Lacing o' the running shoes. Wearing o' the green. Chasing and racing o' the lads and lasses.
Check, check, and check.
Such were the variables of the 2023 Leprechaun Chase. Let's just say I was jolly-good glad to be partaking in the fun.
Now in its 13th year, The Leprechaun Chase is a race like none other. It's a friendly competition between lads and lasses (in other words, guys and gals) all on a quest for that first place finish and celebratory free green beer for their comrades.
The SAC Museum is essentially an aircraft hangar, so a unique feature of this race is the ceremonial opening of the hangar door, revealing the start line/canopy right outside.
As mentioned, the race is actually a good-natured friendly chase. The gals get a head start, then 5-1/2 minutes later, the guys are released to "chase" them. The first runner to cross the finish line wins a green sports jacket, as well as a free green beer for all of his (or her) fellow teammates.
Having spent several months rehabbing a grumpy glute/hamstring, I hadn't done much for "serious" training, other than getting my mileage back to the 5/6-mile distance. And, let's not forget my cranky back issues of recent as well. Needless to say, I didn't have any specific finish time goals for this 10K. Running strong and keeping my pace consistent were the main objectives. Also, I knew this particular race course was not a PR-friendly one with the nonstop rolling hills and constant wind.
Thankfully, the temps were decent (50F), though a slight bit cooler than I'd prefer with the 9mph wind (which felt much stronger!) hitting me from every direction. Thankfully, we had full sun!
|Barb and I crossing the start line|
Right out of the gate, we had a tailwind (yay!) ... which meant we'd be fighting a headwind on the way back to the finish line, LOL. The first mile took us around to the front of the SAC and through one of the parking lots before venturing, briefly, over some grass and crushed gravel as we made our way towards the twisting and turning path(s) through Mahoney State Park.
|winding through the parking lot...no signs of any lads yet|
I made it to the 1-mile mark feeling pretty good, but noticed the Garmin showed a split of 8:58 (#gulp #FacePalm). Obviously, that tailwind was pushing me, but a sub-9 is way too fast for the first mile of a hilly race course on a windy day. Just saying.
The route had the second mile going mostly due north, so the featured headwind kept me quite humble. It was around the 1.27-mile mark the first lad passed me. It wasn't much longer before a herd of them caught up to their leader, and infiltrated all of us lasses.
The third mile had us coming around the eastern area of the park. There were a few more curves and turns, and a few wooden walking bridges to cross. And, more of that crazy tailwind (ahem, 8:51 split #AnotherFacePalm). What can I say? I wasn't trying to push my pace, but the wind was pushing me along (as were a few down hills) and my legs just went with it.
The fourth mile, hands-down, was the most challenging of the day. We again had switched directions, and were making our way back north (and back into the wind). My sense of direction has never been my forte, and it was all jacked-up on this race course, LOL. That's not a bad thing, because the course was quite scenic, but it did get confusing not knowing where exactly I was in regards to the layout of the park.
|approaching the final mile...|
The fifth mile had us still going north (and northeast) with even more zigzags. Once I'd made it around the furthest "northern" curve, I could feel a huge sense of relief wash over me because I knew the majority of the remaining route would be downhill (until we got to the final stretch through the parking lot).
I think we've all been there when you reach that final mile of a tough (albeit exciting) race. Myself? Somehow, no matter how exhausted (mentally or physically) I'm feeling, I seem to usually be able to tap into my "mojo reserve" and up the pace a bit to the finish line. Even going around the final curve of the parking lot (back into the wind, none the less), I felt more elation than fatigue.
But, oh did it feel good to be done!
It's rare to finish ahead of Barb, but I'd seen her around the 4.5-mile mark, as the route was zigzagging. I knew she was just a short ways behind me, so I pulled over and waited for her (which gave me a chance to catch my breath and do a few stretches).
My stats were decent, so I can't complain. As mentioned, for not having done much for distance over the winter, nor any speed-training whatsoever, my finish time was more than satisfactory. I felt like I ran it stronger than in 2020, but I was 37 seconds slower than 2020's finish time of 56:43. Oh well. I'm also three years older, LOL. Mile splits were 8:58 / 9:25 / 8:51 / 9:34 / 9:28 / 9:12.
|It doesn't mention it on the stats, but there were 1760 total racers!|
None the less, this is such a fun race with a very unique format. Although the race course is tough, that's what makes it such a victory crossing the finish line. And, being a St. Patrick's-themed event, most of the racers were wearing green in some capacity (just as they should be, LOL).
Have you ever done a race with a "chase" type of format? Any St. Patrick's Day races on the calendar? If so, will you be dressing in green?
I'm linking this with Kim and Zenaida for the Tuesday Topics Link-Up
That's a great time (even with training lol) Congrats to you.ReplyDelete
Great swag for this race, as well.
I love themed races and of course, I would dress the part. None this year for me. :(
I think it should be required to dress for the theme of races such as these ;-)Delete
Wait! Was the overall winner male or female? Did the lads or lasses get the free green beer?ReplyDelete
You did great- I think if you haven't been racing regularly it's VERY hard to pace yourself. You didn't die at the end, so your first speedy mile was fine. Overall this sounds like a really fun race!
The overall winner was a speedy lad, with a finish time of 31:33! So, all the lads got the free beer ;-)Delete
I love this race! I always thought that you had to turn up with a male partner as a chaser, but it seems like everybody can just join in, regardless. Such a cool concept!ReplyDelete
And well done on your speedy race, despite lack of training. There's a lot of potential for a great racing season!
Yes, it's every "chaser" for their own. It's a fun format, and a nice twist to a race...especially with a St. Patrick's theme!Delete
I love holiday races! Especially St. Patty's ones since green is my favorite color. Congrats on making it through a "not PR friendly course" and "not PR friendly conditions".ReplyDelete
As I mentioned, the tough course (and all that wind, LOL) just make it that much sweeter when you finish.Delete
Oh, so fun! I know you love this one and it always looks so great! All that fun swag is great, too! The misspelling on the socks is cute! And the pilsner is fun!ReplyDelete
They were joking about the misspelling, so no one has (yet) verified if it was intentional or accidental...Delete
Oh and one more thing- HAPPY BIRTHDAY! : )ReplyDelete
Thank you ;-) It was a nice day ;-)Delete
That’s a super cute and fun idea for a race! It looks super fun atmosphereReplyDelete
It really is fun! I wish the Des Moines venue still existed, but it was fun traveling to the Omaha area for this.Delete
This always looks like such a fun race, and the swag is awesome!ReplyDelete
Hope you had a great birthday today!
This race really has good participation, and it's always fun seeing so many wearing o' the green!Delete
Sounds like such a fun race! Love the race swag too!ReplyDelete
The swag is so colorful this year! In years past, the green shirts would just have either white or black lettering, so this was a nice improvement. And that little baby Pilsner... ;-)Delete
Great job, Kim! I like the format of the lads chasing the lasses, and the swag is nice!ReplyDelete
I had hoped to run in a St. Patrick's Day race until I saw that both in our area conflicted with our spring break trip. It was just as well since I hurt my calf and would have had to walk.
Great job, Kim! I love the glass and that is what I would have picked. :-)ReplyDelete
That's an excellent race time! Congrats, Kim!ReplyDelete