Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Race Recap

On Friday March 16th , I had the pleasureΒ  of heading to Virginia Beach after being asked to be a Shamrock Marathon social Ambassador! I was so excited! Having run this race 2 times before (the half distance in 2011′ & the full in 2016′); I knew what a fantastic race it was & immediately accepted!

shutterfly 9

This year I chose to run the half distance as I was training for the Boston Marathon on 4/16. After a 6 hour drive with my hubby which included a beautiful, scenic drive over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge we arrived to the Virginia Beach Convention Center where the expo was being held! I had plans to meet up with friends that I follow on IG so when I arrived, I texted them to set up a meeting spot! I picked up my bib & went over to the registration desk when I met Kristy. Kristy works for J & A Racing! She & I communicated a lot by email prior to this weekend! She played a huge role in putting everything together for this amazing weekend! I then met Amy Frostick; the race director! It was so awesome to finally meet her. Having run this race before; I know just how amazing it is & I was so thankful to again be a part of it. After picking up my packet, I headed over to where Bart Yasso & Kara Goucher were speaking! Now, Kara Goucher has been a huge runspiration of mine since I began running 9 years ago! I have yet to meet her, but I had hoped that this would be the weekend I finally did!! I headed over the where she was about to take the stage. I heard “Meri, Meri!” It was Donna & Lisa! Two inspiring runners that I follow on IG that are originally from NJ! How cool is that? We chatted for a bit before asking Kara to take pics with us! I was so excited to meet all of these ladies! We sat through a Q & A session led by Bart Yasso while we all asked Kara questions! It was so great that both Adam Goucher & there son Colton was also there! So sweet! After the Q & A session we all got to take pics again with Kara!

Kara and me - expo

The last few days I had contemplated racing the half or simply using it as part of my 20 mile training run for Boston. I thought, what better person to ask than Olympian Kara Goucher. Well that is exactly what I did! Kara suggested that I use the half as part of my training run, she said “don’t race it – save it for Boston.”

expo - kara and me

Β That night I had the honor of attending the Shamrock Marathon VIP Dinner led by Amy & Jim Frostick. I met Jim & Coleen whom I have followed on Instagram for years! It was so great to finally meet them! Also at the VIP dinner were Bart Yasso, Kara Goucher, Adam & Colt!Β  Bart Spoke to us about race weekend with Amy and Jim.

Bart and me - VIP

Kara then spoke to us about running, spoke about Shamrock weekend and answered any questions she had! At one point Kara sat at my table; right next to me! So cool! She was super sweet and so genuine! Of course I asked her to take another pic with me! Hey, when you meet you runspiration two days in a row – you need to document it!!

Kara and me - VIP

The dinner was delicious & the event was just unforgettable! It was so wonderful to hear all of the amazing things that J & A racing has done for the children in the community. That night I headed back to my hotel feeling so unbelievably inspired! I just couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. I woke up the next morning bright and early & headed out onto the boardwalk to log some miles prior to the race as I planned to use the half as part of my 20 mile training run! As I ran I saw other runners heading to the start, the course being set up & just enjoyed watching the sunrise! I ended up logging about 5 miles before heading to the start to meet Rebecca & Gabby! I quickly found them & within seconds the race began! I was feeling good sticking with high 7:50’s to low 8:00’s. I saw Gabby and ran beside her. After each mile; we compared paces – both of us feeling really good! As we ran, we chatted & just enjoyed taking in the beauty of the course! There were spectators out there cheering us on; the energy was just contagious! As we ran through the base; the wind picked up a bit but we stayed strong – maintaining the same splits that we ran the whole race. I knew that day was going to be a huge PR for Gabby & I was so excited to see her accomplish her goal!! As we approached the beach area; you could feel the ocean breeze! Spectators cheered us on & I cheered for Gabby saying ” you’ve got this girl – we are almost there!” We stayed together & as we approached the finish I knew Gabby had crushed her half PR!!

finish

We finished in 1:46:01!! I paced her to over a 4 minute PR & I am so proud of her!! After the race, I finished up my final 1.9 miles to make 20 miles @ 8:05/mile! A very strong training run for me!! 2 mile warmup (8:23, 8:21) followed by 18 miles @ 8:02/mile average! (8:10, 8:11, 8:07, 8:02, 8:07, 8:10, 8:05, 8:04, 8:02, 8:04, 8:03, 8:03, 8:05, 8:09, 7:57, 7:55, 7:42, 7:48)!

Me - post race

After the race; I had the pleasure of meeting Heather, Patrick and Holly! Hubby and I then headed over to the VIP tent. There we grabbed a bite to eat & I tasted the newest Yuengling Beer! I saw Eileen & Harry two runners also from NJ! We took selfies with Bart Yasso and chatted about running!

Selfie w Bart

I also got to see Colleen; who I met the day before & she introduced me to Kara – another inspiring runner that I’ve followed on Instagram for years! Hubby and I hung around in the VIP tent for a little before heading back outside to cheer on the marathoners finishing the race! There was so much positive energy & support as each runner crossed the finish line! It was truly incredible! Hubby and I had to head back home that day so we said good bye to everyone & we headed back to our hotel.

my medal

Before getting on the highway; we made a quick stop at for a post run protein smoothie for me – it was just delicious! We then stopped off at the nearby Acme for some snacks for the 7 hour car ride ahead of us! As we drove home; I couldn’t stop talking about all the highlights from this weekend! From the amazing expo, to meeting Kara Goucher not once but twice; to meeting so many positive – like minded people to running one of the best, most organized races out there! The whole experience was truly magical! Without a double; Shamrock Marathon weekend will forever be remembered as one of the most memorable & incredible weekends of my life! πŸ€πŸ’š

Thank you as always for following my journey! Next up – Boston Marathon!

@meretherunner14

 

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