Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shamrock Run - Portland, Oregon

I ran this huge race this morning. I had a good time, but am not sure if I will be running it again next year. If I do, I will be sure to not care about times.

The course was okay, but there were some challenges to this one that have me rethinking if this one is the right fit for me.


1: There were 32,000 participants. Think about that. 32,000 is a lot of people. I have lived in towns with less people. I am not good in large crowds. I get super tense in malls during holidays. I won't shop at Winco at the begining of the month. I have left grocery stores that were too crowded. So there we are standing in line to start the 9:20 am run. The crowd goes as far as I can see in front of and behind me. I feel the crush. My neck, shoulders, legs are tense. I put on easy music and plug in my earbuds to wait. I do deep breathing. My heart rate monitor says that while just standing still I was at 122 beats per minute. That is near aerobic level and we hadn't even started yet!

2: We ordered our shirts in January. There were two days to pick them up pre-race - Friday and Saturday. By the end of the first hour on Friday, my shirt size was GONE. There were no more. When I was there Saturday, girls in line told me, "this happens every year". I guess teams get theirs first. Everyone gets what's left over. Pre-registered or not. Okay. I got a man's shirt. Different collar than a woman's shirt, different cut, and different sleeve length. Weird shoulders. But it is an 'okay' shirt. But, I wanted a girls shirt. The other's told me it is ALWAYS the women's XL shirts and sometimes the L's that run out. So....if this 'always' happens, why hasn't someone thought - hey! Let's order extra XL's and L's next year? Or....let's wait to order until after we get the registrations done since it sells out in advance every year anyways.

3: The finish line fiasco! SERIOUSLY a mess. Coming around the corner I see a MASS of unmoving people standing shoulder to shoulder on MY side of the finish line. Most of us stopped our watches at the end of the second time chip mat just as we came to a dead stop. It took 3 or 4 minutes from there to get to the balloons. There there were MORE finish mats. Guess which ones were the race finish? Yup. The ones after you waited in a hardly moving throng of people to WALK under it. So.....what caused that? SOMEONE decided that putting shoe chip barrels right outside the finish line for 32,000 participants was a great idea. Everyone finishing STOPPED and bent over to untie shoe laces, or snap off chips there for the buckets RIGHT THERE. Also, there was no direction there. No one saying to go straight (as some did) or right (as others did) to turn in chips as there were more buckets off to the right. WHY were the chip buckets so close to the finish line? In my opinion, they should have been much further from the finish line. MUCH. And having people DIRECTING runners coming through to keep moving might have helped too.


1: I loved the costumes and hilarity. The creativity and FUN of the participants made it special. IF we run next year, we are wearing tutu's.

2: I loved that there were several bands along the route.

3: I loved the most organized water tables I have seen in a race yet.

4: I loved that salmon chowder. A lot. I offered the server money for more. He laughed. Says he gets that a lot. I bet he does. It is the most amazing chowder I have ever had.

5: The bag check in was the best I have experienced in a race so far.

6: I had a special moment in the city as we were running between the old (yet beautiful) buildings. The sky was partly cloudy, I had an easy gait going on, and then the song DANCING QUEEN by Abba came on my MP3 player. It was pure magic.

So - will I do it again? I really don't know. I hate working so hard, and seeing that my Garmin watch said I kicked ass and got a PR over every race I ever ran, yet my name is on the website at one of my slowest times ever. That is a bit discouraging.

My coworker/running partner said that next year we should do the 15K. She states that as it has less runners, and they leave first, we will stand less, have smaller crowds to stand in, and have no mass throngs at the finish line. Also, next year (if we do it) we show up first thing Friday morning and GET OUR SHIRTS! :)

Photos from today:

I was behind this runner much of the run. Loved her skirt!

I never saw a runner carrying a dog.

In the city....starting a gradual climb before the big one.


I love the view of running feet.

Road Block

Some of these kids were kicking my butt! :)


1 comment:

  1. Update: The race organizers and time keepers have recognized and discussed the finish line cluster that occurred for the 5K and 8K racers. This was the first time it occurred and they will be working on ways to insure this does not occur again next year.

    Personally, as upset as I was about getting my worst official time when my Garmin showed my best, I am over that now.

    I know what my time was.

    I know all the hard work that I put in training for this 5K and the July 10K with my training group.

    I know I was stronger than the official time shows and I know I enjoyed this run and that I never stopped.

    I know that I was a Dancing Queen running through town and the world was mine.