After being stressed because we were running behind getting to Princess, I’ve decided to always leave to give myself lots of time pre-race to calm down. I always get nervous that I won’t be on time to things. So, I arrived about an hour early to the Shamrock. The pre and post races areas are in a shopping center parking lot. Very easy to get to and there was plenty of parking when I got there. They use the lot in front of the movie theater. Packet, shirt, and chip pick up were a breeze. I also shopped the 70% off sales racks and found a nice Brooks windbreaker/rain jacket. Gotta love those kind of sales! I took everything back to my car. They had a live Irish band but they didn’t start until about 30 min prior to race time. Before that, a radio station van was blaring Irish music. I hung out until the band started. At that point, the sun was coming out so I went back to the car one last time and took off my long sleeved shirt, got my water bottle and Prime, and put on my blinking shamrock pin. I drank my Prime while listening to the band.
Once I was done I made my way to the start. There were several portapotties on the way but the line was huge. I was glad I didn’t need to use the bathroom. We were in a big group but rather spaced out behind the start line. We couldn’t really hear what the announcer said because everyone was so loud. I finally figured out he was starting the baby stroller people first. I guess not everyone got that memo because I was standing close to 2 of them. Shortly after a few stroller people started, they counted down and we were off. It starts on the road just beside the movie theater. After about a block, it turns right onto the main road (Ballantyne Commons) where it is basically an out and back. I ran until the turn. I walked until I felt recovered and then started my 2:1 intervals. What I didn’t realize by driving that road about every day is that there is no place on it that is flat. It is basically rolling hills.
As soon as started my intervals, I fell behind the large pack. I knew that was going to happen after looking at last years results. I just wanted to not be the last finisher. I was feeling the hills, but was still doing good. Once again, I decided not to use my music and just experience the run. Since I didn’t have my earphones in, I didn’t know how fast I was going. I had put my phone in my skirt pocket just after the start line. So, I felt like I was going slow. I finally got to the first mile marker and was mentally doubting myself. The time on the sign was not working. I pushed through knowing that I just needed to finish the race for the series and time didn’t matter. I think it was shortly after the marker that the lead runner was coming back on the other side. I finally made it to the water station and knew we were close to the turn around. Just after the turn around was the Mile 2 marker with the time. I had to do a double take because it was saying I was under 13 min/mi. I hadn’t dreamed that was possible. About this time, I caught up to a couple jogging with a double stroller and ahead of them, 2 ladies in Savannah RnR shirts. I leap-frogged with these 2 groups for most of mile 3 when they finally pulled away from me. Shortly after mile 3 you cross back to the original side of the divided road. Then you cut the corner by going through a side road that is curvy.
I have to admit, the volunteers and spectators cheering and using the cow bells that were given away really seemed to help me. There weren’t a lot, but even one or two every so often was a boost. Soon we were making the turn onto the road we started on. That one was a gradual uphill, but felt pretty flat. At this point, a lot of people who had already finished were cheering. Then, you make the turn into the shopping center next to the movie theater. It is a pretty good downhill to the finish. I must admit, I was glad it was downhill. It kept me running the whole way. The DJ at the finish did a great job of calling out all the names. After crossing the finish, they had granola bars, bananas, and mini bagels along with bottles water and Gatorade. A lady pulled off my chip as I was getting my goodies.
I decided to forgo the staged picture with props and wandered around listening to the Irish band until my official time was posted. They had a bouncy house and the Easter Bunny for the kids. Also, one of the restaurants had eggs, gravy biscuits, some kind of Irish fare, and mini muffins. I decided to skip that but it was a nice option. After wandering for about 10 minutes, my time was finally posted. I found my name and ran my finger across… 49:49. I was on cloud 9! This race doesn’t have a medal, but they do have great entertainment and a good atmosphere. I would do it again because it is only 5 minutes from my house. Also, I like the size of the race. There were 597 finishers. I was 539 overall and 299/340 females with a pace of 12:28.