living in the now

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Filtering by Tag: Virginia Beach

Sham Rocked VIII

About an hour after I finished my 8th Shamrock Half Marathon in 9 years, I said out loud: "Maybe I need to take a break from this race."

That sums up how my day went. It was so awful that I briefly considered not doing my favorite event next year. 

For the past 12 hours I've gone through the events in my mind to try and connect dots on what went so wrong. It wasn't mental. I had virtually no negative thoughts other than being confused. 

I did run a little before hand as I showed up a little later to the start line than I like, but that couldn't have been it. 

I did have to travel to the beach last night instead of Friday, but less than 2 hours in the car isn't going to cause my legs to stop working like they should.

I was hot at the start, but I delayered by mile 4 and was comfortable the rest of the race. 

My eating wasn't different this week. I felt well hydrated. My stomach had no issues. 

This evening I've been thinking about the past couple of years where I've had some struggles at Shamrock and there is a common area on the course that's affected me. 

It was around that same point today that I started to struggle. And at that point there is a change in the hardness of pavement ... but is that really it? 

I've trained on a variety of roads, sidewalks and snow/ice in the past couple of months. That shouldn't impact me severely in a race, at least not on the scale it did today. 

I knew going in that a PR was unrealistic, so I never even set a time goal. That should impact me mentally because I've had those issues before, but it didn't today. I was going to be content with a solid training run no matter what my time. 

Today wasn't even fun as a training run. My legs just gave up on me. That hasn't happened in a long time. It reminded me of what I experienced at the Richmond Marathon in 2012. 

I tried pressing the gas, but nothing happened. 

Today's Shamrock was my worst in many ways. It ranks near the top of worst race experiences, right there with the 2012 marathon. Besides running the 2010 Richmond Marathon injured, I can't even think of a 4th really bad race experience. Most bad experiences have a lot of opportunities to learn something -- I don't know what I learned today. 

I usually find something to celebrate after any race. Today I just don't have it in me. Sure the medal and swag are nice and I did more than people did on their couches and all the other cliches you can think of, but that's not enough for me to even be the least bit satisfied. 

My ultimate goal with running and racing is to be happy and have fun. I'll get back to that point soon. Just not today. 

A photo posted by David H. (@runningbecause) on

Sham Rocked VII

Shamrock Half 2014

I went for a PR, had that pace going for 6 miles, but I just couldn't quite hold it together to get there for my 7th Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach. 

And I'm perfectly OK with that.

A year removed from my personal worst Shamrock, I rebounded to improve my time by 6 minutes from 2013 and also came less than 3 minutes from a PR, set in 2012.

After nearly a year and a half of races that left me feeling underwhelmed, I'm excited to finish today in 1:43:10, my 3rd fastest half out of 20 since 2007.

I did very little speedwork this winter, I missed a few runs because of snow and I've certainly had much less sleep in the past several months with a baby who still won't sleep through the night.

I was pleasantly surprised that I could hold my PR pace for so long today -- after the turn back toward the finish and hitting some wind, my legs just didn't have enough to keep that pace. I knew heading in that even getting close to a PR would be difficult, and now I'm leaving my favorite race with a renewed sense of confidence and the knowledge of what I need to do to get closer to breaking 1:40 in a half.

All previous six Shamrocks have set the tone for the year, both good and bad. Now is a great time for that tradition to continue and do some great things in 2014 ...

Shamrock Half Marathon finish