This year the Shamrock'n Half increased its number of participants to 7,500. It seems to be one of the most popular races around here, so we were sure to sign up early! But with so many people racing, today we wanted to be sure that we made it to the race early to not feel rushed before the start. Race start time was 7:45, and we arrived at 6:20 -- probably a little earlier than necessary, but not much after we arrived the traffic really started backing up! I was glad we got there early -- I'd rather be early and relaxed than sit in traffic and get worried about missing my start.
There were 4 waves to the start (every 15 minutes), but I was in the first wave, so I didn't have to wait around. The race organizers did a good job of making sure people stayed in the correct wave. The race seemed to start right on time and without any issues!
Rockin' some neon green with my ProCompression socks and NWM t-shirt!
The course for Shamrock'n is really nice -- curves through downtown Sacramento a bit, then followed along a bike path for a few miles before heading back into downtown and finishing in the local baseball stadium (just like yesterday's Biggest Loser Walk). Overall it is flat with a couple super tiny "hills" on bridges to go over the river. They also have bands every few miles to keep you entertained.
I have to admit, even though this was my 10th half marathon, I was nervous before the start. Does that ever go away? I mean, I don't mind it but its just a little funny to me. I guess when you put in so much time/effort into training for something it makes sense. I usually relax once I'm a mile or so into the race....this one was no different.
Honestly, this race really flew by for me. The first couple miles of the race were pretty crowded, but I tried not to do too much weaving. My first mile was a 8:28, which I thought was too fast, but that race adrenaline always gets me a little. I was able to slow it down a tiny bit the next two miles to 8:41, which was about where I actually wanted to start. After that I just stopped thinking so much about pace and just let myself get comfortable and ride it out for a while, which turned out to be back to about 8:24-8:28. My plan was to keep up this pace until mile 10 and then turn it up for the last 5k.
I was able to do exactly that! Mile 12 I started getting tired so my pace slowed a tiny bit, but for the last 1.1, I was able to pick it back up again to finish off strong!
My final time was 1:51:03 -- a PR by 5 minutes!!! I'm SO excited! Even two days later, I'm still on cloud nine.
Of course I had to get a post- race Killian's Irish Red on St. Patrick's Day!
Afterward we hung around to cheer on some other friend to the finish, have a post-race beer, and recap the events. Actually Ryan and I and two of our friends all PR'ed! It was a very exciting day! Now I'm so excited to keep working on speed and seeing what I can do!