Race Report: Shamrock Half Marathon

DATE: March 20, 2022; 7:30 AM

DISTANCE: 13.1 MI

PLACE: Va Beach, VA

WEATHER: 37F, SUnny

OFFICIAL TIME: 2:24:56

SWAG: Long-sleeve Tech shirt, Medal, cap, 4 Beers, Irish stew, blanket

This was my 2nd J&A Racing half marathon, and I have to say this organization does a wonderful job planning its events. Well, technically, this would have been my 3rd J&A Racing half, but the Crawling Crab Half was canceled because of a potential tropical storm.

Quick rant before we get into the review. Since this half marathon took place on Va Beach’s Oceanfront, I was a bit disappointed with a couple of parking garages that were clearly price gouging. Seriously, a couple of garages that were near the starting area were charging 30 BUCKS for parking. Fortunately, I found a garage that charged $10 for the day.

Oh, there is some more parking drama, but I’ll get to that near the end of my race report.

Expo:

I visited the expo center on the 1st day, and it was more of a festival instead of an expo. I guess it makes sense because this race is a St. Patrick’s Day-themed race, so there was a LOT of green . . . and a lot of House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ . . . and a lot of beer. Since I’m not too big on hanging out at expos, I did not stay too long. You know that I’m ‘a grab my bib and go’ kind of guy, but I did stick around to take a few pics.

Before the race:

I already discuss the 1st part of the parking drama (the second part of the drama is at the end). Going into this half, my only goal was to do better than or comparable to my One City Half Marathon (blog entry link, ***) performance from a couple of weeks ago.

I had a little clothing ‘drama’ because I normally wear my NYC 50th Marathon tech shirt (blue). Since this was the Shamrock Half, I considered wearing my United NYC Half Marathon shirt because it is green; however, the United NYC Half shirt is a bit tighter (ie I didn’t want to look like a busted can of biscuits while running) than the other. In the end, I went with the blue shirt. I figured my bright green shoes were enough to keep me in the shamrock theme.

Miles 1 – 5:

Pace: 11:21 min/mi

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I had the same plan for this half marathon as I did for the one a couple of weeks ago – walk up to 0.25 miles after each mile. However, I slightly modified my walking plan

  • Miles 1 -5: walk 0.15 miles after each mile
  • Miles 6 – 9: walk 0.10 miles
  • Miles 10 – 13.1: walk 0.05 miles

While the weather was not super cold, at least to someone who has run many races during NYC winter, it was very windy.

I thought this chunk of the race went well because I did not have any lower back pain (like a tend to have) during the 1st couple of miles. I probably did not experience this pain because I had to walk about 1.5 miles from my parking garage to the starting area. πŸ˜‰ During this part of the race, I did become very nervous because the 2:30 pacing group passed me, and I did not really see them again until Mile 6 or so. Maybe somewhere along the way, the two pacers were like: Oh, sh*t we are running this thing too fast.

Miles 6 – 9:

Pace: 11:03 min/mi

I found this part of the race a bit boring. Actually, I take this back. Rather than saying this part was ‘boring’, I will say that there were not many distractions during this part because a decent chunk of this segment took place on a military base (Fort Story), which did not have many spectators.

We did pass Cape Henry Lighthouse (built in the late 1700s), which is the main component of VA Beach’s city seal.

Miles 10 – 13.1

Pace: 10:33 min/mi

A little deja vu. From Miles 10 to 12, the course was pretty much a repeat of what we ran from Mile 1 to 2. During this portion, I found myself getting into my groove and ACTUALLY enjoying the race. Better late than never, I guess. I didn’t feel tired at all, and my adrenaline was pushing me through. Also, during this part, I started to pass folks who passed me earlier in the race. I noticed that a LOT of people (not sure if they were half or full marathon runners) were running super fast during the first couple of miles. I actually thought I was in the wrong corral because of the number of folks that were passing me. But, this was the point where it was time to say goodbye to our full marathon runners.

I thought the last 0.25 miles on the Boardwalk were amazing because of the crowds. The cheering reminded me of the first time entering Manhattan during NYC Marathon. I was like; wow the spectators are really feeling us. LOL, it turns out that I was finishing the half marathon as the 1st place MARATHON finisher was making his way to the finish line. LOL.

Post-Race Thoughts (& Drama):

-This week, I will sit down and think about how I can be a better runner. While I was not disappointed with my performance because I knew what to expect from the half marathon that I ran earlier this month. However, I would like to become a faster runner. A few years, ago I was completing half marathons with times around 1:50 . . . now (unfortunately, I’m at 2:25).

-Man, this course was super flat. I can understand why a lot of folks this course (well the full marathon course) is great for trying to time qualify for Boston’s Marathon.

-J&A Racing (the organizers) knows how to throw a party. Race registration included an invitation to the post-race party, FOUR beers, and Irish stew.

-Extra points for J&A Racing hosting the post-race party inside a heated tent because it was a bit chilly on Sunday.

-The drama: My dad came to see me run and finish. Since he was too cold, we did not get a chance to meet at the post-race party. No worries because he saw me during the last part of the race. However, my time at the post-race party was cut short because I received a phone call from him telling me that his car was towed. Without getting into too many details, the towing company’s representative was a complete piece of sh*t, loser, punk a** b*tch. He (in his late 20s) pretty much was lecturing my father, a 70-year-old man about taking accountability and how actions have consequences. My dad wasn’t trying to avoid paying for parking, he made a simple mistake because 1. it was a Sunday, and 2. there’s free street parking during the off-season (Oct – Apr) in certain parts. Even the manner in which he answered the phone from other customers was in a very condescending holier thou attitude. *Let’s just say, I don’t lose sleep at night when people like him get their asses kicked by multiple people.* Since there were about 12 people who arrived at the impound lot while we were there, I think this towing company was taking advantage of towing cars that were in the area for the half or full marathon. My father said that his car was towed within 1.5 hours of his arrival in the area. Also, there were a few people in the line who were wearing their finisher shirts. Can you imagine the annoyance of walking to your car after running 13.1 miles (or 26.2 miles), learning that it was towed, then having to make your way to the impound lot (about 1.5 miles away), and paying 145 bucks to get your car back?

-Fortunately, we took care of the towing thing relatively fast, and I wasn’t too late for bunch at one of my favorite spots near the Oceanfront.

Playlist:

Question(s) of the Day:

-What is a negative experience that you had to deal with right after finishing a race?

-How was your weekend?

Social Media Plug:

(IG is deactivated until Easter)

8 comments

  1. Congrats! That looks like a fun race, maybe I’ll consider for next year. πŸ˜‰ Towing the car, that’s very rude. I’ve not had a car towed but few races I have had to take a bus back to the race parking and that can take ages when you just want to go home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m fine with the towing, I guess. But the guy’s customer service skills were quite shitty. In these situations, you cannot curse out or punch out these folks, because they basically have your car held captive. Kind of similar to movers who change the moving fee after loading or before unloading the truck.

      Your race experience reminded me of New Orleans Rock n Roll half. Something happend and there were long waits to take the buses back to downtown New Orleans from the University of New Orleans. That why I prefer races that will bus runners from the parking area (near the finishing area) to the starting area.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve probably heard me say it before but I ran this race for my half in Virginia and loved it. I fortunately didn’t have the parking issues you and your dad had. That would suck big time to finish a race and have to get your car out of the impound lot.
    I didn’t have a negative thing happen to me after a race but my daughter ran a local 5k and finished 2nd in her age group. When they gave out awards, the announcer only gave the awards for the overall top 3 finishers (male and female) and then did age group awards for ONLY the men, then was like, “Thanks for coming everyone!” People started leaving and I went up to the announcer and was like, “What about the female age group awards?” She said she didn’t realize they also should be announced and given out, and I was pissed. Obviously she wasn’t a runner and had no business giving out awards at a race because she was clueless. Then she announced the female AG winners but by then most people had gone home so there was like 10 people there. It was so frustrating. We just took my daughter’s gift certificate and left. It really spoiled the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Regarding the announcer, talk about tone deaf. No one during the planning process was like we should also give out awards to the top young women? Hopefully, your daughter enjoyed her gift certificate.

      LOL. Because of the parking fiasco, this probably will be the first and the LAST time my father will come to a race. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

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