I bet that headline totally caught your attention didn’t it. Admit it, you’re secretly hoping you’re going to find out about some weird foot fetish or how I eat an entire box of oreo’s after every run.
Let’s start with a fun preview though of the race I’m running this weekend. I’m headed to Virginia Beach for the Shamrock Marathon weekend. I’ll be participating in their Anthem half marathon event along with my really good friend Tucker. This will be his first half marathon and he conveniently lives in Virginia, so it’s an easy trip for him. I may or may not have peer pressured him into running this half marathon with me. I’m really excited for him because this race has a fun bell at the finish line that you get to ring if you PR it. He gets an automatic PR with this being his first half marathon!
I think I did a really good job at picking a race for us to do in Virginia. This is supposed to have one of the best race expo’s around. I just found out two weeks ago that Elite runner Shalane Flanagan is going to be there as a guest speaker & signing a copy of her book Run Fast Eat Slow. Shalane is one of my absolute favorite runners to watch. I watched her competing in the Olympic Trials for the Marathon distance in Los Angeles on television. If you didn’t watch, Shalane was rocking that race till about the last 10k when she started getting extremely dehydrated. Those of us watching, as well as her team mate Amy Cragg, could see Shalane fading. She was actually going through chills and becoming delirious due to the heat & dehydration. The final 4 miles Amy Cragg took off and had to leave Shalane behind as Desi was catching up to them. When Shalane crossed the finish line she simply collapsed in the arms of Amy and it was a beautiful (and slightly scary) moment for everyone. That’s the type of beautiful relationship you build with other runners. When Shalane collapsed at the end I just sat here in amazement. She literally left everything she had on the race course so much so that her feet gave out the minute she could stop. Some people would sit and think “why on earth would someone want to do something like that.” where I sit here hoping that one day I too can give everything I have on a race course so much so that when I finish, I can say for certainty, there was nothing more that I could give.
Anyways, I’m super excited at the chance to listen to her speak, hopefully get her to sign a copy of my book, and chat with trying to contain the fan girl in me from embarassing myself in her presence. It’s not every day that you get to meet some of your racing idols. I would also love, love, love to meet Desi & Molly. Molly is actually a local hero since she’s from my little home town of Elmira, New York!
On top of the really cool race Expo, this race comes with tons of perks & swag. If I’m going to pay for a race I really want to get the most out of it and Shamrock Marathon seems to not disappoint. Swag includes a beach towel, a shirt, a hat, and your finishers medal. Perks include 4 Yuengling beers, Irish Stew, and cookies! One big perk I found is that all the race photos are completely FREE!! I’ve never seen Martahonfoto offer free pictures, so I’m excited to take 1000 race photos! I picked a race that you get a long of bang for your buck and I think all this fun stuff may help Tucker have enough fun to totally forget about cursing me out for making him run a half marathon.
I’ll be leaving very early Saturday morning to make the 7-ish hour drive to Virginia Beach, get settled in, head to the expo, and then relax with Tucker at the hotel for the evening. Follow me on Instagram as I’ll be posting lots of pictures and videos from the Expo, of Shalane, and Virginia Beach. Since I plan on going all out in this race, there will be no live facebook feed during my race but I may pop on to showcase Tucker finishing his first half marathon, so check out my facebook page where I’ll go live!
Okay, I’ve made you all wait long enough, lets get down to the dirty part. I am somewhat secretly hoping for a PR at this race. Nothing crazy but I’d love to shave a minute off my PR from the Rock N Roll Savannah half marathon back in November and manage a 1:37 race. I have been keeping this somewhat secret because I’ve still been bouncing back from the Tendinitis & the IT band issues. I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that I’m going into this race hoping to PR. Anyone that knows me, knows that I push myself pretty hard to achieve the best. Last time my mother in law was visiting she told me that she has no doubts in the world that I’ll hit my goals and qualify for Boston, she also said that I’ll likely injure myself in the process because I push myself pretty damn hard. She is not wrong at all. I’m trying to correct mistakes from the past so that I don’t over work myself into another injury.
Physically I’m pretty sure I’m in the best shape for a PR. I’ve lost some extra weight I was carrying around, my tempo runs have been faster than they were back before the Savannah Rock N Roll half marathon, and I’m not struggling with knee pain like I was for that race. However, my long runs have not been near the distance I was completing before the RnR Savannah. Mentally, I’m there. I’m ready to break through some racing plateaus and see some gains this year. I’ve been working really hard on the aspect of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’ve focused a lot on not backing off when things start hurting during a race and embracing the pain train. (not an injury kind of pain, the kind of pain where you’re like “What the Fu*k made me think to do this, this isn’t fun!” ) This time I just need to make sure I race smarter. You can check out my splits below on Strava from Savannah Rock N Roll where I went out way too fast and rode the struggle bus the final 3 miles. This time the plan is to slow my roll and attempt to get more even splits by starting out closer to a 7:30 pace.
The challenge with this race is not going to be about my training, my physical strength, or my mental abilities, it’s going to come down to the factors that I can’t control. Right now the weather forecast is calling for 20 – 30 mpw winds and 50% chance of rain. That’s going to be a big F-YOU to me and my chances at a PR. I’ve been reading countless other blogs with recaps of this race in years past. The truth is, when it’s windy, it’s really freaking windy because you’re right along the ocean and there is only about a 4 mile stretch that is tree lined to protect you. My goal is to scope out the tallest guys that are going to run my pace and tuck in between them with my puppy dog eyes so that they will feel guilty and let me draft off of them. There will be a 1:35 pacer in my corral and I plan to attempt to keep them in my sights, stick with a pack to help with the wind, and when I do get the wind to my back, let loose and just fly.
This isn’t a “goal race”, it never was a goal race, it was always about running with one of my friends and having a fun weekend, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think about what I’d love to accomplish at this race. Some people don’t share their goals in fear of not hitting them and everyone knowing they didn’t succeed at what they set out to do. Sometimes its easier to deal with disappointment on our own. I like having my tribe around me knowing my goals and being able to lift me up in the event I don’t hit them. I’ve had some bad races. Ugly, throwing up, no where near my potential, shitty races (you wouldn’t know because I was so angry I didn’t write a recap of that horrifying 10k) and the best part about them was that my support team of friends and family were there to tell me that it’s okay to be disappointed, it’s okay to be upset, but that they knew that I’d still achieve my goals in the future. They built me up at the end of a race that I felt defeated in. So instead of sitting around, all alone in my mind thinking about how much I sucked, my gang rallied behind me, lifted my spirits, and reminded me that I’ll get the next one.
So even if all else fails and the weather decide not to let me PR, I’m still going to have tons of fun with Tucker. It’s really not hard for me to look at the conditions and say “it’s not worth being miserable” and instead turning this into the most fun 13.1 ever. When I couldn’t run the Charleston full, I dropped down to the half, had to run it as a training run because I was only a few weeks into coming back from injury but I had a freaking BLAST! You can read about that here if you’re so inclined. I think pictures of me running in 30 mpw winds and rain will be hilarious and fun for all. You guys remember how photogenic I am….
Plus, I’ll enjoy lots of good beer, and look forward to the goal races I have ahead. Curious what they are? let’s take a look!
Cooper River Bridge Run 10K on April 1st: A goal: 44:30 B goal: PR (anything below a 44:58) C goal: give up mid run and eat the donuts they throw at you at mile 4 for the first time ever.
Run Sunset Beach Half Marathon on May 20th: A goal: 1:36:xx B goal: PR (anything below 1:38:55) C goal: have fun running with friends
Chicago Marathon on October 9th: A goal: 3:30 B goal: 3:35 C goal: Finish uninjured and then cry myself to sleep hahahaha Just kidding (kind of sort of)