Last Saturday I ran the Runnin' O' the Green 5 mile race in Bellingham. For once I had a plan going into the race, which was to run an 8 minute pace and finish under 40 minutes. I ended up finishing in 40:31 which is an 8:06 pace. I know it's a good time, especially since I'd been sick and hadn't worked out for a week, but I'm still a little disappointed because I can do better. Unfortunately my legs just weren't feeling like they were ready to race that day.
The course wasn't flat, but I wouldn't call it hilly either. There were some small inclines, similar to what I run occasionally during training. They shouldn't have been a problem, but I really struggled with them during the race. In my mind, I felt like we were running uphill for 75% of the course, even though there's no way that could be true since we started and ended on the same street.
It was cold and rainy on Saturday morning... 36 degrees when I arrived about an hour before the race. It even hailed for several minutes during the race. I wore compression sleeves under my pants for an extra layer of warmth. I love wearing them around the house as a recovery aid, but I'm starting to wonder if maybe I shouldn't race in compression sleeves. It could be just a coincidence, but both races that I've worn them in, my legs have bothered me. I think the compression sleeves might be too constrictive. Instead of improving performance, the compression sleeves seem to be causing greater fatigue in my legs. I'm going to have to try wearing the compression sleeves during training and see how it feels.
Here are a couple photos from somewhere during the last mile of the race.
I was smiling for the camera so I look happier than I felt. In my mind I was thinking "can I stop running yet?"
And I know shame on me for not wearing something green to a St. Patrick's Day race, but I only have one piece of green tech clothing and it didn't work with my Coconut Kenny's jersey.
Afterwards my initial feeling was that the Runnin' O' the Green wasn't a race that I'd want to do again, mainly because of the poor organization. It seemed like they weren't prepared to handle such a large crowd. There were long lines before the race to check in, and long lines after the race to get food and water. The start of the race was delayed by over 20 minutes. And at the finish line the clock was off by a couple minutes. I sprinted into the finish thinking I had made my goal, and then had to face reality when my Garmin told me otherwise.
However, there were positive aspects to the race too. The early registration fee was only $15 and included chip timing and a shirt. I liked the fun touch of having green D tags for the occasion. I've only seen them in orange before this.
I had forgotten that a shirt was included so that was a nice surprise. It was an even better surprise to find that it actually fits!
Although I had some difficulties with the course that day, it really isn't a bad course. No super steep hills but enough variation to be interesting, both in elevation and running surfaces. The second half of the course is pretty scenic too.
Now I'm thinking that if it fits into my schedule I might have to go back next year for redemption. We'll see, I have plenty of time to decide.