Shamrock Marathon Recap

If you're about to read this recap and you're thinking to yourself that I'm some kind of superhuman because I just ran a marathon, and you'll never be in my shoes or even anywhere close - let me stop you right there. We need to have a little chat.

I ran my third marathon this weekend. Not because I am a gifted runner, or a natural runner, or a lifelong runner. Three years ago this very weekend I ran my first half marathon, and a year prior to that, I couldn't have run to the end of my block if I had wanted to. I didn't wake up one day suddenly able to run long distance. Or any distance. I started one day, with one workout that alternated between 1 minutes of running and 90 seconds of walking, and I wanted to quit and die before I made it through all 8 of the intervals. I ran so slowly I probably could have covered the distance faster by walking. But you know what I did? I put one foot in front of the other one and kept going. And I did that over and over and over again, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. And I continue to do it day after day because running is a process. You may cross figurative and literal finish lines across the way, but the truth is: there is no final finish line. There is always progress to be made. There are setbacks that will undoubtedly occur and will make you feel like you're right back where you started.

I've said this several times recently in e-mails, so apologies if you're reading it for the second or third or tenth time, but I wanted to put it here, out in public, because it's important to me that anyone reading this is completely clear. I share my running journey not to brag, but because it is a journey - one that I want anyone considering it to know that they too can start. There is nothing I believe more strongly that anyone who wants to run can run. The will to succeed is the most important part. I made it through every single one of my runs for the first year on willpower alone. We all have limitations - mental, physical, environmental, emotional, etc. Don't let them define you. Don't let them stop you from being the runner you want to be. I've been there, done that, and I'm here to tell you that you can succeed at whatever you put your mind to. My intention of sharing my running triumphs is never to brag about how great of a runner I think I am, but to maybe, maybe convince someone else that they can do exactly what I've been able to do. Thanks to all of you, whether you send me virtual high fives every time I accomplish something I'm proud of, or you silently congratulate me, for following along and sharing in my journey (and special thanks to those of you who texted, Tweeted, and tracked me on Sunday!).
Now let's talk about this race, shall we? I'm already having a hard time recapping it because it felt like it went by so quickly! Well, as quickly as 4+ hours of running can fly by, anyway. I wanted to have an account of all 26.2 miles for my personal record, but I don't expect you to relive every mile with me. Apologies in advance for the longest race recap in recorded history (brevity has never been my strong suit). Feel free to scroll (and then keep scrolling...and then scroll some more...you'll get there eventually) to the end for my highlights and race reflections!


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Shamrock Marathon 2015 Recap

The Shamrock Marathon officially has my heart. I lined up at the same start line I was at a year ago as the race started right in the middle of the oceanfront resort area of Virginia Beach and headed south for the first 5.5 miles, past the resort area then down a major road until the turnaround. I made friends around mile 4.5 with a guy wearing a shirt with The Blerch on the back. I'm not a very social runner but something he said prompted me to ask him a question and we just kept talking from there. We had similar time goals (as close to 4 hours as possible without dying) and he definitely helped me keep my pace in those early miles. They were all right at or below 9:00, which is faster than what I had planned to run, but it's what felt good and comfortable. I saw Ben and our friend who takes all my race photos at the turnaround at mile 5.5! My watch was already measuring about .1 mile long at that point which annoyed me a little.

At mile 6 we turned into Camp Pendleton, a Marine base. There wasn't a lot to see at that point but there were a couple spots with Marines lined up to give us high fives, and I made sure to high five every last one of them. There were a few spots in Camp Pendleton when the wind picked up and it made me really nervous about what was ahead. The forecast had predicted NE winds of 12mph, and I knew that once we got out of the camp we'd be heading north with the wind potentially in our faces for almost 10 miles. The wind was brutal last year and it got me really mentally down, and I was afraid of a repeat.

We made it out of Camp Pendlteon at mile 9 and got back out into the main road and went over a bridge (the only hill of any sort on the course, thank goodness!) back toward the oceanfront. There was a water stop and porta potties at the bottom of the bridge and I really had to pee, so I ducked in one of them (thank goodness for no lines). That was the last time I saw The Blerch (not his real name). That was at mile 10 and after that we hopped on the boardwalk for about a mile and a half. There was a fairly strong wind from the north and, as nice as running then Boardwalk can be, it's not so nice with wind in your face. I knew which street Ben would be at so I just focused on counting down each one until I saw him.


Next it was off the boardwalk and back to where we had started, then out onto the main beach road away from the resort area. I had been wanting to take a walk break but I made myself wait until I got to the halfway mark. I needed a break so I took one and I'm glad I did because my legs felt so refreshed when I started running again! I started taking walk breaks every mile or so after that. I've now run two marathons where I started taking walk breaks before I felt like I was dying, and one where I didn't, and I can safely say the former works better for me. My average pace obviously started getting slower at that point but it was worth it.

Miles 14-16 were still on the main beach road, but it turns into beach houses instead of resorts at that point. I got to see the marathon leaders coming from the other direction and heading toward the finish! There were lots of spectators out and also a lot of half marathoners out on the other side, also heading to the finish. I really like seeing people and other runners during races so that was fun. I couldn't wait to be where they were though...only about, oh, 11 miles to go! Right before mile 16 we turned onto Shore Drive. I walked a water stop, got a Popsicle, and made another friend. Actually I just asked him if he was okay since it looked like he kind of wasn't. He was okay except for some cramping, and we talked for a few minutes before I told him good luck and moved on.

Shore Drive was a breeze - the figurative kind, not the literal kind - except for the sudden need I had to use the porta potty, but luckily there were some not too far away. I still felt pretty good and pretty happy, even though those miles were really tough for me last year. Ben was waiting with Bane and his sister, her husband, and their uncle right before the turn into Fort Story at mile 19. I stopped to hug Bane and tried to get a high five but he was too focused on the other runners. He eventually gave me something that kind of resembled a high five and I got back to running.

When I got into Fort Story I thought, "Game on, I am so ready for you!" In my 4 years of running Shamrock, that was the strongest I'd ever felt mentally or physically through that part of the course. That brutal 15-miler during training really did give me the mental strength I needed to get through it. Even though I was at miles 20-23 of a marathon and my legs weren't exactly fresh, it was nothing compared to how cold and windy it was that day a couple months ago. In fact, it was beautiful and sunshiney and, thank Neptune, the wind hadn't been an issue since mile 9.

I didn't take many photos out on the course, but this was just too beautiful of a sight not to!
I couldn't believe when I made it to the 20 mile marker, like was this real life? My pace had slowed a lot due to the walk breaks but my legs still felt okay and my running pace was around 9:00. I had a couple more miles to make it through Fort Story and then: the home stretch!

Running really long distance like that is a real mind fuck, let me tell you. Usually once I get to 15 miles or so, it doesn't make sense to my brain that I've run that far. And once I've gotten up to like 22+ my brain literally cannot register the numbers on my watch anymore. So by the time I got to mile 23 and had about 5k left, I really couldn't comprehend anything anymore, like...what? How...? I remember my watch beeping at 24 miles and I could have sworn it had just beeped at 18 like five minutes earlier. Even though the second half was slow-going it never felt like time slowed or stopped like happens to me sometimes. Those last 3 or 4 miles sometimes feel like an eternity, but they didn't this time. Sometimes I start feeling loopy during long runs, but I somehow remained mentally engaged this time. I just focused on moving forward and knew I'd get there. It got pretty hard to do so, as I was having some trouble breathing and my quads had been cramping up since Fort Story, but I took walk breaks when I needed and just kept moving forward. I was so happy when I made it to mile 25! I knew I only had 12 minutes or so left, and I was going to make it. I tried to pick up the pace when I could. The race was really coming to an end and I kept looking down at my watch...1 mile left, .9, .8...

With less than half a mile left we turned onto the boardwalk to make the final trek down to the King Neptune statue and the finish line. I slowed for a second to take it all in - that view, turning onto the boardwalk, looking straight at the ocean, the sun shining in the blue sky, waves rolling in. That has always been my favorite part of the Shamrock course, but it was exceptionally perfect this time. It was the best sight I saw all day and I just wanted to be in that moment for a second because it so perfectly represented everything about the day. I wanted to take a photo but I couldn't get my phone out in time, so the mental picture will have to suffice. It's something I never want to forget as long as I live.


But I couldn't linger for too long because I had a PR to go get! I picked up my pace on the boardwalk and once I got to mile 26, I started scanning for my family. Having people to smile and wave at as I make my way to the finish is the best thing ever! After I saw them I had just a minute or so more to the finish and I have it all the kick I had (which was apparently a lot more than I thought - the last .48 miles clocked in at 8:06 pace). I looked down and saw that I had just hit 4:17 - I had already added several minutes over the course of the day to the time I'd hoped to get, and there was no way I was going to let my watch get over 4:18 at that point. It hurt so good to cross that finish line!

(linking up my recap with Run Jenny Run!)

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Shamrock Marathon 2015 Highlights

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 26.2.

+ maintaining a sub-9 pace for the first 10 miles
  • Not what I intended on doing and I have to thank The Blerch for keeping me mentally engaged through some of those early miles, but it's an accomplishment I'm proud to have had. I never thought I'd see a sub-9 at any point in a full marathon.
+ finishing the first half in 2 hours (and 21 seconds)
  • I had a goal to make it through the first half in 2 hours, that way I'd have plenty of time to get through the second half. I'm proud not only that I did it, but that I didn't kill myself doing so. Getting through that first half in exactly 2 hours (my watch read 2:00:00 on the dot when I crossed the timing mat) felt comfortable and set me up for a successful (albeit slower) second half. 
  • A year ago, my plan was to run this year's Shamrock half, not the full, in hopes that it would be my first sub-2 half. Soooo to finish the first half of the FULL in the time I expected to run the half alone? Yeah, I'll take it.
+ PRing on both halves of the course.

  • The fastest I had ever previously clocked in at the halfway point of a marathon was 2:19, and the fastest I had ever run the second half of a marathon course was 2:30. This year I finished them in 2:00:21 and 2:17:29, respectively! There's some perspective for ya: my second (slower) half this year was better than my best first half previously. 
+ walking nearly all the water stops and drinking/eating what I needed to 
  • I rarely ever use the aid stations in races, and when I do, it's because I'm dying of thirst and I end up downing a cup of Gatorade and then cursing Gatorade approximately 23 seconds later when my stomach starts to hurt. Even on solo runs I rarely eat or drink anything because I don't like the feeling of anything sloshing around in my stomach, but I have ended up paying for not eating and drinking way too many times (remember that 20-miler I totally bonked a few weeks ago because I just needed to eat?). I practiced at RnR last week by not only walking the water stops but actually drinking water during them and it helped. I think I missed one or two in the early Shamrock miles, but I stopped and got water at all of aid stations from Mile 4 on to the end, whether I felt like I needed to or not. I also ate an entire box of raisins, started on a second box, and ate a popsicle I got from a spectator. Usually I eat like 2 raisins total, if I remember, so, as weird as it sounds, forcing myself to eat was a big win.
+ allowing myself walk breaks when I needed them and not beating myself up for it
  • I know that for a lot of people, the merit in running comes from not stopping. I fully admit to being one of those people in shorter races, and even halfs to some extent, but the marathon is a completely different beast for me that needs to be handled differently. For me, that means taking breaks. Breaks that started at the halfway point. Breaks that got more frequent as the number of miles got higher. Breaks that caused my average pace to keep slowing. And I was totally fine with that. Those breaks may have added a few minutes to my finishing time, but they kept me from hitting The (infamous) Wall and getting down on myself and my race. They kept me mentally engaged and gave me some physical relief which I think ultimately allowed me to keep going until the end. 
+ using the porta-potty twice!
  • One reason I hate to eat or drink anything is because I am terrified of having to go to the bathroom on the course. I'm not really sure if I'm afraid that I won't make it to a porta-potty, or if I'm just worried about the extra time it will take (especially if there's a line), but seriously, that has always been one of my biggest race fears. I stopped not once but twice and was weirdly glad I did because guess what? The world did not stop spinning, and my race continued on like normal after I was done. Amazing, right? Seriously, this was a weird but necessary mental victory for me to realize that. 
+ beating my last Shamrock half time, doubled
  • I never had any delusions of finishing this in my current half PR time (1:49), doubled, but I did think it would be cool to beat my Shamrock half time. Two years ago I trained and trained and trained and finished my second half marathon at Shamrock in 2:10:14. It was one of the toughest things I'd ever done and I was DEAD at the end. So, 2 years later, essentially running that same race back-to-back felt pretty good.
+ getting to ring the PR bell
  • The PR bell on the beach was a new addition this year, and I thought it was so much fun! I had seen a picture of it in IG from the 8k the day before and I just couldn't wait to finish my race and ring it myself!
+ drinking a beer out of my new pint glass
  • I came *thisclose* to purchasing that Twenty Six Point Freaking Two pint glass at the expo on Friday night, that way Ben could bring it to the after party and I could celebrate by drinking my victory beers out of it! Then I came to my senses - I never purchase anything with the race distance on it prior to the race! Even though I'd run a marathon before, even though I'd run the Shamrock Marathon before, I didn't want to jinx myself, so I sadly put it back. I had Tweeted about it the night before and I didn't even realize I'd be able to buy it after the race until I got a Tweet right after I finished the race asking if I had bought any merch. I wasn't planning on it but after I got that reminder I made a beeline for the merch booth. I'll probably be drinking out of that glass for the rest of time. 
+ not letting my mind defeat me!
  • Ah, my biggest accomplishment of all! This isn't to say that at Mile 3 I wasn't already wondering when I'd be done. Or that the wind in my face at Mile 8 didn't make me consider throwing in the towel for a second. Or that the cramps in my side at Mile 17 didn't make me walk a quarter mile until I could get it together. Or that I didn't consider just walking from Mile 22 to the end when I realized I could do that and still PR. I certainly still had some negative thoughts pop up here and there, but I never let them get me down. I embraced them, I dealt with them however I needed to, and I moved on. I couldn't keep the pace I was hoping to hold, and I watched some of my time goals (4:00...4:05...4:10...4:15...) slip away, but I didn't panic. I adapted. Every time I let one go, I was completely okay with it because I knew I was running the race I needed to run. I saw the long term instead of the short term. I recognized that even if I could pull off a 9-minute mile, the next one would likely take 12 minutes because I would have exhausted myself. The short term benefits weren't worth the price I'd pay trying to get to the finish line. I felt in control of my race the whole time and, most importantly, HAPPY!
I had some goal times in mind leading up to this race, but more than anything, I wanted to prove that I had a better marathon in me than the two I had previously run. I knew I probably didn't have a sub-4, especially since I just didn't feel like I trained the way I would need to to reach that benchmark, but I knew I could run a substantially better marathon than I ran a year ago. I wanted to close the gap between my half PR (1:49) and my full PR (previously 4:49), and I'm happy with what I was able to accomplish. I ran the best race and, most importantly, the happiest race I could have run. It was absolutely the best Shamrock race I've ever run, and the best marathon I've ever run. I'll never look back at Shamrock 2015 with regret, I'll never wonder "What if?" - I did exactly what I needed to do in those 4 hours and 17 minutes. I have no doubt I have an even better marathon in me - with even more diligent, harder training - but it will be a while before I attempt it again. For now I'm happy to have closed the gap and to have done what I set out to do all along: update my PR board!


What's the best race you've ever run?! Tell me about your most recent PR! 

A bit of housekeeping....

  • Tell Alyssa and me what PR you're gunning for next week - March's Training for Tuesday goes live on the 31st!
  • As of today, I'm officially a resident of www.changeofpaceblog.com!



25 comments :

  1. Yay! Way to go! I loved reading this. This looks like such a fun race and it's nice to see all your hard work pay off. I'll be starting again with intervals once it warms up outside and the sidewalks aren't a skating rink. Aaron and I started running together last summer, but as soon as winter hit, we stopped. Back to basics for us! It's nice to read that you had to start that way too and look at you now! I'd love to run in a couple of small local races this summer, so that's going to be my goal. I loved seeing your updates from the day on instagram and my favorite is of course the one where you saw Bane haha so cute!!

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  2. YES YES YES to all of this. I loved the intro especially. I was not a natural or lifelong runner, and I think it's awesome to see the accomplishments of fellow non-natural runners. As much as I love reading Runner's World, I sometimes find myself frustrated because there are two types of people spotlighted: those who made a life-changing decision or those who, in my mind, are natural runners. While struggling for a goal is something we all do, I think it's sometimes hard to relate to someone who has a goal of a 4 minute mile when I'm hoping for a 9 minute mile. The ultimate goal is the same, but in the running world, we are on completely different planets, ya know?

    You already know just how excited I am about this race and your PR because, duh, you killed it. But I especially loved this recap. After my half, I beat myself up for taking walk breaks, and I shouldn't have! And it's nice to see someone else who struggles with eating and drinking during long runs. I know I NEED to, but I hate the way it feels. And the porta-potty issue was my biggest fear too! And the worst part was, during my half? They only had one set of them near the start/finish line. That was all I ever saw! I just had to convince myself that I needed to run fast enough to sweat everything out. hahaha.

    Also, after my half (I really need to do another so I quit talking about the same one over and over) there wasn't a lot of merch to buy, but they were selling coffee mugs at a really good price. For some reason, I just HAD to have it. But I'm fairly certain I will NEVER get rid of it. That coffee mug will always be one of my favorites.

    P.S. I could keep going, but this comment might end up longer than your post, soooooo.....

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  3. Ahhh I'm not even kidding, I am way too teary right now. Get yourself together, Kristen.
    First off - I forgot to tell you, I didn't get a single text or tweet from the tracking people. I signed up and everything, I even checked it after 8:30 to make sure I was still signed in, but nada.
    Secondly - I was almost 100% positive I would never run a marathon an hour ago. But after reading this, there is a little voice in my head that says I possibly, maybe, might, one day could do it. Like, I am physically able to do it. Right now? Heck no. But I could. Maybe.
    I loved reading The Blerch comic, I had never seen that before. Its so true, much better to think of it that way than a wall.
    I read every word of this recap and I am just.. speechless (I know it doesn't seem that way haha) and I wish I could say all the things but really, I am just so so so happy for you, and proud for you.You definitely look so happy in all the photos, and you sound so happy in the recap, it's so inspiring and motivating and I know it sounds like I'm just chucking out words but I really mean it. So, go you!!

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  4. Oh, I also meant to say I really loved reading about the walk and port a pottie breaks.. seriously, for some reason this was eye opening for me. I feel like a fake runner, or if I am cheating, or failing, if I stop for either of these things. Thanks for setting me right.

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  5. Congrats on the PR!!! Great recap. I am not a natural runner either (hello 23 minute mile in elementary school gym class), but I LOVE the challenge of running. It's inspiring to read about your journey from beginner runner to 4:17:50 (!!!) marathon runner. That's proof of a lot of hard work and commitment. Also, I love the line "This isn't to say that at Mile 3 I wasn't already wondering when I'd be done". Ha ha!! As happy as I was when I ran my one and only marathon, the exact same thought crossed my mind! Great race!

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  6. FIRST OF ALL, I am a race recap junkie, so not only did I do a happy dance at my desk when I saw this post was up, but I read EVERY SINGLE WORD of it. I'm not sorry.
    I also took a few bathroom breaks during both my fulls. At that point with all the water, etc., you just need to, and I always feel better after. Plus, over the course of 4+ hours, it really doesn't take *that* much time to stop and pee. As for not using the water stations?!?!? Girl, I ate and drank everything they offered during my fulls. I am the poster child for what they tell you not to do during a race: i.e., eat and drink things you aren't used to training with. ha! I'm crazy. (Maybe that's why I had to pee so bad?)
    I'm glad the wind wasn't terrible for you, and it sounds like overall it was a great race! I'm so happy :) You really trained hard and hello amazing PR! My personal preference is to go intentionally slower in the first 1/2 so I can pass people during the second 1/2. Mentally for me it's a boost to have some energy left vs. seeing my time slow down. However, that's not to say your way isn't good too, and everyone has to run their own race. I'm glad you don't have any regrets. Love the PR bell! That's such a fun idea!

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  7. Totally agree with you - ANYONE can become a runner, if they're willing to put in the work.

    I'm super impressed you stop and talk to people while running! I would walk through water stations (haven't mastered the art of the "run and drink") but getting a popsicle and making friends/checking in with other runners? AND getting a PR?! Dang. You're super woman.

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  8. I love that you made friends while doing a marathon! I'm pretty sure I'd be huffing and puffing so much I wouldn't be able to form coherent sentences haha

    I wish I could included emojis on here because if I could I'd have the hands raised-hallelujah one right here ___ for you including that you walked through parts of the course. For the longest time I thought of running a marathon or a half marathon as running ONLY and that was the hardest thing to get out of my head!

    For the millionth time I have to put that you are my running inspiration and YOU ROCK!

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  9. Loved reading this. Love all these pictures! Seriously, your face when you see Bane just made me smile so big, it's the sweetest! And I love you ringing that PR bell like you earned it, which you totally did. I love that this was such a powerful and positive experience for you in so many ways. I love your opening too, and I feel the exact same way. Of course, I haven't accomplished yet what you have, but I blog it for the same reasons.
    I'm so, so proud of you for powering through every challenge and obstacle, especially those that were only present in your mind, during this race. And for the record? No way in hell I'm not coming with you next year.

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  10. I'm applauding you! That's so awesome... & you're still ALL SMILES at the end. That's the best part!!!!
    You're right - having someone clap & cheer you on at the end just gives you energy!
    YOU GO GIRL!!!!!!

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  11. I love reading your race recaps because it gives me a glimmer of hope that I can run further than I think I can by you being so real and honest with your journey and how you got where you are today. Congrats on the PR and for not getting inside your head during this run. You did amazing!!! You go glencoco!!!!

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  12. YAYAYAYAY! Congrats! You totally rocked the Shamrock. Thanks for the recap, I was definitely thinking about you on Sunday! I think potty breaks are definitely necessary in a full marathon. Food too!

    I just started running with fig newtons instead of chews or dried fruit because of my braces. I love it! It's like "oh, cookie time!"

    Congrats again, you did good work girl!

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  13. You inspire me and I love love loved reading this recap. I love how you reminded me of how far you've come over the years and how you were once in my shoes! Sometimes I beat myself up over how "slow" I am, or how I'm not improving at the rate I want to be- but its alllllll part of MY journey, and everyone's is different. I honestly didn't think I'd want to do another one after D.C., but I want to see how hard I can push myself. I want to see what I'm capable of!

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    1. Oh and CONGRATS! Obviously!!!!!!!!!!!! :) Really proud of you!

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  14. Congratulations on another successful marathon! xx

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  15. I loooooved the part before you even started to recap the marathon. Running is a process and you get out what you put in. Crazy proud of you for sharing your journey and helping to inspire others who want to make running for them as well.

    Also, you don't even look like you ran a marathon in the during / after photos. Much love and hate ;)

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  16. awesome. found you on jenny's linkup and i loved reading your recap!

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  17. Tracy - congrats on an amazing PR! This was such a well written recap (one of my favorites....especially the introduction) - so inspiring, descriptive and informative. I really enjoyed your highlights section! Thanks for linking up and hope recovery week is going well.

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  18. I loved reading this!! I was smiling, laughing and nodding my head along the way! I've decided I need to do Shamrock next year! My co-worker did the half this year and was telling me about the 4 beer tickets on your bib?!?! Plus a flat course! I want to see that finish that you described too :) Congrats again on your amazing PR! You earned it!!!! :)

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  19. Girlfriend, I read every word of this and I just have to say I am SO UNBELIEVABLY PROUD OF YOU! It's amazing to see how far you've come. You didn't just wake up one day and become a marathon runner -- it was a journey. While I can only run about 4-5 at a time right now, I've got about 7 weeks until my next half and I'm going to continue putting one foot in front of the other until I can't anymore!! ;) I LOVE your new pint glass, LOVE that you got a (huge) PR, and LOVE the visual you painted for us there at the end. Sounds like it was beautiful. Great job, girly!!!

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  20. Oh man. I love this recap! Congrats on a stellar race and PR! You say you don't share this stuff to brag but you've earned the right to brag a little. You are awesome! Great, great job and I totally want a "TWENTY SIX POINT FREAKING TWO" pint glass!

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    1. Thanks, Allison! Maybe I should have said that I don't share it *just* to brag ;) I'm definitely proud of everything I've accomplished, especially since I started from nothing - I just want anyone reading to know that if I can do it, they can too!
      Ah I was so happy they had the official merch at the post-race party (I've never bought anything so it didn't even occur to me to look for it). All I wanted to do was enjoy my beer in that glass :)

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  21. Congratulations! Look at your fancy new time. You have a lot to be proud of!

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  22. CONGRATULATIONS!!! What an amazing new PR! The picture of you and the dog is so sweet- and I also love how it looks like you're in front of the pack with the huge group of people running behind you :) I never even thought about having to stop to use the restroom, but I guess that totally makes sense considering you're running for a few hours. I still can't get over how much time you took off each half of the race- I feel like it's a huge deal to shave off a minute or two, let alone almost 20!! (ps. love your new domain name)

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  23. First of all CONGRATSSSSS (again). I read and re-read parts and will probably re-read this again on a "rainy" day. This is awesome! You are awesome. You have given me the advice at the start before but I loved reading it again.
    As for the marathon, firstly it amazes me that you remember it in such detail down to the mile and the streets. You truly experienced every moment of this marathon and I love that. I love that you knew when you needed to slow down and walk and that you had the determination to wait till the halfway mark. You really know your body and running now and I can only hope to get to that phase one day. All the training, the good and the bad, paid off and I am so proud of you!! Congrats again girlie :D

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