There I was, standing in line at the start of the 2011 Yuengling Shamrock Marathon freezing my tail off, thinking I was nuts for wanting to run 26.2 miles in this weather. Just moments before I was standing with Jen and Connor in the warmth of a hotel lobby. Now, I’m waiting in the cold with about 4,000 other nutso’s waiting for start.
My strategy was to go out very slow for the first couple of miles, then pick it up to a decent pace. My goal, loosely, was for 5:30. I positioned myself about 20 feet behind the 5:00 pacer and got myself ready. Nerves really kicking in, I just wanted to start. The field was divided into four corrals and I was in the last so it took about 8 minutes from the start before I started the run…. then I was off!
The first mile was tough. Not tough in the sense of hard, but tough in that there were a ton of people surrounding me, I wanted to catch Jen and Connor about 1/2 mile in, and trying to keep my pace above 13 mins/mile. Luckily, I was able to catch the Fam cheering me on. I ended up with a 13:00 for mile one. Still faster than my intended.
Miles 2-6 Once we got out and going, the wind died down considerably and I was warming up. I kept my pace dead slow through the first 3 miles. The course looped around by the ocean and over the only hill on the entire course, a small bridge at mile 2. It wasn’t difficult to cover and after the bridge came a long straight away until about mile 5.5. The crowds were awesome. Our names were printed on the bib so people could shout out your name. Why can’t all races do that? Around mile 3.5 the course met up with the 9 mile mark so I was able to catch the elite runners and man were they moving! I started to pick up the pace at mile 4. My only stop the entire race was a potty break at mile 6.
Mile 2 – 13:09 Mile 3 –13:03 Mile 4 – 11:36 Mile 5 – 11:53 Mile 6 – 13:01
Miles 7-10 A turn took us into Camp Pendelton where a bunch of soldiers were cheering us on. Through this area I noticed a lot of people were wearing down and doing a lot of walking. I maintained my 1:15/1 ratio and kept it strong. Really picking up the pace at mile 8 where the soldier were. The return over the bridge was at mile 10 and it gave a good shot of the ocean.
Mile 7 – 12:26 Mile 8 – 10:57 Mile 9 – 11:01 Mile 10 0 11:20
Miles 11-16 Now was the long trek back through the Virginia Beach. Mile 11-12 was run mostly on the board walk and it made for some great scenery. The wind wasn’t too bad and I was feeling good. Right before mile 12 it switched over to Atlantic Ave and into the cheering crowds. Jen and Connor were waiting for me at mile 12. Unfortunately Connor was napping at the time,but I stopped for a minute to kiss them and take back off again. At the half mark I was still feeling great. The elite runners were coming in opposite me and I could see some of them really straining. This route continued north with many spectators along the way.
Mile 11 – 11:12 Mile 12 – 11:26 Mile 13 – 11:56 Mile 14 – 11:55 Mile 15 – 11:43 Mile 16 – 11:26
Miles 17-19 This was probably the most lonesome part of the entire race. A backwoods road with little spectators. I ended up calling my mom and talking for about 15 minutes. Yeah, I could run and talk at the same time. :)
Mile 17 – 11:58 Mile 18 – 12:59 Mile 19 – 12:10
Miles 20-22 Finally back to the ocean! Hitting mile 20 felt great. I was in new territory now. Pushing hard but feeling tired. I moved forward. At this point I hadn’t had any trouble. No pain or any other complications. I also called my sister and talked for a bit. It was a great way to take my mind off of how tired I was getting. My pace slowed down through this area.
Miles 23-25 About mile 23 I started feeling light headed. I’d been hydrating every 2 miles and didn’t think it was due to that. I was in the hot sun, had been running a LONG time, and was tired. I slowed my intervals down to a 1:1 just in case and drank some more. It cleared up by mile 24 and I keep moving. The course left the beach and continued down the road where many spectators were cheering us on. By this point I knew I was going to finish. Les than 2 miles to go!! I started picking the pace back up.
Mile 23 – 12:57 Mile 24 - 13:51 Mile 25 – 13:28
The final mile After mile 25 the course moved back over to the board walk and I could see the finish. I was tired and ready to stop but seeing this pushed me forward. I picked it up more and started trying to kick to the finish. I didn’t have much but I was determined to catch the person in front of me. We crossed the line at nearly exactly the same time. It was over and I’d finished!!!! I kept moving, got my medal, hat,and shirt, and caught up with Jen and Connor. I’d finished and was feeling awesome!! Sure I was tired, but I felt good, never hit “the wall” and could still walk. Life was good.
Mile 26 – 12:32 Last .2 – 2:20 Final time – 5:22:06
After the race I grab some water, bananas and headed to the finishers party for free Irish Stew and beer. We couldn’t stay long as Jen and Connor had to get home so we headed back to the hotel and rest.
It was an awesome race and even though I had some training complications, I was well prepared to cover the distance and without injury. Will Irun another marathon? Maybe! But for now it’s time to focus on the short runs and my speed.