Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Race Recap & Review: Shamrock Half Marathon

This post will recap the Shamrock Half Marathon. You can find my recap for the expo and 8k here.

Early on Sunday morning, Jen, my brother, and I woke up and started to get ready for the Shamrock Half Marathon. Our hotel offered a complimentary shuttle to and from the race area and we were registered for the five am bus. They would also be taking folks over at six and seven am. Since the race started at seven and we were a good 15 minutes from the race, we decided to take the five am bus to make sure we were there on time. 

I am WAY more awake than Adam... and that dude in green. 

After dropping us off a few blocks from the race, we headed towards a hotel lobby to warm up. It was significantly warmer than the day before but still windy and a bit chilly. 

At 6:30, we ventured out of the hotel so I could grab a photo with some other J&A Ambassadors. Then we made a quick pit stop at the port-o-potties and headed back to corral nine. 

Me, Jason, and Jenny at the start!

As we waited for our turn to start, we chatted about race strategy and the plan for meeting up afterwards. Adam and I would be running together and the goal would be just to finish. Jen was hoping to break 2:25 and I was confident she could do it on this flat and fast course.

We're all awake now!

He's a charmer, this one.

Before we knew it, it was our turn to start! Jen quickly ran ahead as Adam and I settled into a rhythm of 1:1 walk/run intervals. I was holding us back those first few miles- I wanted to keep us at about a 13:30 pace for a while and then try to pick it up a notch and get down to a 12 minute/mile pace. Most importantly, I just wanted us to both finish strong with enough gas left in the tank to finish. 

As soon as we started running through the neighborhood streets, Adam was shocked by all the spectators, signs, and beer stations. I'm pretty sure he took his first beer shot at mile 1.5 :-) 

Who doesn't like a good kegger at 7:30 am?!

We trucked along and got to see the front runners around mile four. It was so cool to see how damn fast they were moving! Around mile five I saw the coolest thing I've ever seen on a course- MIMOSAS!! Can I tell you how refreshing a little shot of OJ and champagne is while you're running? It's amazing. I highly recommend it for your next race :-)

Mimosas FTW!

We continued through Fort Story and kept our comfortable pace and 1:1 intervals. We also ran into Sid Busch (always awesome to see him on the course!) and met a nice man who kept helping us take pictures as he was running near our same pace. 

Lighthouses & Legends!

Mile 10 brought Oreos and more beer, mile 12 was Adam's longest run ever (we celebrated with a little dance!), and somewhere in there we heard my high school friend Laura and her son Jordan cheering for us! It is so awesome to see a familiar face cheering for you during a race. She was there with her organization wear blue: run to remember- you should check them out!

We just have such a rotten time at races ;-)

At mile 10, I asked Adam if he wanted to pick up the pace. He said yes so we kicked it up a notch. Our pace for the first 10 had been hovering between 13 and 13:30. Our last three miles were 12:01. 11:49, and 11:36. I am so proud that we were able to negative split and finish strong. 

After we crossed the finish line, I made a beeline for Christine from We Run Disney. I knew she was volunteering and I wanted to get my medal from her. I'm so glad I was able to get both my medals that weekend from friends- it made it ten times more special! Once we had the bling, we went to find Jen- who knocked her PR out of the park finishing in 2:23! I also ran into my friends Jenny, Kathryn, and Kathleen- all of whom had such amazing races! After some post race beers, pictures, and ringing the PR bell (new this year), we headed back to our shuttle- just a mere 20 blocks away.  Yeah, apparently this year instead of picking us up at the finish line, they picked us up at the Convention Center, a good mile walk from the finish line. Super fun. :-)

Happy finishers.

Awesome race, awesome swag, awesome day.
Dolphin Challenge: Dominated. Thanks to Kathryn for this picture!

As always with J&A events, this race was fantastic from beginning to end. Plenty of water stops, lots of crowd support, beautiful and well-made medals. And an awesome post-race party with free beer, Irish stew and all the sugar cookies you can eat! 

As most of you know, this was my first half back from injury this fall. Even though I've raced a lot, I was incredibly nervous going into this half marathon. I didn't know how well my feet would hold up and I wanted to make sure I could finish strong with my brother. As a way to help me rely on my inner strength- and as a way to honor my late grandmother- I had three custom shoe charms made for my brother, my sister, and myself. Just a simple BeeCause charm with my Mom-mom's initials. I think it helped to know that she was there on Sunday, running every step with Adam and me. HUGE shout-out to BeeCause for helping to make it happen and letting me pick up the charms at the expo. 

In loving memory of Eva Mae Foreman. 

So there you have it- my first half post-injury! If you are looking for a great spring race weekend, you've got to have Shamrock Marathon Weekend on your radar. Great course, great race, and great beer at the end- what more could you want?! :-)

Sand, surf, and bling.

Did you run at Shamrock? What was your favorite part of the weekend?

Disclosure: As a J&A Ambassador, I received a complimentary race entry. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Interested in more Shamrock Weekend fun? Check out the 2015 Shamrock Race Recap linkup below, hosted by J&A Ambassadors Nan, Sarah, Lindsey, and Jennifer.

If you wrote a 2015 Shamrock Race Recap  (spectator and volunteer recaps are also welcome) feel free to add your blog post to the linkup:
  • Link back to the blog host(s) in your recap so your readers can find the list.
  • Love reading recaps? Here is a one stop shop for some Shamrock goodness!
  • Not a Shamrock related post? Linkup hosts have the discretion to remove your link
Note: This linkup will be open until April 22, 2015.


  1. Shamrock was just a fun race weekend, and I'm glad that so many of us had such great races that weekend! I'll definitely be returning to Shamrock again in the future, maybe even next year!

  2. That looks like fun. I wish we had a St. Patrick's Day half around here. All I've been able to find is a 5K. It was fun, but I'd rather have a longer distance.

    1. It's a really fun holiday theme for a race! You'll just have to come to VA beach one year! :-)

  3. Great recap! How fun you were able to run with your brother for his first half. Congrats on your first big race post injury! You are getting stronger and faster everyday :)

    1. Thank you! I'm so glad we got to meet up before and after the race!