Ok so how in the heck did I get talked into running the Shamrock Shuffle Half Marathon? It's only one of the hilliest half marathons in all of Pennsylvania. I didn't make that up, I believe it is ranked 5th or something like that. I planned to do a spring half marathon, but not THIS race. Tracey had told me numerous times how miserable it was and how she'd never do it again. Why then, when she said she was signing up (I knew shouldn't couldn't walk away from that race without a respectable time, in her mind) did I agree to do it with her? Not only did I agree to do it with her, but I made sure to recruit some others as well. Jaime and I agreed to run together and we both agreed, we just wanted to survive.
After a VERY LONG and cold winter, I found myself in the second week of March without having run a single mile in over 5 weeks. I had dropped down a few months ago to running just long runs on the weekends, but getting those in between snow, ice and freezing temperatures just wasn't a priority this year. I'm not going to make an excuse, I simply didn't do the work. Mind you, I have been workout out and diligently at CrossFit, I just haven't been running. Oh so now you're all up to date.
The day before the race, I got a text from my friend Kate asking if I was planning to run rain or shine. I let her know we would, and it most definitely would be raining. 100% at all hours of the race. There was no doubt when I went to bed Friday night that we'd be running in the rain. Saturday morning it was about 45 degrees and pretty much constant rain. I was surprised when I walked in the church (where racers were waiting) and saw Kate. She willingly signed up for one of the hilliest ever half marathons, IN THE RAIN! I don't know if she's a badass or a dumb ass. Ha! The former I think!
|Back: Emily (CrossFit friend), Tracey, Jaime (my running partner)|
Front: Moi, Kate (the badass), Kim and Charlene
I told Jaime slow was fine and told her we should go for about a 10:30 pace. Ha! I have no idea what I was thinking. Between the hills and my legs (which were extremely sore from 4 days of CrossFit) I wasn't even in 10:30 running shape. We all agreed, having fun was a goal with this race and agreed we would walk the hills.
We were met with our first hill around mile 1.5 or 2 and we were already walking. This portion of the course was one of many out and backs and Tracey saw us walking. She told us we had no business walking yet. This wasn't even a hill. Holy shit, I'm in trouble.
I really wasn't enjoying running even though I was running slowly (which normally equals happy running for me). It was cold, I was wet, my legs hurt and I just wan't having much fun at all. I felt like I was holding Jaime and Kate up and told them to go on without me several times. Jaime was adamant that she wasn't leaving me.
Mile 1: 10:47
Mile 2: 11:19
Mile 3: 10:50
Mile 4: 11:16
Mile 5: 11:32 (definitely more walking)
I think the really beastly hill started at mile 5. I mean these hills were like nothing I have ever seen before. I remember thinking that the hills were so steep, I probably couldn't even ride my bike up the hills. We walked and it KILLED my hamstrings.
I surely would have barfed had I tried that. Kate was having so much fun on this run. Clearly for her, she was in her happy running place. She even said to me one time, I can't believe you're not having fun. No Kate, no I am not! At least we were half way there. But, and this is a big but, all the hills we climbed we had to turn around and do the other way now. Ugh. Knowing what was waiting for me was slowly killing my spirit.
Mile 6: 12:55 THE BEAST and ALL the WALKING
Mile 7: 14:26 more walking, bathroom and keg stands (total time thus far 1:23:08)
Right at mile 8 my Garmin died. Apparently the main memory was full (from not deleting workouts) and so it just quit. By the time I realized what happened it was too late to even worry about it. It sucked not knowing where we were or if I was going to be able to finish actually running. I really felt like crap. My pace was slowing (or so I thought).
By mile 10 the majority of the hills were gone. We still had to run that one that Tracey told us wasn't a hill in the beginning again, but that did seem mild at this point. Plus I was going to walk it again, so there was that! Kate was antsy to finish, we were all soaked and cold, so she took off. Jaime wouldn't leave me and promised she couldn't be going any faster either.
Once we finally made it up that last hill, we said we'd run the rest of the way and it felt so good. I finally felt like I could be happy. Just then we saw Kim and Charlene trudging up the last hill. I felt for them, but was happy to know they weren't too far behind.
The finish was anticlimactic, but I did finish right with Jaime arms raised in victory. I will NEVER run this race again. Well... never say never. Right Tracey?
|Tracey, Me, Charlene, Jaime, Kim and Kelli (why wasn't she in the start picture?)|
Official Finish Time: 2:33:55 11:45 pace (our back half was actually faster by about 6 seconds per mile).