North America

North America

Race: Providence Marathon
Date: May 3rd, 2009
Finish time: 4:15

Race: Yuengling Shamrock Marathon
Date: March 21, 2010
Finish time: 4:26

Location North America.svg

 Area: 24,709,000 km2
 Population: 528,720,588
Countries:  23

My "official" North American Marathon was the 2010 Yuengling Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach. It was well organized, from the expo to the finish, but I do not have fond memories of the race.

The start was fine. We got there early because my friend was running the half, which started an hour earlier. This seemed odd to me, since it meant they got the cooler part of the morning, and then had to wait around even longer after they finished for their marathon counter parts to be done. But oh well. I plunked myself in a nearby Starbucks and kept myself warm and caffeinated. I found the bag drop and pace group easily.

The first half of race went south from the Virginia Beach resort area across Rudee Inlet and through residential areas and the Camp Pendleton military base. I was feeling great. I made a friend, and together we dropped the 4:15 pace group and took off at sub 9 min/mile pace. This was my big mistake.

By the time we got back to the oceanfront, where the half marathoners turned into the finish, and the marathoners continued north, it was getting hot and I was getting tired.
The race directors described the second half as follows " It then traverses tree-lined Shore Drive adjacent to First Landing State Park on its way to Joint Expeditionary Base, Ft. Story.  In Ft. Story participants will pass by the site where John Smith, Christopher Newport, John Rolfe adn the other Jamestown colonists first landed in America in 1607, and by Cape Henry light house--the oldest standing light house in the United States." In reality this was a long, exposed section, with very little crowd support. I was really feeling the heat, throwing up at mile 16, and struggling to keep running. I walked nearly the whole mile from mile 18 to 19. My face here says it all. I was not a happy camper.

Around mile 20 I seriously considered dropping out. I felt awful. But somehow I kept putting one foot in front of the other and eventually I was back on the boardwalk heading towards the finish. I didn't think I had any kick left in me, but when a guy in an orange shirt tried to pass me, I found my last gear and we raced in.

I think I got him by a stride. Once I was across the finish I totally lost it. I couldn't take another step. My friends found me on the sand crying. I had tried to make it down to the ocean to soak my feet, but hadn't made it more than 3 steps onto the beach. And the Yuengling sponsored after party I was so excited about? No way. I was still so nauseous that the idea of food, let alone beer, made me want to hurl. But I heard from others it was great.

Back at the hotel I laid on my bed for a solid 4 hours before I could even think about moving. Once I'd showered we headed to Norfolk for dinner. Absolutely nothing was open on a Sunday night! We finally ended up at an IHOP near the hotel. A disappointing dinner after a disappointing day. But it was not the fault of the race organizers, they put on a good race. I just wasn't acclimated to the heat and went out too fast. But at least I went home with some good schwag.