Race #23 – St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Run 10k/5k – Asheville, NC – 03/14/09
Oh… My… God… I think I’ve finally gone over to the other side. That place where the running fanatics get up early on Saturday morning and run no matter what. It was just a couple months ago I passed on the Grasshopper race in Gaffney because it was too cold. I’ve felt a little guilty about that ever since so today I got up at 4 a.m., coerced Linda from bed, and off we traveled a hundred miles through the driving rain to run with the devoted. It was about 37 degrees and raining at 9 o’clock when the race started, but we both lived through it and were happy we decided to go.
In the race ratings, beginning with this race I’m adding a new item: “Indoor Shelter from Elements,” which gives 5 points if it’s provided and 0 points if it’s not provided. Much of the time it’s not needed, but when it is needed it’s bad not to have it. I’ve seldom been colder than I was today while we waited in the near-freezing rain for the awards ceremony. It’s not so bad running in the cold and even the rain because you generate enough body heat to keep warm during the run. Afterwards it’s nice to have a place to go to keep from freezing or drowning or overheating in the summertime or whatever. This particular race started and finished about a block from the YMCA and apparently miles from the Asheville Catholic School that benefited from it. I’m all for supporting good causes, but how about starting this thing at the school next time so we can use the gym before and after the race?
The 10k course was challenging to say the least. The first 2-1/2 miles were almost all uphill followed by about a mile of steep downhill that had my legs screaming for relief, then it kind of leveled out for the last part of the race. Considering the hills I was content with my time of 51 minutes and change for the 10k. This was the third race in the Asheville Track Club Grand Prix series so all of the fast guys were there to put neophites like me in our place, but I was content with 4th place in my age group. Linda was 1st place in her age group (55-59) in the 5k and I think she’s starting to actually like running, at least when she wins!
Aside from everything being outside on a less than idyllic day, there were some nice touches. The long-sleeved green cotton T-shirts were great, the food was basic but there was plenty for everybody (they even gave us a whole bag of oranges and a bag of bagels as we left), there was a St. Patrick’s costume contest, and a fun run for the kids that included the mascot from the Asheville minor league baseball team as well as the chicken mascot from Bojangles. The awards included a $10 gift certificate from a local running store and a drinking glass from Highland Brewing Company. Huh? Seemed a little strange, and Linda was a little miffed that there wasn’t something with the name of the race on it and possibly an acknowledgment that she placed in her age group.