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.  🙂


About mostlyforward

Somewhere on the journey to a better life, depending on the day...moving (mostly) forward.

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  1. My Year In Running | Mostly Forward - December 13, 2013

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