Mar 16

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Shamrock Marathon, Virginia Beach, VA

5 states down, 45 to go! What a great marathon! After almost getting stuck during a layover in Atlanta as a tornado shut down the airport, I finally made it to Scott’s house at about 3am Saturday. I was up again around 7am to watch Scott’s son, Carter, run the Mini-Marathon (26.2 yards for toddlers)…and he did great, despite some erratic pacing from his Mom & Dad. The rest of the day was all about relaxing and eating, which led to a great race on Sunday! In addition to a new Personal Record finish time of 4:25:56 (which is 34 minutes better than my previous PR), I was glad to have finally convinced one of my brothers to run a marathon with me! My youngest bro, Scott, was a “virtual” training partner with me up until about 6 weeks before the marathon. He had to deal with some injuries which sidelined him pretty much until the week of the race. With some good rest and healing time, and a lot of heart on race day, he finished his first marathon in an impressive 4:20, despite having never run longer than 16 miles before the marathon! Way to go Scott! Running it with you made it one of my most memorable races. Thanks for taking on the challenge.

He demonstrated well that the first 16 miles are run with your legs, and the last 10 are run with your head and heart. He found a new gear around mile 17, and started pushing the pace. That’s probably what drove me to my new PR, but I couldn’t keep that pace to the finish, and had to slow down around mile 23. As you can see in the photos, Scott was really in a zone coming into the finish. I think he was actually running with his eyes closed, trying to ignore his pain. I think he’s hooked now, and I hope to run another marathon with him while he’s living in Italy. (See his blog link to the right – “Pughs In Italy” – as his family prepares to move to Naples for 3 years with the Navy.)

The weather was nice and cool, though it was pretty windy running up the boardwalk during some of the early/middle miles of the race. It was a nice course with pretty decent fan support, especially passing through the Army barracks, where whole platoons were out in force, lining the road to cheer us on. Probably the best fans to see on the course, however, were Scott’s wife Suzanne, her sister, sister’s fiance’, and father, who all ran a great half-marathon. Thanks for cheering us on!
Something else I enjoyed during this race was a stretch in the middle-to-late miles where signs lined both sides of the road, displaying silly quotes and quips. It’s amazing how smiling can make you run better. There’s actually research on that – you can find it with a simple web search. One of the signs I remember said, “Man who pass through turnstile sideways going to Bangkok.”

It was during this race that we fell into pace with Marathon Maniac #135, Ron Knecht. We talked our way through a good chunk of miles together, as we learned of his impressive adventures as a retiree who travels the country in his RV running marathons. This was his 76th marathon since turning 60! He is just a few states away from finishing his quest for 50 marathons in 50 states, and should finish this year. Hope our paths cross again Ron!
And…see you in Italy, Scott!

Permanent link to this article: http://puggerrunner.com/index.php/2008/03/shamrock-marathon-virginia-beach-va/