The Shamrock’n Half Marathon is another one of my hometown races in Sacramento. For whatever reason I’ve only run this race once in the 5 years that I’ve lived here. However it holds a special place in my heart because it is where I have my PR in the half marathon distance.
As usual, the packet pickup was at the midtown Sacramento Fleet Feet store.
The start and finish line was at Raley Field. Sacramento doesn’t have a MLB team though we do have a Triple-A affiliate team called the Sacramento River Cats. Their home field is Raley Field in West Sacramento. The first time I went to Raley Field was actually to see Incubus in a rock concert. I like Raley Field because of its quaintness. Compared to some of the other baseball fields I’ve visited (Dodger Stadium, Anaheim Stadium, Wrigley Field), Raley Field just seems more approachable and you feel like you can explore the entire area in a relatively short amount of time. It has that small town feel.
Race morning I woke up at the usual super early time to do my business, eat, have coffee and then drive on over towards the baseball field. Parking was at various places (baseball field parking, structures, street, etc.). I chose to park in a structure about 1/4 mile from the stadium figuring it’d make an easier exit after the race. After parking I walked over to Raley Field. It was still dark out and I had a fair amount of time to just walk around the outside of the field along with the stands.
As the start time came closer, we all lined up on the outside of the stadium. One cool thing about the race is that you actually finish on the baseball field itself. The other perk of the race is that you get to run across the famous Sacramento Tower Bridge – twice. Right at the start of the race you run across the bridge towards the State Capitol building. To be honest I do not remember a good chunk of this race. Looking at the map did remind me somewhat of the course. The first ~4 miles consisted of running around the Capitol building the streets of downtown Sacramento. We then headed north to a bike trail that took us across the American River and into the very large Discovery Park. We continued along the bike trail and then crossed over the American river again and this time ran on the east side of the Sacramento river.
We passed by the Tower Bridge because we needed to add in an extra 3 miles before making our way back to Raley Field. As mentioned before, the finish line was on the actual field so it was fun to run into the stadium and onto the warning track of the baseball field. The one cruel thing is that they made you walk up the stairs of the Field right after finishing the race. Overall the course is very flat.
I hadn’t been particularly training to run a fast race, however about 3-5 miles into the race I realized that I was on pace to run a sub-2:00 half marathon. I had been flirting with running a sub 2:00 half marathon for all of 2012. The Urban Cow half that I ran 5 months before the Shamrock’n half was a 2:01:14. Since I could tell that I was running a sub-2:00 pace, I decided to try to keep pushing it and see if I could run a PR. At the time of this race, I had my phone in my waist belt and didn’t run with a GPS watch. I had to rely on the on-course split timing mats. This was a little difficult to do but I just kept telling myself to “push it.” As I made it to the 10 mile mark, my legs definitely started to whine and I knew I’d be hurting the few days after the race, but I didn’t care. I crossed the line and was a bit surprised how far under 2 hours I actually was.
Final chip time: 1:55:26 (Current PR)
I celebrated with a free Killian’s.