Today it was confirmed that I am not a terrible runner.
I’ve had a love/hate/hate/hate/love relationship with running for about 10 years and besides one brief attempt at running the St. Patrick’s Day Dash in Seattle as a high school freshman (with Annie Mesaros, who dragged me along because she was just so excited to be on the Edmonds-Woodway XC team), I have never run in any races. And I’m not really sure why? I even managed to live in Spokane four years and escape the Bloomsday run. But today, my no-race legacy ended when I was further initiated into being a Portlander by participating in the 34th Annual Shamrock Run with 32,000 other crazy people.
Talk of the Shamrock Run surfaced among my roommates in early January with all sorts of aspirations for group training sessions and a whiteboard chart in the house documenting our weekly mileage. We immediately named ourselves appropriately–Team 2512 (our house number)–and signed up online paying $30 to get up early one Sunday morning in the distant future and run a length never before achieved: 15k.
As you may have predicted while reading the previous paragraph, the hopeful January ambitions were quickly altered when the whiteboard remained at the bottom of the basement steps untouched and two of my roommates registered for the 8k, rather than the 15k. But, I had acted too quickly signing up online, and I refused to turn back now; I was running the 15k, and worst of all, I was actually telling people about it.
So my usual routine of 30-minute morning runs a few times a week continued, but my roommate, Shereen, began suggesting longer weekend runs with big hills. Knowing that I had paid $30 and March 18 was now circled on the calendar in big red marker (metaphorically, of course), I struggled to find excuses of why I couldn’t accompany her.
Ran the whole thing without stopping, my time: 1:31:34, pace: 9:50.
I’m not exactly setting world records, but I will call it a personal best. My breathing and heartrate stayed low, and I stayed, mentally, very positive.
In fact, I may have experienced the endorphine post-run high, because I was smiling through the last 2 miles, high-fiving every little kid standing on the side cheering because they were just too cute, and at the finish (when I assumed I would be keeled over wanting to die) I was… fine. I mean, I definitely felt like I had run, but, it felt great! After abandoning Shereen on the first major hill at the four mile mark (even though I said I wanted to run the whole thing together, I’m a terrible running partner!), she crossed the finish line two minutes after me and we shared an attempted-high-five-turned-hug to celebrate and congratulate one another one the longest either of us had ever run.
My other roommates completed their 8k successfully and I had a beer in hand at 10:15a.m. I mean, it was part of the deal signing up, so I indulged for novelty’s sake, but who really wants a beer on a Sunday morning after running 9.3 miles? A lot of people apparently, but I stomached 2/3 and called it good-enough.
So when’s my next race? Don’t worry, I’ve already been asked and invited to run a marathon in June. Let’s not get too crazy just yet. I’ll keep you posted.