This time of year is known for several things – Basketball, Daylight Savings Time AND St. Patrick’s Day.
I love all of these things and although I am not really into “theme runs” – throughout the state of Connecticut various groups and organizations put on St. Patrick Themed races this time of year.
The Hartford Marathon Foundation has a lock on three of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day themed 5k races in the Connecticut. Termed the O’Trinity Series, over the course of 2 weekends runners have the opportunity to travel to Putnam, Niantic and finally Hartford to complete one, two or the trinity of races.
Personal running fact – – The O’Hartford 5k was actually the first race I ever ran in 2009 – my how far I have come.
Anyway – this post is not about any of the O’Trinity races BUT the Bristol Shamrock Run & Walk that took place this past Saturday morning in Bristol, Connecticut.
After last weeks “hill” at the Bolton Road Race (which to be honest wiped me out for the rest of the afternoon) I had a pretty good week of training and the plan was to treat the Bristol Shamrock Run & Walk as a quality workout but to RACE the course.
In laymen’s terms – I would do a 2 mile warm up, race, and the do a 2 mile cool down. We hoped that based on my training thus far I would be able to run this in 14-15 minutes. It would be a good fitness test and like I have said – even if I don’t “race” a race I sign up for I love the comradery of people at these events.
My coach has actually run (and won) this race before, and I was surprised and happy that he texted a brief description of the course the night. I went to sleep a little bit nervous but telling myself that I could do anything for 2 miles – right???
Also – I was a little embarrassed – a 2 mile race, is that really a race distance??? BUT I am always up for something new and since this race benefited the Saint Vincent DePaul Society, I knew my race registration would be going to a good cause.
Up early the next morning – Google Maps led me to Chippens Hill Middle School where the Bristol Shamrock Run & Walk was to take place. I grabbed my bib and some pretty cool swag (loved the long sleeve shirts and water bottle), dropped everything off at the car and proceeded to cobble together a 2 mile warm up.
At a 9:39 pace and a not quite light on my feet feeling – I traded my trainers (Brooks Adrenaline) for my racers (Adidas) and did another loop around the parking lot. WOW – the difference was significant and I felt much lighter.
I made sure to line up at the front (I am notorious for waiting until the last minute to position myself) and before I knew it we were off.
I knew what I was aiming to do but instead of being tied to my watch (as many runner’s are prone to do) I decided to go all out and see where it would take me.
The course – regardless of it only being 2 miles was hilly AND what I was told about a “slight incline after mile 1” was, in my mind, not slight at all. As I turned the corner after passing the first mile marker I saw a hill – not as bad a Bolton but a hill none the less but I put my head down and just trudged up it.
For my effort, once I reached the top and turned right I was greeted with the sweet, sweet view of a downhill.
Crossing the finish line – I was spent but after I caught my breath I realized I probably had a bit more in me.
After cobbling together my cool down miles (and not wanting to get in the way of those still participating) I headed inside for a sweet finisher’s pint glass and then back outside for some well needed post run soup (which on a chilly March morning was THE BEST THING EVER)
I thought I did ok and decided to wait around to find out my official time and place. Well I was pleasantly surprise – shocked and elated actually. FIRST PLACE IN MY AGE GROUP!!!!!
And for my troubles of getting up early and running around in a circle in Bristol, I won a lovely hand painted plate – which in my opinion was one of the best age group prizes I have ever received.
So – what do I take away from this race (and I think that even if you don’t do well – there is always a take away)
- Just because a race is not a traditional distance, does not mean it’s not a worthy race
- Racers make such a difference in a race. My trainers only weigh a few ounces more but when trying to run quick – those few ounces can make all the difference.
- Smaller races sometimes have the best swag – long sleeve shirt, pint glass and soup – enough said.
So at the end of it all I am happy with my progress – would I have liked to run faster – yes BUT forward progress regardless how slight is still forward progress.