Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Portland Shamrock Run 2012

I was one of the many running a St. Patrick's Day race this last weekend (now two weekends back). But while most of those were actually on St. Pat's Day (Saturday), the Shamrock Run is always on a Sunday, so this year (thanks to Leap Year) it was on March 18. No matter. I had enough green to carry me through an entire weekend.

The main Shamrock Run is a 15K, but there is also an 8K and a 5K. This year they changed the schedule so that the 5K started about 95 minutes after the 15K. Since I don't really pay attention to anything but the 15K, I didn't notice that bit of scheduling until a few days before the run. But once I did, a little idea was born...a way to make my Sunday run a little longer...if all went well with the 15K, anyway.

My parents and I drove down to Portland on Friday. I took the whole day off work, and used some of the morning to squeeze in an easy medium length run. I had originally thought I might do a longer 15 mile run, but realized earlier in the week that that would be cuh-ray-zee! And as I lolled in bed Friday morning, the potential length of my run got even shorter.

When I did get outside--happy that it was daylight--I had about 90 minutes remaining on my audio of Born to Run (the book), so I decided I would at least run through that (about 9 miles). I was soon dismayed that, once again, I could not pull up a signal on my Garmin. This time I made it through the whole run without ever loading satellites! That was two consecutive Everett runs without Garmin, although I did three runs in other places with no problem.

At least, my lack of measuring tool ensured that I would keep the pace relaxed. It took about four miles before I felt like I was in a groove, but after that I felt really good. Of course, that was probably because I was running very slowly. I finished the audiobook (I kept it running at lights and other stops, so it covered less than nine miles of running), and then put on music to finish the last mile or so. I estimated my total distance at nine miles, which I think was a fair estimate.

We didn't leave for Portland until afternoon, but the drive went pretty smoothly and we got into Portland around 5 or 6. We were staying at the Marriott Downtown Waterfront, which is right on Naito Parkway where the race begins and ends. Originally I had reservations at the Westin (actually less conveniently located), but they gave me grief when I wanted to change our departure date from Monday to Sunday (staying two nights instead of three). So that ticked me off and after I found another hotel I cancelled the Westin altogether. I was really surprised that the Marriott still had rooms at a decent rate (this was two or three weeks before the race), but was really happy with the change.

While driving down to Portland we listened to the audiobook of Dean Karnazes' 50/50 (50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days). We went through 25 states on the trip south and the other 25 on the way home.

Friday night we had dinner at the hotel's lobby restaurant and bar. All three of us had the steak salad with mixed results. Mine (medium rare) was pretty good, after they took it back to remake it with the dressing on the side. My mother's steak (medium) was terribly tough, almost unchewable! And my dad's might have been tough as well, but he always gets it well done so what can you expect of overcooked meat.

On Saturday we all took the Tri-met over to the Convention Center for packet pick-up and a small expo. For once I was pretty immune to the charms of the merchandise. I wasn't really into the St. Patrick's Day themed stuff. It's only one day, and it would be over by the time we even did the run! I do love green, but I have lots and lots of green shirts and jackets (including a new half zip that I'd just bought the week before).

We did score some freebies by each of us doing a short survey put on by an insurance company (totally anonymous). For that I got a sweet Shamrock Run gym bag, plus we got two Camelbak water bottles. The gym bag was very handy for carrying away the water bottles and my race shirt (which I do like a lot).

The weather that whole weekend was very dicey, though in the end we didn't have any real problems. The forecast for Sunday was rain and snow, but it didn't happen during the race. After leaving the expo we walked downtown and picked up sandwiches for lunch at Three Bridges Cafe. They have the yummiest sandwiches and each one comes with a chocolate chip cookie! I may have purchased additional cookies to be used for desserts and treats later....

Saturday evening we walked about half a mile to have dinner at an Italian restaurant. I like to have pasta before a race, even if the tradition is somewhat mythical and possibly unnecessary. Since I limit my carbs during the week, I tend to intentionally increase them on weekends before long runs and races.

The 15K run was supposed to start at 7:45 on Sunday morning. I got up at 6, grabbed my coffee and breakfast, and went back to bed for a while. I planned to leave at about 7:15 to head over to the start and jog a short warm-up.

From the hotel, I crossed Naito Parkway and jogged along Waterfront Park toward the race activities. I clocked about a mile for my warm-up, though it was probably a bit longer since it took awhile to get the satellites loaded. I was also able to use the port a potties a couple times (in addition to my stops in the hotel earlier).

As race start time was approaching somewhat, the announcer told us that the start would be delayed because the Amtrak train was late. They couldn't start until the train went through, as the course crosses the tracks. Waiting was fine with me...I already had my experience with the train holding up the Portland Marathon at mile 25!

While we were waiting, I wriggled myself into the starting corral somewhere between the 8 and 9 minute signs. It was packed, but I knew the staggered start would give us all room to run.

Finally the course was clear (so they said), and we were off...at 30 second intervals. It didn't take long for me to cross the starting mats. Shortly after the start we heard bells and saw flashing lights on the railroad tracks. I don't know what was going on but I was one of the mob that darted across the tracks before they could make us stop. I never knew if there actually was a train or if it was a false alarm. The first mile or so of the race has changed pretty much every year, thanks to constant road and bridge construction work in downtown Portland. Last year we even had to go up onto one of the bridges and turn around. This time we stayed in downtown. The first couple miles were fairly flat. I managed a fairly comfortable sub-nine, around 8:45.

We started going uphill on S.W. Broadway (as the road does). Miles 3-6 are pretty much steadily uphill, and my pace was reflective--9:18, 9:22, 9:50, 9:33. I probably could have pushed harder, as I recall feeling pretty good despite the climb. I'm afraid marathon training breeds "comfortable" pacing! After mile 6, we reached our highest point and headed back downhill into town. For three miles I poured on the speed! 8:18, 8:19, 8.15. The last .3 was actually .45 for me and I did that stretch at a 7:47 pace...woohoo! Final official time was 1:23:59.

I learned later that my dad had been down there and saw me finish. I didn't see him at all...I looked for him when I went by the hotel, but after that didn't expect him. It is so crowded there in the finisher area that I have never managed to find anyone or hear a cell phone if it rang. I also learned later that up until that morning my dad thought I was running a marathon! Apparently he assumes if I'm traveling it must be for a marathon. I give him cheers for thinking I could start a marathon at 7:45 and still check out of the hotel at noon! (He did think it would be a very close call. Ha.)

So after I walked through the finish area I stayed on Naito Parkway and walked up to the mob waiting for the 5K to start. I think the waves may have already started when I got there. It was so crowded that it was hard to tell. Although I certainly wasn't running for speed, I did weave my way through the crowd of walkers to the back of the runners.

When I did cross the starting line and begin to run, I found myself weaving around people to try to maintain a 10-minute pace. There is really a huge difference running at the back of the pack from my usual spot somewhat ahead of the middle of the pack! People don't even seem to care how fast slow they are going! I mean, I didn't care much but I did care more than a 12-minute pace. I'm not going to dwell on this topic because I am bound to say something which could be interpreted as offensive.

I did manage to put on a surge in the final mile (when I had made it up to some people who cared a little bit about their times). My splits for three miles were 10:00, 10:07, and 9:21. I was looking at my watch and I did hit 3.1 miles under 30 minutes...my only goal. Since I wasn't chipped or registered for this part of the race, my watch times are all that matter. Similar to the 15K, I sped up to 7:45 pace for the last .21 and my total watch time was 31:08.

After finishing my second "race" of the day, I headed back to the hotel (by way of Starbucks). I still had plenty of time to change before we checked out at noon.

I didn't get any good pre- or during-race pics, but here I am after.

The weather during both runs was perfect. The most rain we got was just a drizzle, and not much of that. On the drive home, though, we got rain, snow, hail, and sun. One after the other. Again and again.

Next up, my race recap from the Mercer Island Half Marathon last weekend.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Running Girl said...

I ran the same 15K, and walked the 5K with my family. Small world! And, love that your dad thought you were running a marathon. So cute. :-)