Shamrock Spotlight: Heidi Calma


We are so excited to be bringing you the “Shamrock Spotlight Series” on our blogs! The Yuengling Shamrock Marathon, 1/2 Marathon, 8k Races bring thousands of runners, of all ages, abilities and locations, to the Virginia Beach oceanfront every year! As J&A Racing Live Love Run Ambassadors, we decided we wanted to celebrate these races, J&A Racing, and our community by doing a series that highlights participants, both local and out of town, on their journey to this years’ races.

We were incredibly fortunate to get the response we did when asking for volunteers to be spotlighted, and are grateful for the opportunity to share their stories with you!

Kristy and Lesleyanne



Age: 35

Current City: Virginia Beach, VA

Training for the Shamrock Half Marathon

“Being a runner in Virginia Beach, it seems a mandatory race to add to my calendar! The Shamrock weekend is more than just races to me; it is a celebration of community, of running, and of emerging from the frosty winter. Since 2008, with the exception of just having my third baby and two injuries, I’ve always participated in a Shamrock race. I wouldn’t miss it!”

Why you are running a Shamrock race in 2014?   My half-marathon PR stands at 2:14, which I set at that very first race in 2008. At this point it is a bit infuriating to know that even though I wasn’t really prepared for that race and had no idea what paces I was running, and I still haven’t broken through it yet! I have been recovering from a chronic knee injury, which plagued me for two half races. Another race found me coughing and wheezing with a sinus infection. I also trained for a half-ironman triathlon last year, which moved my focus from running just a bit. I came within two minutes of it during the Zooma Half in Annapolis in 2012, but I wasn’t prepared for the hills, and it was my first half post-baby.

So many excuses!

What it all comes down to is a lack of focus, so this winter season I’ve been running more courageously and trusting that even though I am breathing hard and it hurts, I am not going to die. My coach, Denise Wood, has been an amazing source of support and guidance. I am excited for Sunday’s race and hoping that I can finally lay that old PR to rest!

When did you start running? I’ve run periodically since I was a teenager, but I wasn’t consistent until around 2003 after I had my second baby, and even then it wasn’t something I really loved. When I was in the midst of my divorce in 2005, running saved me. Everything else felt so chaotic and sad; through running I felt in control, capable, and happy. Since then, running and triathlon has been a very important part of my life and a source of fulfillment and amazing life lessons.

How many races have you done and what’s your favorite? So many races! Too many to really tally at this point. My first 5k was in 2003. This year, I will complete at least four running races and four triathlons.

Shamrock half-marathon will always be my favorite running race. It was where I found strength I never knew I had. Before 2008, I never believed I was capable of running more than a few miles. My favorite triathlon will always be the August 70.3 half-ironman. That is another level of strong I never believed I had. 

Where do you prefer to run?   The oceanfront is always my favorite spot. After my divorce, I rented a tiny cottage, and I when I returned to running, I would count the numbered streets to get me through those tough runs. My heart always remembers that girl who found herself again out there.

What’s the longest distance you’ve run? I ran 14 miles on the trails in First Landing before. It is still one of my favorite running memories. 

What is the one thing you DON’T like about running?  This is a hard question, but if I had to find something, I think it would be the first mile or two of just about every run. That warm-up phase is always tough!

Favorite post-run indulgence?  After a long run, it’s definitely an iced latte and breakfast wrap at Bad Ass Coffee. 

Favorite running shoe?  I’ve been through so many different running shoes in the last two years. I keep getting blisters/painful callouses on the inside of my feet. I’ve recently started running in Brooks Ghosts. I still get the callouses to an extent, but they are much better than before.

Favorite song to run to?  That’s Not My Name by The Ting Tings

Favorite website to waste time on?  Facebook, of course 

Favorite running moment? There are so many! I think my very favorite running moment would be the entire half-marathon portion of the Augusta 70.3. I can so easily mentally defeat myself during any run, short or long. But in Augusta, I was able to stay mentally focused and stick with my running plan. I didn’t mentally check out or melt down; I smiled and cheered. It was the strongest I’ve ever felt, and I’ll never forget running the final stretch towards the finish line after seven hours of movement. It was incredibly emotional and an amazing experience. 

If you could pick one celebrity to run with, who would it be?  I’m not interested Hollywood celebrities, but someone I’d love to run with is Chrissie Wellington, a three-time winner at Kona Ironman Championships. I read her book last year, and what I love about her is she came from modest athletic roots. She didn’t become a professional triathlete until later than most, so she really had to fight her way through. Her perspective on racing and living is so positive and encouraging.



You can follow Heidi on her blog, Love Each Step, Facebook, and Instagram.

Published by Kristy

Storyteller. Copywriter. Connector. Documenting the inhales and exhales of daily live.

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