2014 Shamrock Run 8K – Portland, OR – March 16, 2014

The Shamrock Run is a Portland institution.  The race has been run for at least 35 years based on some of the shirts I saw, I’m not sure exactly what anniversary this year was, but it’s been around for a while.  An announced attendance of 35,000 runners puts it on par with a Disney or Rock and Roll series race.  Thankfully unlike the half marathons we weren’t all hitting the road at the same time.  The Shamrock is comprised of 3 races, a 15K (9 miles) an 8K (5 miles) and a 5K.  According to the announcer there were 11,000 for the 15K, 8,000 for the 8K and 12,000 for the 5K run, plus several thousand for the 5K walk and 500 or so for the kids dash.  It was quite a crowd.

I was originally signed up for the 15K but thanks to nasty weather and another round of knee ailments I wasn’t able to get my training up to where I felt comfortable trying for 9 miles when the most Lisa and I had done recently was just under 5.  Since all of the races cost the same I was able to drop down to the 8K rather easily, no transfer fee although no refund for a shorter distance either.  Part of the reason I wanted to run the 15K was both for the challenge, and also $42 is an awful lot to spend on a 5K.  It needed to be worth it to me.  Lisa was unable to join me for this one due to church obligations and so I was running this one solo.

Based on the success of taking the Max train into downtown for our New Years run, I decided to do the same thing for this race and let me tell you, that took so much stress away.  Downtown is bad enough to try to navigate and park much less when there are roads closed and 40,000+ people milling about.  The Max was a great decision!

My Garmin decided to die before the race even started, so I don’t have my own route map from the GPS, but here is the official race route map from the race website.  The majority of the race was along the waterfront and then up into the Northwest Industrial district.  Not very scenic on the way out, but on the way back we were greeted with a vista of downtown and the Fremont Bridge. On the way back we cut through the Pearl and then down Broadway back to the waterfront running through the heart of downtown and past the Pioneer Square.  It was a great way to end a race.



Since my Garmin wasn’t working I had no idea what my time or pace was.  I missed Mile 1 and was really beginning to question how far we had been when I saw the marker for Mile 2.  We reached the turn around and the water stop and suddenly we were halfway done! When I reached the finish the clock said 1:20 but they started us with a “release and hold” system, not exactly like corrals, but close.  They let a certain amount of people go and then stopped us to let those people spread out and head out before letting the next batch go.  But, we had to wait for an extended period of time while we waited for an Amtrak train that was crossing our path up ahead.  The gentleman behind me mentioned something about how long the wait was and that it had been 15 minutes since the original start.  I figured I had run something around 1:05, which I would have been perfectly happy with.  As it turned out, when I looked up my official time it was just barely over an hour, in fact it was one hour, one minute and one second.  1:01:01 was my official time. I’m very pleased with this time considering what my training regimen has been lately (non-existent).

After the race I got my free beer and my free cup of smoked salmon chowder (which was incredible!!) hopped on the Max to come home and no muss, no fuss I was home and taking a shower less than an hour after I finished.  I could get used to this.

2014 Shamrock Run – Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!



Run 4 The Greenway 8K – Greensboro, NC – 9-15-12

This evening I had a race that fit perfectly into my half marathon training.  This weekend’s long run was 5 miles and this race is 5 miles.  I didn’t have my camera, so just took one picture with my phone of the shirt and bib.


So this run is set up to raise awareness and funds for the Downtown Greenway being built to circle downtown Greensboro.  The race was mostly on the streets but there were some stretches on the portions of the Greenway that have been completed.  The greenway includes many permanent art installations which is fitting for Greensboro’s bohemian artistic feel.

In typical race fashion I started out too fast, which is really something I need to work on.  But it’s so hard to know where to start, when they are saying for the competitive runners to be in the front and walkers/strollers/dog walkers to the back.  I started what I thought was near the middle, but still had lots of people passing me as I chugged along.  I tried to slow myself down, and a good portion of the first mile was downhill so with the flow of the crowd and downhill I was screaming through the first mile.  I got it whoa’d back, but was huffing pretty good by about a mile and a half, which is not very good when you have 3 and a half miles left to go.  If I had a complaint about this race it would be that the water stations were very very understaffed.  I actually skipped past the first one because they had no cups filled and ready, people were standing waiting but I didn’t want to wait.  A little while later there was a water fountain on one of the greenway stretches so I got some water, but of course then you have to stop completely rather than jogging, or even slowing to walk, you can keep moving.  That throws you off a little bit.  I had some stomach issues around 2.5-3 miles where I got hit with some awful heartburn.  I was in Raleigh before the race at a cookout with my friends Gray and Katie (from over at A Recipe a Week) and their families, so not great pre-race meal of hot dogs and the fixings, but was great to see some friends and family I hadn’t seen in a long time.  The last two miles were a struggle but I managed to push through it.

Despite not feeling very well, and the course measuring slightly long, I managed to set an 8K PR.  Besting my Winter Flight time of 1:02:55 by 4 minutes with a 58:50 finish.  My first mile was too fast, and then miles 2-4 were pretty good and mile 5 slowed down a bit.  Splits: 10:28, 11:31, 11:30, 11:59, 12:27.  The course was fairly hilly with an overall descent of 3 feet, but along the course, an ascent of 569 feet and descent of 572.  I actually thought it would be majority downhill, so the uphills must not have been too bad, but there were a few decent climbs along the way.

I didn’t stay for much of the after party, but I did get my one free beer (Natty Greene’s Buckshot Amber ale, which I love!) and had a picture taken post race that they put on a magnet.  I’m surprised they weren’t charging for those rather than handing them out free.

Upcoming Race Schedule – Fall/Winter 2012

I was reading through my old blogs and came across one of my “seasonal” Race Calender updates and realized I hadn’t done one in a while, and my upcoming schedule is pretty much set in stone at this point.  So here goes! For the second half of 2012.

September 15th – Run for the Greenway 8K – Greensboro, NC
This race just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  This race falls on my second weekend of half marathon training which calls for a 5 mile run.  Well why not a 5 mile race? The race benefits a newly built greenway around downtown Greensboro.

September 29th – Salem Lake 10K/30K – Winston Salem, NC
Since I’m planning on doing all my Raleigh long runs at Salem Lake anyway (for the hills) and this race is put out by my fellow TCTC buddies over at Ultimate Race Management this is a must do.  It should be a great race.  Obviously I’ll be doing the 10K and not the 30K (18 miles! WOW).

October 20th – RHABA 10K – Rural Hall, NC
I’m divided on this race.  It’s rumored to be a flat and fast course, so I originally planned to set a 10K PR here, but since it’s 2 weeks before my half marathon and this is my half marathon “tune-up” I may have to hold back a little bit.  I don’t want to burn myself out or risk injury so close to the big race.  Although my 10K PR is right at a 12 minute mile pace, which now is my targeted half marathon pace, so if I’m slightly faster than that (for the shorter distance) I can set a PR without messing up my half marathon training.

November 4th – Rex Healthcare Half Marathon – Raleigh, NC
My second half marathon, this is a big race for several reasons.  First, this race has a 14 minute/mile (3 hour) pace/time limit.  If I want to have an “Official” finish at this race, I’ll have no choice to set a new PR and get under 3 hours, I think I can do this based on my current pacing and the pace I will attempt to train at.  Second, I lived in Raleigh for about 10 years during my two tours of duty at NC State, I love Raleigh, and the race starts and finishes at the NC State Memorial Bell Tower, so this will be a awesome and sentimental race for me.  I was trying to choose between Raleigh and Myrtle Beach and Raleigh won out. Last but certainly not least, my family will be there! My best friend Gray and his wife Katie (who may as well be family) will be there, and my sister and her bf as well as my parents are coming up for the weekend as well, so I will have a cheering squad and support crew with is very unusual for me, I’m used to running solo!

November 24th – Charlotte Checkers Charity 5K – Charlotte NC
Just recently got the email about this race from the Checkers (and 5 minutes later a forwarded version from my brother’s fiance) and it looks cool, and I also just discovered they are not running the Freisen 5K this year for the Hurricanes, so this will be my hockey race.  The registration includes a ticket to the game that night, so run a race, go to a hockey game and hang out with my brother and his fiance? Win win win!

December ?? – Mistletoe 5K – Winston Salem NC
I don’t know the exact date for this race yet, but this will be my December race, to make sure I run a race in each month of the year.  Put on by the local YMCA and I assume it benefit’s them and their charities.  Hope to run this one with my buddy Jen if her hip is healed up.

And that will finish up 2012 with 17 races including 10 5K’s, 2 8K’s, 3 10Ks and 2 Half Marathons. (85.8 racing miles).

Winter Flight 8K – Salisbury, NC

This morning I ran in the Winter Flight 8K in Salisbury NC.  This was my first race longer than 5K distance.  Thankfully I’ve done more than 5 miles in my half marathon training, so the distance was not that daunting.

First, my only complaint for the race, the weather, cold and drizzly rain.  Ugh.  I was a drowned rat by the time I got home.  But now on to the good part.

Ok, so it’s not elite runner status, but my first “low” number. LOL

I was a little worried when we started, the Start line was an orange cone and a faintly spray painted line on the pavement, but those worries were quickly pushed away when I realized the course itself was in fact very well marked.  We were running on roads that were still open to traffic, which can be nerve wracking but there was a line of cones separating our lane from the traffic lane and plenty of police at the intersections directing traffic.

The horn goes and the crowd rushes forward and we are off and I felt like I was actually going too fast and so tried to dial it back a little bit so I didn’t kill myself in the first half mile.  I still ended up running my fastest mile yet, at 12:08, besting my time from New Years of 12:14.  The first two miles had some nice downhill stretches which helped, then a loooooong uphill just past 2 miles with the water station at the top right around halfway.  Somewhere between the water stop and mile 3 it started raining pretty good and rained the rest of the way.  The finishing part with a lap around the stadium track was really cool, and although the “huge crowd” of 10 people was all there was, they did call out my name as I was rounding the bend and hitting the last 50 yards or so till the finish.  They handed me a card that said #264 which I then gave to the ladies tallying the results, so I assume that’s my finishing position, but out of how many I have no clue.  There weren’t too many people behind me that I could see but I wasn’t dead last.

Outside view of the finishing stadium from the parking lot.

I’m surprised that I was able to keep a steady pace the whole race, usually my average will look good and then my splits are all over the place, but this time I held it pretty steady.  My splits were 12:08, 12:48, 12:48, 12:32, 12:34.  Ironically the 12:34 for mile 5 was also my average pace for the whole run.

I also would have set a 5K PR for this race if it had stopped at 3.1.  I don’t remember the exact time, but 37:45 at three miles, and 38-something at 3.11 would be a PR by several minutes and also a sub-40 minute 5K!!

Overall a good race besides the weather.  And as always, my first race at that distance is an automatic PR! And with such an odd distance, will likely be my only 8K for a while.

  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.