Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Shamrock Run 15K - Race Recap

The Shamrock Run 15K in downtown Portland was a wet, challengingly-fun race.  My race started at 7:30am, and a pouring rain just began to let up as we approached the start line.  Bryce and I parked my car downtown and walked toward the start, donning a rain jacket to keep myself dry as long as possible before the race began.

I ran the 8K last year, which follows a similar start, on Naito Parkway and SW Broadway.  The rest of the course, however, was new to me.  The start was a bit soggy, dodging puddles and trying to keep my feet as dry as possible for as long as possible.  It was a flat, fast beginning 2 miles, and the Broadway hill started to kick things up.  The hill on Broadway lasted just about a mile, with a steady climb, enough to slow me down to about a 9:30 pace.  There were a lot of spectators on Broadway, which was nice and encouraging.

Once we passed PSU, we started to run towards Terwilliger, and then the real hills started.  Terwilliger Boulevard is a scenic thoroughfare, very windy with a steady incline.  There would be a hill, it would flatten out, and then another hill, etc. etc.  This was by far the toughest climb I've had in a race, rivaling the hill at mile 10 in the Presidio during the Nike Women's Half.  I kept telling myself that I would stop if I had to at the next hill, but whenever I reached that "next hill," I kept moving.  Slowly, but still running.  It was really tough, but it was beautiful.  The rain turned more mist-like and we were high enough up that we ascended into the layers of fog that settle on the tops of the hills in SW Portland.  I definitely plan to train on this road soon, as I noticed there was sidewalk most of the way.

Even with half of a marathon training plan under my belt, it never felt better to have reached the top of the road and turn onto Barbur Blvd.  There was a small cheering section at the end of the hills that gave me the motivation to "bust it out" for the last few miles.  It was all downhill from there!

For the last 3 miles, I kicked it into a 8:45-9 min per mile pace.  I really opened up my stride and focused on the finish.  The slight downhill incline tested my knees but felt great overall.  I sprinted the last .25 mile to the finish back on Naito Blvd. and met up with Bryce to celebrate!  My time was 1:29:27, which is around what I'd expected.

I was handed my finisher medal (a neat bottle opener!) just after the finish line, and then Bryce and I headed to the finish area.  Each runner's bib came with a tear-off coupon for a little shooter of Stanford's salmon chowder, and the warmth was just what I needed after a soggy race!  Then we headed to the Widmer tent where my bib also got me one free pint of IPA.  No better way to end a St. Patrick's Day race than with beer!

Overall, I found the course, organization, finish area, etc. very pleasing.  I would love to do this challenge again next year and break my PR.  I can only hope for better weather next year, third time's a charm!

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