But the wet weather didn't keep a few thousand of us from crowding into City Market to run the popular race. The Shamrock 5K benefits the March of Dimes, and has become another of the city's beloved St. Patrick's Day traditions. All the fountains in town had been turned green and, predictably, many of us runners donned the color as well. The vibe was good and I was feeling especially grateful that my mom was in town to cheer us on.
Up first - a kids' quarter miler with our favorite petite runner in her race bib and ready to go. Lee ran it with her and she rocked it. Then lucky for her, Nana treated her to some ice cream while Lee and I began our run.
I had two goals - one reasonable, the other a real stretch. My first goal was just a PR (personal record), and my second was to run the race in under 30 minutes. My previous 5K record was 33:02 just four weeks prior.
I didn't have any intervals planned, I was just going to run it as hard as I could and toss in a walk break or two when needed. The only thing I'd programmed was for Runkeeper to tell me every time 10 minutes elapsed.
I started the race near a man who had a visible physical defect - perhaps mild cerebral palsy? He didn't have full range of motion of his legs but was fast on his feet anyway, and I found him incredibly inspiring. When the race became tougher for me, I tried to think of him and just remain grateful for my ability to run and to enjoy this sport.
I was thrilled when I passed the first mile marker and hadn't heard the 10-minute prompt, although it came soon after. I took quick walk breaks right after miles 1 and 2, but ran the rest of it with all the speed I could muster. It was tough for me, and had me thinking that I may actually prefer half-marathons where I don't pressure myself to run so hard.
As I passed the second mile marker without hearing the 20-minute prompt, I began to think I might be able to make my big goal after all. I was winded, but kept telling myself I had just 1 mile and 10 minutes to go.
But I ran out of steam. As I rounded the last square and began heading back into City Market and the finish line, I heard the 30-minute prompt. I jerked the headphones out of my ears and finished the race in 31:12.
I am pleased with the PR, although it sure would've been nice to finish in under 30-minutes. I think the only reason I am discouraged about my finish time is that I feel like I ran the race as hard as I could. I'm not sure where the additional 2-minute reduction will come from and whether or not my current speedwork is enough to get me there. Cross-training would help, but that requires equipment (pool, bike, etc.) and an additional time commitment I'm not sure I'm ready to make. Running hills would be good if we had hills around here. Wah wah, excuses, I know.
I think for now I'm just going to stick to the plan I have, because I did manage to shave time off my previous 5K finish. Maybe I just need a few more weeks? Time will tell.
Meanwhile, Lee ran a good race, despite having been so terribly sick with allergies that only the day before he required an injection for his symptoms and began a 2-week course of antibiotics. I can hardly believe he managed to run it, much less finish well. I'm glad he did run though - we stuck together the first little bit and it was nice to share the course with my love. And what a joy it was for both of us as we approached the finish line to hear our names being yelled by my mom and Camille. I don't think this will go down as my favorite race, but it was made so much better because it was a family affair. Love them.