Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Leprechaun Chase- Shenanigans in Green


I was primed and ready for a festive day of shenanigans ....but this could have been a whole mess of yuck.

But, let's start at the beginning. This was the fourth annual Leprechaun Chase, and it was my third time donning o'the green for the festivities (2015 recap HERE & 2014 recap HERE).

Lasses on the left, Lads on the right....
This is, hands-down, a great event with most of the participants decked out in Irish-themed attire. The premise is for the Lasses (gals) to get a head start, and the Lads (guys) toe the start line 5:30 minutes later and the Chase begins! Which ever gender crosses the finish line first claims a free (green) beer for their fellow "team."
With the hubby and my friend, Barb...waiting for the start
The husband chose to come along this time, and we picked up Barb (my running buddy who accompanies me to most of my races). Race time wasn't until 10:00, so we had plenty of time to make the hour drive to Des Moines, find parking, and walk around/warm-up.

#anotherselfie
So, what were my potential problems?

Well, a short ways on the road,  I realized I had forgotten my Ipod (with all of my favorite running tunes). Even though I had all my other race day essentials, the Ipod had been charging overnight, so it wasn't in its usual place...thus, it didn't get grabbed (along with my sun glasses). Not really a crisis, but certainly not my favorite race day scenario (especially for running 6.2 miles).

Another thing that had "red flag" written all over it was that I went out much too fast at the start. This race has an extra level of that start-line-rush because all of us Lasses don't want the Lads to catch us (at least, we don't want them to catch us any sooner than necessary). Even without my trusty tunes, I had a substantial surge of mojo at the start line. And, my body foolishly went outta the gate with all the fast(er) Lasses in front of me.

At the one mile mark, my watch showed  a pace of 8:13, which is kind of danger-zone-fast, especially for a first mile. If this was "just" a 5K, it wouldn't be a concern. With an additional 5.2 miles yet to be run, though, it's a different story.  Even though I felt great, I knew I would not be able to maintain that 8:13 pace to the finish line. At the second mile mark, my pace had eased up to 8:41, which is more in the ball park for me. I was a bit worried the damage may have already been done, though....

And, I was over-dressed. Seriously, I have been running for almost 11 years, and I have run in all kinds of weather. Some days, somehow, I still have a difficult time nailing the appropriate clothing strategy.

The temps were in the low 50's, and the air was damp. There was a 60% chance of rain, but there wasn't much of a breeze (that I can remember). I was in a skirt, and had a long-sleeved cotton shirt layered under a cotton tank. {Side note....I elected to wear cotton because both of these shirts were bright green, and sometimes the "fashion-before-function" doctrine dominates} Since it was cool and damp, I also wore a long-sleeved (tech fabric) shirt underneath (because I knew the cotton would be worthless in regards to warmth). Within the first 1/2 mile, I already realized I had too many layers. I had pinned my race bib onto the top layer, so it would be a bit of a chore to unpin, remove a layer, then re-pin. And, I am not too gifted with grace (or coordination), so this would not be happening while in motion. If this would have been a longer race, I might have considered stopping and removing a layer. For a 10K, though, I decided to suck it up and just be uncomfortable.

Fashion before function...not always the best strategy
Another (slight) distraction was the never-wear-anything-new-on-race-day violation that I committed. A friend had given me the funky thigh-high striped socks, and they were a perfect addition to my race day "costume." They are more of a fashion accessory than race day running gear, though. Within the first 1/4 mile or so, I could feel them starting to slide down my legs. Thankfully, they made it down to my knees and didn't go any further.

So, onward I ran, feeling out-of-sorts without my music and slightly warm (and damp) from the clothing. By the third mile mark, I was starting to feel fatigued (I'd also forgotten my PlowOn energy gum), and with no music to distract me it was a bit of a struggle to not focus on my current (less-than-desirable) scenario.

The fourth and fifth miles were tough. I was feeling the effects of that fast start, I was thirsty (did I mention that I was warm from wearing too many layers?), and I was really missing my music. Thankfully, there were numerous fellow racers to keep me entertained in their colorful garb and fancy attire. I just kept going. I could tell my pace had slowed, but I knew I'd regret walking. Besides, a 10K really isn't a big deal in terms of distance.
Yep. This pretty accurately depicts how I was feeling right around the 4.5 mile mark #grittingitout

The final mile was a bit of a challenge because there was a major bon fire happening somewhere near the course, and the smoke was very powerful. You couldn't really see the smoke, but you could definitely smell it.

How did I feel at the finish? Pretty wiped out! I did have enough in the tank for that final finish line push, but that was it. For me, that was a great sign of a race well run. More often than not, I let myself ease up for fear of burning out. This race was the first race (in a very, very long time) that I was able to keep going and still kick it in for the finish. I felt like I truly gave it all I had. And, the day after had me feeling achy, sore, and stiff...which indicates my muscles had a thorough working-over.
Eric, the hubby, Barb, myself, and Dave
I am a glass-half full kind of person, but I have to admit I am a little disappointed I didn't catch that sub-54:00 finish (which I have been chasing for awhile). Heck, I love a PR as much as the next runner. My actual 10K PR is 53:46, but that happened several years ago and much later in the season (and it was before I had ever heard of Piriformis Syndrome or Planters Fasciitis). I am, however, just coming off a much needed off-season, and I have not done any serious speed-training (nor has it been a priority). Duh! Truthfully, it would be pretty arrogant of me to expect such a grandiose finish time without putting in the work to get it done, so all is well. I proved to myself I could run a strong race, even with the less-than-ideal circumstances I put myself in (as mentioned above). But, alas, our lead Las made it to the finish line first, so all the gals were treated to a free beer.

Celebrating another fun Chase
My stats tell a satisfactory story:

My pace splits were 8:13, 8:41, 8:49, 9:02, 9:25, and 8:44....for an overall pace of 8:49. I raced this 10K 1:07 faster than my 10K from a week ago (and that course was much flatter, and I had my music with me for that one). The published results showed that I finished 8th in my age group (out of 62), I was the 121st woman to cross the finish line (out of 763), and I came in 349th out of the 1171 total runners. For a middle-of-the-packer, I'm good with all of this.

So, where to from here? I have some half marathons coming up, so I am ready to start upping the mileage...both during the week and my "long runs" will be getting longer on the weekends as well. I was blessed with another painless excursion in my running shoes, so I'm confident my body is ready for more action. Although it felt strange at times, scaling back my off-season mileage was well worth it. Sometimes, you have to give up that which you love in order to enjoy it more....and so it is with running.

Have you ever done a St. Patrick's themed race? Have you ever started out too fast, but were able to scale it back and still manage a strong finish?

I'm linking up with Deb at Deb Runs for the Wednesday Word link-up.....and the featured word in Shenanigans, a perfect word for an Irish-themed excursion! Do head over and check out all the great blogs being featured!!
















19 comments:

  1. There was a local St. Pattys day race that used to be my run streak, and I loved the flat & fast course. They changed it, and I have yet to run the new course! We were doing the half relay instead.

    Super cute outfit! I never do outfits. See, I'm just not that into shenanigans!

    My last mile tends to be my fastest because I just want it to be over!

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    1. For some reason, more often than not, I'm able to run that last mile pretty fast. No matter the distance of the race, most times I'm able to kick it into high gear for the finish line. I'm probably conserving too much throughout the course, so that's something I need to fine-tune.

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  2. You did great considering all that! For temps in the 50s I'd only wear a short-sleeved tech shirt. I would DIE in all those layers. You did look super cute though!

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    1. Normally, I'd be in lighter clothes...probably a tank, shorts, arm warmers, but the air felt damp and I was paranoid about rain. Rain in the 50's feels MUCH colder than rain in the 80's (at least in Iowa!);-)

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  3. Looks like a fun race in spite of the glitches! Nice job on the finish.

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    1. Thanks, Wendy! Maybe you can venture to Iowa next year? There will also be a birthday celebration happening (a major one....#justsaying)

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  4. Good for you to be able to reel in a too-fast start. Not an easy thing to do. Congrats!

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    1. It's not very often that I'm able to "reel it in" in such a manner...I thought I was on the verge of crashing in the pic above #rbf

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  5. You look so cute. Have a five miler on Sunday - St Patrick's themed. congrats on another great race. Hope your upcoming training runs are pain-free.

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    1. Thanks, and good luck with your race! I'm looking forward to longer training runs ;-)

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  6. I so love your fun outfit! The socks make it too! Glad they worked out for the most part for you. Tell me is that a headband on your visor or was it permanent? It's a cute idea if it's a headband! Great job on realizing your went out fast an saving for the finish! I never can do this! I always go out too fast and peter out toward the end. I really need to work on it. Great job and great race! AS always you make it look easy Kim!

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    1. Yes, that is a headband s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d over the visor ;-)I was amazed how much I had left in me for that final mile....but I was exhausted when I finished. #SATISFIED

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  7. Oh wow, you must have been miserably hot! 50° means just a tank and shorts for me; so two layers underneath would be unbearable. Considering your lack of fuel, tunes, and being overdressed, I'd say you did fabulously well. Congrats!

    Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Yes, I was a bit miserable, but it was (somewhat) short-lived. Typically, I'd be in a tank, shorts & arm warmers.....but the air felt damp (to me), and with the impending rain (which, fortunately, didn't appear until after the race), I knew I'd be freezing. Sometimes, you just can't out-smart the weather LOL

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  8. Your race outfit is really cute! I hope that makes up some for your suffering :) This race sounds like so much fun. I would totally get wrapped up in not getting chased down, and would go all out the first two miles and then blow up. Given all of the things that went wrong on race morning, I think you did a pretty great job overall.

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    1. The race was a lot of fun, and my "suffering" was mostly due myself and choices LOL No matter how many races we've run, or how many miles, there is always something to be learned... #humbledagain ;-)

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  9. Your outfit is great :) I have been there though, fashion over fitness can drive you crazy once you start running.
    Congratulations on a great finish! I am a music runner so it would have been hard to run that far without music. I think you did well.
    I never worry about starting tooo fast, I just try to not feel like I am exerting myself too much and if it faster than normal I just try to roll with it :)

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    1. I like having my music with me, but races like this prove that I can do it on my own. Despite all the races I have done, the start is always a challenge...no matter the distance. SO much impacts our race day performance, it's a constant learning curve knowing how to balance the weather, fuel, clothing, terrain, and distance. I kind of like that challenge, though. It would be pretty boring (for me) to not be learning and evolving on this journey.

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  10. love your socks & visor! i've got to do a st patricks race next year!

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