Sunday, March 15, 2015

Race Recap: Shamrock 15k

Today I ran the Shamrock 15k, organized by the Summit Athletic Running Club.

When I last checked the Weather App, it said that the temperature would be forty degrees.  By one o'clock, when I estimated that I would have climbed the hill from hell, it would be forty-three degrees and sunny.  For an Ohio runner, this information means 1) no hat, 2) a long sleeve tech shirt, and 3) capris.  My favorite racing capris were in the wash, so I wore tights instead, but I made sure not to go with my gut and bring along a jacket.  "Stephani, " I told myself, "you ALWAYS wear too much clothing, and then you get really hot and irritated.  Don't do this today."  So this is how I dressed:

Shamrock, I'm coming for you!
Boy, was I wrong.  Apparently, "forty" means "really freaking cold and gray with lots of wind."  This was not what I was expecting.  I got on the phone and pleaded with my husband to bring me a jacket, but then Jone, one of my TORN friends and now my savior, came along and lent me her vest.  So, it all worked out.

I saw Heather, Laura, Erin, Suegene, and Brad.  I hadn't seen Heather and Laura in a long time, and it was so nice to catch up today.  I also saw Marilyn, Amanda, and Stacie, who are badasses because they ran four miles before the race.

Heather and I ran the Shamrock together (it was my first time) in 2013.

Erin and I seem to find each other at every race now.
There was a bagpiper:

I know some people don't like bagpipes, so I only gave you ten seconds.
Ok, here is the lowdown on the course:

The first 5k are completely downhill.  It would have been awesome except that I lost about thirty seconds in mile 1 because my pants kept coming down, and I had to stop THREE TIMES to retie the drawstring.  GRRRRR.

The next mile or so is flat, and then the rest of the race is uphill.  I'm not joking.  The first two hills are the stuff of which nightmares are made, and then there are little inclines until the end.  My goal is to never walk on a hill.  I allowed myself to walk through three water stops, but none of them were on a hill, and I never completely stopped.

The sun did come out when I reached the top of the hill, which was nice.

I did change up my strategy from the last time I ran this race.  My official goal was to do better than I did in the Hot Chocolate 15k (where I was hungover and I actually ran slowly enough to EAT HANDFULS OF CHOCOLATE on the course), but my secret goal was of course a PR.  The first thing I did differently was wear earbuds.  I know; earbuds are bad-the course isn't completely closed-yadda yadda yadda.  I can tell you that I was completely aware of any cars on the course well before they were anywhere around me.  I was alert.  Plus, I was much safer to be around because I had drowned out my Voices, which normally want me to do terrible things in the middle of a long run without music.

The other thing I did was let myself go in the hills of the first 5k.  I usually try to slow down and warm up in the beginning miles of a race; it's part of my hope that I will run a negative split, but you know what?  I never do.  I realized (from watching Shelby do this two years ago) that I should take advantage of the downhill start and let 'er rip.  I think it made a huge difference.

Judge for yourself:

Shamrock 15k 2013:  1:34:22  10:07/mile

Hot Chocolate 15k 2014: 1:31:32  9:49/mile

Shamrock 15k 2015:   1:29:15 9:35/mile

I think I'll take it!
This is a great race if you like hills (and I do).  There was soup and bread and fruit and popcorn (!) after the race, which was very welcome when I got the shivers.  The medal is sweet, and I can never have too many long-sleeved tech shirts.  Even though I really should be doing eleven or more miles on my long runs, I thought this challenging course more than made up for the fact that I ran fewer than ten miles today.  I am right on track to prepare for the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon.  Are you?

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!