Due to our stalker issue I haven't posted in a bit. I didn't want to remind the crazy that Shane and I would be leaving our house mostly unattended for three days. Sorry about that!
Shane and I left Pennsylvania on Friday night after taking the kids to my mother's and then furiously packing our own belongings. Shane had booked us a room in Frederick, Maryland for the night and we made a fairly uneventful trip to that point. Saturday morning we were up bright and early to finish our journey to Virginia Beach for the Shamrock Marathon.
On our way into town we encountered a tunnel. Being from Pittsburgh this really isn't odd to me whatsoever. Shane, however, freaked out. Apparently a tunnel that runs under the Chesapeake Bay is much scarier than a tunnel through a million bajillion tons of rock. SMH!
Shane's Tunnel Face
Our first stop was the expo at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. It was pretty organized and we were able to quickly pick up our bibs, bags, and shirts. There weren't a whole lot of vendors and there wasn't a lot to see either. I was kind of disappointed but I told Shane it was better if we didn't destroy our legs walking all over.
After the expo we met up with our friends, Jenn and Dan, who were getting married the next day, AFTER running the Shamrock half marathon! If that's not a running match made in Heaven then I don't know what is! We hung out for a bit and caught up before Shane and I headed to our hotel.
Marathon morning dawned cold and grey. The prediction was low 40's, cloudy, and possible showers. I decided on my INKnBURN leaf shirt, a long sleeve tech tee as a throwaway, and my INB capris along with my Altra Zero Drop Superiors. I added some cheap gloves and my SPIbelt and I was ready to go.
I also wore an orange bracelet that says "Running for Jenny". Jenny is a very brave (and speedy) fellow runner who is battling cancer. Having her 'with' me throughout the tough points helped me to remember that my pain was minimal and limited in the bigger picture and allowed me to push through.We parked at around 6:30am a few blocks from the start and finish. We were right next to a grocery store so we took advantage of the warm and dry bathrooms several times while we waited for our 8:30am start. If you ever run Shamrock, arrive early or be prepared to walk several blocks (or miles) to get to your corral and car. We wandered to our corrals around 8am and met up with a couple friends before we all went our separate ways. I was in corral 3 and Shane was in 2 so I wouldn't see hime again until the finish.
There were seagulls everywhere!
A few minutes late we were off. I latched onto the 4:15 pacer with that being my 'goal'. I really thought I could do even better, maybe a 4:10. I figured a 4:20 was the worst I could do. The first few miles I relaxed into the 9:45-ish pace and waited for my body to warm up and everything to begin to 'flow'. Well it never happened. I warmed up enough that I removed my long sleeve shirt but didn't throw it. The wind was finicky, changing directions and alternately freezing and soothing me.Miles 1-5: 9:56, 9:50, 9:34, 9:38, 9:46I continued to shadow the 4:15 pace group intermittantly chatting with fellow runners. I found out I was running with a fellow Pittsburgh runner plus a friend of mine from Twitter. That was pretty cool! We talked about our goals and I voiced my desire to run a 4:10. Maybe I jinxed myself.Miles 6-10: 9:43, 9:34, 9:51, 9:43, 9:39Around mile 10 we entered the boardwalk. I thought this would be my favorite part but I think it was actually the opposite. There were 15 MPH winds blowing sand and salty mist in my face and the ocean looked cold and grey instead of warm and inviting. Not exactly the way I'd envisioned beach running. I stayed on pace with the 4:15 group but I wondered to myself if fighting the wind was a good idea. I tucked in behind two taller runners and hoped it would save some much needed energy for later.Miles 11-15: 9:40, 9:32, 9:44, 9:37, 9:34I crossed the half in 2:08 and my legs were already dragging. I started drinking at mile 14. Yuengling, Guiness, whatever was being offered by spectators, I started tossing back. Thankfully I have a stomach of steel but no amount of carbs and alcohol could put the missing bounce in my legs or lift my flagging morale.Around mile 15 I started thinking I should start taking some walk breaks. I took a minute at a water stop to walk, take a GU, and drink a little bit extra. I had a little trouble catching up to the pace group and I got the feeling they were beginning to speed up. The pace group leader confirmed my suspicions less than a mile later when he stated he was a little behind and wanted to make up some time. I quickly realized a 4:15 may not be in the cards for me on such a craptastic day. I figured a 4:1x was still doable so I didn't fret too much though.Miles 16-20: 9:54, 9:34, 10:55, 11:45, 9:47Around mile 18 I fell off the back of the pace group and I couldn't catch them. I was running a 9:20-ish pace and they were pulling away so I quickly gave up. I took a longer walk break to try to get my legs to wake up. It seemed to help a little as I was able to see a 9:4x pace again for mile 20 but that was the end of my energy.Miles 21-26: 10:57, 12:45, 12:20, 11:48, 12:04, 11:04Last .2 (.42 according to Garmin): 10:43 paceThe last 6 miles I was absolutely dying. My legs were like lead. I would force myself to run a half mile and then I would walk for a minute. An 11 minute mile felt like 9 minute mile effort. I had a weird ache in my chest and I started envisioning dropping dead just shy of the finish line. I told myself I would find some way to make it across before I let death take me. People were passing me left and right. I was getting more and more upset every minute but when the 4:30 pacer passed me I totally lost it. I started sobbing right there on the course somewhere between miles 25 and 26. I managed to choke it back after a minute and chase him down. I got in front of him for maybe a quarter mile and then I fell apart all over again. I finally came back onto the boardwalk and I bargained and pleaded with my body to just let me hold on to a little dignity and make it to the finish line without walking. Thankfully it cooperated even though I could feel every step was more of a lurch and I wasn't looking fast or smooth. The finish line never seemed to draw nearer until suddenly it was actually there and I managed to take the last few strides across it. And then I moved to the side, fell on the ground, and bawled my eyes out.
A very nice volunteer named Ken picked me up and handed me a kleenex. I sensed he was about to drag me off to the medical tent so I quickly explained I was just upset with myself and that I had trained much harder than my time showed. He still wouldn't let go of me but he walked me through the medal line, Gatorade table, and bananas before I finally was able to reassure him enough that he let me go in peace. I appreciate his concern looking back but at the time I really just wanted to be left in the sand to fall apart and process the complete reversal of fortunes.
In the end I was happy enough. Marathon number 6 was over and I finished in 4:33:02 which is an official PR of 1:03. I know I can run a much better marathon and I just had a bad day on a tough course. Apparently pancake flat is tough for me. I am more sore then after Baltimore or Marshall University. I know that I will do better when the weather improves and I'm not fighting a sinus infection and I don't have two kids with the stomach flu at home asking for me. I know that fighting sea winds didn't help anything either. I also know that there's a big PR just waiting to happen and now it will be even bigger because I have more time to train. Running is good!
6 states plus D.C. checked off!
3/17 Shamrock Marathon
4/20 North Coast 24 Hour
7/27 Burning RIver 100M
8/24 Baker 50M
10/5 Oil Creek (distance to be determined)
Brands I Heart:
Altra Zero Drop
Congrats on the PR!
PRs: 21:35 (5K); 1:46:46 (HM); 4:30:46 (FM)
Congrats! And nice race swag!
13.1: 1:45 | 26.2: 3:55
Congrats on the PR! It was a rough day to run a marathon, and the boardwalk area was particularly brutal. Great job!
Hey, at least it was a PR. Nice job getting it done. I'm sure the next one will be a much bigger PR and hopefully more enjoyable race.
Nice banshee! A PR is a PR in my book. Where in PA are you?
PR's - 5K - 20:15 (2013) | 10K - 45:14 (2011) | 13.1 - 1:34:40 (2013) | 26.2 - 3:40:40 (2014)
thanks all. I know I will do better next time!
it's a PR!!!! And a box full of mental ammo for the next PR. Sounds like your gonna like it more and more with time.
PR's : HM 1:51:15 - 5K 21:27
Great job Banshee. Congratulations on a new PR.
PRs: 47:54 (10K); 1:46:36 (HM); 3:50:52 (FM)
Recovering from injured knee (PCL/Lateral Meniscus)