Sham Rocked V
The Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach has been the site of my favorite race memories, as well as a race that has taught me many lessons. This past weekend gave me the best of both worlds.
I set a very ambitious goal for myself of a sub 1:40 half marathon several weeks ago. I knew heading into the weekend that it would be tough, but I was still going to go for it. Changing my mind about my goal before hitting the start line wasn't something I was prepared to do, but I was ready to adjust once I started running.
The first few miles of the Shamrock Half are all about settling into a pace of people around me and not wasting energy weaving in and out of people. As usual with this event, I held my line as best I could and passed people with some thought -- a quick jump to the left or right, then back in line. I certainly didn't mind bumping elbows with people running 4 or 5 wide.
I hit the first few miles a bit slower than my goal pace -- I was hitting high 7:30s when I needed to be 5 seconds or so faster per mile. I picked up the pace a bit around mile 5 and hit 7:27. I knew then that if was going to get sub 1:40 that I needed some miles at a slightly faster pace.
The next few miles felt like a solid hard pace, but I kept hitting my miles in the mid-7:40s. It was around mile 8 that I knew that a sub 1:40 would require a few miles between 7:15-7:20; while I have been known to be able to leave something in the tank for a final kick, I didn't have that in me yesterday.
At that point I aimed for what I knew was going to happen -- a PR. The last 5k of this race felt so weird to me -- while I was running hard, I felt like I had a higher gear in me that I couldn't quite get to. It was like I had one single pace in me all day.
Maybe it was mental in that I knew I couldn't get a sub 1:40 and I didn't want to force myself to run harder -- honestly I didn't want to miss a sub 1:40 by 5-10 seconds, but I also didn't want to hang back and only set a PR by 5-10 seconds.
What transpired on the clock at the end of my 5th Shamrock Half Marathon was just an unbelievable feeling though. Don't think for one second that I'm disappointed by not hitting 1:39.
I ran the half marathon of my life yesterday in 1:40:48, beating my previous half marathon PR in this same event by more than 2 minutes. That's about 9 seconds faster per mile.
I'm not sure I'll ever find the right words to explain what this means to me. This is a huge redemption after not being able to run this race last year.
There are also a lot of things I learned out there yesterday (that I'll save for future posts) that will only help in future races.
And while I'm still in celebration mode tonight, I'm already looking forward to my Sham Rocked VI post ...