So as you may have guessed by the title I finally got my new PR (personal record) for a half marathon. Its been a long time coming. I haven’t PR’d since last May. This was sweet on so many personal levels. Its been a long training road both physically and mentally for me. There are things I won’t discuss here but I was running this race with someone very special in mind and to that person I dedicate this race 🙂
After following the Train Like a Mother plan for Rock N Roll half marathon through the summer, I wasn’t able to PR for Rock n Roll back in September due to the extreme heat and humidity. Heck I was just glad I finished that one upright! So for this race I was on a bit of a mission, I found my pace group and my plan was to stay with them throughout the race.
In the end I was proud to get a new PR by 6 minutes!
The Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach put on by J&A Racing is one of my favorites. The course is flat and pretty…tree lined streets, not one but two lighthouses and an ocean boardwalk finish. It just doesn’t get better than that, except for maybe the weather.
Last year was P E R F E C T weather, this year, well…not so much. It was colder and a lot more windy than I had anticipated. I usually buy a throw away sweatshirt from the thrift store before a race (don’t worry they collect them and donate them to charity) and toss it once I warm up. But this year I wore that sucker until around mile 5 or so and then kept it tied around my waist after that. I am soooo glad I did because I had a sneaky feeling I was going to need it again when the course ran through Fort Story. And boy was I right! Although beautiful (that’s were you pass the two lighthouses and get an ocean view) these was a biting cold wind that just went right through you. So back on went the sweatshirt, good call.
After debating wether to do so, I stopped once for a port-o-pottie break but the line was sooooo long I finally gave up waiting and started running again. The woods were starting to look like the best option for a “rest” stop. Believe me there were plenty of people taking advantage of them…mostly men, lol. But I got so cold I forgot I even had to pee 😉
Unfortunately my “stop” also cost me the view of my pace group! Arghhh!! So I just began to run along at what I felt was a good pace to catch up. When we were getting ready to leave Fort Story (just before mile 10) the pacer appeared out of nowhere! *** Insert Angela’s singing here. *** He had looped back to inform us that we were still in good shape and that the group was slightly ahead of pace. Wohoo!!! That could not have come at a better time because honestly at this point I thought my PR was out of the question. So thank you pacer man 🙂 you sham”rock”.
After leaving Fort Story I picked up my pace and had my goal in my sites. I cannot tell you the renewed spirit that pacer brought me. It was like a shot of adrenaline, ok maybe the Honey Stingers Chews I had at mile 9 had something to do with it too, but I was feeling great! At around mile 10.5 there was a group handing out bagel pieces. An on the go snack, perfect that was also just what I needed, I nibbled on it for about the next half mile. Yum, salt and garlic! During that time I also ended up behind a very speedy slightly older women who helped me kick up my pace even more for most of miles 11 and 12 until I passed her. (Believe me she was kicking butt and passing people left and right!! Awesomeness.)
Around mile 11 I finally ditched my sweatshirt and I actually PASSED my pace group never to see them again! The finish line was sweet victory and my 6 minute PR. All the sweat, speed work and long runs had finally paid off. Ahhh, and the best thing was I totally found my happy pace. Both my girlfriends PR’d too! Alicia, pictured below, PR’d by 13 minutes! Wohoo!!
And yes I did celebrate with one of these 🙂
Speaking of celebrating, what could be more perfect than this years surprise finisher item? A Fleece Blanket!!! Since I ditched my sweatshirt just a few miles back it was like gold to me 🙂 for the after party and the walk back to my car.
J&A Racing Rocks!
Oh we also got gatorade, pretzels, shamrock cookies, bananas, granola bars, a finishers hat, beef stew and beer! (however I don’t eat beef or drink beer, but see what I mean about awesome!)
My only issues post race as far as physically is that my IT band on my right leg is causing me some knee issues. I will need to do extra stretching and be careful before my next race.
Next up Nike Women’s DC in April with Team in Training!
** Please note the views expressed are my own. I do not get paid nor am I officially affiliated with J&A Racing, Honey Stingers, or Train Like a Mother **
I just love them 🙂