Shamrock Race Review and 3 Lessons

Saturday March 3, I raced the Shamrock Run.  This year happened to be the 40th anniversary of this race!  I didn't even know!

This is one crazy-pants race!  It is definitely a tradition, good times, social, community run!  This was my first time running it.  I learned a few things, which I will share.  

But first, the results of course, because that is what we like to see, right?  

DISTANCE: 8k = 5 miles.  TIME: 34:49.  PACE: 6:51. 

3rd in AG, but I missed 1st place by a blasted 40 seconds!  As you will see with my splits that first mile is where I lost it!  

SPLITS: 1- 7:24.  2- 6:47.  3- 6:43.  4- 6:42.  5- 6:41.

Shamrock Run Buffalo

This year I want to race distances other than the marathon and half marathon!  I need some new experiences, new challenges, just something different.  An 8k quialifies right?  As I planned out my spring race schedule I saw this race.  This is a distance that I run often, so I signed up hoping it would be a social experience and maybe that I could try my speed.

It ended up not being social!  People I tried to recruit to run with couldn't run.  So, I ran it solo.  Fortunately I met a fellow solo momma runner!  We became race buddies.  Love that with the race community, there are so many people, just reach out and you have a fast friend!

As for trying my speed... I did, and I was quite pleased with my performance.

shamrock 8k

This is my feeling.  If I'm going to pay for and register for a race, I want to race it!  That term 'race it' means something different for everyone, and maybe something different for each distance.  For me, I went to this race with the intent of pushing my pace.  

I have not been running longer distances this winter, but I have been strengthening and working on shorter distance speed.  For this race I thought I could, at the very least run it at my tempo pace which has been around 7:20.  I thought, since it's a race I'd push it up to around a 7 pace.

That first mile was a joke!  I'll tell the story of parking, packet pickup and getting to the start line, but just know that I ended up pretty far back, in a sea of people that were walking and jogging and having a wonderful social time!  My first mile was about bobbing and weaving and trying to get out of the congestion.  I was happy to see that I was at 7:24 quite honestly because it felt a little slower than that!  

After mile 1 it thinned out a little more and I still had to dodge, but turned up my speed a little.  I felt good.  By mile 3 I was good, no more effort wasted running around people.  Now the extra effort went into some hills.  There are 3 variations on this course, it isn't flat!  I was able to stay at a 7 pace up those variations, which made me happy!

I locked in my pace and ran based on that effort.  I got into my pattern with breathing and occasionally cheering for fellow runners, of course, I am a cheerleader!  I felt good and strong at 6:40ish and just held it.  I tried to push it a little at the end, but basically felt like that pace was where I could push and hold for an extended time.  

shamrock race buffalo

It felt dang good to cross that finish line!  It stunk that I was there by myself, but I was quick to share my happy via texting and social media!  Thanks for cheering me on my friends!

Part of my joy and satisfaction in crossing that finish line was because I blew my own expectations out of the water!  I didn't even know I had that in me.  Really, I didn't!  Most of the time I question my abilities and with this performance I just went and I rocked it dang it!

As I have reflected on this performance I have seen a few of things that apply to running and life generally.  Running is life after all!!

1- We don't always see the slow change that is happening in us.  This applies to running and every other facet of our life.  Because it is slow it is sometimes hard to see, we don't recognize it.  We don't see that our consistent commitment to whatever effort it is we are applying to, is changing us, is changing our capacity.  

2- Work works!  That commitment, continuing to go through the motions, put in the time, give with effort, that is what is slowly changes us.  Going through the motions, sometimes even without heart is still working.  

3- Difficulty proves capacity It is when we risk, when we meet challenge, that we truly have the opportunity to see our capacity, again, in so many realms.  There needs to be opportunity for us to see growth, that our capacity has indeed changed.  Challenge brings this to light for us.  Challenge is necessary.  Sometimes the challenge chews us up and spits us out!  That is also valuable!  It shines light on where we need improvement, where our weaknesses are, where we need further work and commitment.  But, difficulty, challenge, I believe they are necessary.

difficulty, existence, awaken, capacity.jpg

A few more things from the race...

- Parking is crazy!  It's all street parking and it is hard to find a spot!  I spent some good time looking for a place to park.

- I parked far away and did a warm up run to get my packet, just a few minutes before start time!

- I met a cute friend who was in the same situation.  We got our packets and sweatshirts, oh yah, the sweatshirt!  What do I do with this while I run?!  Fortunately she put it in her car (she was parked closer) while I held her spot at the potty's.  We exchanged phone numbers to meet after the race.

- Because of the parking, and the late packet pick up, we were so far back when the race started!  I tried to get to the front as much as possible, but it was just a mess.  If you want to try and race a race, the back is not the ideal place to be!!!

- I like that there is the community center to warm up in, that was good.

- I have never seen so much beer!  Seriously!  At the end of a race there is some beer, along with other stuff, but this race seems to be a beer race!  You finish with your friends and then you drink with your friends!  The beer tent was standing room only!  It was tough to move around.  I don't drink beer so I made my way to the nice warm community center for water, fruit and bread.

My race buddy!  She was fantastic.  I'm so glad we found each other! 

My race buddy!  She was fantastic.  I'm so glad we found each other! 

- I was going to stick around for the awards, but wasn't sure how they would do them.  All of the results were posted via start time, not chip time (I don't like that).  So, even though I came in third time-wise, because I started and ended after the others in my age group the results had me listed as 6th I think?  That's just lame.  If you are going to give your runners chips to time them, results should be posted using the runners time!  Whateve's.

It felt good to race.  It felt good to exceed my hopes and expectations.  It felt good to be out, to participate in a community event.  It felt good to have a positive race experiences under my belt, even with the unexpected situations I encountered.  I plan to do a 5k soon and am considering a half in May, although I need to get training if I intend to do that!