Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shamrock Run 2010

Warning: this post consists of play-by-play material.

The Shamrock Run was a success! I am so glad that I was healthy enough to manage the run. The morning couldn't have been nicer for mid-March. The weather was in the mid to high 30's, partially cloudy with some sun breaks. The conditions were 100% better compared to last years run when it was dreary, rainy and windy.

I was pretty tired waking up at what was normally 5:30am, but with daylight savings was 6:30am. We had to shuffle the babies out of bed not long after to get them ready for "the race" that we had excited them with the night before. Luckily they are happy risers, and we were packed in the car and driving toward Portland by 7:30am.

Husband turned a bit frantic as we neared the city and saw that the bridge to get to the waterfront was backed up. He made a smart move and headed more south crossing another bridge and back-tracked through downtown. We made it to a parking garage in no time. He was far more worried than I was about time. While driving through the garage, he persuaded me to jump out and head to the waterfront where I needed to pick up my bib and timing chip. There were all sorts of people flooding the streets. Face-painted, tu-tu wearing, green-clad, shamrocked people from all over the area. Now that I think of it, I wish we had taken pictures of some of them. The picture in my last post suggests some of what was seen.

I met up with Husband and the kiddos about ten minutes later after I had gotten my chip and bib, and walked around a bit. After a couple minutes, I figured I better hit the bathroom was panicked to find that the lines were backed up across the grass. I had no choice but to join the crowd. As I looked around I found that there were a lot of people wearing the blue 15k bib like me, and they didn't seem to be worried that our race was set to begin in ten, five and then one minute.

Luckily, there was some entertainment to kill the time. Not too far from us was a bridge overhead and all sorts of characters heading to the party. Yes, I say party. The race was mainly sponsored by Widmer, a Portland brewery, and I believe many ventured into the city during that early Sunday morn to either make themselves a spectacle for the occasion and/or to drink green beer. However, I am not entirely sure about the green beer--that was heresay, I didn't see any myself. Back to the entertainment. Two particular crowds of people caught my eye as they hooted and hollered from the bridge. Their appearances fell in the categories of mullet rockin', boombox luggin', beer-belly-baring folks. Belly-man was especially awesome. Love a guy with no inhibitions.

By the time I got in and out of line, the gun had already gone off. It wasn't a huge deal since the 9-10 minute milers were still lined up and hadn't yet crossed the start line. I said goodbye to husband and the kiddos and made my way to the crowd of runners. Just a few moments later I was crossing the start line.
Here's how my 9.3 miles went:

Mile 1: I dodge runners while working to solidify my pace; feeling slightly out of sorts as I am not sure what lies ahead.

Mile 2: I begin the ascent up Broadway. Things feel good. This is the reason I trained on an incline. I'm careful to watch my footing as the streets aren't completely trustworthy. Sweet. I finish the second mile around 14:45.

Mile 2-4: Can I get a mile-marker!?! For a moment the desperation to know where I am on the course brings on a slight wave of panic. 9.3 miles? Uhh.

I'm out of the "city-city" now and making my way through the Terwilliger Curves. Curves is right; rolling-curves. After the series of a few hills, I look up to see a swarm of runners across the way climbing what looks like a fiasco of an incline. I feel the crowd slow, as we see what lie in front of us. I brace myself and push harder. I make mental note to start taking 100% advantage of any decline in the course and try to speed up and float through these short spurts. I want to make up for any time lost on the inclines.

Water ahead. Wait! Is she drinking out of the jug? No cups?! Yeah, and I need a drink. I grab myself a jug and try to navigate myself a drink without touching the pour spout. For a moment, I feel like an animal. This all happens in about 3 seconds and I am back on the road.

Mile 5: Seriously? How close am I to being through with the hills? We are up high. I can see the Willamette river and the city from a forested distance.

Mile 6: I see another hydration station. I grab myself a cup, gulp and spit half of it out. It's tricky drinking water while trying to maintain steady breathing. I am seriously needing some electrolytes and there are none. Note to self: wear my own hydration pack next year.
I begin the descent. See lots of people on the sidewalks. I tear up when I see a young boy in his wheelchair with his Mom. I give him a wave, and suddenly I am thinking of how blessed I am to have two legs that can carry me.
Mile 7-8: Traffic is stopped in the opposite direction. The road is heavily uneven, so I hop on the sidewalk to take advantage of its levelness. The road makes me slightly nervous because of the potential damage it could do to ankles, knees, hips etc.
I am feeling tired. Wishing I had some Rehydrate. Starting to feel bored. I don't stop for another drink. I decide to push as hard as I can.
Mile 9: Almost there. I can see lots of people ahead. I push as hard as my tired body can push. I hit 9 miles about 40 seconds under my goal time. I forgot to factor in more time for the last .30 miles into my goal time. With .30 miles to go, I tell myself to pick it up. I'm in a full sprint (at least that's what it feels like) until I hit the finish line. I am so happy to be done.

After ten minutes or so, I found Husband and his brother. He ended up taking the cold kiddos to his brother's hotel to be with his wife. By the time he got back, I was done, and we'd barely missed each other. I was still really happy they were there. It's so nice to share moments of triumph with the people who support you.
New personal time record:

Distance: 9.3miles
Time: 1:23:48
Pace: 8:59/mi.

The rest of the day, I spent curled up, suffering with the worst stomach pain I've ever had. I couldn't even eat, which I am sure, didn't help with my body's recovery after having been depleted of all its nutrients. In the late afternoon I was able to handle liquids better and begin to snack. The feeling carried through Monday morning even, so I drank more and more fluids.

I had a blast at the Shamrock Run. It was a race full of excitement, spirit, and challenge, and a race that I believe I'll come to year after year.
Long live the Shamrock Run!


b davis March 17, 2010 at 5:07 PM  

Way to go Cassie! I am amazed by you! (Also, you look so much like Tammy in these pictures.)

Keri March 17, 2010 at 7:21 PM  

Yay! I love a good race! And just so you know, I thoroughly enjoy reading a running play-by-play. It almost makes me feel like I'm there too. :) And I don't know about you, but I personally LOVE 10 miles. It think it's such a good distance. Way to go!

a little bit biased March 17, 2010 at 9:20 PM  

Great job Cass! That was fun to read! You should be so proud.

shannon March 20, 2010 at 9:55 AM  

GOOD JOB!!! Loved the play by play!

“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
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