While Shawn, Kevin and I were trying to get in line to get our post-race beers, Kevin asked a blonde woman “Are you in line?” It was confusing, because there were two beer stands on opposite sides of the fenced-off area, and the lines from each blended into each other.
She looked back at us with a look of disdain and surprise. “No!” she said, and sneered, and walked away.
We’ll never know why she was so offended at being asked that. But now I’ll remember her for the rest of my life.
The weather Sunday was nearly perfect for a race; low 40’s, clear, no rain. It could have been less windy, but I have to say I much prefer this year’s weather to last year’s.
I got a definite vibe that the race, long a Portland running institution, has benefited from new organizers, or at least newly-organized organizers. Lots of little details point to them taking control of the event: from the traffic control at Saturday’s packet pickup, to the new tech t-shirts rather than cotton shirts, to the fact that the number of entries were capped, to the staggered start for the 5K event, to the beer garden being in Waterfront Park rather than crammed into a tiny parking lot (I’m glad that they accepted Dale’s fine suggestion from last year), it all just worked, and worked well.
And I benefited, personally, from two things: having my friend Shawn there in the race with me, and the staggered start. I think those, plus my training and mental toughness and determination, led me to finishing the Shamrock Run 5K course faster than I ever have before: in 30 minutes and 44 seconds, for a 9:54 pace.
Yes, I’ve run a faster 5K before, but the size of the crowd at the Shamrock Run, the first major run of the year for Portland, has always hindered me, giving me many people to dodge and weave among as I push myself. So I’ve stopped pushing myself in the past. But not this year!
And having a friend next to me gave me the excuse to a) not stop running, and b) pace myself properly. Shawn did great for it being his first ever race! And he even finished a step ahead of me: as we passed the 3 mile marker, with the finish line in sight, Shawn got a look in his eyes that I can only call “want-this-to-be-over-ism”, and he found his final kick.
And so did I!
Such a fun race. I love the energy of the crowd, the crazy folks who dress up; spotted the guy in the Guinness beer glass costume, someone in a Teletubby full-body costume, lots and lots of kilts (are they still kilts when they’re on a woman? Related: rawr), and of course the Southeast Shamrockers (I can’t find a webpage for them but, surely, they must have one, right?) in their mullet wigs and sleeveless t-shirts and spandex pants and big sunglasses.
I love this race, and I love my town.