Shamrock and Roll Race Recap
The Shamrock and Roll is a St. Patty’s themed 5K put on by one of our local radio stations. It runs through Yale University’s campus, and it starts and ends at a bar, Toad’s Place. This makes it a very, very popular race. It is also possibly the flattest route I have ever run, which makes it a perfect race for newbies to running.
I ran this race last year. It was my fourth 5K ever, and I remembered it feeling harder than it should have. That is probably because with over 2,000 participants, I let myself get pushed too far too fast in the herd. I remember hearing the RunKeeper in my ear telling me my pace at 5 minutes in was faster than I’d ever run. I had to do two walk breaks and thought, “This just plain sucks.”
I wanted this race to feel different this year. I’ve been training for much longer races, and I knew it was flat, so I went in with the idea that I would just run the race at an enjoyable pace and experience the fun of it. No pressure.
Right off the bat, the fun began. I always try to get to race sites early if I hear parking is a problem. At 1:15 prior to the race start, I still had to park nearly half a mile away. Once I made it down to Toad’s Place, I was treated to a warm bar with live music. There was also water and shots of iced coffee. How awesome is it to hear live music at 8am on a Sunday?
Eventually it was time for us to all march down to the start. This is my view, 2/3 towards the back. There were so many people, and it was cold. Colder than I had thought it would be based on the weather forecast. Thank goodness at the last minute I changed my plans and put on the extra layers of cold weather gear. I was freezing waiting for the race to start.
Me, with my only nod to the St. Patty’s theme: a green hat. I would have worn my Fitbloggin’ Tee as it is green, that was my plan. But it was just too cold for me to run with a T shirt with only one other layer. I opted for the race shirt (a nice tech T that I’d picked up two days before) and my usual fleece.
Off and running through Yale’s campus in New Haven. This was a huge race, thousands of people. I kind of like the bigger ones, because I’m never alone in the back of the herd. I really like races that draw college kids, because they are often untrained and hungover, which makes me look like Superwoman passing these young kids.
I did exactly what I aimed to do during this race: just ran it. But by mile 2, I could tell that I was going to PR this race if I was able to keep up the pace I was doing. It was faster than I’d ever run for more than a few minutes at a time, but since the route was flat, it didn’t feel as hard as it would have normally. I was well under the 12 minute mile I usually run. Even here, nearing the 3 mile mark, I had plenty of people around me. I took this photo just to prove it.
I let myself walk after taking this photo because I wanted to finish really strong. My RunKeeper told me I had just hit 35 minutes and I was nearly there. I couldn’t believe it. As soon as I turned the corner and saw the finish I ran as fast as I could. RunKeeper tells me this was a 9:01 pace, unheard of for me. That’s like 6.5 mph! OK it was only a minute or so. But still, when I crossed the finish line, I saw it was just past 36 minutes. Which meant I was actually below it, because it took me a bit to cross the start line. Holy crap! PR! PR! PR!
The best thing about this race is that since it is a St. Patty’s race, they give you a beer at the end. It’s crappy draft beer, but who cares? I PRed and I knew it, so I drank the whole damn thing. And because I didn’t want to drive home drunk, I ate an apple and a few munchkins and downed a bunch of water. Woohoo!
After I got home and showered, I saw that the race results were online. Another great thing about big races: they have sophisticated enough timing that the results take hours, not days. I found my name and found this next to it: 35:33.
Much lower than I had even guessed. I had thought maybe 35:50 or 35:45. But 35:33? Rockstar!
Yay, me, indeed. 🙂