Two years ago I ran my first 5k race. A friend had suggested that I sign up for a race as a way to keep me motivated to exercise on a regular basis. It worked, for 2 months, and I ran the Shamrock 5k in March 2016 and then when my family went on a Disney cruise at the end of March I ran the fun run on their private island in the Bahamas. But then, sadly, I stopped. The idea kept lingering in my mind and this led me to decide to do a 5k each month in 2018. For March I decided to do the Shamrock 5k again. It was kind of coming back to what I started 2 years ago but now with a bit more success.

I got to the race location (Waterfront Park, Portland, OR) about 45 minutes ahead of the start time. The Shamrock Run attracts thousands of people, twenty-five thousand this year, so it gets crowded fast down at the waterfront park. There are several different events but the 5k is the most popular. The announcer said that there were eight thousand 5k runners. Because there are so many runners, they line us all up on the street based on your mile pace. This allows the faster runners to get out ahead of the pack instead of weaving through everyone. I got lined up, near the middle of the pack, at around 7:40.

The race started at 8 am sharp and that’s when all of the people running at a 6 minute mile pace started. The race officials let a bunch go, then they held the next batch of runners for one minute before letting those guys go. They repeated the “hold then go” cycle several times before I got up to the front. It took nearly 15 minutes for me to get to the actually starting line but then it wasn’t too crowded when I started running so I guess that the “hold then go” strategy was working.

I thought that most of this race would be flat but that wasn’t quite true. There were a couple places with long hills. The slope wasn’t too great but it was enough that I felt it. As I started the race, I felt good about my pace. When I hit the hills of course things slowed down but I still felt good overall. I ended up finishing with a 14:32 pace. That’s a big improvement over my February race (15:04 pace) and a HUGE improvement over the Shamrock race I ran in 2016 where I had a 16:05 pace.

I was happy with the race. Happy to see an improvement. Now I’m looking for my April 5k.

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