I ran nine slow miles (yes, nine! on a weekday!) last night and was surprised how much I felt it last night and this morning. My left hip is particularly sore. I guess I should have expected it after 20 on Saturday and the really fast run Monday, but I’ve been feeling a little bit invincible the last couple of weeks and it’s always a bit sad to return to Earth. I’d like to get my weekly mileage up above the low 30s, but my body may not be ready.
A new fastest training run last night for me. I kept up with someone who wanted to run a mile and a half of warm-up (at around 8:00/mile), three miles of fast stuff (around 7:00/mile) and a mile and a half of cool-down. My mile splits were 8:03 7:32 7:01 7:04 7:46 7:28. That training run comes out a little faster than my 10K PR, set last September. Hooray for getting faster!
I’m planning on doing three long training runs (20 miles or more) before Eugene; today was number one. I ran an out-and-back from my house down to Willamette Park and north along the river to the Steel Bridge. The eight miles along the river were flat, but the other twelve were steep, with elevations varying between 50 and 600 feet. To get over to the river, I followed SW Urban Trail #4, which took some interesting shortcuts through the neighborhoods down there. There were a lot of stairs, too.
I felt OK through the run. The uphills were wearing me out on the way back, but I didn’t bonk or anything. I’ve been pretty tired since then, though. Zzzzzzzz…
Things I learned at this year’s Shamrock:
– Running in the rain doesn’t suck. Running in high winds does, a little. Walking around before and after a race in the rain does, a lot.
– Racing never gets easier, only faster.
– The first four and a half miles of the Shamrock 15K are worse than I remembered.
– My Garmin and the Shamrock Course designers need to get together and decide how long this course really is.
The weather was awful but the crowds were still huge this morning. Runners are crazy. It was cold and windy and pouring down rain. Believe it or not, even though I live and run in Western Oregon, this was the worst race weather I’ve seen. I got downtown with about an hour left before the 8:40 15K start, but ended up parking almost a mile away. By the time I’d registered, it was about 8:20. I cheered for the first few waves of 5K finishers, dropped off my last bits of warm clothing at the clothes check, and hurried into the starting corral with 90 seconds to spare. I lined up pretty far toward the front, since last year I’d spent a lot of time blocked in during the first mile.
And we were off. Overall I felt cold and mentally unprepared. Heading up Burnside was easy enough, though, and running with the crowd I came through the first mile in 7:06. Of course, the mile marker on the course was at somewhere around 1.1 miles by my watch, and this trend would continue all day. They say this race is a 15K, or 9.3 miles; my GPS says it’s 9.53. Looking carefully at my GPS track, I concede: they have it right, not my watch. Its accuracy among the tall buildings downtown is bad and it shows me wandering a full block off-course sometimes. Bear in mind, then, that the mile splits I’m reporting are a little off, on the fast side.
Before the end of the first mile, the race turns up Broadway. Which is a hill. You might not notice it so much when you’re driving around downtown Portland, but it really is. The entire second mile is up this hill. It hurt a little. I kind of wanted to stop to breathe. 7:54. I knew it was going to get worse before it got better.
The next two miles are almost entirely uphill, on Terwilliger Road. They are unspeakable torture. Ask anyone, they’ll tell you. Or they won’t, since they are unspeakable. My no-good, lying GPS says I ran both miles three and four in 8:08.
Mile five has the last of the really bad parts of Terwilliger and gets you past the Chart House restaurant (and the dreaded bagpipers) and Capitol Highway. There’s some downhill in here, but I was still exhausted. 7:56.
About a third of the way into mile six, you climb the last hill on the course! This could be seen as cause for celebration, but the hard pelting rain being driven by the wind straight into our faces this year put a little damper on that. Two-thirds of the way through, we rounded the corner and started heading back into town on Barbur Boulevard. 7:30.
Well, that’s it for the hard stuff. Now all I needed to do is hang on and run downhill. I can breathe downhill. I can think about moving my legs faster and passing a few people. Mile seven, 7:12; mile eight, 6:50. I’ve heard that back in the old days, the 1960s or ’70s, they defined “running” as going under seven minutes a mile and called anything slower than that “jogging”. This frame of mind isn’t real popular any more, but it still comes to mind on those rare occasions when I break the seven-minute barrier. Look at me! I’m running!
Right at the start of mile nine, when you turn off Barbur onto Front, the 8K course merges with the 15K one, and suddenly things get a heck of a lot more crowded. Unfortunately, at least with my timing, these weren’t the fast 8K front-runners either. I did my best finding a line through the crowd — sidewalks and median strips helped some — and turned in a 6:54 mile nine.
Being done then would have been good. But going by my watch, I still had half a mile to go. I grunted through it in 3:30. What did my watch say? 1:11:11. A pretty-looking number, but not the 1:10:00 I was hoping for. My watch may say I averaged 7:28/mile, but the course is officially 15.3 miles and I actually averaged 7:38. Still, it’s a PR, beating last year’s time on the same course by 4:44.
That’s about it, except for cheering on a couple of people to the finish line, retrieving my clothes, and slowly and coldly making it back to the car. About an hour after I got home, the sun came out. Boy, was I mad. Where was it when it counted?!
The unofficial start of downtown Portland’s foot-racing season is Sunday. The Shamrock Run has a 5K, 8K, and a 15K (as well as a kid’s 1K and a 3.5 mile walk). It attracts a big crowd… I’m not sure of the exact numbers but I know last year the 15K alone had almost 2,500 finishers. The forecasters are saying Sunday is supposed to be rainy, but maybe we will get lucky.
This will be my third year doing the Shamrock; the first year I ran the 5K and the second, the 15. I’m running the 15K again this time. It’s a tough course because it goes up Terwilliger — that’s a long hard uphill for a road race — but at least it finishes with an awesome few miles of nice easy downhill.
I have an aggressive goal this time. I’d like to average 7:30/mile. That would get me in just under 1:10:00, six minutes faster than last year. That’s going to be tough, but maybe…
Sixteen miles on pretty flat pavement isn’t a big deal for me right now, but doing it the morning after a late-night broomball session added a little excitement. Running around on the ice left me sore and exhausted (not to mention ridiculously sweaty). So my sixteen-miler felt harder than it might have otherwise, and I’ve stayed sorer, longer.
I ran from my house in far north Tigard to my office near central Tualatin, mostly because I’d never ran from one to the other before. The route goes mostly along busy Hall Boulevard, then through Cook Park and over the pedestrian bridge into Tualatin. The path linking SW 85th and Cook Park was put in sometime in the last two years. You can see that the Google satellite view still shows it as a construction zone.
It turned out to be 6.75 miles to work, so I ran another mile and a quarter past there before turning around. I kept to a 10:00/mile pace the entire run. The good news was that my left calf felt OK the whole time. I’ve been massaging it aggressively on the theory that this somehow promotes the inter-muscular blood flow neccessary for healing. I know, black magic.
It was supposed to be rainy today, but instead we got perfect running weather: mid-50s and clear. I broke out the shorts and short sleeves and headed down to the Beaverton branch of the Portland Running Company for the usual Monday-night run. On a good night like this one, we have pace groups ranging from 6:30/mile to 11:30. I ran with a group of four pushing ourselves (at least I was pushing) over six miles to a 7:43 average, starting out with an 8:30 or so and speeding up from there.