Happy Monday, readers! It’s the day after the Shamrock Half Marathon and I am still feeling that runner’s high (despite being dog tired and sore). Mom, dad, Marcus and I had the PERFECT weekend. That’s why I love traveling for races…it’s like a mini vacation and always fun.
We left Northern VA bright and early Saturday morning and headed down to the beach. Dad was nice enough to drive so I could sit back and enjoy the trip. Once we got into the area we had to do a mini tour. We lived in VA Beach when I was little so of course we had to drive past the old houses, day care, and even my first elementary school!
Once we did a little sight-seeing, we made our way to Dam Neck to check into the Navy Lodge. Good thing about traveling with the rents is I get to take advantage of their military perks! The Navy Lodge even had a pet turtle, Lil Bit. Turtles are my second fav animal (after dolphins), so I was excited to see this guy. Even though he was a little mean!
After checking in and eating lunch, Mom and I left the boys and made our way to the convention center for the expo.
We love pre-race expos. I picked up my packet, number, and race tee then we took our time and walked around. I like buying souvenirs and checking out booths for future races.
After we left the expo, I wanted to check out the boardwalk area and the finish line. We parked and had fun taking pictures and enjoying the beach. It was a perfect, sunny, and clear day. I love the beach. I could have stayed there all day and been 100% content.
After a fun afternoon we headed back to the Navy Lodge to chill before supper. We had a mediocre meal at TGI Fridays (every restaurant was super packed that night) and made our way back to Dam Neck. Mom wanted to walk on the beach that she used to take Tyler and me to when we were little. So we made a quick trip to the beach. It was dark and windy but there was a Super Moon (when a full moon is super close to Earth, making it look even bigger) out. It was totally amazing and lit up the waves as they crashed onto shore.
We went back to the lodge and I tried to get a few hours of sleep. It was hard. I kept checking my phone, worried that I would oversleep and miss the race. I eventually got up at 4:15 and started getting ready. At 5:30, we were packed up and ready to go. I was rockin the green gear and ready to run!
We found parking down at the beach by the finish line. The wind was blowing hard and the temps were in the 40’s. Everywhere we looked, runners were walking briskly to the start line and trying to stay warm. I sat in the car as long as I could then said good-bye to my fam, and made my way to the start line. It was FREEZING and I was kind of worried because I never ran a cold race before.
I got to the start line and the butterflies went into overdrive. My heart was pounding the entire time and I tried to distract myself with music, but my nerves were seriously going crazy.
Finally, I got into my corral and just told myself to chill out and enjoy it. I’ve done this before. I am capable. Just run. Before I knew it, the race was starting. My corral crossed the start line a little after 7:00 am. My nerves quickly turned to excitement. My doubt was replaced with a warrior mentality. 13.1 miles is nothing. I got this!
The first few miles were sunny, beautiful and exciting. I soon got into the zone and felt unstoppable. I was on top of the world as I ran along, and passed by each mile marker.
Upon reaching mile 5, I realized my feet were starting to hurt. My beloved Nike Free shoes were not agreeing with my feet. Although they were broken in, I don’t think my feet were used to the almost barefoot feel of them (I def did not train my feet enough for the mileage). So at around mile 6, I could literally feel the bottoms of my feet opening up and forming blisters.
Every step shot stinging pain through my feet. It felt like my feet were literally ripping open. So I did what I told myself I would never do, I walked. I walked until my feet felt ok, then ran, then walked again. I did this until mile 11. It made me mad. I felt like a failure. Until I checked my clock and realized that I was run/walking my way to my fastest half marathon time yet. Maybe Jeff Galloway is onto something, because I was knocking down the miles despite the pain.
The best scenic part of the race was Ft. Story. I loved running by the ocean and past the lighthouse that Mom and I explored last summer. Spectators and volunteers were all along the course, cheering my name and encouraging the runners (benefit to having your name on your bib).
As we approached the resort area, I knew the end was near. I rowdy group of guys were giving out mini cups of beer in front of their house. I cheered and took one, drank it fast, and kept going. It was a fun distraction and helped move me along. I knew as we made our way to the boardwalk that I would see my family.
Soon, I heard my mom scream my name. On the right was my mom, dad, and Marcus all set up and waiting for me to pass by. Go Taylor!! It was all I needed to hear to push me into the final .5 mile and let me finish strong.
The finish line was in sight and I ran as fast as my little sore feet could go. As I was nearing the end, I heard the announcer saying a bunch of names and said, “Taylor Martin.” I guess my name popped up on his screen when I got close. I was surprised to hear my name. I cheered and ran through the finish line with my arms in the air and big smile on my face. All the volunteers were saying my name and telling me congrats.
With a weary smile, and stiff legs I made my way through the end and collected my post-race goodies (medal, bananas, water, a hat, a finisher tee). In my head I could not believe that it was over. It felt so fast. I felt overwhelmed with emotions. Happy to be done, but sad it was already over. Relief that my feet could get a break and a ton of pride. I tell you, even though it was my fourth time crossing the finish line, I still felt so accomplished and proud of myself.
Every race is my own little moment of victory and it feels amazing every single time. I found my family and was greeted with hugs and smiles. I could tell they were proud of me too and that made me even happier.
The sun was shining, people were walking around happy, and the scenery was beautiful. I was the perfect ending to another race.
I loved running the Shamrock Half Marathon. Everyone was so spirited. The volunteers were so nice and encouraging. And the course was awesome. My legs and lungs did great. My only problem was my feet. So I would say I had a successful race.
I am so thankful to have such a supportive family. A family who is willing to sit outside on the windy boardwalk, waiting for me to run by. They will never know how happy they made me feel, and knowing that they were there helped me through the rougher moments.
Well, another race is finished. We had an amazing weekend and created lots of memories. 😀
Three weeks until the George Washington Parkway Classic. Back to home turf!