Over the Rainbow to the Pot of Gold, a Leprechaun and a Long Half a Dolphin Later…

…I’m back in Kansas City after finishing up the Shamrock Half Marathon.  I spent the weekend in Virginia Beach for the Shamrock and quite frankly it’s my new favorite race.  I did the Dolphin Challenge and ran the 8K on Saturday (go read about it!) and the Half yesterday. So Saturday, after I got done running, I grabbed a shower and as I was getting ready to go find food, I realized it was pouring outside.  Glad it decided to hold out, I only had one pair of shoes with me!!  After enjoying some lunch at Baker’s Crust, I headed back for a walk on the boardwalk with out my leftovers I meant to bring back with me (that always happens!!).  I headed off to church where all the visitors were asked to stand.  Instead of being called crazy like we were in Little Rock, we got a round of applause.  And probably a whole lot of why are you running in 45 degree weather thoughts.  I had a pasta dinner at my hotel.  Whoever thought an unlimited  pasta buffet for runners was a good idea probably didn’t realize how much money they could lose off it. Just saying.  I got my stuff put together and headed off to bed.

Bright and early at 6 AM, I was up and out the door by 6:30 to add state #15 to the books of my 50 state challenge and half marathon #25 of my short running career.  I saw my fair share of leprechauns, men in kilts who probably shouldn’t have been (but kudos to them) and more men in tutus.  The half marathon started at 7 and the full at 8:30 (in order for most of the half marathoners to be cleared out for when the full marathoners came on to the second half of their course.  Make sense?).  After a little bit of a delay, we were off on the wonderfully flat course of the Shamrock.  I found my happy pace of 9:10-9:20 min miles and stuck with it.  It was such a tease to get to miles 2 and 3 and see signs for miles 10 and 11.  Really?  I realize we could all see our breath but we aren’t on anything.  I got to love the crazy, insane volunteers with so much energy cheering people on.  Y’all were awesome.  We headed towards the military base and along the route saw fun little Irish signs (What’s purple and something the Irish hate? Grape Britain).  We were still sending out white smoke signals that we were coming, just like the white smoke coming from the Vatican saying that Catholics have a new pope (disclaimer: I’m Catholic and went to Catholic schools from K-8 and a Jesuit University).  We turned onto the military base and it was so fun to see some of the military guys out for the race.  from miles 5-9, you could really feel the cold coming off the ocean, but you can’t do much about that one.  Unfortunately, no rainbow or pot of gold by this point.  After our loop, we headed back towards the main drag and boardwalk of Virginia Beach and I realize I’m right on the edge of a PR.  Like I have to pull something from somewhere to get one.  I had one mile that was 9:54 and I hated myself for it.  I picked up the pace for the last 3 miles and tried to kick it in the last 1/4 of a mile on the boardwalk.  How close to a new PR you ask? 18 seconds.  I finished in 2:03:18, just off my 2:03 from New Orleans last March. Sigh, it’s not the Shamrock’s fault I have short legs

I headed down the shute and picked up my awesome swag: a medal, a hat and a finisher’s blanket:

Blanket, hat and medal

Blanket, hat and medal

I know you’re jealous!  I got to love the post race Irish Stew and some Yuengling (I’m not big on beer, but it’s grandpa’s favorite so I had one for him) before heading back for a nice long shower.  I appreciate the rain not happening during the race (the whole one pair of shoes thing).  I must say, this is a race that I’m putting on everyone’s bucket list for them whether the like it or not.  Flat and fast is my sort of thing and you get some awesome stuff from it. The only downside is that since I flew in last minute as opposed to driving from Philadelphia as planned, not only could Bart Yasso not depend on me for a ride, I flew into Raleigh Durham instead of Norfolk because it was cheaper.  It also meant I had a 3.5 hr drive turn into 4 hrs because of how much my body loves me after long runs.  The other downside?  Didn’t get home and to bed until after 1 and being up at 7 makes for one tired person.  Until next time Virginia Beach!

Virginia Beach Shamrock Sand Castle

Virginia Beach Shamrock Sand Castle

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