Every big race starts with the expo. This is the place where you pick up your bib numbers and race shirts. It's also a great shopping opportunity. I love a good expo. Lots of crap, but generally lots of freebies too. It's fun to look around at all of the different booths and vendors. Sometimes they're crazy crowded, but the Shamrock expo wasn't that bad.
(Deb and Dana with a leprechaun)
This race is always held around St. Patrick's Day, thus the Shamrock theme. For the first time, we decided to dress the part and go with a green theme for our running attire, complete with green boas. Deb and I actually got really crazy and painted our nails green. When in Rome, right?
The weekend actually had several different races. Saturday had an 8k, along with a kid's run. Sunday was the half-marathon and a full marathon. Unfortunately, the race organizers felt the need to start the half at 7:00 am. That meant getting up at 5:30 Eastern, which felt like 4:30 for this Central Time Zone girl. Not fun. But after a very loud alarm and a swig of Diet Dr. Pepper, I got dressed and was ready to go!
We had to walk about 20 blocks to the start. The wind was CRAZY, which made it really cold. Fortunately, Debbie was smart and brought us all throw away shirts we could wear to keep warm and then ditch once the race started (Thanks Deb!). They were desperately needed.
I started in Corral 4. (I'm always amazed at how Corrals are assigned. It seems I'm somehow always in some random corral. Granted, I'm not fast so I should be in the mid-corrals, but one time Dana and I put down the same time, and she got Corral 1, and I got Corral 5! But my time to complain about corrals is for another time... ) I took a look around and saw that many people have dressed the part. Leprechaun outfits, kilts, green hair - you name it. It was all there. And I thought I was cute with my boa and green shorts!
The race itself went off without a hitch. I'd been told it was pancake flat, and it was. I think the elevation rose about 10 feet throughout the entire race. This would have been a great race to attempt a PR, but I knew going in my speed wasn't there. As long as I ran the whole thing, I'd be happy. So I just kept a nice easy pace and tried to keep the boa feathers out of my mouth, with limited success.
What I always find amusing is that for a race this big (about 8,500 people just for the half), how I somehow manage to run the most of, or the entire race, with a few people. This race it was a woman in a tie-dyed shirt. She was literally standing next to me at the start, and then I would see her out on the course at random times throughout the race. When I stopped to take off my throw-away shirt, she stopped to get water. When I stopped at mile 6 rest rooms, she stopped at mile 7 and I caught her. It's not like we were trying to pace each other, it's just how things worked out. I did kind of want to smack her during the last half-mile though because she kept doing this sprint / walk kind of thing. She'd RACE past me, and then stop to walk right in front of me. (New runners- don't EVER do that. It's annoying to the other runners.) We ended up finishing together. I have no idea if she even noticed I was there.
Overall, great experience. I felt great until mile 6, when I stopped for the rest room, had a 5 minute wait, and my legs got cold. Miles 6-9 were fine, but I started to hurt a little during miles 9-10. However, the thought of finishing pushed me through. I just kept looking ahead hoping to see the giant Neptune statue which signaled the finish. Finally, he was there.
I finished the race and was not only awarded a finishers medal (which can also be used as a bottle opener), but also a finishers hat AND a finishers long-sleeved t-shirt instead of a mylar blanket. Nice touch Shamrock organizers. I had to pass on the Yuengling beer and the Murphy's Irish Stew though, which was offered at the finish line festival. It was fitting for the theme, but wasn't really appetizing at 9:30 in the morning after just finishing a half-marathon.
As I said before, overall a great experience. I would absolutely do this race again. Hopefully, next time for a PR. :-)
(Me and Dana at the finish with our new bling / bottle openers)Watch time: 2:20
Chip time: 2:25 (gotta love long lines - they just ruin your time!)