Sunday started way too early as my sister and I had to be at Raley Field by 7:15 AM for the Shamrock’n half marathon which was actually 6:15 AM with spring forward. Ick! Because this race is always the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day, it often happens on the morning of spring forward but still a hugely popular half. I was pleased to see short lines for the outhouses which is something this race is better at than most, not only are there tons of outhouses, all the stadium restrooms are available to runners too and they turn half of the men’s restrooms into women’s for this event to make sure there are no lines. It also starts in 3 race waves depending what your estimated finish time will be and I started in the first wave at 7:45 AM when the sun was finally coming up. The announcer joked that the first wave is always the quietest because we’re still waking up – ha! And true.
I knew this was probably not going to be a PR or even an easy race after my final two long training runs did not go smoothly in strong and bitterly cold winds. For a half, I’m happy with 2 hours or under and usually I can come in at 1:50-something. But my quads started feeling like cement around mile 6 after pushing for a strong start.
From that point on, keeping pace was a struggle as I checked my watch and pushed with micro walking intervals to try and rest muscles between. My nose was running pretty badly too, but I found compression arm sleeves make great emergency tissue after I peeled them off!
I managed to keep up with others from my start wave even working in a lot of mirco walking intervals for the last few miles.
The route this year was considerably different from past years due to flooded bike trails and damage from all the rain we’ve been getting. In the past, heading back over the Tower Bridge meant the last mile to the finish line – not this year! We still had 2 more hilly miles up levees and around a park.
But the finish line finally came and my time was 2:05:04 – not awesome and I was bummed to not be under 2 hours. But it was a good experience and finishing with the first wave means no lines for the freebies, snacks, and beer.
Hubby sweetly met me at the finish and we hung around watching runners while waiting for my sister, then hung around a bit more for the post-race party. We decided stuffing on chips and beer probably wouldn’t be a good idea for lunch, nor would driving around Sacramento to find a place with the road closures and race traffic, so we headed to Pho Vegan Asian Cuisine to replenish with vegan noodle dishes.
And I have another half medal to add to my collection now and it was not an easy one to earn this year!
It’s given me drive to troubleshot and perfect my training a bit for the next half at the end of April. What went wrong? Crappy training weather played a role. And my pace has slowed a bit after training for a marathon I think, I was more spent with heavier mileage weeks to really push speed training intervals. Work stress probably had something to do with it too because there has been lots of that lately. But I’m looking forward to better training for the next and deciding what races I want to do between.