Shamrock Marathon Weekend kicked off this past Friday. I took Friday off from work in order to still fit in an appointment with the chiropractor before getting on the road to Virginia Beach. Kathleen also flew into DC Friday morning, so after my appointment and a couple of other errands, including dropping Riley off for boarding, I picked her up from the airport. Our goal had been to get on the road for Virginia Beach by 1:00 p.m. in the hopes of getting down I-95 before rush hour traffic got bad, but Preston got stuck at work. We finally got on the road around 1:45 p.m., thinking that traffic driving south wouldn’t be terrible yet. Boy were we wrong!
Between an accident on I-95 near Stafford followed by a four mile backup on I-64 in Hampton Roads, what should have been just over a three hour drive turned into a nearly five hour drive. We finally arrived at the expo around 6:00 p.m., which was held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center (the same place where Rock ‘n’ Roll holds their race expo).
Our first stop at the expo was packet pickup, which was well organized. Kathleen, Preston, and I quickly picked up our bibs, and Kathleen was easily able to change her corral for the 8k.
After passing by a fun setup of cardboard leprechauns and other props, we picked up our race shirts and packets. We were then led into the official merchandise area. Although I had been excited to browse the merchandise, I was a bit disappointed in what was available for purchase, and we only wound up purchasing a pint glass to add to our collection, as well as a Dolphin Challenge magnet for me.
The expo itself was a bit underwhelming. There were a smaller number of vendors than I was expecting, and most of them were the same usual vendors that I’ve seen at other DC and Virginia races. The only expo purchase I made was a Shamrock themed Sweaty Bands to wear during the half marathon on Sunday. While walking around, we did make sure to stop at the J&A Racing booth (J&A is the organization that puts on Shamrock) to say hi to Jenny (she’s a J&A Ambassador), and to discuss where we wanted to meet up prior to the 8k the next morning. After spending less than an hour at the expo Kathleen, Preston, and I agreed that we were ready to go.
After the expo we headed to dinner at Hot Tuna, a seafood place that Preston and I had eaten at during our Rock ‘n’ Roll trip last August. After being seated, I was excited to see the “Runners’ Specials”, and opted to order the Tuna Three Ways. It also came with a side of pasta, which was a bit random and I didn’t even eat, but we took it to go and it was a great snack after the 8k on Saturday.
I had high hopes of enjoying my dinner, but a horrible migraine that came on during our drive to Virginia Beach had other plans for me that evening. I almost got sick several times both in the car and at dinner (but thankfully never did), but it was difficult for me to enjoy dinner. I was worried about Saturday’s race, but thankfully I had planned to take the 8k really easy. I mentioned to Kathleen that if I was still feeling miserable in the morning that I might just walk the entire race, and since we had planned to run the 8k together and take it easy since we were both striving for a PR at the half on Sunday, she said that she would walk the race with me if need be.
After dinner, we made a stop at a grocery store to pick up a couple of things, including bananas for breakfast and some ginger ale for me to drink to help with my nausea, and then we headed to our hotel to check in. Upon arrival at our hotel, we found Sarah checking in just ahead of us, and I was so happy to see her since we had hoped to make it to the expo in time to see her while she was working the J&A booth (she’s also a J&A Ambassador). I had read in Sarah’s Shamrock recap from 2014 that the Holiday Inn in Norfolk had taken great care of runners, offering late check out and a shuttle bus to the half marathon on Sunday, so when I saw that they were offering runners the same amenities this year we decided to take advantage of it. The cost of staying at the Holiday Inn was about a third of the price of staying at one of the oceanfront hotels, and we decided that staying slightly further away was well worth it.
Check in wasn’t the smoothest process (Preston and I were assigned to an incorrect room based on what we had reserved), but it was eventually straightened out and we were finally headed to bed around 11:00 p.m. With a cold compress on my head, I went to sleep in hopes that I’d feel better for the 8k the next morning.
QOTD: Have you ever gotten sick the night before a race?