hours. After two hours of the half, I felt like I couldn't take one more step! And I was sore for two full days after! You did awesome, and looked so cute!!

  2. Congratulations!! Great recap :)

  3. Congratulations, so glad it was a good experience all around!

  4. Whooohooo! Amaaaazing PR! Way to go! Revel in the post marathon glow a little longer. I love that your son ran with you to the finish and carried all of your goodies and put the medal on you. (Kinda choked me up. ;))

  5. So inspiring! Thanks for sharing all of this ~ I love that you connected with so many different folks along the way and think it's great that this was such a special thing for you AND included your family!

  6. Congratulations! Great job on the race!

  7. Love this race report and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that took time to enjoy it. Marathons are hard for me and I can't say that I have had a "good" one yet. Great pics, grea attitude and great finish! Congrats!

  8. Congratulations on your HUGE PR!!! Wow, you really did great!!

    It's funny, my second marathon experience also was much better than my first.

  9. Achieving your goals is always a great pleasure. I used to be a runner and fitness fan for a long time, and recently I've stumbled upon a very interesting blog with plenty of useful info for the athletes ( I've read there about the pre-workout supplement (Navy Seal Formula), which I am still taking, and experiencing great results in my physical capacities and shape.


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