My Shamrock Run adventure started the night before the race. We didn't get a campground spot early enough so I put the feelers out and found a friend to carpool with. The night before, I laid everything out so that the early wake-up time would be simple and I could just roll out of bed, get dressed, make coffee and load up. I pulled together a cute St. Patty's Day outfit. Nothing new, just a bunch of stuff I already had.
0445 came really early. The good news is that while I had a little trouble falling asleep, I actually slept really well. It must be our new bed. Usually I wake up ten million times the night before a race, but I slept great! I got up, got dressed, braided my hair and washed my face, brewed some coffee and off I went! It was cooooooold. I met Crystal at Safeway at 0515 and we headed over Hwy 30 to Portland. Along the way we stopped briefly at Exit 21 S to get water and snacks and take a potty break at Starbucks. We arrived in downtown Portland around 0715, parked in a nearby parking garage and hoofed it down to the race start. It was SO COLD!!! Forecast had called for rain and possible snow so we had bundled up and anticipated an adventure!
We met my other runner friend who had graciously saved my butt and picked up my packet at the Expo days prior and after a quick hug and "good luck" (they were running the 15K) we parted ways. I hate those quick exchanges but there was no time to chat! After that Crystal and I hit up the bag check and then port-a-potties. It was turning out to be a pretty morning and the sun even peaked out for a few minutes.
The 15K had a delayed start due to Amtraks running over the course and they were starting runners in waves by pace(I think). After the 15K runners had all taken off it was our turn to get lined up! I found the 8-9 minute mile pacer and gathered with that group. Crystal hung back to wait for another of her friends who was bringing her race bib.
The race itself went well. I went out hard knowing it was only 5 miles and that I could hold a good pace for that long. I had trouble catching my breath at times but for the most part felt really good. There were quite a few people and that was a challenge but that is to be expected in a race the size of Shamrock.
Sometime around Mile 3 I got a minor sideache and had to work through it with breathing and slowing my pace a bit. Thankfully it subsided around Mile 4. Once I passed that last mile marker I knew that one mile left mean only one mile left to cut as much time as possible. Unfortunately Mile 4 also included the only hill, but thanks to hill training I took it ok. I wasn't fast, but I also didn't walk. Once I got to the top of the hill there were two signs. One said <----5K/8K, and the other said ^15K (meaning keep going up the hill). All I remember thinking was how bad I felt for those poor 15K runners who had to pass the turning point knowing that the shorter races were done but they still had more hill! After the hill I knew from checking the course map that there wasn't much left and the Finish was just around the corner. I started down the hill then watched a few people blaze by me before it clicked that I should take the hill fast. So I went all out down the hill then sprinted around the corner where I could hear the announcer at the Finish line. Glorious finish! :)
(photo taken later)
I clicked my Nike+ off and high-fived some strangers, then proceeded over to get some water and receive our checked bag. The 15K runners got some great medals! I think I need to get a new medal soon :)
Here were the results of my Nike+:
Apparently I did quite a bit of weaving in and out of people...enough in fact, to add roughly half a mile!
The official Shamrock Results were:
Melanee Berman, Age 30, 8K, 41:41, average pace 8:24 per mile
I was 57th out of 883 in my age division (30-34), and 264th out of 4070 overall women.
I am a math person, I like to do the math. That means that for the 8K, considering women in my age division, I finished in the top 6%! Out of overall women, I also finished in the top 6%! Wow, that really boosts my confidence. I am glad I like math :)
I am happy with both results! This pace in a race this long is really good for me, and I love that I can see from my Nike+ precisely how fast I was actually going(even though it doesn't "count" per say). And the good part is that considering this was my first time running an 8K, I PRed! :)
Immediately following the race, I started to freeze so I grabbed our stuff, changed into my new (awesomely green!) Shamrock shirt and bundled back into my fleece and jacket. There was free chowder and appetizers for runners and a really great band for entertainment. Overall it was just sooo cold.