Monday, March 23, 2015

Shamrock Run 5k Race Recap

Free race photos, and this is the
least horrible one there was.
I decided to do the Shamrock Run just about a month ago, more for the sake of having a race during March, than meeting a specific running goal. I actually did this race as my second 5k, back in 2011. It was ridiculously rainy and cold and miserable. The next year I signed up again, but ended up just walking it with some friends - again, it was rainy and cold and miserable, and that was the best way to make it a relatively enjoyable experience.

So I kind of swore off of it since then. But, this is the year of racing and aiming for new PRs, so why not? The weather this spring has been remarkably dry and mild, but the weekend of the race was rainy. Still a lot warmer than typical, but wet (and then it was the afternoon after the race that we had a ridiculous windstorm).

I found as much green as I could in my running supplies, plus bought a cheap pair of festive socks at Fred Meyer while we were out the day before - unfortunately they really were cheaply made without much stretch, and didn't fit over my thick calves. I didn't think until during the race that I could have cut off the feet and used them as armwarmers.

The Shamrock Run includes a half (new this year), 15k, 8k, and 5k, and the 5k is last (run first, then untimed walked), so I got to sleep in, relatively, and just catch a MAX into downtown by 8:30. When we were almost to the nearest stop, the train crossed the race course, making some 8k-ers stop during the race. Unfortunately there's not a good way to have a race course downtown without some train issues.

It was drizzling but not too cold as I walked to the start line; I wore a long sleeve throwaway shirt, and was fine in that while waiting. Though it's a huge event overall (35,000 people!), the 5k was "only" 11,000, and being almost the last event, the line for the porta potties was amazingly small. I found a set of 6 or 8 with a line only a dozen or so people deep. Got to that spot maybe 20 minutes before the start time, used the bathroom, and got in the start area by my pace sign (9 - 10 minutes) still about 10 minutes early.

I'm probably getting to the point of pushing myself in 5ks enough that I ought to be doing a warm-up mile or two. I was definitely feeling stiff as I got going; that plus pausing briefly to take off my arm-warmers put my first mile a little slow. Or I was just being conservative, let's go with that. My previous PR, set on New Year's, was 31:52. I didn't think I'm quite ready for a sub-30, but was hoping to go under 10:00 miles. 

The second mile was better, right on target. This is a big enough race that the crowd never totally thins out, so I was doing some weaving around people pretty the much the whole time. Despite the start lineup having pace signs, there seemed to be a lot of slower people, doing lots of walking, ahead of me. Then in the third mile there is a bit of an uphill as you turn in downtown back towards the waterfront. I was nearing the top of the hill when I ended up on the other side of the train/runner conundrum. I saw it about to cross from a half block away; I slowed down as I approached and didn't have to actually stop, but sort of lost a few seconds there.

Then, though, you get a half mile or so of downhill towards the finish line. I was pretty happy as I finished, and saw 9:50 average pace on my Garmin! Sadly, my weaving, lack of tangents, etc., resulted in it measuring 3.17 meaning that my actual pace per the official distance was 10:01. So freaking close! Official finish time of 31:07, still good for a 45 second PR. 


  1. Congrats on beating your previous 5k time! What a bummer that we had all these sunny and mild days and the race day was rainy. But good thing the wind wasn't going crazy yet at that time of day.

    1. Thanks! I know, I can't imagine having run that in the windstorm from later that day.


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