Shamrock Run 15K - March 13, 2011

Prior to going to bed on Saturday night I had tried grape drinking vinegar. Another ultra runner swore by the stuff – it’s supposed to ease muscle soreness. I drank a 16 oz bottle figuring it couldn’t hurt to try it. I was surprised that it didn’t taste bad – pretty much tasted like grape juice with a hint of tanginess to it.

The alarm went off early on Sunday. Adam was running the Shamrock Run 15k with me, and we decided to get up at 6 AM to get ready. The race wasn’t until 8:30, but we were going to meet some other folks downtown at 7:40 before the start of the race. Unfortunately the day dawned good and rainy. Last year’s Shamrock Run had been delightfully sunny, while the year prior to that had been a soaker. Apparently they are on an every other year good weather cycle.

I crawled out of bed and stood up to test my legs. Tried a few steps and was surprised that I didn’t feel that sore. I again took a warm shower to warm up my muscles and did some light stretching. I had decided to go with an all black outfit: tights, compression socks, tank top, and arm warmers, so that I could really set off the colorful tutu. To complete the outfit I wore my purple, sparkly, Mary Jane Crocs. Sadly we didn’t get any pictures as I assumed there would be on course photos – but they didn’t have a photographer this year.

This was going to be Adam’s first race in years. I was excited for him as I watched him get dressed and pin his bib to his shirt and attach the timing anklet. He seemed somewhat enthused for the experience and I was really hoping that he would have a good time.

We left the house and headed over the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge where we would park, trying to stay out of the mayhem of downtown traffic. We met up with 6 friends on the bridge and then walked over to the start. Since we still had some time we actually hung out under the Morrison Bridge to stay dry for a little while. Adam and I had warm clothes to drop off at bag check for after the race.

This is a huge race and the Waterfront was mighty crowded. Despite the rain I think the majority of the people that signed up for the race actually did show up. There were multiple races going on. The first to start was the 8k at 8:05. Then there was a 30 minute break before the start of the 15k (the race we were doing). Then another 30 minutes and they would start the 5K run, then the 5k walk, and then the Leprechaun Lap 1k for the kids.

Pretty soon it was time for us to line up. We got into the area for the 8 – 9 minute pace. There were 6 of us who lined up together, Adam and I, Alice, Lee, Will, and Sue. We weren’t planning on running together, the idea was for everyone just to go the pace that worked for them. The gun went off for the race, but they were starting us in stages to alleviate crowding so we didn’t get started for another 5 minutes. Then finally we crossed the starting line. There wasn’t much running in the first .25 miles as people tried to get spread out.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to run in the tutu – it didn’t really seem to bother me at all. Adam and I stayed together for the first 5 miles. My hips were a bit sore from the day before and my legs were feeling a bit tight, but overall I wasn’t feeling too bad. The race was flat for the first .75 and then it was uphill for the next 5 miles, climbing pretty steeply once we got the Terwilliger. I train regularly on Terwilliger so I knew what we were in for. The course was still quite crowded so it was mostly an exercise in people dodging. It was kind of hard to find and sustain a pace. As we hit the 5.75 mile mark I told Adam to feel free to go ahead. My legs were fading a bit and I knew he would be able to stretch his legs out on the downhill and the flats.

Initially my goal when I signed up for this race back in November was to run in 1:15:00. I knew it would be a challenge, but thought I could do it if I really put my mind to it. However, that was before I signed up for the 50k the day before. Now I was just hoping to run in less than 9 minute miles.

The downhill and the flats ticked off pretty quickly. I was definitely starting to hurt in the final mile and was ready to have it over with. I picked up the pace when I saw the finish line and crossed in 1:17:02. It was a PR (personal record) for me by 2:30 from last year. I was very pleasantly surprised with the performance.

Adam crossed a good 40 seconds ahead of me, and Alice was 10 seconds behind him. Will sprinted across the line about 10 seconds ahead of me. It was pretty fun that the 4 of us finished within 40 seconds of each other even though we didn’t actually run together.

Overall a pretty decent day. It’s a big race and not one I think I will do again. I have taken to the smaller races – less hoopla and more running is better for me. I was glad to have hit a PR though, especially after the long run the day before. It was a good weekend of running.

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