Shamrock Marathon Part 2: Running the Marathon

I already bought the finisher jacket. I had to finish.

Shamrock Marathon 6
Here’s my race bib in front of the sunrise on Saturday, which was the day before the race. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Although not finishing the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon wasn’t really an option for me, I was having a harder-than-expected time during the second half, and I kept thinking about the nice jacket I’d spent $69 on the day before.

I spoiled it for you in the last post — I did finish the marathon, and I get to wear my awesome jacket. But I’m going to step back a little bit.

This is Part 2 of two posts about the Shamrock Marathon. Part 1 focused on the VIP Experience that my friend Veronica won and that we both enjoyed, and this one will delve into the actual running of the marathon.

Before the actual race came the expo. Veronica and I had already picked up our packets on Friday, but we came back to the expo on Saturday, and I enjoyed gathering some free items. I also bought a medal holder the previous day and a couple cheap things on Saturday.

Shamrock Marathon 5
I added “Salisbury, MD” to the “Where are you from?” chalkboard at the expo. (Vanessa Junkin photos)

That evening, we met up with some fellow Salisbury-area friends for carb-loading at Ynot Italian. I’d been hydrating all day.

When I woke up (after letting my alarm keep going several times because Veronica was there and I knew she wouldn’t let me oversleep), I did actually get out of bed at about 6:30 a.m., two hours before the 8:30 a.m. marathon start.

Shamrock Marathon 2
Here I am after finishing the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon. I wore these shamrock hair clips in my hair during the race. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I had some oatmeal, water and a little coffee. I didn’t want to have to go to the bathroom during the race, and I thought I would be OK, but unfortunately I ended up stopping at four portable toilets on the course. At least I didn’t really have to wait too long for them, but it’s never good to add that time.

As I mentioned in the last post, the marathon start was right outside the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, where Veronica and I stayed. In the corral, I ended up meeting someone who does some of the same races I do as well as another blogger (AnimalWhiz). That was awesome, particularly given the large size of the race!

I was in Corral 3 of 4, but I still didn’t have to wait long to get to the start. My first mile was my fastest, according to my watch, but I did feel the shin pain coming on. I dealt with shin pain for the next few miles, but it was gone by Mile 4 or 5. However, early bathroom stops did slow me down in the beginning.

At one point relatively early on, as I mentioned in the previous post, I saw Bart Yasso, who remembered my goal and noted that the 4:30 pace group was up ahead. I saw him a few other times during the race, but I never made it up to the 4:30 group. I tried to stay ahead of the 5:00 pace group, but they passed me toward the end — and they had started in Corral 4.

The first two hours seemed to fly by. I wasn’t going very fast, but I remember looking at my watch and thinking that it didn’t feel like I’d been running for almost two hours, or two hours, or sometime around then.

Although the half marathoners, who started at 7 a.m., had to deal with the rain, I didn’t experience any during my run, and the weather seemed pretty nice. I even tied my jacket around my waist for some of the run.

I was wearing my 11:30 Club shirt, which reads “Do the Work” on the back, so some people would yell that out, and I’d put my hands up in recognition and thanks for the encouragement.

Mile 10.5 or so was when we hit the Boardwalk. Wow. It was very, very, very, very windy. Although I did appreciate the ocean view, I don’t think I’ve ever run against so much wind. I tried to think about how we’d be running the other way toward the finish, and maybe it would push us along.

I don’t remember exactly when, but sometime around the second half I started having issues with my breathing. It felt like the same thing that happened to me during the 2014 Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon and the recent training run I’d done on the Algonquin trail (and the six miles I did by myself after).

It’s hard to describe exactly, but it wasn’t the regular feeling of getting tired or feeling out of breath from running hard. I felt like I was struggling to get enough air, and like in the Rehoboth race, I just felt like I had to keep stopping to walk. I’d give myself something to run to, such as the next mile marker, and would just stop to walk because I felt like I couldn’t keep running. It was very frustrating, particularly near the end, when I just wanted to run the end hard.

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Here I am (at left) with my friends and fellow race finishers Veronica James and Melissa Wilson.

I knew I wasn’t going to come in around 4:30, but I still had hope for finishing in under five hours. But I ended up deciding that it was more important just to take walk breaks and finish rather than pushing myself harder than I could go, given the breathing issues.

I was unfortunately quite loud as I tried to suck in air and catch my breath, and other runners would turn around to see what was up. I’m planning to get this checked out by a doctor, as I have self-diagnosed myself with exercise-induced asthma. (However, I have no medical training, so I really have no idea what I have.)

Shamrock Marathon swag
Along with the finisher medal, I got this cool towel, along with a hat, shirt and bag. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

It was great to see the big blown-up finish and then hear my name be announced as a finisher, and I collected my finisher medal and a variety of other swag and food (including a cookie — yum!). I then went over to the VIP tent, where I sat for a bit before heading back to the hotel briefly, and then back to the main tent before returning to the VIP tent.

My finishing chip time was 5:03:33.

Since Yuengling is the title sponsor of the marathon, there was plenty of beer to be had, and there was a fun atmosphere at the after-party.

Shamrock Marathon 1
I think the finisher medal is pretty awesome! (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Although I certainly had a tough second half of the race, it felt amazing to finish. Hopefully if I figure out what’s causing the breathing issues, I can knock it out of the park with my next marathon time.

Read “Shamrock Marathon Part 1: The VIP Experience” here. 

Splits (these are not even at all, partially due to the bathroom breaks and breathing issues). 

Mile 1: 9:43

Mile 2: 12:06

Mile 3: 11:06

Mile 4: 10:42

Mile 5: 13:55

Mile 6: 9:50

Mile 7: 10:58

Mile 8: 10:16

Mile 9: 11:03

Mile 10: 11:01

Mile 11: 10:53

Mile 12: 13:47

Mile 13: 11:13

Mile 14: 10:42

Mile 15: 12:25

Mile 16: 10:11

Mile 17: 11:36

Mile 18: 12:22

Mile 19: 10:33

Mile 20: 12:00

Mile 21: 11:37

Mile 22: 13:29

Mile 23: 11:36

Mile 24: 11:45

Mile 25: 12:24

Mile 26: 11:16

Last .2 plus extra that my watch logged: 4:37

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