Last weekend I ran my first official race of 2014, the Shamrock Shuffle, in West Chester. Just down the street from IKEA (yes, it's too close for comfort - I could, and wish I did, live in IKEA!) it was a local race on a Saturday morning with an 8:30 start - perfect. I actually didn't find out about this race until Thursday of that week when my MOH Christina posted about doing the 5K. I then immediately called her a jerk and asked why I wasn't invited. She let me know they were still doing registrations and after a fabulous outside run I went and registered on the spot for the 10K. It was the first time I had run outside since we had a random warm day on February 1st and honestly the first I'd ran in awhile. I have a half marathon coming up TOMORROW that I'm no way in my best shape to run, so I wanted to do the 10K as a last resort training run.
And while I'm being honest - I was thinking about it and I've never done a race that wasn't a half or full marathon. Seriously. I did the Color Me Rad a few years ago and it was run through a mall parking lot and I can guarantee it wasn't a full 5K and it wasn't timed so therefore not a race. Anyway, I thought it would be sort of refreshing knowing I'd only be running a little over an hour this time instead of several hours.
I got to the starting area with no difficulties and there was plenty of parking at local business offices. I was sort of worried about parking as the race information said there would be shuttles from some of the restaurant areas and there were more than 4500 people registered for the 5K, 10K, and the kids fun run.
I met up with Christina just before I started as the 5K started 15 minutes after the 10K. I started off to the side about midway through the pack. The sun was shining and it was about 45 degrees - perfect race day conditions if you ask me! I started and just let my legs carry me. I looked at the course map and knew we'd be going into a housing development and that the course was a loop. What I didn't expect was the 300+ feet of a hill that felt monstrous to me (and the lady with the jogging stroller - you go girl! I offered to help her push it but she turned me down). After that, it was mostly downhill and I shaved 45 seconds off my average pace running a 9:58 mile (according to my watch, RunKeeper didn't agree)! My PR 10K time I set the week before the marathon is 1:11:38 and I ran this one in 1:12:58. Just a bit over a minute difference on hills and untrained legs versus in my best running shape on flat ground. I was proud and Christina finished a few minutes before me and ran out to finish with me.
I was disappointed there was no race bling and I had to drink Christina's water because I didn't see any but that was okay. The community came together and set up water stops in their driveways and that was awesome.
I feel better about tomorrow's half marathon and know I'll finish but am not going for a PR time on the hills I'm expecting by any means. I'm running the Heart Mini half marathon to benefit the American Heart Association and to honor my heart patients, big and small. Heart disease kills 1 in 3 people and 1 in 100 babies are born with congenital heart disease. It's my honor and privilege to care for these babies and hold the hands of my adult patients as they go to sleep in surgery.
See you at the finish line!