Shamrock 15k Race Report

Shamrock 15k Race Report

I definitely felt some of the "Luck of the Irish" this Sunday in downtown Portland at the 32nd edition of the Shamrock Run 15k. I didn't want to run anything long this weekend (although Joe swayed me into a 14-miler on Saturday up in the gorge) given that I'll be racing Chuckanut 50k next weekend. I figured I'd mix it up a little and get the legs moving in this good-spirited local event. I knew the course well from one of my regular trail routes (Council's Crest) that pops out on Terwilliger Blvd. I was excited to meet some friends down there and to see what I could lay down on a faster paced road race--a type of race that I haven't run in a while.

So Saturday night Sean Meissner commented to me on Facebook that he thought I should be able to run a 53:xx if I'm not afraid of the "pain-cave". Initially I was like, "Whoa!...I don't know about that!", but then he reminded me of all the work I've been doing not only out in the Columbia River Gorge building strength, but also in quality speed sessions on Leif Ericson. He was right...and I was feeling good and fit...but I also didn't want to run too hard just a week out from Chuckanut. Seems like I'm always skirting some fine line on something!

It was a beautiful morning with clear skies as the sun came up over the river. Definitely a little brisk and, wow!...I guess I didn't realize how many people were going to be taking part with the combined entry of the 5k, 8k, 15k, and kids events. Someone said over 21,000 people! And in the St. Patrick's Day festivities spirit to boot!

I met up with Phillips and his wife and we warmed up a bit, and then chatted with Chyle, Allie, Jordan, Dale, and then I bumped into Henry just before toeing the line. I was geared up in my green Kauai, Hawaii shirt and my very light and speedy Inov-8 F-lite 220's. These shoes have become one of my favorites for hard packed trail running and roads. As the announcers were getting us ready for "lift off" I looked up on the scaffolding to recognize one of them. His name is Greg Pressler and I met him at Hagg Lake a few weeks ago (we actually car pooled out there together and chatted non-stop the whole way!). Great guy and he is running Marathon de Sables this year. I tried to get his attention but he was too caught up in all the mayhem so I just focused on getting ready to rip.

3...2....1.....horn! and off we go winding through the streets of downtown Portland. Up Burnside a little and then a long straight stretch up the sustained incline of Broadway Ave. Mile 1 split-->5:49...not bad. I was really conscious of not going out too hard and saving some for the downhills in the latter part of the race. Mile 2--> 5:59.....nice....Mile 3--> 5:56 still rollin'...Mile 4 we started climbing up Terwilliger and I knew that this was going to be the only significant climb, and I thought about how Meissner said I'd be powering the ups and cruising on the downs passing people. Mile 4 split was my slowest at 6:08. From there I knew that it was predominantly down or flat the rest of the way so I kicked it up a notch. Mile 5-->5:51....OK here we go...Mile 6--> 5:34....Mile 7 split-->5:38. Now I'm starting to feel it...the "pain cave" as Sean so nicely put it. Mile 8 I mustered up a 5:21 and the final mile I kicked pretty hard for a 5:14, and that last .3 or whatever I just hung on for dear life pumping my arms and probably grimacing a bit. I saw a blur of Ruben yelling at me then Chyle just past him (thanks guys...that helped!) and at this point I was hurtin'! As I made my way across the finish I could see Greg looking down at me smiling and congratulating me and I smiled and waved as I hit stop on my watch. Just like Meissner called it: I finished w/ a time of 53:23 unofficially good for 21st place!
(nice little view of Hood from Terwilliger Blvd. out on the course)

And now it's really unofficial because when I got home and checked the results apparently my timing chip did not work properly and I am absent from the results page (supposedly they're working on it...but...whatever). This is like the third race in a row that something has gone wrong...I'm starting to get used to it! But hey, I still PR'd in my book even though this was only my second 15k I've ever run. I feel good physically and happy about the way I ran. The body likes when you mix things up like that every once in a while. (UPDATE: They found my RESULTS on backup! Yeah!!!!)

Now it's time to rest up a bit, finish my final exams this upcoming week, and get ready for Chuckanut! Hopefully I will still have some of that "Luck of the Irish" with me up in Washington next weekend!


From the time I could stand upright I was chasing soccer balls around with older children at the fields where my father...

Follow Yassine on Twitter