Race Recap: Shamrock'N Half Marathon

9:36 AM

Seven years later I'm still running this race...
I'm not sure what else to say about this race. But I do know that every race is different, so I can recap from this particular race day perspective. In addition, they slightly changed up the course, AGAIN this year!
If you feel so inclined, you can see what went down the last two times I ran this race:
This is truly one of Sacramento's largest races. The biggest exception is the California International Marathon (CIM), but we won't count that in this statement. There are plenty of half marathons in the surrounding areas, but not too many that are Sacramento centric!

As someone recently put so candidly, what do Almonds, St. Patrick's Day, and baseball have in common? Nothing really, but Sacramento decided they all get rolled into one giant gathering of 8,000 runners.

Packet pick-up is at the local Fleet Feet, per the usual. Yesterday's post went into a little more detail to the excursion J and I went on to grab our shirts, bibs, and randomness they give. I'm not a big fan of picking up packet stuff the day before a race, it leaves me feeling unsettled. Weirdo alert, I know! Knowing I have it makes one less thing to think about (re: stress) the day before the race, when I'm supposed to be resting and hydrating.
The corral from the back of the FF store to the race tent.
Pick a wave, any wave ;)
Just waiting for Wave 1 bibs...what a creeper pic?!?
Our carb dinner was new for us, but again this was highlighted in yesterday's post. So I won't be Miss Repetitive with the glamorous details of my life (I hope you read the sarcasm in that). Plenty of pasta, anxiety, and good vibes the night before our race.

Per the usual, I wasn't as prepared as I should have been. Right before dozing off to sleep we looked up the start time - 7:45AM (eek, I thought 8AM) and the aid stations (eek, not every 2 miles like Napa). Okay, add a little restless sleeping and loud neighbors and you could average out mediocre sleep for the two of us.

Some swag that work gave us for the race.
Gear Grid // Lulu, Balega, Saucony, Nike, CIM, and C9 (Target)
My alarm was set for 6AM! My body was used to it, so I rolled out of bed and headed downstairs to get my chef on - make the coffee and toast the bagels. J and I are such different human creatures and work differently, I brought his coffee and bagel up to him. However, I like to enjoy mine downstairs at the table. Again, I wasn't able to eat the whole bagel. As I was attempting to chew my second bite of the the other half, I just couldn't do it any more. Another attack of the race nerves, I guess. 

Once we were dressed and had our racing essentials, we hoped into Big Blue and made our way to the race. There are two different routes to take tot he course - the freeway or the Grid. We chose the Grid  like last year, but this year where we turned to park was just being blocked off by the cops. So, I had to make a last minute change in plans, thankfully we found a spot on a random street. Sorry neighbor who we had to move your trash cans, no harm no foul. We parked, I prayed I wouldn't get towed, and we headed to the start line.

Lucky for us, we parked about two blocks from the start line. We sneakily hoped into the side of the corral, which we belonged in anyways, and stretched and did all of our last minute race preparations. Of course, this means a pre-race pic too! We both needed to pee, but we didn't think we had enough time to wait in the port-o-potty line and get back to the start, so we just held it (smart, huh?)!

A little job love!
My dedicated co-workers got there sometime before 7:20AM, because that's whey they had designated to take the company picture. Apparently only 6 people showed up. I suck at getting to races that early, so I pre-warned them I wouldn't be there for that pic. But this awesome pic has been floating around our emails!
Source // Coworkers Photo
Having finished Napa Marathon just two short weeks ago, our race strategy was to enjoy our selves. Really enjoy ourselves, not say it and then try to kill ourselves to get a good time. Given the fact that J's longest run in over three to four months was six miles, he was well under trained for this race. So, to preserve our bodies and sanity we accepted that if we needed to walk we would. However, J didn't know, but my whole goal was to not let him walk at all. It should be noted that we were also trying to preserve our bodies for the outdoor co-ed soccer game we had after the race.
Our game faces!
The gun went off and our timing was pretty spot on since we were in Wave 1 (out of 4). It was really, really hard to watch everyone pass us. We just kept reminding each other we were taking it easy. 
Source // Coworkers Photo
We were waiting for the first port-o-potties to show up, but it didn't happen until mile 2, which was near the Capitol. At the exact same time we were making our way to the bano line, I saw my friend Andrea and her husband Ted. She ran over to us, in the bathroom line, and chatted with us and snapped a quick pic. Off we went...

My fave pic from the race, you wouldn't even know we were in the middle of a Halfer!
Mile 1 - 10:12
Mile 2 - 10:16
Mile 3 -  10:10
A little after mile 3 you start to enter the Blue Diamond cheering zone, which is awesome. Seeing my co-workers and their families cheering their heads off in a huge yellow daze is really invigorating. I gave out tons of high fives and said hi to as many co-workers as possible. This cheering station is by far the best one in any race!
Source // Coworkers Photo
After this, it gets pretty race like boring. We just kept running at a good, steady pace. However, our other race strategy was to stop at every aid station. However, J's hamstring was killing him and from the second aid station on he had to take extra time to stretch. Some aid stations took more time than others and in most cases I stopped my Garmin to get a true sense of our pace, even though the race clock doesn't care when you stop at the aid stations.

From mile 4 to 9 you are running along a trail that is known to be inhabited by many transients. They do a "bum sweep" the day before the race and there are plenty of "race officials" on bike out there, but it's really just nature and the trail. It should be noted that J's beloved Spurs game was on and he was listening to the game on my phone, so we didn't do so much talking. He shouted plenty of expletives and scared a few runners. Every time they got scored on he would stop. You would have thought I would have learned after the first goal, but I didn't. After awhile, he stopped listening.

Mile 4 - 10:16
Mile 5 - 10:58 (Where we stopped at the aid station and I didn't turn off the Garmin)
Mile 6 -  9:53
Mile 7 - 10:17
Mile 8 - 10:09
At mile 9 it gets a little exciting because the course brings you through Old Sacramento and there are tons of people cheering here. The local Lulu crew loves to be right at this spot! However right in the middle of this mile, there is an aid station right before a pretty big hill. Once you conquer the hill you pass the general area of where the course ends and out to a very boring section of the race.
Mile 9 -  9:58
Mile 10 -  10:16
There is a switch back and you are running in residential again. Right at the switch I left J for a bit, he was taking too much time fidgeting with the iPhone to try to listen to the Spurs game again. I got annoyed and just kept running, I wasn't stopping so he could do that ridiculousness. When I realized he wasn't catching up, I turned around to see if he was walking, he wasn't, so I ran backwards until he caught up to me.

Shortly after, the last aid station was right after mile 11 and also conveniently before a long grade uphill. Once you finish that little stretch of uphill, you turn onto a bridge to cross to get back onto the Grid. From there, we could almost taste the finish line. We saw our #9run6 friend Derrick (for the second time) on the course. He was ringing his cowbell and we also peeked in his stroller to meet his new son.
Mile 11 -  10:22
We were almost done and it was a little rough. We decided we wouldn't try to sprint in, but just finish strong and steady. I'd been on the lookout the entire race for Jen and Eric, but as we were approaching the I street bridge, we saw them with their awesome signs! They gave us a great little bump of energy for the last half mile that was left. Getting up the bridge is always a little battle, but from there it was smooth sailing, outlining the stadium.

Mile 12 -  10:48 (This was probably where we saw Derrick and said hi)
Mile 13 -  9:46
Mile 14 -  8:51 The end is full of turns! You left turn onto the last street, then left turn into the stadium, then turn right toward the field, then right onto the warning track, and follow it around and turn left in left field (where J ditched me last year). Then there are no more turns, it's just a straight away to the finish. We had already joked about him carrying me across the line, but he knows I'd never let that happen. So we attempted to hold hands (re: gross, cheesy) as we finished.

Garmin Stats
Total Distance: 13.12 Miles
Total Time: 2:14:27
Average Pace: 10:15min/mile

Since I stopped my Garmin at almost all of the aid stations our times are different.
I could have swore we crossed at the exact same time, but again he beat me by 1/100 of a second. Ugh, that gets my blood boiling! Anywho, no need to be competitive for no reason. We took water and medals that the volunteers were handing out, then made our way around the warning track. But in enough time to take a quick selfie, then ask another runner to take our pic. Easily, we made our way up the stadium stairs and into the concourse of the stadium. We weren't planning to stick around, so we grabbed our free snacks said hi to a few people and walked out.

Can you say embarrassing sweaty mess?!?
As we left he stadium we stopped to get a good stretch in before we walked to the car. I was having the same right foot and left knee pain as the beginning of the race, but now it was magnified. My toes were cramping and the top of my right foot was hurting like crazy. Trying to walk it off, we walked past one of the last turns in the race and I happened to see Lacey (who we'd invited over for a pre-race carb dinner) and was able to cheer her on! She looked amazing, smiling and strong!

After that we made our way to BB, who was still there, YAY! Drank our Vega Recovery Accelerator and drove home. We needed to rest before we headed back out to our soccer game. I think we both were completely happy the race was over and we were even mildly okay with our time. However, I also think it allows both of us to think we can sign up for races and go untrained. Which is not OK, but it seemed to work out in our favor this time. As long as we kept reminding ourselves we weren't looking to PR, going at a comfortable pace was just what the doctor ordered!

I still have the same pains from Napa, I'm trying to figure them out without a trip to the doctor. From what I've read I need to ice my foot, relax my laces (even more), and pop some Motrin. I'm trying to rest my body, but I see SLO Halfer in the horizon and I'd like to race that run, so I need to listen to my body. Not all races are to be raced, lesson learned (again) this year!

It almost feels sacrilege to NOT run this hometown race....

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