Sunday, March 17, 2013

Shamrock Run!!

Shamrock Run 2013

What a day!  I didn't sleep very well last night.  I was very nervous about this run.  Not about the distance.  I knew I could go 9.3 miles, I've done it before.  I was nervous about the hills that I was going to be facing during the run.  I had looked at the map and knew that there was going to be some serious work for me.  Hills and I don't get along in general.  I like them fine when I am in a car.  They are also fun when I am going downhill.  To be more specific, it is the uphill that I have problems with.  This run had a few uphills in it.

For those of you who are familiar with the Portland, OR area.  The route took us north along the Willamette River and then back south, heading up the hill to OHSU.  Then back down and around along the river again.  

We had a lot of rain on Saturday afternoon and the weather forecast was a bit iffy about what run conditions would be like.  I kept waking up and tossing and turning.  I tend to get a bit jittery about races.  Upset stomach, can't sleep well and general nervousness is the norm.  Even when it is a short race I get wound up.  I'm learning that is just how I work.  :-)

We had to get up early.  By early I mean butt crack of dawn early!  We got up at 4:00 a.m. because we had to meet our friends at 5:15 in Keizer so they could ride up with us.  Race time was 7:40 and we wanted to make sure we had time to find parking and get to the start line without feeling rushed.  

We got up to Portland and found parking not to far from the finish line.  It was still Oh Dark Thirty when we got there but was beginning to get lighter.  

Josh & Wendi Gum - Fabulous Friends and Encouragers Extrodinare!!!

Joe and me.  Love my man!  Best Friend and my Biggest Fan!

When it was getting close to race time they announcement came to get into the start corrals.  They had timing chips so your official race time didn't start until you crossed the start line.  Which was good because there was 9,000 people participating in the 15K.  They did wave starts where they would let people go and then stop the crowd and then let another group start.  It took about 10 minutes before we officially started.  That was the last time I saw my hubby and Wendi and Josh until after the race.  :-)

Just a few people waiting to start.  :-)
I worked really hard at starting out slow.  I have had a bad habit of starting out too fast during my regular runs and it is even worse during races.  I get all caught up in the excitement and find myself trying to keep up.  I usually end up paying for that later in the race.  This was my first race where I consciously tried to go slow at the start.  Probably still started a bit fast but I did better at pacing myself then I have in the past.  The sound of all those runners going past me on the pavement was really cool.  

I was feeling pretty good on the first hill.  It was more a gradual slope so I just worked on moving along and enjoyed looking at the different shops along the way and the funny clothes and hats that other runners were wearing.  

At mile 4 I had to pee.  This is not a good thing when I am running.  I feel like my bladder is going up and down in my stomach and at any moment I may pee myself.  lol  I knew there was supposed to be toilets at the mile 4 marker and there was.  Unfortunately there were only 4!  The line was pretty long but I really had to go, I had already skipped the potty at mile 2 because of the line and I couldn't remember if there were anymore along the route.  Plus, the thought up going up the steep hill with a full bladder did not sound fun.  The bummer part about having to stand in line for a significant amount of time during a race is that it messes with your race time.  I can pause my Nike+ app and then restart it when I begin again.  Can't do that with the race time.  Every minute that I stood there was eating into my finish time and my average pace.  I can't believe how long it took some of the runners to get their business done!  

The good side of standing in line was that it gave me an opportunity to strip off my sweatshirt and use my inhaler.  This was my first chance to try out my inhaler on a hill in a race situation.  I was very pleased with how much it helped.  I'm not sure I could have done the steep hill without it.  I had to work on my breathing but I didn't feel like I had an anvil sitting on my chest which I have felt like in the past.  Very glad to have that little bit of help.  One less thing for me to struggle with.  :-)

As I worked my way up the hill I made each lamppost along the road my goal.  I will run to the next lamppost.  Now I will run to the next lamppost.  When I got close to the top we could hear the sounds of bagpipes and drums.  Another runner got all excited because she knew this meant we were almost to the top.  Sure enough, just a little farther and there was the bagpipes and a water station.  We had made it to the top!!!  Other then the pit stop for the bathroom I had run ALL the hills!  At this point I was pretty stoked.  I could tell that my pace was pretty good for me during a regular, flat run at home and most of it had been up hill!  

The last three miles were all downhill and I was feeling good.  I little bit tired but no aches and pains.  My feet didn't hurt and it was fun.  I had a few people that had been run/walking around me and so I worked on getting in front of them so that I could beat them.  After all, I had run the whole thing.  I should be in before them. lol

Finishing was fun!  There were SO MANY PEOPLE!  They had run out of finisher medals which was a bummer.  But they will send it to me in the mail so that will be cool.  I worked hard for that medal!  It doubles as a bottle opener.  How cool is that?  

We had decided to all meet at the car after we were done rather than try and find each other in the masses.  I had told Joe that I thought I would end up walking up the hills so I knew he would be expecting me to be done until around 2 hours 30 minutes.  Surprise!!!  They hadn't been at the car all that long and were decided if they should go back to watch for me when I texted Joe.  Believe me, I was grinning all the way to the car.  Our car was parked on the second level and it was fun to walk up the street and have Joe, Wendi and Josh all hooting and hollaring for me.  :-)  I felt like a rock star.  

We decided to head to Fudruckers for burgers and I'm pretty sure we inhaled our food.  It tasted so good and we were so hungry!  I'm pretty sure we earned whatever calories we ate during that meal!

My time according to my Nike+ app was 2:05:31 with an average pace of 13'29" per mile.  I was stoked!  My official race time finish was 2:11:06 with an average pace of 14'07" per mile which makes sense when you factor in the pit stop at mile 4.  Either way I'm pretty happy.  If I can maintain this pace for three more miles I can beat my goal of under three hours for the Eugene Half Marathon at the end of April.  And there aren't massive hills on that run.  Just one long gradual one.  No problem!  

Wednesday I was defeated and frustrated.  Today I'm so excited.  This is obviously progress.  I am obviously making good changes and seeing results.  This race proved it!  I will have to look back at this post and remember this day on the days where I want to give up.  How I feel today is why I don't give up!  I've posted the picture below before.  Seemed like a good time to put it on here again.  :-)

Glad I'm not giving up!

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