I kind of meant to getting around to registering for the Shamrock run this year, but I never actually did it. I was still worried about my IT band, and I never really felt like paying the money to do it, and then registration reached capacity and closed. I wasn’t that torn up about it, except for the fact that missing this race would mean missing out on the 2011 Commemorative Bottle-Opener Style Medallion given to all 15k finishers. So I was actually very upset about not doing the Shamrock Run.
As you can imagine, because I’m writing a blog post titled “Shamrock Run 2011,” I did get my hands on a number at the last minute. I was kindly donated the spare number of someone who had two, because everyone kept giving him free registrations. The number was for the 15k (about 9 and a half miles), but I briefly toyed with the idea of switching to the 5k or the 8k, because I hadn’t run more than 6 miles since the Portland Marathon in October. I thought about this out-loud for a bit, and was quickly reminded that the 5k and 8k finishers don’t receive a Commemorative Bottle-Opener Style Medallion, and my internal debate ended immediately.
Deciding to do a race the night before it happens means that most of your race preparation has been done with the mentality that you aren’t about to run a race, and so steps taken may or may not have been appropriate. Here are some of the things I did:
- Run occasionally
- Resistance training
- Skip kettlebell class the day before the race (which I did because I was lazy, and felt guilty for having done so until I learned I would be racing)
- Eating massive amounts of Indian food the day before the race
- Eating lots of delicious cake the night before the race (which I purchased and consumed after I knew I would be doing the race, but it tempted me too hard)
- Not buying a cute new racing outfit
Inappropriate Preparation #3 led me to staying up late into the night, trying on every pair of athletic shorts I own. I got upset when I realized that I wear the same outfit for almost every single race and finally decided to wear my same shirt as always, but got out some running shorts that I hadn’t worn for ten years but it turns out I still look extra-good in them.
My balance of appropriate and inappropriate preparations turned out pretty well. Despite losing an hour to the time change and non-stop rain, I PR’ed by almost 4 minutes! My time went from 1:14:05 (last year), to 1:10:22, for a 7:33 minute/mile pace. Most of my increase in speed can probably be attributed to the fact that I started out running with a few guys who were running in silly leprachaun suits and hats to promote fancy dress/running shoes, so they were running pretty slow. Usually I start out really fast, and that rarely turns out well for me, but I still can’t help myself most of the time. It’s much more encouraging to spend the race passing the people you ran behind in the first mile than to have all the people you sped ahead of during the first mile pass you for the rest of the race. Lesson learned. Again.
But as I have made clear, the Shamrock Run is not about PRs or personal achievement. It’s about the Commemorative Bottle-Opener Style Finisher’s Medallion:
As you can see, it was well worth the effort. This year, not only is the medallion a bottle-opener, but it is in the shape of a pint glass, to remind you of what you are maybe about to drink when you’re using the bottle-opener. For a reminder of last year’s Commemorative Bottle-Opener Style Medallion, click here.
Almost as exciting as the Finisher’s Medallion was when the winner of the 5k was nice enough to let me have my picture taken with him.
As usual, I convinced my parents to come out in the rain and watch me run, but they didn’t make it out until the part of the race where I wasn’t running anymore, so I have no running pictures for you. Luckily they did make it to the part of the race where they bought breakfast, so I didn’t have to miss the part of the race where I ate giant pancakes covered in chocolate and peanut-butter and also normal butter. Secret running tip: this last part of the race is usually the most important, make sure you don’t skip it.