Monday, March 20, 2017


This year's 8k route, a giant out and back, no frills.
I didn't end up doing a preview for this race, I thought about it, but when I'm just running for fun and not much else there isn't much to say. I signed Brandon and myself up for this race a few weeks back. Some people might dislike the Shamrock Run, but I freaking love it. Fantastic event that kicks off the racing season in Oregon! I gave Brandon the option of doing the 5k or the 8k and to my surprise he choose the 8k. So regardless of how I did, I was going to PR this race!

Normally the weather at Shamrock Run is terrible. I remember last year being ridiculously cold and windy. Katie and I went together and it was an all together miserable experience (including being trapped trying to get out of the parking garage for over an hour). Anyways, this Sunday was fantastic. Sunny blue skies, perfect spring weather! I even had the foresight to put sunscreen on beforehand so I wouldn't burn. Anyways, Brandon's first Shamrock experience was looking to be a positive one!

At the Shamrock Run the 8k is one of the last races to go off, at 10:10am. Very nice! Allowed me to get decent sleep, pick up Brandon, and meander to the start line without much issue. We took the MAX and that was really slick. We arrived about 45 minutes before the start and watched as Alejandro finished the 15k in something like 56 minutes, which is low 6-minute miles. Crazy. After congratulating him we worked our way to the start line and settled into the 10 min/mile+ corral by choice (usually I get stuck back there trying to arrive right before it starts to avoid freezing).

I wasn't really nervous at all. I had been able to run four miles non-stop in a few practice runs around home. It was hard, but doable. I figured the race day adrenaline could get me another mile. Brandon was pretty upbeat too. He used to be almost afraid at the start of races but he has embraced running lately as a tool to improve his soccer game and overall fitness. So I think we were both excited to see what we had in us! Beforehand we had arranged a meeting place at the finish line so he was able to run ahead - I didn't want to hold him back.

Heading to the start line, Brandon pondering how much he is
going to "shred" my by.
The gun went off and off we went! I was a little frustrated at first because the masses were moving a little slow. A lot of people were doing like a 12:00/mile and I was more thinking of a low 10 minute mile. Anyways, I did some bobbing and weaving and tried to find a hole. Even though I was just running this for fun, I still wanted to give it a good go. Eventually the sidewalk opened up and I spent much of the first two miles or so on the sidewalk as it was slightly less crowded.

Overall the race went really well. I had no idea what my pace was as I had given my watch to Brandon. I was tracking the run on my phone with Endomondo but that was in my FlipBelt. So ignorance was bliss! I just tried to settle into a pace that was as fast as I thought I could keep up for five miles. The Endomondo tracking with my phone was not very accurate so I didn't get great splits. However it looks like the first few miles were of the 11:00/mile-ish variety (no doubt due somewhat to the crowds) while the final couple miles were more around 10:00/mile or just under. My official overall pace was 10:21/mile, but it was probably more along the lines of 10:10 if I were able to run a good line.

The race reminded me a bit of the Portland Marathon in that it was just a giant out and back along Natio/Front. The whole course was actually part of the marathon route. One of my least favorite parts too, haha. I actually enjoyed it though, it felt good to be out there running in the beautiful weather and the energy of the race was infectious. I was able to get to the turnaround, the halfway point, still feeling pretty good. At this moment I was pretty certain I would be able to finish the race without walking. That wasn't a sure thing in my mind when I started.

Longest race ever and the desire for more! Yay!
Side note: he did not complete the Portland
Marathon, just in case you were wondering, haha.
Shortly after the turnaround I was surprised by a tap on the shoulder. It was Brandon! Turns out he had to poop! So while he had darted a couple of minutes ahead, he had to wait a little bit to use the bathroom and then actually go. So all together he probably lost five minutes. He was pretty bummed that his race time was going to be impacted. I let him know that was a running right of passage and to not let that get him down. He then went ahead again and finished ahead of me by about a minute and forty seconds. I know he wanted to crush me so that was probably a little disappointing, ha.

The sun got a little hot on the way back. The beanie and gloves that I had worn at the beginning were now in my pockets and my sleeves were also rolled up. It was only in the low 40s, but when that sun is right on you... it's hot! Nothing too uncomfortable though. By the time I finished I was ready for it to be over. I could have done another mile no problem, but I would by lying if I didn't say I was tired. I was thrilled with how it went though, to be able to run five miles, and run it faster than I thought I could, was a definite victory. I can't dwell on how much quicker I used to be, I can only control what is happening now, and I was quite pleased with the result!

I met Brandon at the finish line and we headed to get our free soup. I skipped the beer this year (huge line plus kid) and we headed back to the house. Overall we both had a blast. I really do miss doing these races. I hope my knees can hold up and I can get back to running semi-regularly. Brandon has expressed the desire to do more races and longer distances and I would like to help facilitate that. Overall, this was a positive first step in that direction.

Hmmm, what race next???

Official Chip Time: 51:31, 10:21/mile. 2177/4153 overall, 1134/1730 male, 178/256 M30-35.
Brandon's Time: 49:50, 10:01/mile.

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