How do I celebrate St. Patrick's Day?
Well, myself, being of Norwegian and German descent, I choose to pose as an Irish Lass for the day. And, in recent years, being a running Lass, I have run in the Leprechaun Chase.
Here I am in 2014 (recap), inaugurating the tutu....
|2014...my first Chase
In 2015, the Chase (recap) coincided with my Pi Day birthday, making for a festive day!
|It's not everyday you get serenaded on your birthday!
In 2016, the Chase (recap) was threatened by rain, but it held off until we were all past the finish line
The Leprechaun Chase, a 10K extravaganza, has a venue in Des Moines, IA (which is the one I have done), and also in Omaha, NE (usually held the weekend prior). It's a rather unique format where the Lasses (the gals) get a 5-1/2-minute head start before the Lads (the guys) are allowed to cross the start line. The runner who crosses the finish line first claims a free green beer for all of his (or her) comrades. This was the fifth year of the Chase, and the score was dead-even...but there would not be a tie-breaker happening, thanks to Momma N....
Although there wasn't any snow, there were cold temps (like, sub-freezing temps!) and ice on several sections of the course. The race officials made a command decision on race morning...they decided to shorten the course to a 5K (making it more of an out-and-back route) as opposed to the traditional loop (that would have taken us along the iced-over trails around a lake). Not ideal, but doable.
Also, in light of the shortened course, they decided to award every racer with a green beer, and simply have the Lads and Lasses all start together.
The race didn't start until 10:00, giving us plenty of time to make the hour-long trek to Des Moines. The hubby and I drove up, and my friend, Barb came along with us. We met up with another friend, Chuck, as we were parking the car.
And, there was a slew of local peeps we were also hoping to find (yes, this race is THAT much fun...we're all willing to drive an hour to run it!).
|(Back row): Pat (the hubby), Chuck, Eugene, (Front row): Sherry, myself, Barb
Although I do my fair share of races, I don't consider myself a competitive racer. Especially when it comes to short courses, like a 5K, I run them mainly for fun. I can try to shoot for a PR, but I'm simply not fast enough to expect any awards for my efforts....and that's all fine and dandy. I'm more of an endurance runner anyways. So, to hear the course was a 5K instead of a 10K threw me for a bit of a loop.
The first mile was a crazy mix of all things green. It was strange seeing all the Lads running with us at the start line....usually, it's not until the first mile marker that we see the fast ones making their way through the crowd of Lasses as they seek out the front of the pack.
I could tell I was clipping along, but I didn't realize just how fast until I heard my Garmin beep at the mile mark...and it showed an 8:06 pace. Whoa. That's crazy fast for me! I knew immediately the next two miles had the potential for being unpleasant for starting out so fast.(SPOILER ALERT: I was correct in that prediction)
There was a 1/4 mile (or so) out-and-back segment that began just before the 1-mile mark and ended shortly after it, taking us back out onto MLK Parkway. Oh, did it feel cold! The air was damp and the streets were wet and slushy in places.
I was able to ease up my pace in the second mile, more by necessity than by choice. The main turn-around was just before the 2-mile mark. And, it was just after we made that turn when I could feel the wind in my face. Thankfully, it wasn't a fierce wind, but it definitely was a cold one.
That final mile into the wind was tough. Although my breathing had finally evened out, my legs were feeling pretty fatigued. I made it to the finish line in 26:31 (official chip time).
Definitely not a PR,but surprisingly satisfactory considering I was not prepared to run a 5K when I showed up that morning. My splits tell the story of progressively slower miles...8:06, 8:40, 8:46. My stats showed I finished 8th (out of 37) in my age group, 134th (out of 620) for Lasses, and 341st (out of 981) over all. I'm good with that.
Shortly after finishing, our group was reunited...as well as a few more local runner friends.
Final thoughts? Even with the shortened course, this event is top-notch. It's a fun format, having the Lads "chase" the Lasses, and the majority of the participants are dressed in green. Although I really missed not being out on the usual course (around the lake), it was a fun twist doing the out-and-backs and seeing all the other runners.
The registration is very reasonable ($35, I think). An incentive for early bird registering (which was back in December) is a bonus upgrade to a zip-up hoodie (it's a different incentive every year). Personally, I'm SO done with race shirts; I LOVED having the option for something different. And, isn't it adorable?
The Leprechaun Chase is (yet) another event that keeps drawing me back every year. Also, it benefits the Des Moines Animal Rescue League....they presented the ARL a check for $4,100 this year! It's not only a great race, but it supports a great cause.
How about you? Do you have St. Patrick's event you've done before? Have you done it more than once? How would you feel about a 10K race being shortened to a 5K?
I'm linking this with the lovely Marcia and Patty and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run. We're talking all things St. Patrick's.