Sunday, March 23, 2014

2014 Yuengling Shamrock Marathon - Race Report

This race report is long overdue but a part of me was so disappointed with how it all went down that I really didn't want to relive it. Short version: my race sucked, my body rebelled like there was no tomorrow and I mentally checked out early. I was over it by mile 10. Had things been different I think I really would have done well on this race coourse but it is what it is.  Instead, I'll focus on all the fun I had over race weekend.

The shenanigans started with a super, duper early flight out of Monterey.  I met up with The Pink Hat Runner at the Monterey Airport and we got ready for a really long day of traveling.  Twelve hours and 2 layovers later we made it to the East Coast.

Do I get a medal for getting all that in my carry-on?

The Pink Hat Runner and Rungry Runner headed to VA

We schelpped ourselves over to our hotel to check in then immediately turned around and headed out to meet our friend Katie for dinner.  There's nothing like a night of girl talk and laughter over good food (and beer)!  Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the hotel and attempt to get in some zzz's.  I have been struggling with insomnia for the past several weeks so as soon as we got back to the hotel room I popped a couple of melatonin pills and conked out.  Unfortunately, I fell asleep so fast that I missed our friend Danielle's arrival to the room.  Oops!

The next day the last member of our little group, Betsy (a.k.a. BBB), arrived and we headed out to the race expo which was conveniently located across the hotel parking lot.  The bib pick-up was fast and easy and we got to run into some of our Red Felt Running Club family members.  RFRC is the East Coast based running group that I joined when I signed up to run the Marine Corps Marathon for the first time.  Since then it's grown to include members throughout the USA as well as other countries.  Always fun times with this group!

Some RFRC'ers at the Expo

Bib is ready!

After the expo the four of us went out for lunch.  After a super long wait in which we imbibed some mimosas, bloody mary's and beers (hooray dollar drinks!) we scarfed down some food then headed back to the hotel room for some nap time.  Pretty soon it was time to meet up with RFRC for our pre-race carbo loading dinner.

We had 50+ runners from RFRC taking over Giovanni's Pasta Pizza Place.  I swear the biggest reason I even agreed to run this race was because of this group.  I mean, look at all of those beautiful faces!  It really is amazing how great friendships can develop over the love of running even when you don't see each other very often.  After lots of catching up, laughter and shenanigans we all called it a night to get ready for race day.

My RFRC Family

Some of the RFRC ladies

Carbo loading! WOOT WOOT!

Flat runner

Oh race day!  What can I say.  It started off great.  I got up early to walk over with the girls to meet up with the rest of the RFRC half marathon runners (the half marathon started 1 1/2 hours before the full).  After that I headed over to meet the RFRC full marathoners.  Before we knew it we were off!  My body felt good for the first 6 miles and I was keeping pace with the 4:30 pace group without feeling like I was working too hard but then the wheels fell off at mile 7.  My tummy got really pissed (AGAIN!) and I couldn't recover.  Add to that the brutal wind and cold (I had thrown away my gloves and zip-up hoodie at mile 3 because I was getting hot and instantly regretted it at mile 5) and it was just one hot mess of a race.  Nevertheless, I was glad I flew out to experience it.  Getting to hang out at the finishers tent drinking beer and laughing with my RFRC family made it all worth it.  Huge shout out to Jay and Nick at the RFRC Mile 20 cheer/support table.  You guys saved me with the bag of chips!

RFRC Full Marathoners

Oh lovely salty chips how I love you!

One of my favorite signs on the course

Beer and bling make me happy!

Race swag

I made a lot of mistakes this time around and I have a lot of room for improvement:

1) Make sure I eat enough.  I had my normal bagel and peanut butter plus a banana for breakfast but since I ate aboout 3 hours before the start of the race I was already hungry at mile 2.  Not a goood way to start the race!  I also think running while hungry aggravates the tummy issue.  I may be wrong but that's the only common denominator I can think of between my last two races where my tummy acted up.

2) Sleep, rest and recovery is important!  I had ran a 50 mile ultra two weeks prior to Shamrock and my body never fully recovered thanks to a busy work and personal schedule and horrible insomnia.  I know my body was fatigued during race weekend so I need to manage that better the next time around.

3) Real food during marathons is AMAZING!  I love real food during ultras but have always relied on shot bloks or honey stingers during marathons.  That bag of chips that I ate gave me renewed energy and allowed me to get to that finish line.

Overall, the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon course is flat and fast with huge potential for a massive PR. But along with that comes wicked winds that zap your energy and really batter you for much of the race. The course support was awesome although spectator support was lacking in some of the middle miles along the boardwalk.  The beer tent (with 3 free Yuengling beers!) and post-race beef stew/broth hit the spot and the swag was AMAZING! I would recommend this race for someone looking to PR.  I would come back again but probably for the half marathon versus the full.

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