Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Luck of the Irish: Shamrock Run 15K

4 years ago I ran the Portland Shamrock Run, without knowing exactly what I was getting myself into {its a rather challenging course} and it instantly became my favorite race {and my favorite route to run while I am in Portland}... 35,000 people {3 different races} in tutus, green body paint, beer hats, green wigs, etc fill the waterfront, to raise money for Doernbecher Children's Hospital.  The last two years I  ran the 15K solo {well with 9,000 other people, but no one I actually knew} and loved every mile of it! This year my race didn't exactly start out with the luck of the Irish! The night before, not sure why, but I had a small piece of pizza, which didn't quite agree with my stomach! So the night before I was dealing with stomach issues, but thankfully I woke up feeling ok. In the morning, I headed to the Lloyd Center, where I caught the Max to the waterfront, and as I was in the car putting on my number {note: this is THE FIRST time I haven't laid everything out the night before} I realized I didn't have a timing chip!!!! {ha! it actually appeared when I was unpacking my car, oops!} I frantically jumped out of my car and ran to catch the Max so that I would have time to head to the solutions tent. Luckily, it took less that 2 minutes for me to get in line and receive a new bib and timing chip {extremely well organized race}. I had time to use the porta potty and meet up with my friend {who was running the 8K} before the start of the race. 

It was GO time...I headed to the start, where they had people  line up by their projected pace, and did a "release and hold" start.  There were so many people that I couldn't make it back to the 9-10min pace {my goal was 9:30avg}, so I started with the 8-9min group.  My goal was to negative split the race, even with the hill climb, so I knew I had to start off conservatively {both pace and feel} so I could push the pace on the hill. I felt great the first two miles{flat} and was averaging around a 9:20, which was perfect. Mile 3 was a steady climb to the base of Terwilliger, and I brought my average pace down to a 9:15 and was feeling strong.  I hit the base of Terwilliger around mile 3.5, put in my headphones and powered up the hill. I started playing some mind games with my music...I would push the pace for a song, then back off for a little. I did this the entire way up.  I could tell that I was definitely  running among strong runners...they were all powering up the hill like it was nothing, and no one was walking {I have never walked the hill, but I am used to being surrounded by walk-runners,actually walk-sprinters, which is my biggest pet peeve}...and I was holding my own with them. I peaked the hill just past mile 6 and my average pace was a 9:25. It was game on! I was feeling great and ready to push the pace to the finish! This is when I knew I was running among faster runners...they all took off! ha! I spotted a girl in the distance who had pulled away from me on the hill, and I was determined to catch her. And I did! Then I had my eye on another runner, and I caught and passed her too! My average pace continued to drop and my current pace was in the mid to high 8:00s...I knew I had crushed my goal! 

2010-10:05 avg

2012-9:59 avg


To be honest, I didn't believe it at first, and waited for the official results to be posted! With a 7 minute PR, I was on the biggest runners high ever! 

Following the race I met up with my cousins to Celebrate Good Times, Come On with a margarita and some mexican food {its a post race tradition!}

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, The Shamrock Run is one of my favorite races, and here are some reasons why:
-I love the course {challenging and beautiful}
-The shirts and 15K finishers bottle opener medal are always great
-It is by far the most organized and well ran race...35,000 people, 3 different races plus a fun mile for the kiddos, and it is a flawless event {I didn't even have to wait in line for a porta potty!!}
-They are very accommodating to the runners...its extremely easy to transfer your registration to another runner or switch events {even the day of the race!} 
-Everyone gets in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day
-Nothing beats running in Portland, especially on a beautiful day 

Already looking forward to 2014, and running sub-9s! 


  1. Congratulations again Holly. So proud of you. You have been working so hard and this PR just proves that all of your hard work and early morning runs are paying off. You are my inspiration!

  2. Way to go, huge PR! Those medals are so cool too.

  3. Incredible!!! All of your hard work has payed off! A big congratulations! So excited to run with you this June!

  4. Wow! That's so awesome! You're so fast! I love to celebrate with a margarita too. :)