In 2020, before the world shut down, Toledo was going to have the Shamrockin’ Shuffle. But you know, COVID hit and that race was eventually turned into a virtual run. And a year later, the Shamrockin’ Mayhem was born! It’s so great to be able to have live races around here again. I still miss hugging runners after the race, eating post-race snacks and celebrating with a beer – but I am hopeful those days are coming back again!!
I worked packet pickup the day before the race. It was fun to see the runners, although I had a hard time recognizing everyone in their masks! The race swag was a soft long sleeve cotton t-shirt, a mug (I didn’t get one, I have too many!) and a bar of handmade soap and laundry detergent from a local vendor. That soap is really nice! That’s my Mileage Challenge water bottle. I also picked up stickers for accomplishing some challenges.
This race had three distances (5K, 15K, and 25K) as well as a virtual option for all three distances. Overall there were close to 800 registered! For the in person 25K, there were 192 runners. For the safety of the runners during these pandemic times, each event had a different start time, and wave starts within each race. The 25K started at 7:30am. We had to wear masks at all times we weren’t running or in crowds of people.
At 7:30am it was 27 degrees, but sunny and very little wind. I changed my outfit a couple of times, but decided on a light jacket that I could take off, and my lighter weight fleece lined tights. I met up with a few members of The Incredibles, my training group. Soon enough, my wave got to the start line and we were off!
I didn’t have a plan for the day, other than to run by feel. I was wearing my new “cheater shoes” and felt good as the race started. The first mile clicked off at 8:34 and as usual in a race, it didn’t seem too fast. The first part of the race course went into a hilly area and out to a metropark with a stone trail. That first hour went by so fast I don’t remember much about it, other than chugging up that hill feeling thankful that we were getting that part out of the way early in the race! My friend Jeff was the race director and I had to laugh when he inadvertently photobombed my picture while he rode past. Kinda looks like I’m the winning female runner and he’s escorting me to the finish, no? haha!
As we hit the flat bike path that I run on every week, I was definately starting to heat up. I took off my gloves and ditched my jacket behind a fence on the course. I knew it would be safe there even though the guy behind me joked “hey, a free jacket!” when I did it. Miles 2 -6: 8:52, 8:49, 8:45, 8:45, 8:57
We started seeing the lead runners in the 15K as they passed us along the course now. It was fun seeing them and I think gave us a little extra wind in our sails. Around 7.5 miles I took a Roctane GU. Here’s me walking to the garbage can – proof that I didn’t litter on the course 🙂
Around mile 8.5 I started feeling light headed. My guess is that the GU was kicking in. Roctane GU has more caffeine than my regular gels and that’s what it felt like. It was making me speed up! Those are the green spots on my Garmin map. Miles 7-12: 8:40, 8:39, 8:35, 8:38, 8:40, 8:38
Overall my pace was feeling very managable and the rhythm was feeling good. By the time the last 5K hit, I was starting to struggle. My breathing felt shallow and I had a bit of panic that I was going to hyperventalate! Eventually I got myself under control and kept plugging away. Miles 13-15: 8:44, 8:50, 8:46.
Finally the finish line was in sight! Somehow I managed a bit of a kick at the end and my partial mile (.04!) came in at 7:40. For some reason the course was short (15.04 miles instead of 15.53), but I’m not sure I would have held up for another half mile! My tank was empty. And my heart was very happy.
My overall average pace was 8:44 which surprised me! I got 3rd in my age group out of 11 ladies. After the race I joined my co-coach Sarah and we had some treats for the runners. I think everyone in my training group had a good race too.
I was surprised that several runners in our group turned down my cookies! Well, no loss there because my family was happy to eat them all 🙂
Q: What do you miss the most about live races?