Shamrock N’ Run 5k
“I think we’ll run a race tomorrow…” I said to Steve. Many friends had already planned on running the Shamrock N’ Run 5k and had asked if Steve and I were planning on joining in. Truth is, we weren’t. To be honest, sometimes I hate the pressure of doing well in races with friends. Friends seem to expect a certain outcome because they already KNOW what you are capable of. I hate that pressure, so I tend to avoid it. This time around I decided what the heck, these people are FRIENDS! We run together and train together why not race together… and have fun doing.
Steve and I stopped at the Boy’s and Girl’s club the night before the race to sign up, we were also able to pick up our race packets.
I feel like hitting a PR at shorter distance races always seems to creep up to the top my list. I wanted to PR. My 5k PR was 20:32 set last year at Mushing for Meals. Could I possibly do better!? I wasn’t sure. The truth is I was really doubting it because my lack of rest. I’d been training hard for the last 3 months for my 50 mile race. I had recently been incorporating yoga and strength training into my routines. The day before the race I had done 2.5 hours of exercising. An hour of bootcamp, and hour of yoga and a 3 mile run. Bootcamp always takes a lot out of me.
The race was scheduled to start at 10am which meant we got to sleep in a little bit.
I decided I wanted Hailey to come to this event to cheer us on and get a little bit of an idea of race day. So, many people might wonder why on earth I would want to bring a 6 year old to a race so they could WATCH a running race…. How boring right!? Wrong. As a runner I’ve heard many other runner friends say, “I wish I would have started this earlier…” I will also admit I’ve thought that. I wish I would have run in high school, I wish i would have started sooner. So I’m opening a door for Hailey. I’m introducing her to the world of running so that she doesn’t have that regret when she gets older. Now I’m not going to force her to go out and race. I’m not going to force her to run with me. I’m going to show her the sport and life that I LOVE. Now if she doesn’t like it, that’s fine, I just want to give her the chance to see what is possible.
Anyways, we arranged her to hang out with grandpa while Steve and I ran. The night before, Hailey and I even made race signs for her to hold up for the runners. We brought a cow bell for her to ring and cheer. We told my father that he could probably catch us at a certain part of the trail. At that point I wasn’t trying to PR.
A good portion of the course was on the paved bike route that hadn’t been completely cleared. There was snow and there was ice! The race director had told everyone to take it easy. The plan in my head was to just “run hard” and be careful along the icy spots.
It was a very cold morning. I was hoping that it would warm up by 10am but it was no use. There was also a bit of wind. Getting out of the car I noticed there was a lot of ice! I knew it would be an interesting race.
The 10k group walked down the street a bit and got ready to start. We cheered as they took off. After the 10k group took off the 5k group headed down the street a bit. The 5k group was a much larger group. Friends and family joined the runners at the start. I jumped up and down to stay warm. As soon as the race officially started Steve was already ahead of me. He took off pretty quick and I got stuck behind a large group of people.
“That’s ok…” I thought, “I don’t want to go out too fast.” I finally got by them and started passing people. The crowd was pretty thin at this point. I looked at my watch a couple times to make sure I wasn’t doing some crazy unsustainable pace.
We raced through the neighborhood for about a mile before turning onto the trail. Steve was in front of me and in front of him was our friend Aaron and another runner Dave. The trail condition was pretty rough. There were some clear spots, ice spots and snow spots. I tried best to say to the clear spots and hit the snowy spots when there was ice. To calm my nerves, I remember thinking “It’s ok, I run trails, I got this…” Maybe I was being too confident. I didn’t slow down much on the icy/snowy spots. I guess in my mind slowing down would cause me to spin out, so I just kept going, only to slow down when I HAD to.
Eventually I caught up to Steve. I asked him how he was doing, and he said fine. Then he said, “Go get em, booty”. Off I went to pass him, then Aaron, and finally Dave. I wasn’t sure if I would actually be able to pass Dave. I could tell he was pushing hard and was willing to run faster and harder. At this point the trail was VERY icy, but I kept going, and others slowed down to stay upright. I made it through and hit the turn around. Turn arounds are always tricky because it slows you down a bit. On the turn around I noticed that people were very close so I had to keep going and keep this pace or better.
The turn around portion was pretty dangerous because we were now running toward the majority of the 5k racers. We had to share an snow covered and icy trail and dodge other 5k runners who might be running side by side. In trying to dodge a big group of runners taking up more than their half of the trail I slipped and my knee and hip came crashing onto the ice. Before I knew it I was back up and running at almost the same pace. Other runners asked if I was alright, embarrassed, I responded with “I’m good!” and I literally ran away.
At this point I remember trying to reset. I was pretty shocked that I had fallen. I asked myself… “How do you feel? How is the knee? Does this hurt? Can I go on?” I was fine. Just shaken up. Silly me, why did I run so hard on such a dangerous spot? Either way I had to finish. I looked behind me, I still had a decent lead. There was no threat to being passed. I trudged along but I still felt like I was slowing down. Maybe my knee did hurt a little bit. Maybe the fall just threw everything off.
We were close to the finish and I could hear footsteps behind me. I peaked back, it was Steve. I could hear his breathing. He was working hard! He must have sped up… Or I slowed down. Either way he was right behind me. For a second I thought he was going to pass me but he didn’t.
The best part about the race was the end. Seeing how excited Hailey was. Grandpa and Hailey didn’t even get to see us run the course (we were too quick for them) but the excitement on her face when she saw us at the end was amazing. When she found out our places she was even more excited.
Steve finished overall 3rd place. First in his age group. I finished 2nd place overall and first Female finisher. It was a great day to spend with Steve and Hailey. This is one I’ll be back for again and again!