Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Reflections on the Shamrock Half

Time goes by so quickly. It seems like weeks ago instead of more than three months when I decided that running the Shamrock Half Marathon last Sunday would be the first big thing I would do to celebrate 10 years of surviving cancer this year. I came off a year where I did very little running because of foot problems, so I had to gain a lot of ground in three months. I feel like I did.

I missed a personal record by about 45 seconds and although my main goal was just to finish the race, I am disappointed to have been so close and not attained a new PR. On the other hand, it was my best long run of the year. In all of the others - about 4 or 5 of them - I totally faded about 7-8 miles in and was crawling at the end. In the Shamrock, I did get tired but it was after 10 or 11 miles, and I hung in there with a stronger average speed for the whole race. My times in my other training runs would have been 10-15 minutes slower than what I did Sunday if they had applied. So all in all, I gave it my best running effort of 2012, by far.

My knee didn't hurt much or slow me down. On the other hand, my effort to keep going resulted in really sore quads since Sunday afternoon, and they have just today started to be less painful. I have not run a step since Sunday. With a 10K in 9 more days, I need to start up and get in at least 3 runs, preferably at least one of 5-6 miles.

The spectators were great at Shamrock! There were a lot of them out cheering loudly and ringing cowbells. Some of them were coaches and teammates I knew out cheering or coaching. It was great to have the support. I hate to mention names because I always forget someone, but Debbie, Kate, Barb, Jane, Chuck, Jamie, and Susan were all out there cheering or coaching - or both!

There was a lot of bling at this race - a really great race shirt and finisher sweatshirt, a cool finisher hat, and a great medal - which doubles as a bottle opener. Yes, Yuengling was the major sponsor and there was beer! Not just beer at the finish - of which there was lots - but on the course, there were three beer stations passing out shots of Yuengling! Now how cool was that? Water, gatoraide, AND beer! It would have been rude to refuse, so I didn't. At the last one at about mile 11, I wavered, and then the guy called out, "Art! You look like you need a beer!" Who am I to contradict the judgment of someone who is clearly an expert?

So, now my first adventurous celebration of year 10 is over! It felt good to be in the race with my friend Nicki, a 15 year survivor, because we were both running for similar reasons. In addition, Nicki fundraised for TNT. Next up for me to celebrate by is the Monument Avenue 10K. After that? Well, I'm not sure. But I have wanted to run Shamrock for several years and am so glad I did, PR or not! Because when one has looked at maybe pushing up shamrocks 10 years ago, running any distance - let alone 13.1 miles - now feels pretty damned good! This was also my first long race as a 60 year old, and although there is no way I am keeping up with the 30 or 40 somethings (not even mentioning 20 somethings), I do have to wonder how many of my contemporaries could do a half-marathon? 5 percent? 1 percent? 1/10 percent? I don't know the answer to that, but it likely not a huge number, but I am one of them that can!

2 comments:

TNTcoach Ken said...

Damnit, now I have to run until I'm sixty! HA, Just keep this amazing journey going.......

Racn4acure said...

I'm gonna keep those legs moving as long as I can, Coach! As long as I can....