Yes. My wife and I listened to a lot of Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton" on the way to and from Virginia Beach, but that's not the point.
The point is that Shamrock weekend is, for me as a runner, a "Mountaintop Experience". The phrase refers to the biblical account of when some of Jesus' inner circle of disciples, Peter, James, and John, went to pray with Him on a mountaintop at which they saw Him revealed in all His glory. In modern context, it's often used to refer to an event of spiritual awakening or a high point, contrasted to "the valley", everyday life in which someone lives and works and struggles every day.
I mean no disrespect to the religious connotations of the phrase, but I think the concept can apply in other walks of life. Last summer, my company's sales meeting felt like a mountaintop experience of sorts to me. I presented in front of a group for the first time and felt like I brought the house down with wit and good humor; watched a highly respected colleague present about (among other things) the importance of my role and how I had helped him; and left the meeting feeling more excited, valued, and connected with my coworkers than I had in years.
A few days later, I got a rude awakening when I realized that our new CEO, who sat through both of those presentations, had no idea who I was or what I did.
As a runner, Shamrock Weekend is a mountaintop experience. It's the place where in 2011, I ran my first marathon, and where the 8K has beecome my favorite race of all, a beacon of hope and fun in running years lost to injury and malaise, and finally, where I finished the half this year to be a participant on both days for the first time. In addition to the happy memories surrounding the event, Virginia Beach is a place Chris and I have come to feel very at home. We always have fun and leave Shamrock Weekend feeling proud of our running accomplishments and looking forward to next year.
Now I have left the mountaintop, excited and motivated, but also realizing that over the past 5 years my motivation has died in the summer heat. I train for Shamrock -- or at least gut it out on race day -- have a blast at the parties, and then it's over in a flash.
If a Fall half or full marathon -- or my goal of a long-delayed return to the 26.2 next year at Shamrock -- is to be a reality, I must stay more focused. Get up earlier. Run more. Get stronger. Believe that I can do this again...and turn that belief into reality in the valley of the post-Shamrock everyday non-beach world that I have struggled to train in for the last 4 years.