March 6, 2014

Getting Ready to ShamROCK!

With a week and a half until race day, my excitement is in full force for the upcoming Shamrock race weekend.  That also means that I'm starting to feel tiny twinges of nerves now and again.  Generally, I can calm my nerves by poring over the race information and getting myself organized in an OCD fashion.  After last week's Shamrock race clinic hosted by race director Jerry Bocrie, I'm feeling ready to conquer this course and wanted to share some of the great tips I learned plus a few other logistical details for my Shamrockin' friends.

* 30,000 participants at Shamrock weekend events
* 12,000 participants in the half marathon
* 60% of participants are staying at hotels at the Oceanfront
* 10 corrals for the half marathon
* The sun will rise at 6:45 on race morning, 15 minutes before the half starts.  Make sure you look right over the ocean to catch the sunrise.  It's magic!

Getting Ready for Race Day
Things to remember: I attended the Shamrock Survival race clinic last week and regardless of whether you've run Shamrock in the past or not, Jerry had some great messages that I wanted to pass along.
* With race day coming soon, don't worry about gaps in training. "This is what you've got and it's plenty.  Time to get some nutrition and rest."
* Saturday night, eliminate stress.  If you're just tossing and turning in bed, get up and calm your nerves."
* "You need to expect to do well.  No reason you shouldn't…you've prepared for it."
* When you get fatigued, "you've got to stay positive.  Quiet the devil on your shoulder" any way you can.

Get your bib number: Shamrock is a green event (oh the pun possibilities) so you'll need to look up your bib number online and bring it with you to the expo.  I recommend snapping a photo on your cell so it's easy to pull up at the expo.  Come say hi to me if you see me in corral 2!

Runner Tracking: There is runner tracking for all events with the exception of the Final Mile (go figure!).  You can sign up to track yourself or friends using Facebook, Twitter or text message here.  I have signed up to track more runners than I care to admit via text message.  Live Results will also be posted on the Shamrock webpage here on race day.  In Jerrry's words, "your friends may not understand what it means that it's 8:30 and you're at mile 5, but they want to know how you're doing"…so sign up for tracking!

The Expo
Where I'll be: You will be able to find me wandering Zooma, One More Mile, Nuun, Runner's World and many other booths at the expo.  I love a great race expo and with the Shamrock expo being at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, there is adequate space so it generally doesn't feel too crowded or overwhelming.  You can find a full list of vendors here.

Expo Speaker Series: Like the booths, I also enjoy the speaker series.  Last year, I listened to Joe Muldowney and Bart Yasso speak and each had a unique message that got me pumped to race!  I have to admit that the speakers for Friday are of greater interest to me which is a bummer since I'll be working!  There's a panel on Friday on stretching and yoga and I'm so bummed they won't have that on Saturday as well as this is a topic that greatly interests me!  I'll probably listen to Jennifer Yuengling chat about beer and likely will stop to hear Bart speak again.  They really have great speakers this year!  You can find the full schedule here.

Other Expo Details: If you need to change corrals to be with a pacer or because you have an improved estimated finish time, there is a booth to do this.

What to Expect Race Morning
Parking: It's always a challenge.  I went to the race hella early last year and miraculously got a spot in the Hilton garage at 31st street.  Go early and have a plan.  All of the Virginia Beach city lots will be free of charge and many of the churches and private businesses will have their lots open for parking as well.  Make sure you have $5 or $10 cash if you end up needing to park in a lot that's charging.  You can thank me later for not having to run to the ATM on race morning unexpectedly!  And race director Jerry advised against driving around and getting stressed out.  Find a place to park and walk….it will help you warm up!

Bag Check: For the half marathon, there will be UPS trucks on Atlantic Avenue heading north.  The trucks will be labeled based on bib number.

The Marathon Course: For marathoners, race director Jerry advised that it's a perfect course for negative splits.  While you're on the Boardwalk for miles 9-12, stay patient.  You will likely feel a headwind but stay relaxed and don't stress.  You don't need to race yet!  When you hit the lower streets on Atlantic, there will be spectators again and particularly half marathon finishers cheering for you - savor this!  Once you get up to Shore Drive, it will be quiet.  There is some entertainment but the spectators are more sparse.  Once you hit Fort Story, you're in the home stretch.

The Half Marathon Course:  Same as for the marathoners - Shore Drive will be quiet.  You'll have some entertainment and jokes along the course but be prepared for that mentally.  When you make the turn into Ft. Story, you'll likely experience some wind.  And two miles into Ft. Story, you'll see the lighthouses and that's when you need to mentally prepare to bring it home!

Other Logistics: The Starbucks at the Hilton shops at 31st Street/Laskin Road will open at 5AM on race morning.  Looking for other information? Check out the Shamrock webpage for more info here.

Are you running a St. Patty's day race?  Or Shamrock?  Please let me know if you're racing in a Shamrock event - I'd love to see you around!


  1. There are no big St. Patty's day races in our area but I wish there were! It sounds like this is going to be an awesome race! Enjoy the race weekend and can't wait to hear all about it : )
    Karen @karenlovestorun

  2. I'm running the 8K on Saturday, then probably hitting the expo afterward to check it out! I love the Shamrock weekend, I did the half in 2012 and it was so much fun :)

  3. This sounds like its going to be an awesome race weekend! We're signed up for Rock 'n' Roll DC the same weekend, but we'll definitely have to consider Shamrock in the future. I've heard so many great things about it, and I can't wait to hear about your expo and race experience next weekend.

  4. I'll be running the 8K on Saturday as well! Hopefully I will recognize you at the Expo and can introduce myself! Love reading your blog!

  5. How fun! I hope you have a great race!!!

  6. I am so excited for you, you are totally going to rock this race!

  7. I'm signed up to volunteer on the course. A lot of my running friends will be running and I just tried to sign up too late. Will be there for the 8k on Saturday, too.

  8. Wow, this looks to be like a huge race (and expo)! I bet it will be a blast - I probably won't be running a St. Patty's day race this year, but who knows what'll happen in the next week lol. Have a great time, and good luck!

  9. I plan on running this 1/2 next year...good luck!

  10. I wish we had some St. Patty's day races in my area; this one sounds like fun!!!

  11. no real St.Patty's races around here...but I am going a 30K run (Around the Bay) the end of the month

  12. I'll be there - running the full. Thanks for this great post :)

  13. I'm going to Chicago for St Pattys but no run - say what?!

  14. There's finally a Shamrock Run by me and I can't wait! It's a 4-miler and they are serving green beer and green eggs and ham at the finish line. The best part is that I have friends who are new to running who are participating in this event.