Thursday, March 20, 2014

Running the Shamrock and loving it (for the most part).

For the love of all things green and running!!

shamrock finisher_1

I finished!!!
We finished!!
Shamrock Weekend was a success!!
Plus I got a new PR!!!

I had been really excited for this weekend for awhile. Even though I was super undertrained and sort of dreading the Half. It was a really great weekend. Just the atmosphere there is pretty awesome. I've run the 8k before and love all the support! Plus the courses are flat and along the beach. Other then the winds off of the ocean, I can't complain!

After school on Friday I made my way down to the Oceanfront to check into our hotel and head over the expo to pick up our race packets for the weekend. The boyfriend wasn't going to be in till later so I wanted to make sure we'd be ready for Saturday morning. We were going to go to the expo after the 8k so he could check it out and possibly get some new sneakers.
The expo was great. But don't ever leave a girl unattended for a few hours in a place that's designed for runners to shop! I got a little spend happy!! What can I say, I enjoy buying running stuff both for myself and for Josh.
It was a good thing Josh showed up because I was spending way too much money.
After I made it back to the hotel to meet up with Josh, we went to meet up with some friends for dinner. I kinda liked how I wasn't prepared for the weekend so I wasn't too worried about what I was eating or how it would affect my running. I was just there to have fun.

I loved how they had all the course maps projected outside the expo. 

Again - I didn't even notice that they changed the start line. 

We made our way from the hotel to the start line for the 8k. We even met up with my friend Michelle who was walking with her friends to the start line. Even though I had scoured the Shamrock Marathon page, I never really paid attention to the fact that they moved the corrals. No worries though, we found the new spot without a problem. The 8k is growing in popularity so I can see why they had to move it to a wider street for the start.

Check out all the green at the start line of the 8k!

I was thankful that I bought myself a new windbreaker the day before at the expo because it was a little chilly and windy at the start. I warmed up at the end and had my jacket tied around my waist, but it's a light one so it wasn't as bulky as some of the other stuff I've worn in the past. Secretly I think my bf was happy he didn't have to hold it for me. Overall the race was great. Josh again stayed with the me the whole time, and we trotted along. I even saw and gave a shout out to a spectator with Kutztown sweatshirt on! You don't find too many of those in VA!! I know I'm no where near my PR shape so I wasn't trying to push myself. I just wanted to finish decently and not hurt myself as we prepared for the half the next day. Of course the only time we take a short walk break around mile 4 for me to stretch out my shoulder, was where the photographer was!!

I finished one minute slower then my time last year and about 7 minutes off my PR. Like I've said - I don't always fancy myself to be a runner, but I am pretty proud of some of my accomplishments. So the fact that I pick up and go run 5 miles isn't too shabby for me.

Adding to my bling collection!!

Enjoying the warm weather and the beer tent! 

I realized after my friend took the first picture that I still had my sunglasses on! 
Don't you love my skirt!! It's my green sparkle skirt and my new shamrock skirt that my sister made for me. 

Saturday afternoon Josh and I took showers, went out and had the longest (unintentional lunch) at Buffalo Wild Wings, wandered around the expo, took naps, and had dinner at a little Italian place by our hotel. (Only after attempting to go to Waterman's - but they had a 1hr 30min wait at 7:30pm! I wanted more sleep for Sunday then I did an orange crush.)

We were happily in bed by 10 and getting ready for our early wake up at 5:30 the next morning.

I always like to lay out my outfit the night before. I really need to start taking pictures of it like I see so many other runners doing! Next race!

The view from our hotel room for the weekend. 
I just wish it was closer to the start line!!


Finally! The day I was dreading!
Mentally I said I could do it.
Physically - it was a whole different story.

Selfie before the race starts.

I had to convince both my mind and my body to come together to get as much of the half done as possible. I was hoping that what I lacked in physicality I could make up in mental strength. After all, Josh was going to be with me and I do pretty good when he's running beside me. 

The temps were much cooler then Saturday morning and the wind was pretty strong. Once again I was glad I had purchased my windbreaker on Friday. Josh even opted to wear pants it was so chilly. He usually only runs in shorts.

Making our way to the starting line. 

We made our way to the start in front of the Cavalier Hotel. Lots of people were huddled in the parking garage for the nearby hotel, or anywhere they could get some shelter from the wind. The sun was almost up, but it was still pretty chilly. I'm glad I had Janet buy us some knit gloves we could toss if our hands got too warm. We definitely needed them!!

Off we go.....
There were two guys playing bagpipes right at the start. I've always loved that sound (even if I do refer to it as a cow dying slowly) because my Dad has played bagpipes on and off my entire life. You don't find too many pipers around so I'm pretty proud of him because of it.
Makes me love my heritage that much more. I jokingly told Josh that maybe I need my Dad to play next to me while I run so I can keep my pep up to the pipes!!

This was my first time running the Shamrock half, and I have to say I really enjoyed all of the crowd support. There were a lot of houses that had come out to cheer us on, and provide beer! It was a Shamrock race after all!

I think it was about mile 3-4 we saw the leaders on their turn around. It's a little discouraging when you see someone close to being finished and you still have a double digit mile count in front of you. But like I said a million times - I use the term runner loosely. So kudos for them and their speed! Slow still gets a medal.

Around mile 5 I had to stop to pee. The porta-potties at the start were really crowded and Josh doesn't particularly like crowds so I wasn't gong to chance it then. I picked a stop that I didn't think was too long. WRONG!! I stood there for what felt like forever! Come on ladies! Pee and get out!! It took so long Josh sat down! Needless to say when my Garmin ticked off the next mile it had slowed us down by 5 minutes. At this point thoughts of a PR were not in my head - but rather just keep running.

I don't know if I mentioned this but I didn't train for this race at all! I was so proud and jealous of my cousin (who also ran the race and rocked it!! Way to go Maddy!!) who posted all her awesome training runs on Facebook. I had good intentions of training - but life and the weather got in the way. I like to run - just not in the snow of 20 degree weather. I'm committed but not THAT committed. Any way, we made it to mile 7 and I was just gassed out. At that point the mental fatigue was setting in. While I know that Josh would've preferred to to just keep running - because it would be over faster, I did not. I needed to switch to the run5/walk2 combo I had promised myself after I had put in a good effort. And for no training and having had run the day before. 7 miles was a good enough effort for me.

So for the remaining 6 mile of the race we ran/walked. I was having some toe problems so the walking part was giving me enough time to recover and run again. In all honesty if Josh wasn't with me I would've caved and walked a mile or two - but because he was with me I kept up to my combo.

Around mile 9 or 10 we started to see the Marathoners making their way to the second half of their course! I guess one of the perks of being slow is that you get to see the front runners from every race! HAHA!

It was at mile 10 I started talking to Josh about a PR. He said we'd be cutting it close. I debated about it - but in the end said I could do it.  I wish I had some miraculous story of how I turned it up a notch and hauled ass to the finish line with my hands raised in the air like I had just won the race - but I don't. I stuck to my same run5/walk2 combo. I had to conserve what little energy I had left. Not to mention the winds when we turned back to make our way to the boardwalk. The wind alone was enough to make me want to give up! But we made the last turn to the ocean front and the finish line was in sight. We had one more final walk break on the boardwalk and that was it - run it in. And we did.

I crossed the finish line at 2:58:10!!!
15 minutes better then my Crawlin Crab time from 2013!
I finally have a sub 3hr Half!

FINISHED!! A cold and windy shot in front of the sand sculpture!

Granted I know that an almost 3hr Half Marathon is slow. I'm happy with it. I'm not sure I'll ever get fast enough to get to a 2hr Half time, but for now I'm content and have set the bar for the next long distance race. Train and run the whole thing.

I think it's a pretty simple and realistic goal.

After we finished we grabbed our goodies, snacks and Dolphin Medal and made our way to the gear check and back to the party tent. I had my eye on a finisher shirt, but because I took so long running - they sold out. :-(
Oh well - next year I'll have to run faster of find a non runner friend to get it for me when they open.

The tent was crowded, Josh and I were cold and didn't really feel like standing around and waiting for a beer, so we headed back to the hotel.  Along the way we got to see some of the Marathoners still making their way along the course. Good for them - I have no desire to run a full. 3 hours is my maximum.

After we checked out of the hotel we met up with my sister, her hubby and my adorable nephew for lunch before Josh got back on the road to PA.

Overall it was a great weekend and one I'd like to do again.
But next time actually train.....

Not sure what my next race is going to be....but I've got to start doing some serious speed work to get my time down for the Disney Wine & Dine.

Josh and I were thinking our next half might be the Hershey Park Half in  October.

Till then I have my sights set on doing some long runs in preparation for the Broad Street 10 Miler in Philly coming up May 4th. 

I'll show off my bling and how I store it next time!
Sorry for such a long post but it was a great weekend!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Shaking the Shamrocks.....getting ready for Shamrock Marathon weekend.

Its hard for me to believe that just a few years ago St. Patricks Day meant a day long adventure of green beer and bands at D.C's Shamrockfest and now I'm training (sometimes) and mentally preparing to take on distance how times have changed!! Don't worry there's still beer involved - it just comes after running anywhere from 5 to 13 miles. 

This year will be my fourth year participating in the Shamrock 8k, and my first year participating in the Shamrock Half Marathon. I've been going to the Shamrock weekend on and off for a couple of years now ever since my friend ran in her first Half Marathon and I met her at the finish line to support her. It's a pretty amazing event! There are sooo many people there! 

My first year participating in the Shamrock 8k was 2011. A friend of mine from college and her husband were walking the race so I decided to join them. At that point in life I was not a runner. It was still pretty fun to cross the finish line and get a medal. Its actually the first race medal in my collection. 

The second year participating in the Shamrock 8k was the following year. This race in 2012 meant a lot to me. It was when I officially called myself a runner. To me it was the best race conditions. A little chilly in the morning but bright warm and sunny by the time the race was over. It was a race I didn't let my fears get the best of me and just did what I knew I had trained for and just ran. It is still my 8k PR and I'm hoping that I'll get back to that pace!! Here's to wishful thinking!

Hardest earned medal thus far! 

Last years race was the first Shamrock 8k I got to run with my trusty running buddy. (She couldn't make the year prior due to a family obligation.) We were just coming back from running the Princess Half at Disney so neither one of us had done a lot of training or wanted to run another half, but we were prepared and ran the whole thing. 
We even had matching sparkly skirts thanks to Janet's sewing skills!!
I even had coordinating KT tape on a calf muscle that had been bothering me for a few weeks. 

Still spending part of my Shamrock weekends drinking.
I loved my shirt too!! It came from Raw Threads! The same company that made my fun Snow White running shirt!

This year I've taken on the Dolphin Challenge of both the 8k and the Half.  I even sweet talked that handsome Boyfriend of mine into running it too. And its a good thing I did! My running buddy can't make it so it's good ol' Josh to the slow running girlfriend rescue!! While I know I won't PR the 8k - there's a good chance that if I run like I've been doing on my sporadic "training" runs, then I will most likely PR on the half. Hard to believe that for as little training I've done I might actually get a PR  - but I haven't had the best race conditions in past half's so I'm hoping this one will be better! 

I'm just hoping that the weather cooperates and that the predicted rain holds off till after the race and that the temps warm up just a little bit more. 

Either way it'll be a great weekend full of friends, sand, sun, shamrocks and running!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wine & Dine Sell Out!!!

My next running adventure!!

My running buddy and I are at it again!! Conquering another runDisney event!!

We just signed up for Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon November 8-9th. 
Race registration opened up a day early and was sold out in just a little over 24hrs! 
I'm so glad we signed up when we did!!

This is the 5th anniversary of the race and from what I've read there's a special medal to commemorate the anniversary! Just like the 5th anniversary one we got when we ran the Princess Half in February of 2013!

I'm all about the bling!! 
Check out the medals so far.




2013 - looks like the medal got an update this past year.
I wonder if they're going to go back to the original design. 
Either way I'm excited about it!!

Now it's time to really start training for 10k's since that's the shortest race to qualify for time and a better corral at Disney so that I can take my time during the half and stop for all the great character photo ops along the way!!

The countdown begins!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler - December 2013

Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler
December 2013

Like I've stated before the weather for me lately with J&A races has been down right miserable. 

This was the first time I was taking on the Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler in my short running career. Why would I be willing to run outside, in December, for 10 Miles you ask?? 

Because I'm a sucker for free stuff!  This year my running buddy and I had decided that we were going to partake in the Live, Love, Run challenge put out by J&A. Which means if you run all of their races for that calendar year (Virginia is For Lovers 14k, Shamrock Weekend, Crawlin' Crab, Wicked 10k & Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler) they send you an surprise item. (This only just arrived mid February - I'll do a quick post on that one too) 

The Surf-n-Santa was one that I was not looking forward to. I really hadn't run that much since the Wicked. Life got in the way. School, family, working at the restaurant - there just wasn't enough time. Plus with the falling temps, I wasn't too happy about running outdoors and I came up with every excuse in the book not to go outside for a run.

But the weekend quickly approached and the boyfriend and I made our way to the expo on Friday night. While these expos are not as big as others they are still nice to wander around. Josh is always on the lookout for new sneakers and while I have way too many workout/running outfits, I can't help but check out what's on sale. This time I picked up a pair of long running tights and a new white long sleeve shirt. I knew it was going to be chilly but I still wanted to coordinate a decent race outfit!

Race morning - ugh!!
It was cold.
It was raining - or sleeting - or whatever it does when its just down right gross out.

I layered up as I usually do but this time not as many layers as the Wicked. I didn't want to make that mistake again, or have Josh have to carry my stuff. We were already going to be pretty miserable in this weather.

It was another out and back race around the ocean front. Beautiful that it's by the beach - but not so beautiful when you have loop back around - to drop the 5ker's off at the finish and you pretty much see the winner coming back around to Mile 10 and you haven't even made it to Mile 4! Oh well. I know I won't ever be that fast so kudos to the people that are!

Anyway, we were both surviving the race, I was actually still running and keeping my complaining to a minimum. Close to mile 5  - Josh hit a pot hole and twisted up his ankle. He said he didn't want to stop so we kept on going. It was then that we made the dreaded turn onto the boardwalk. OMG!! It was like turning into a wall of wind. It was miserable. I was trying to stay positive but I could no longer feel my left arm. I had to pee - do you know how difficult it is to stop and use a porta potty when your wet, cold and can't feel your extremities??? I was regretting the decision to even get out of bed....for what?? A medal?? I know I'm crazy.

We kept on running till mile 8 - then I had to switch over to the walk/run combo. My knees were just not cooperating with me. But I was happy with how far I had run - with little to no training.

Finally we made our way back into the convention center. The party was already going in full swing. We grabbed our medals, some snacks and our finisher item travel coffee mug. (As much as I could grab - I still had no feeling in my arm.)

We went and got a beer too and found a (warmish) place to sit down. Since neither one of us was very hungry or in the mood to drink - I'm not a huge Sam Adams fan - we only stayed for a little while.

Showing off my well earned medal and my customized ball cap with santa hat! I didn't want rain in my face so I wore my red crawlin' crab finisher hat and my surf-n-santa cap. 

We had to make sure we took a picture together. 

I wish I would've handed my phone to another girl, instead of boy - he didn't capture my fun santa socks that I had on but you can see my red sparkle skirt I was wearing. 

Stealing another proof.....but you can see the awesome race conditions we had....and my fun socks. Totally my motto....I don't run fast or look very pretty doing it - but I'm going to look good!! 

Shamrock is in 8 days.....oh wow!!
At this point I'll just plan my outfit and hope the rest falls into place...

Plus I just signed up for Disney Wine & Dine during my snow days!! Race registration opened up yesterday and as of right now it is already 95% full!!
I can't believe I've committed to it but am so excited that I did!!