RR: Shamrock Marathon


If you’ve been holding your breath waiting for this report, I hope I just saved your life. You’re welcome.

I’m not a player, I just crush a lot

 As Loopfests go, Friday night before Shamrock was typical. I feel a bit Forrest Gumpish when I say “I met up with a bunch of Loopsters…again…and got smashed with them…again” because it’s always awesome..but you guys don’t need the play-by-play (or maybe I blacked out?) so here’s some pictures.

 I had mentioned stealing Billy’s 8k bib and running with Vanessa…but Saturday Morning came early, and I snuggled with Zam a bit longer. She’s just so freakin cute.

 Jill, Zam, Kara, and I opted for a shakeout run on the 8k course…while the 8k was going on. We didn’t take any aid and stayed on the sidewalks, so we technically weren’t banditing…but it was a bit hard to run with all the walkers. I was feeling really sluggish, and my planned marathon pace felt harder than it should have. Not good.

Then the rain came. Zam and I got separated from the girls at the beer tent…and were forced to pick up the pace back to the hotel. I was quite happy with the pace on the rainy run. Maybe the slow marathon last weekend didn’t totally screw me?

Saturday was more typical shenanigans.

Kidnapper van with girly running stickers. Seems legit. 

Mandatory Target Duckface selfie. 

 Pretending we’re on MTV Cribs at the Loop Beach house

Eating the Col’s Cupcakes

Vanessa might be in the Air Force but she knows how to cook for an army!

That pot of pasta weighs more than Abby

Gift Exchange

I tend to sleep like a champ before races, despite being a total night owl otherwise, and Shamrock Eve was no different. Abby’s sister Kara,the half marathon noob, was the first one up…taking her 3rd shower of the morning before I attempted to get out of bed.

Temps were marathon perfect, but the wind was crazy. I remembered previous Shamrock years – the wind always died down before the marathon started. Fingers crossed!

The half started at 7, and most of us were there to see them off. I was freezing!!! I didn’t bring any throw aways and boy was I feeling dumb. But as the half start approached people started shedding layers so I made like Macklemore in a Thrift Shop and started browsing. I went as far as picking up two pairs of sweat pants, comparing them, putting on the better pair…only to find an even better pair a few feet later. I totally upgraded. I managed to find the matching top, both of which looked freshly purchased and DID NOT smell like R Kelly’s sheets.

After a few delays, the half began and we headed to Sas’s hotel to waste some time.

We started out as a group but quickly spread out to gear check and find our spots in the corrals. I decided I’d want pants again at the finish so I put them in my drop bag, I have no shame.

I found some maniacs in the pokey Corral, but no 4:30 Pace group. Well, shucks! But Maniacs really are the next best thing. Esp since I knew them. Heck, I even saw Larry, who I paced at Columbia just 7 days earlier.


No big deal, we just ran 26.2 miles together last weekend

I started according to plan, which was easy since it was my 3rd year in a row doing this course. I was hitting perfect 10:20s, but wasn’t feeling very strong. I didnt think I’d hold i…forget about the negative split I’d need to hit 4:30. Ugh. It really doesn’t matter how many marathons/ultras I complete. I ALWAYS doubt my ability to finish in the first 5 miles.

Miles 4-6 are my favorite miles. It’s an out and back portion where I usually see almost every pace. Lots of “Go Maniac” and spotting all the Loopsters. I think I saw everyone but Zam 😦 but I did see Larry again after I turned around.


I look happier than I felt

Speaking of turning around, HOLY WIND!! I knew it was going to be bad…I could feel the wind on my back on the way out. There were even points when my ponytail went flying forward and hit me in the face. Ponytails shouldn’t do this (girls and RunningENG can back me up)

Vanessa popped out of nowhere and saved me. I had expected her to be behind me, given her injury, but she was truckin along looking happy to be running. We ran together for about a half mile before she had to take a break. I thought about joining her, since I had little hop of having a decent race of my own…but I kept truckin.

The miles through Camp Pendelton were uneventful. I normally love this section because there’s young Marines with hands stretched out for high 5’s. This year it seemed like most stayed in bed 😦

Popping back on the main road, the wall of wind seemed especially brutal. I tucked behind a guy and drafted as best I could, but it didn’t seem to do much good. The wind was too strong. Without going into detail, wind during the miles on the boardwalk SUCKED.

 Exiting the boardwalk and onto the street, I was exhausted. Not normal marathon tired. It was like I had been boxing for hours…but it was like I sent out the Loop Signal into the sky because Col Cupcake, Sas, Bsquared and the rest of the Loop Cheer squad were there! Some of the peeps who had finished the half were out too. It was just what I needed.

shamrock half

Loop high 5s = Go Go Gadget legs!

I rode the Loop Love high as long as possible, but the wind was crushing my spirits. I tried to duck behind a couple, but the guy must have noticed me and moved ahead to let his girl draft him. She promptly told him it was doing no good.

I stole Abby’s awesome wind drawing

I crossed the half in 2:16:54. I knew 4:30 was out of the question at this point. My B goal of a PR (4:33:46) seemed out of reach as well because I saw a positive split in my future. Positive splits suck.

The 3 miles from the half to 16 are always interesting when you’re my pace. The sub 3 marathoners start to collide with the 4 hour halfers….and I get a front row seat to cheer for both teams. There’s also an awesome beer stop in this section. Every year I pass on beer on the way out, thinking I’ll get it at mile 24.5….but every year they are gone by the time I get back. My race was suckin, so I took some beer at mile 14.

Mile 16 turned into a tree-lined street, which was delightfully NOT windy. My pace had slowed since the half and it would take a miracle to get me moving.

Enter the 4:30 pace group!

Seriously though, WTF 4:30 pace group? I crossed the half in almost 2:17…and there’s no freakin way I started that far ahead. After a half mile trying to run with them, they were obviously making up time, miles 17-21 were in the high 9s/ low 10s and its crazy I was able to hold on as long as I did. I let them go just before the 22 marker. I couldn’t hold it.


Somehow keeping up with the too fast pace group

A bit bummed and exhausted..I just kept thinking about getting to the beer. Maybe this year I’ll be fast enough to get some beer before the ran out?? Like any 5 year old, my brain at 24 miles took the threat of “You can’t have beer if you walk!” seriously….and I made it to the 24.5 in time to enjoy a cup of Bud Water…goal to make it to the beer stop before they ran out – CHECK!

Even hitting the weirdest marathon goal ever didn’t help my mood. I kept looking at my watch wondering how the eff I was gonna make it another 1.7. Finally the wind was at my back but I was too exhausted to care. I can honestly say I have never fought so hard in a race. I figured I’d be annoyingly close to TCM’s PR, which was MUCH, MUCH easier, but there was no way I was gonna beat it.

Again, there must have been a Loop Signal because everyone was out cheering. Seeing Col Cannon in his bright green mustache and the unmistakable Loop gang def lit a fire. Incredible!! With 800 meters to go, I realized a PR was possible. it was going to be close…but I really couldn’t believe it. I felt weak the ENTIRE race…how was PR possible?

Official PR by 22 seconds. I’m 3 for 3 for PRs at Shamrock, even though 2 have been less than a minute…a PR is a PR, right? Even more cool….check out the official splits. Was I still in Pacer Mode?


No rest for the weary, I immediately grabbed my stuff (finisher’s hat AND finisher’s fleece blanket) and headed to the beer tent to find someone to film my post marathon somersaults. For those of you who dont know, I’m the front runner in the Year of the Muskrat Challenge. One of the tasks is 9 somersaults/tequila shots within one hour of finishing a marathon.


Yes, I’m wearing my charity sweat pants in the video. Then off for tequila!!


This is a gif so of it’s not moving click on it!!

After the somersaults and shots, it was time for the usual Shamrock Shenanigans. Writing about them will take all day and I’m already a few months late so here’s some pics.

Loop damage starts….

Zam modeling our awesome fleece finishers blankets and her prized blowup Yuengling bottle

Sas doing what he does best

This wasn’t all us….

We had to say goodbyes too soon and soon it was just me an Zam. Due to the fact that we are both idiots, we had another day in the beach house. It was a dreary, rainy day….but we had company….

Challenge Accepted!

Does this marathon the day after qualify as my second double?

All in all, another FABULOUS Shamrock weekend. It’s my fav race…you know you wanna come next year!

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