Sunday, March 15, 2009

Red Rain (Shamrock Run 15k Race Report)

Today was the Shamrock Run 15k which turned out to be a bit tougher than I thought. A large part of that was due to the first 4.5 miles of hills; a painful side cramp at mile eight played another part. I sometimes get very painful side stitches on my right side and today was one of those days. I knew it was bound to happen in a race eventually but since today wasn't an A race day I wasn't too bent out of shape when it happened.

The day started out rainy and windy and fairly cold. We walked over to the start line around 8:00 and had time for a warm up run before giving our sweatshirts and rain jackets to my parents. We lined up toward the front and ten minutes later we were on our way.

Mile one: Getting in a groove

I new I didn't want to start out too fast because of the hills; and because that's just a stupid thing to do even if there aren't hills. I settled into a groove and was passing quite a few people. AP: 6:58

Mile two: Let's start climbing

Mile two slowly climbed uphill along Broadway which runs right through downtown from north to south. I kept reminding myself not to push too hard and I did a pretty good job at that. I was still passing people at this point but not as many as during the first mile because the crowd was starting to thin out. AP: 7:23

Mile three: Welcome to the Jungle

Mile three started climbing up Terwilliger (sp?) and I knew that this mile and the next would be pretty tough; and they were. I slowed down a bit and tried to keep a solid stride as I climbed. By this point I wasn't passing many people at all but no one was really passing me either. AP: 7:40

Mile four: More of the same

Mile four was just as tough as mile three but knowing that the hills were nearly over really kept me going. AP: 7:39

Mile five: Hmmmmmm, still hilly

At this point the constant climbing stopped but now the hills were rolling. The elevation at the start was approx 22 feet and at the highest point, which is right around mile 4.5 was approx 550 feet so at this point any downhill stretches were nice. I tried to relax on the downhill stretches and keep a solid pace on the uphill sections. AP: 7:15

Mile six: Time to pick up the pace

Mile six started with a nice downhill stretch then it flattened out and started a very slight downhill. I wasn't too tired but could feel a bit of a side cramp starting on my left side which isn't the source of the mega-pain cramps so I didn't worry too much about it. AP: 6:53

Mile seven: Ah shit, here comes the pain

Towards the end of mile seven I felt a cramp starting on my right side and I started to worry. I had been cruising along pretty well and was on track to get a pretty good time but I knew that if the cramp in my right side got any worse I was going to have to stop. AP: 6:58

Mile eight: Walk it out

I decided right away that I was going to walk and stretch my side a bit to try to get the cramp to go away. In training I have tried to gut it out and push through the pain which inevitably leads to the cramp getting so bad that I have to walk for a few minutes and then it bothers me for a few days. Today I decided to just deal with it and walk when I needed to. In mile eight I walked three times and when I was running I kept a very easy pace. AP: 8:51 (boooooooooo)

Mile nine: Turns out walking was a good decision

Well, I wasn't able to pick the pace back up to pre-cramp levels but the cramp never got any worse and I was able to push out a descent mile nine. AP: 7:36

Last little bit: Well, it wasn't what I wanted but..............

The last leg of the race was fairly flat and I was keeping a pretty good pace to the finish line. I was glad that my cramp didn't get to Defcon 5 (which means that SOB sticks with me for days). AP: 6:58

My final time was 1:10:43 and the distance on my Garmin was 9.51 for an AP of 7:26 - my AP on the posted results will be a bit slower but whatever, it's a PR since it's my first; and this will give me a chance to beat that time next time around.

Pre-race raingear:

Coming down the final stretch - me in white:

Me again:

Finisher's Donut:

Jen had a great day and I think it gave her a nice confidence boost for the Race for the Roses HM which is coming up on April 5th. Check out her blog for the full report.


Sarah said...

The "downhill" part of the rolling hills - lifesavers!

Good job - although sorry about the cramp!

Emily said...

Sorry about the cramp homeslice. Sounds like you had a good day regardless. Wish I could have been there to cheer you on!

Arcane said...

cramps happen from time to time. It makes you stronger. Still a PR is a PR is a PR.

jen said...

You did great today, cramp or no cramp. So proud of you. :)

Lotusphx said...

Good job Zach! Thanks for figuring out the elevations - that is some crazy climbing you guys had to do!! I forgot to comment about Voodoo Donuts on Jen's, but NICE CHOICE for a post-race celebration!!!!!

Justin said...

There were donuts!? I must have missed those.

In any case, great race, and great PR! It was certainly a crazy course and some crazy weather. Sorry we didn't get to meet up with you guys.

aron said...

awesome job zach!!! sounds like that was one tough course and you still pulled out an amazing time!! great job :)

Mike G said...

Sounds like a good hard race.

How do you like your Garmin? I am about to get one I think. I love the idea of the real time pace feature.

Alisa said...

I'm glad even you hardcore runners thought the hills were tough... I don't feel like such a pansy!

Great job on your new PR.

I'm also glad to hear that my Garmin wasn't the only one that said 9.5-6ish.

Sorry bout the cramp...I'm glad I don't get those...though my toe issues aren't fun either!

Too funny that you wrote Welcome to the Jungle on the Terwilliger part...on my playlist I tried to guestimate when I'd hit the hills and had Welcome to the Jungle all ready to go!

Anonymous said...

congrats! sounds like a pretty hilly course and with the side cramps you still pushed through and had a great time :)

the gazelle said...

Sounds like a good race - sorry I didn't get to see you all yesterday!

Kim said...

im SO impressed!!!! i had side stitches my entire race - never experience them - wtf is up with them?

Marathon Maritza said...

Sorry about that cramp, but wowza! Speedy pace!!! Great job, donut well-earned :)

Anonymous said...

It was fun cheering you & Jen on & watching your great running form. Also enjoyed the yummy donuts, breakfast & being in the company of you two. Keep up your great spirit of the outdoors.
Dragonfly on the Water...

Ange said...

Wow, tough course!! You ran really strong though. wonder why you get teh side cramps so consistently... maybe somethign with your pre-race diet? Or do you have gels during..maybe the sugar is botherign you? Just a few theories.
Great pacing up those hills! very strong.

Ange said...

Wow, tough course!! You ran really strong though. wonder why you get teh side cramps so consistently... maybe somethign with your pre-race diet? Or do you have gels during..maybe the sugar is botherign you? Just a few theories.
Great pacing up those hills! very strong.