Shamrock Run 2012

This last Sunday I participated in my first organized run ever!  I got up bright and early to participate in the Shamrock Run, a run which shares its proceeds with the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.  They had 3 different length races; the 5K, 8K, and 15K.  Which race did I choose you may ask?  Well for those who know me “I go big or go home,” thus chose the 15K!

Janna, myself, and Tami

My training didn’t consist of much.  Being busy with work and life in general, two weeks prior to the race I had one of those ‘Oh Sh*t’ moments and convinced myself to go on a run.  It was a run I had been wanting to do ever since moving up here but just hadn’t got around to doing it yet or had any idea how long it was.  Well mid run, I realized it was a bit much due to all the knee pain I had ensued.  After a limp run/walk back to my apartment I realized my training run was a 10K.  Needless to say, I was so sore that I did not have the ability to do any extra training prior to the race; training fail!

By race day I had prepared myself mentally.  I was extremely nervous since I had never ran a 15K (9.32 miles) in my life.  Remembering all the pain from my training run, I made sure to stretch…A LOT!  The run began after a slight delay of an Amtrak train and the ambiance of energy was out of this world.  Here I was among 7,500 people running the 15K (32,000 people in total across all runs).

Matt and I

The run started out a bit slower than I had hoped because there were just so many people around me.  I found myself zigzagging between people who weren’t going quite as fast as I had liked.  After the first mile or so it thinned out a bit and I was able to keep a more appropriate pace.  Now for those that don’t know, the 15K course includes “Pill Hill;” the OHSU hill.  The hill was killer, especially since it’s toward the end of the race, around mile 5.

Pill Hill didn’t start out that well for me.  At the base of the hill there was a water station.  While taking the quick swig, I got some water down the wrong pipe; I thought I would drown.  Luckily after a few dry heaves and deathly chokes it was no longer an issue.  Man was that hill a killer!  My goal was to run the whole race, and the hill definitely tested me.  I really think it was all the people along the route cheering the runners on and the bag pipes I could hear as I approached the summit that kept me going.

Once I hit the summit I was holding back tears of accomplishment.  I hadn’t pushed myself that hard in a long time and felt so proud I tackled the hill.  At the same time though, I still had approximately 2 more miles to the finish line; luckily down hill.

As I finished the last 2 miles, each stride I took was an additional feeling of accomplishment; the greatest feeling hit when the finish line was in sight.  I tell you, the minutes I saw that banner I used every last bit of energy I had and sprinted my way to my goal.  The minutes I crossed that line I was overwhelmed with the feelings of accomplishment and exhaustion. When I saw the clock I felt so proud!

My final time was 1 hour, 11 minutes, and 7 seconds for an average pace of 7 minutes 38 seconds per mile.  I never stopped to walk once!

I’ll be honest, after the run I definitely had no desire to run another race again, but now that it’s been a few days and my body has finally recovered, the idea of improving my 15K time by 9 minutes seems like a pretty good goal! ;)

Shout out to my friend Jana for convincing me to do it and all my other friends who participated as well!

Horse Race and a Hurricane!

A few weeks ago I traveled up to Saratoga Springs, NY to visit a good friend from college.  While I was up there I got to experience my first “real” horse race.  The horse race just so happened to be the biggest one of the season; Travers Day!

The horse race was a great time and unbelievably cheap!  For $5 I was able to enter the track and get seating on benches right in front of the fence.  Clubhouse seating is $10 and is within the covered stadium.  The nice part about the benches up front is that you can bring coolers full of your own favorite beverage at no cost!  Pretty good deal, and cheap entertainment, if you ask me!

Friends in Saratoga

While I didn’t bet on a horse (I mean, I don’t know anything about horse racing) I still had a great time!  In addition to the horse race it was a great time visiting Saratoga Springs as the downtown is pretty historic.  Lots of cool buildings to see, especially for someone like myself who grew up on the West coast.  Lots of great bars too!

The day following Travers I also got to weather the remnants of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene.  While originally hoping to make it into NYC the following Sunday and Monday, all of the public train lines were flooded and thus we stayed in Upstate NY.  Overall a great trip with a great friend!