I did it! I conquered the Shamrock Run 15k in all it’s hilly, rainy glory! The run was yesterday in downtown Portland. Brandon and I got up at 4:30am to get ready to meet some friends at 5:30am. We car pooled to a parking garage in Portland, then took the MAX transportation system to the riverfront where the race started in downtown Portland.
Me and my friend, Erica, with our buddy, Tyler, photobombing in the background.
I spy Tyler again.
We arrived at the race just as the sun was coming up. It was beautiful and energy was high… Then I realized I left my race bib in the car, a 40 minute MAX ride away. *facepalm* My sweet, supportive husband (who was not running) took the MAX all the way back to the car to retrieve my race bib. He didn’t even need to be asked – I just turned to him with a panicked look and gasped, “I left my race bib in the car!” He held out his palm and said, “Give me the keys,” and he was off. What a stud! Sadly, he wasn’t able to get back before the race started, so I ran bib-less. Not ideal, but at least I got it in time to get my finisher medal and free beer!
Now, I should note, this isn’t the first stressful start to the Shamrock Run. Nope. The Shamrock Run seems to hold the record for least organized race for me personally (not that the race isn’t organized – it totally is!! I’m not organized). I ran the Shamrock 5k 3 years ago. It was my first ever race and I had no clue what to expect. I didn’t go to the expo to get my bib early and I didn’t research suggested parking. Let me tell you, the Shamrock Run is HUGE. There were 35,000 runners this year. So, parking and getting where you need to go is a chore. I was clueless – We planned to get there about 45 minutes before the race started, to give us time to park and me time to get my race bib (oy, how naive I was!). Long story short (because it is a looooong story and I’m sure will bore you to tears), we got stuck at a traffic light a half hour before the race started, I hopped out of the car to get my bib, got halfway to the tent where my bib was and realized I lost my driver’s license somewhere between there and the car, frantically scanned the ground for my driver’s license all the way back to the traffic light we had stopped at, realized Brandon was STILL waiting at the light, found my license in the car, booked it back to the tent, grabbed my race bib, looked wildly around for the race start as the 5 minute warning was called, realized Brandon was not going to make it before I started the race (I had planned on him holding my water bottle and jacket), stashed my water bottle next to a porta potty and crossed my fingers that it’d still be there when I was done (It was, and I washed it REALLY well before using it again), tied my jacket around my waist, and found the swarm of 5k runners at the start line just as the gun went off. Whew! I was exhausted just getting to the start line! Brandon ended up getting through the traffic light and finding a parking spot just in time to jog the last 1/4 mile with me.
That was my first experience with the Shamrock and running races in general. So, it didn’t surprise me at all when I realized I left my race bib in the car. I like to think I’m organized, but I’m really not.
We had a good sized group – some ran the 15k and some did the 5k. I gathered with the 15kers and we eagerly awaited the start. Most of the 15k runners in our group were guys, so I figured they’d pull ahead of my not too far out of the gate and I’d be on my own from there. No biggie…I enjoy running by myself and the people watching at Shamrock is excellent. The first 2 miles felt great. It was the perfect temperature and my legs felt alright. As we started up the hill at mile 3 (4 miles of uphill, ugh!), I noticed my buddy, Erik walking a little ways ahead of my. I high-fived him on my way by and kept going. About halfway into mile 3, I started to feel a little lightheaded, so I slowed to a walk for a bit. Erik had started running again and caught up with me. From there, we decided to run together. It was nice to have someone to run with. We were a pretty even pace and bonding over the need for a porta potty and aid station made the time go a little faster.
After we found the much needed aid station and restroom stop, we continued trudging up the hill. Longest 4 miles of my life!! I’ve never been much into running with someone else – I like going my own pace and not feeling like I need to keep up with or slow down for someone else – but I will forever be grateful for Erik running with me. Chatting with him made the time go so much faster, and there were definitely times that we both needed encouragement from one another. By mile 7, we were talking about all our body parts that hurt and wondering why on earth we weren’t sitting in a coffee shop with Brandon (clearly he was the smart one). Mile 8 had one last aid station and a group of enthusiastic supporters handing out beer and fresh, hot bacon. My stomach was growling by this point and that bacon was soooo good! I seriously debated ending the race right then and there and hanging out with the bacon crowd. YUM!
But we kept on going. The finish line was in sight, a mere 1/4 mile away. It felt like thousands of miles. My feet and ankles hurt and my knee was sore, but we kept on. Finally, pretty much exactly 2 hours after we started, we crossed the finish line! I was so relieved. Brandon was at the finish line with my race bib and, fortunately, Erik and I started together and crossed the finish line together so I just bummed his time. :)
Sore and triumphant, we waited in line for our medals. Aren’t they sweet?! They’re bottle openers!
Then we waited in line for our cup of salmon chowder….then we waited in line for our beer.
Erica and I celebrating our victories! She finished the 5k around the same time Erik and I finished the 15k. Yes, I’m ashamed to admit, that is my hubby creeping in the background. :p
One thing I mulled over as I was limping to the finish line – even though I was sore and tired, I felt WAY better while running the 15k than I did running my half marathon. Don’t misunderstand me, I could NOT have run another 4 miles, but I also didn’t wanna throw up and die at the end. I chalk that up to a win. I was actually really satisfied with my performance during the run. Ideally, my goal was to run the entire thing, but I knew I’d probably walk some. I walked roughly a mile total, which is quite a bit less than I figured I would. Looking back, I’m pretty proud of myself and really glad I completed the run.
Our group went to lunch at Red Robin after we were all finished and let me tell you, fries have never tasted so good! It was a great way to end our Shamrock Run experience and soak in our success over food and sharing our race stories.
Note: All the pictures, aside from the one of the race medal, were stolen from my friend, Erica because I suck at remembering to take pictures.