No surprise to anyone, this past weekend I ran yet another half marathon.  This was the 2012 Anthem Half Marathon, also known as the Shamrock Half Marathon (Yuengling sponsors the full and Anthem the half).

AWESOME race.  I was so excited to finally get to Virginia Beach this year.  I was actually registered for this race last year, but deferred because race weekend was the best weekend for me to move from my apartment to my house.  So for an extra $30, I deferred to this year, and I’m so glad I did.

I headed down to the race with Jen, Katie, and Lauren, and once there, we met up with a number of other friends, making this an amazing race weekend.  It’s always fun to race with friends, even if you don’t end up actually running together.

Katie did the Dolphin Challenge, so she ran the 8K on Saturday (as well as the half on Sunday).  So we all headed out to cheer for her.  While there were corrals based on time, I think there were some issues with the corrals, because while many of the corrals started out running, Katie’s was definitely filled with walkers.  Kind of a bummer, but she had a half on her plate for the next day.

We stayed and watched the kids races.  There was a one mile kids race as well as a “final mile.”  Those kids ran 25 miles over the past months and then did the final part of their marathon that morning.  There were so many kids!  Lots of green hair, lots of parents running with their kids, lots of costumes.  It looked like a lot of fun, and it was fun to get to cheer for them.  We got lots of little high fives.

Sunday morning was race morning.  The half started at 7 and the full at 8:30, leaving plenty of time to prevent the slow half marathoners from causing trouble for the fast marathoners.  I was just excited that I would finish the race before the first marathoner.  That typically doesn’t happen for me with combined halfs and fulls!

Once again, there were corralling issues.  There were 7 corrals for the half, and I was in corral 6, which I believe was finish times from 2:30-2:54.  My PR was 2:49:20, and I was hoping to pull off another PR on this very flat course, so I was in the right corral.  Plenty of people were not.  Again, I am a super walker friendly person.  I encourage walkers to participate in races.  It doesn’t matter if you run, walk, or crawl (or cycle, I suppose) across that finish line – we all cover the same distance.  That said, it’s really hard to start out and have walkers in front of you.  It’s just lack of knowledge of race etiquette, I think.  So walkers, remember to be out of the way of faster people who may be behind you.  I saw an opening at the very beginning and I bolted through it.

I made myself a pace band for this race that would get me in at 2:49 and getting me a new PR.  Mile 1, I was well under pace, thanks to having to bolt around walkers.  But then I started to get slower.  I needed to keep a 12:54 pace (I run/walk).  I started with a 1:45/1 pattern, but dropped to a 1:30/1 pattern that felt great.  But I had to push those early miles.  My splits were pretty good.

1 – 12:44
2 – 13:01
3 – 12:52
4 – 13:00
5 – 13:06 (it was here I began to question the PR)
6 – 12:43 (and then I kicked it into gear)
7 – 12:37
8 – 12:43
9 – 12:43
10 – 12:51
11 – 12:41
12 – 12:41
13 – 12:47

And my finish time was officially 2:48:33.  A new PR!  Hooray!

It was a hard fought PR.  My last PR felt easy.  I was well trained and had been doing solid speedwork, but also getting a lot of rest.  I wanted this PR, but I hadn’t been keeping up with my training.  And I felt it.  I fought for every mile.  I deserve the time and I’m proud of it, but two days later, I’m still sore.  But I learned my lesson.  If I train properly, I can whittle away at that time.  I would like to see a 2:45 someday.  With my heart rate issues, I’m never going to be fast, and I don’t know that a 2:30 is ever in the cards.  But I still like seeing improvement.

I saw Monica on the course, and when I finished, Laura was hanging out by the bananas, waiting for us.  I met up with her, willed my legs to not cramp up (I could feel it coming and quickly downed some Gatorade and pretzels), and waited for Katie and Jen to come in.  They looked great at the finish!  After the race, we also met up with Suzanne and Monica and then headed back to cheer Lauren to her full marathon finish.  I know she didn’t have the greatest race, but she looked spectacular!

We headed back, showered, and made it back outside to see Janice and David finish.  Janice spotted me and I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone so excited to see me.  It was great to see them run their way to new PRs.  And they introduced us to our new friend Sandy.

All in all, a great race filled with great friends.  This is why I run.

This was the 40th Anniversary of the race, and the organizers set out to make it awesome.  This race always features a finisher’s item, usually a hat, but for the anniversary, we got hats and sweatshirts.  And, of course, a medal.  That doubles as a bottle opener.  Awesome.


By Megan

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