My Shamrock Scurry 5K Race Report 2014

by Nikky Manausa on March 8, 2014

Shamrock Scurry Nikky Manausa 2014The Luck of the Irish

After a few days of rain, the golden sun was certainly welcomed this morning. As I drove to the Killearn United Methodist’s Shamrock Scurry 1 mile/5K run, it was 38 degrees with clear blue skies. I love festive “holiday” races. Green flashed everywhere with hints of rainbows and leprechauns filling the streets. I arrived about 15 minutes before the start of the 1 mile race. My son, Randy (5), decided to sit this race out thanks to a lingering cough, but Maddie (7), looked forward to getting her game on after experiencing her first DNF (did not finish) last weekend at the Thomasville Road Baptist 1 mile Fun Run (she was recovering from a stomach bug). She ran strong through the hills and finished in 8:50, PRing the course by 36 seconds.

Preview Run

When possible, I really try to do at least a drive-by of the race route before the gun goes off. Ideally, I try to actually run it. I had planned on running the course on Wednesday or Thursday, but the weather wasn’t permitting me to do so. I was able to run it on Friday. During this preview run, I made mental notes of the tough spots. The first 1.7 miles were rolling hills (my favorite), and then the last 1.4 miles included 2 ugly climbs. After running the route, I was able to come up with my race day strategy.

The Plan

First, I knew this race was meant as nothing more than a hard training run. It was not a “goal” race (something I have trained specifically for), and with me taking the last month essentially easy while I recovered from The Tallahassee Marathon, I didn’t think beating my current 5K PR of 21:18 was realistic. I ran the Shamrock Scurry in 2012 in 23:46. That was a PR day, and I was so excited to break 24 minutes! All I really wanted to do today was PR the course, and get a good workout in.

I felt 21:30 seemed like a reasonable goal if everything went in my favor. I decided that I would try to average 6:45 for the first 1.7 miles and then average 7:05 for the remaining 1.4. I usually set my watch to auto-lap each mile, but I decided I wanted to lap it myself only once at 1.7.

My 6:45 pace thinking was that I would take advantage of the rolling hills before it got really brutal. I have found that I am typically a second-half runner, and if I start too fast, I end up a good bit slower later. But because of the structure of the Shamrock Scurry, I decided it was best to start off faster.

The Warmup (Starts As Soon As the Alarm Sounds!)

As soon as I got out of bed at 6:20am, I drank a glass of water and took a hot shower. I then had my coffee, got dressed, woke the kids up, grabbed a banana with some almond butter, and ran out the door. Had this been my “goal” race, I would have gone to bed earlier the night before and definitely allowed myself more time to putz around.

As a warmup, I ran the 1 mile with my daughter. I then ran an additional mile, faster than I would have had I been paying attention (7:40), but I was too busy talking with my brother-in-law about how I thought he should run the race (the strategy worked for him, he had a great time!). I ended up at the start line 5 minutes before show time, stretched, said a prayer for all of those running, and it was time to go!

The 3.1 Miles that Matter

I carefully ran, watching my watch tick down from 7:30, to 7, to eventually 6:40 to the 1.7 mark. My body was OK with the pace, I felt in control, but I was definitely working! Then that rotten, nasty, hill started belittling me! I said, “take that hill,” (or maybe something a little more inappropriate) and carried on my way. I purposely didn’t look at my watch because it didn’t really matter. I was going as fast as my HEART would let me. Unfortunately, I started to experience some light-headedness which freaked me out a little bit. I seriously thought, “Well crap, I wonder if I am going to need a medic?” Then I figured if I was thinking that way, I should probably slow down. At that point though, I was nearly up that evil hill and told myself to suck it up. I tell myself that a lot. :)

By the time I made it around the corner to the final hill, I had regained a little of myself back. Thankfully, right in the last tenth of a mile or so, I was ready to finish and was able to kick it in strong. I finished in 22:04, 34 seconds slower than I thought I would, but still a PR for the course by a minute and four seconds, the ultimate goal for the day. I am blessed to run!

Shamrock Scurry Nikky Manausa 2014


The Cool Down

I immediately grabbed some Gatorade, kissed my kids, and then set off for an additional 1 mile cool down. I find those cool down miles are really helpful for my recovery. If my schedule allowed, I would have rather run another mile, but I had to get my children to their t-ball and softball practices.

Since I knew I would be pressed for time, I had a juice mixed with protein powder in the car waiting for me to drink immediately after the race. Having something to eat and drink, even after a short race, is important to help you recover faster.

Don’t underestimate the 5K! The distance may be shorter than a marathon, but you push your limits a lot harder. Every distance has its challenges!

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