Saturday, March 19, 2016

#100! Shamrock Run (3/13/16)

Sunday's Shamrock Run was my 100th race!!!!!!!! And I celebrated in the best possible way by running a great race in the pouring rain with smiles and fun and a PR!

I started running in my late 20s when Aaron said that if I could run 3 miles I could climb Mount Adams. So I ran - without a clue as to what I was doing. I vividly remember finally finishing those 12 laps on the THS track: I collapsed in the dry grass at the south end, thankful that I had proven my mountain-climbing fitness level and would never had to run again.

A couple years later, Eryn and I got the crazy idea to actually train and run the September Race for the Cure 5K. And I fell in love with racing! Then we talked each other into upping the ante and running the Tilikum 10K the following April.

Aunt Kari suggested that we use The Beginning Runner's Handbook as our guide. It was excellent, and I still recommend it to every new runner who will listen to me!
For a long time, I called myself a reluctant runner - I wasn't naturally gifted and had to work really hard. I didn't love it, but I loved races. Having those events on my calendar helped motivate me to keep going, to train and to put in the effort despite the difficulty.

Now I love the running part, too - along with the challenge and the excitement and the nerves and the pageantry and the people watching and the dressing up and the community and the sharing with friends and family!

Curious about all those races? I have photos, links and stats on my race page :)

So that brings us to #100 - the Shamrock Run 15K.
Sunday was my fourth running of the Shamrock Run. I set a huge PR two years ago running hard with Joel. Then last year I came up short. Because of this year's forecast for drenching rain and tree-toppling winds, combined with a lack of specific preparation, I had no performance expectations for this race. My goal was to go out and enjoy the day, despite the weather and the way-too-early wake up call.

We woke at 5 a.m. (really 4 a.m. to our bodies because of Daylight Saving Time!) and hit the road shortly after 6 a.m. Usually we park on the east side of the river and walk to the start. But the weather was so miserable that we decided to get there really early, park close and wait in the car. We found an amazing parking spot just a block from the finish line and hung out.

My 15K race began at 7:30 a.m. About 7 a.m., I decided to get out, hit the potties and then make my way to the start. They had potty pods set up along Naito - a handful of potties grouped together instead of giant banks. I thought this made the pre-race pottying much quicker and easier. I was in and out in no time!

A bunch of us hung out in the shelter of the Morrison Bridge before it was time to get in the corral. I finally took a deep breath and headed out into the rain, lining up by the 9- to -10-minute-mile sign and enjoying warmth from the crowd. We were warned of a deep puddle under the Steel Bridge. Whatever. There was no way I was getting out of this day dry, so I wasn't concerned. 

The course starts north on Naito, and we hit that huge puddle before the half-mile mark. Most people were detouring onto the sidewalk or southbound lanes, but I tromped right through. No point wasting time going around! (I heard organizers rerouted the other races into the southbound lanes to avoid it all together!)
The race was very crowded, and I just fell in with the pack, unconcerned with pace. As it thinned, I sped a bit, pushing but maintaining control. Because I was running comfortably, I felt fairly good going up Broadway, the start of the hills. I consciously shortened my stride and let my pace be what it was (I only had distance on my watch - no info pace or time)

I stared nursing my gel right after crossing I-405 and washed it down with a swig of water at the mile-4 aid station. Then it was time to buckle down and head up Terwilliger... tiny steps, up, up, up! 
Before I knew it, I could hear bagpipes and knew the crest was right around the corner. Best feeling ever!

I took another swig, waved off the guys handing out full cans of Redbull (?!) and pointed my feet downhill. 
I pushed more on the way down - still in control but working hard. The guy in the completely see-through shorts was distracting, but I just thanked my lucky stars I was only seeing the rear view and then let him pull away down the hill.

Knowing the finish was less than a mile away, I skipped the last aid station (and the beer-and-bacon station) and kicked it up a notch. When the finish line came into view, I kicked with what I had left and zoomed to the end.
I still didn't have any idea of my time or pace. I checked my watch: 1:31:29 - a 9:45 average (9.37-mile distance). PR!!!!

Then I almost passed out waiting for my medal. Keep moving, people!

Post-race crazy eyes:
It rained steadily the whole race, and I was drenched. I decided to go straight to the car and change while Brad finished his half marathon and before I froze. On the way, I spotted my co-worker, Chris, in his PRC Race Team jersey. He'd just finished the 8K in an amazing 26:20!! We shared a high five and a few words of race review. Congrats, my speedy friend!
I was almost to the car when the finish-line announcer said it looked like the rain was letting up. Nope. About 1 minute later, the sky opened up, dropping drenching rain. So glad I was done running!
I returned to the finish line in time to see Brad come through the chute:
 He ran faster than he expected! Nice job :)
Brad also wanted to change right away, so we detoured to the car before hitting the waterfront for freebies, including our smoked salmon chowder! Then we tried to escape but realized our prime parking spot was in the center of the race course (it wasn't barricaded when we arrived) and we weren't allowed to leave. Good thing we weren't in a hurry, because we were stuck. Oh, well.

I am so proud of this race, especially after reading through my previous reports. My PR from 2014 was hard-earned. I emptied the tanks on that one and really relied on my running buddy, Joel. And last year, my self motivation failed, and I ran several minutes slower. This time, I ran stronger and smarter and faster - and I did it all on my own.

Here are my stats: 2112/4699 overall, 808/2573 in women and 149/489 in my division. Yeah - I'll take it!

My splits:
  • Mile 1: 9:56
  • Mile 2: 9:59
  • Mile 3: 9:59
  • Mile 4: 10:24
  • Mile 5: 11:02
  • Mile 6: 10:28
  • Mile 7: 8:55
  • Mile 8: 8:57
  • Mile 9: 8:46
  • Mile 9.37: 8:15  
Another stat I found interesting was my cadence. I'm usually very consistent right around 180 steps per minute. This time I averaged 191. I think that's from shortening my steps up the hill but still maintaining a good pace.

This race was everything I look for in an event! I hope the next 100 are just as good :)

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