Race Recap: Blue Diamond Almonds Shamrock'n Half Marathon

1:42 PM

Sometimes running someone else's race is OKAY!

Well, if you know that’s what you’re doing! Originally, I had planned on running this race to PR, which I guess, is what I hope to do at every race. But, as the weeks dwindled away and things happened – fairly recently, I might add. It was decided that the Boy would run his first half marathon and I would run (help) with him for the race. 

Gear Grid // C9 -Garmin - Balega International - Lululemon - Under Armour - Saucony Kinvara 4

Shamrock’n has become a huge Sacramento race staple. This is the first big half marathon in the area for the year and it coincides with the first big drinking holiday of the year! Sacramenten’s love them some running and green beer, apparently…

My fave pre-race shot, with a twist ;)
Found Marika & B before the race, in the port-o-potty line!
The race has become so popular, they’ve (within the last few years) added a 5K and a kid’s run on the Saturday before the big race. Then the halfer is on Sunday. So I’ve overheard there were 7,000 people who ran in the halfer on Sunday. That is a large run, by Sacramento running standards! There are four waves, which you have to sign up for when you register on-line. They stagger them 15 minutes apart, the first wave (me/us) leaving at 7:45AM and the last wave leaving at 8:30AM (Mom & Lil)! Needless to say, downtown Sacramento basically shuts down and inconveniences the hipsters of midtown before they even wake up to start their green beer drinking activities!

The race starts outside of our local AAA team’s field, the Sacramento Rivercats, at Raley Field. But as any good race that involves baseball would do, you end on the warning track and get to finish on the field. Although baseball has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s day, we all get to celebrate by finishing on the field! It works, although there doesn’t seem to be enough rhyme or reason – other than that it can accommodate a large portion of people (and their cars)!

So I’ve somewhat recapped this race on the blog from last year, so I won’t go into the monotony of details, but I will let you know this is one of the most fun I’ve had at a race lately. When you take the pressure off of yourself to hit a PR, you can really enjoy the run, fully.

The game plan was to run the first 6 fairly easy and then see if we could push through the later half. As we were racing, it changed to run steady until mile 7, then push hard from 7 to 10, then easy for 11-12, then finish strong. For the most part we did that. Although around mile 9 the Boy had to stop at a port-a-potty. I started to keep track of the time it took, but forgot to look at my watch when we hoped back on the course. That was a first. I’ve never stopped for a bathroom break before. I guess as long as you choose wisely, it doesn’t shave off too much time. However, we did pick up the pace to get to a bathroom and we also ran fairly quick after the bathroom stop.

The goal time was to come under 2 hours. Well at least that’s what I thought, I think the Boy really wanted to come close to my time from last year, which as 1:54. However, he didn’t really let on to this until the end of the race. Which is fine, but I had a different game plan in mind. I knew that our splits had to be 9:10min/mile for him to finish right at 2 hours. So that was my goal, at one point we were running a 7:14 pace, I had to remind him and myself, to slow it down. Since this was his first race and he didn’t fully (if that is possible) train, everything was unpredictable to both of us. I’ve never paced anyone and he’s never run more than 9.3 miles – so it was all a learning experience.

The Boy and I

It was an amazing experience, but still a learning experience. I learned that #trustyourtraining is not just a hash tag to use on IG pictures, but it’s real life. If you trust in what you’ve trained for, the race should feel good and you should feel strong. Which was exactly how I felt. I was smiling, laughing, talk to fellow runners, and giving out a few high-fives to people. I did train, not to my best ability, but I did about 70% of my training plan. Which, you know what, worked out okay! Who knew? You don’t have to kill yourself with a training plan to run strong and happy! So I’m still learning how this running thing works…

Overall Pace – 8:42min/mile
Mile 1 - 9:03
Mile 2 – 8:51
Mile 3 - 8:49
Mile 4 – 8:49
Mile 5 – 8:43
Mile 6 – 8:42
Mile 7 – 8:23
Mile 8 – 9:06
Mile 9 – 8:31
Mile 10 – 8:36
Mile 11 – 8:40
Mile 12 – 8:57
Mile 13 – 7:58
Mile 14 – 8:56

I’m about do a shameless plug, so get ready! Although my company is the head sponsor, they really do care about everyone “Getting Their Good Going”! This was the first year that the course ran through our Sacramento ‘campus’ (for a lack of a better word). This is unheard of and the first time it’s ever been done. This place is usually locked down to the outside world. The set-up was great, the volunteers were great, they had those yellow sticks that make noise when you bang them against each other (think College and Pro basketball games). The Blue Diamond employees and other volunteers were cheering their heads off, there was music, and of course there was my boss taking pictures! It was fun to know that I work for a company that supports something I do outside of work!

I cannot say enough thanks all of the people I saw along the race course. Whether they were there intentionally to see me (or my family) or if they just happened to be on the course and I knew them – it was amazing. That’s a bonus for a racing in a city you live in. The first surprise came at mile 2 – the Bestest was chillin’ in front of the capitol when I spotted her. Yes, I spotted her before she spotted us. Then right before Blue Diamond, Poppa Bear & Randy (Lil's bf) were standing on the corner. I saw them and then it hit me, I know them!! Then right after that, we saw my fellow November Project homie, Haley (and her boo) with two bright green posters. Sadly, I missed a soccer buddy, Johnny B at mile 3 AND mile 9. But I did see the owner of my gym and her Lululemon girls at mile 9! They were full of energy and had the best signs, I got an epic high five and a huge boost of energy. Sprinkled throughout the course I saw plenty of familiar faces, through different facets of my life. Not only were they spectators, but I saw a bunch of runners I know as well – acquaintances, family friends, my old CIM running partners, tons of various people! I think that’s what really made this so special, all the familiar faces and good vibes that EVERYONE gives off during this race.

Some of our cheerleaders!
Kelsey with the perfect sign!
Momma's best friend cheering her on!
Your support is everything..

Everything about this race, weekend, and events leading up to have been great. Sometimes the training blues set in, but in the end, everything worked out perfectly. I had a blast hosting my first ever carb-loading meal at my house on Friday night. Saturday was full of running errands and making sure we were race ready. To the actual race and all the nerves beforehand, the strength in my training and my stems, and celebrating all the “newbies” after the race. I know at least five people, whom I am very close with, that completed their first half marathon. It is an indescribable feeling to watch them accomplish such a challenging task and to be there to celebrate with them. The one that stands out the most is my Mom. It is not often a child gets to be proud of their parent(s)! I was so happy (and glad I made it back on time, dumb traffic) to watch her finish the race. I will never forget that moment…her smile, her triumph, her determination, her sweat, her fist pumping, her! She is a special woman and I am blessed to call her Mom!

Carb-loading dinner!
I race to eat carbs!
Lil & Mom finishing strong :)
Ganiban Girl's R-U-N!
Friends that have become family!

As for all the other race stuff, I didn’t participate. After the race, we ran home to shower and grab our soccer gear. We headed back to the race to cheer on Momma bear and then headed to our soccer game. I should say we tried to get there fast, but traffic leaving the race was awful. No blame on anyone, but 7,000 people and their cars and families, makes for some serious traffic jams! If that’s my only complaint, then I don’t think it was a bad race, at all…Oh that, and the course being 13.25 miles, no biggie ;)

From the course to the field!

While everyone’s drinkin’ green beer, I’m running…

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