30 for 30: Number 8

Hello!  Man…I don’t even know where to begin with this one…

Race 8/30:  Shamrock’n Half Marathon

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This one was a race unlike any I’ve ever experienced, and it’s certainly one I’ll never forget!  Originally my first half marathon of 2016 was scheduled for April, but this one is a local favorite and became a last minute addition to my schedule of 30.  That being said, this was my third year running this race, and the only time I’ve ever actually enjoyed it.  The past two years have been hot and just flat out mentally draining races for me.  Apparently third time really is the charm because this year was everything opposite what those first two were!

First, the weather.  El nino is being very generous to my drought-ridden river town, and this past weekend was no exception.  The downpour that started in the middle of the week forced a last minute course change due to an area of the course being flooded out by the river.  No big deal…the part of the course we lost was the part I dread the most, so I can’t say I was sad to see that happen.  It was raining pretty hard when I got to the start, lightened up a little for me to get warmed up, and then came a downpour just in time for the start!  It was a crazy little kickoff, but the rain didn’t end up being so bad.  It mostly was just a light rain the whole way through.  The worst part was the wind.  There was actually a point about 4 miles in that it was so windy I was being forced sideways.  Crazy!!

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This race was my 24th half marathon, but it’s only the second one I’ve ever had to run in rain.  It’s also the first time I’ve ever started a race in a trash bag.  All in all the weather wasn’t nearly as big a factor as I thought it would be.  It was actually a nice change to the usual warm conditions I’ve experienced in the past with this race.

One of the reasons I love this race so much is the fact it starts and finishes at one of my favorite places…the baseball field!  This one actually has an on-field finish, but due to the rain they had to change that part of the course too.  Oh well…there’s always next year! 😉  At least it gave me a nice view to warm-up and (try to) stay dry.

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I was so pleasantly surprised by this race experience, and I’m still rocking the runner’s high two days later.  Since I wasn’t planning on running a half until April I went into this one the most undertrained I’ve ever been for a half marathon.  I wasn’t expecting anything special to happen…I just wanted to enjoy it and put the miles in.  I didn’t come in at any sort of spectacular time or anything, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt this was the strongest race I’ve ever run mentally.  There were so many moments that even months ago would’ve had me trying to talk myself out of running or giving in to a walk break.  This race was so different for me.  There wasn’t one time I doubted myself, and no matter how hard the wind kept blowing or how cold I was from the rain I just kept telling myself, “You’re stronger than this mile.”  It became my mantra for this race, and it’s one I think I’m going to carry on with me for the rest of this journey.  🙂

So next up:  a double race weekend!  Another half marathon on Saturday followed by a fun little 5k mud run on Sunday.  So excited to keep adding on the miles to this crazy ride!

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