Old First Ward Shamrock Run 8k, or, Batten Down the Hatches
This race, held in the “Irish District of Buffalo” is the
second largest race of the year after the 10k+ finisher Turkey Trot. This year it hit the cap of 5500 registrants,
it’s getting pretty big. The course is
held in an older industrial part of the city and the course is mainly flat with
the old hills coming from some pretty big overpasses.
The main goal of this race was to see what kind of fitness I
was in after the wacky winter we’ve been having. I was hoping to be under 32 and ideally
closer to 31. If I hit that mark, I made
it through the winter in ok shape. To
make matters worse, I tweaked by lower back last Sunday so I ended up not
running at all during the week except for Friday. Kind of messed up my week and
motivation. It was probably 80% back to normal. Not fully healed but good
enough to not slow me down.
The morning of the race a STRONG cold front moved through
putting the whole area under a high wind warning. When I got to the race the wind was a
sustained wind from the southwest at 40mph with gusts hitting 60mph, not the
ideal for a fast time. In addition, the
wind knocked down a power pole on the course about at the 4.5 mile mark causing
a last minute course change (shortening it to 4.5 miles instead of 5m). In any other city, the race would be
postponed but we are too hardcore in Buffalo and the Race Director and scoring
team did a great job dealing with the weather.
This includes laying on the timing mats to keep them from blowing away!!
Mile 1 (6:06): After an easy mile warm-up, I line up and we
are off. With the wind, it felt like an
easy job despite pushing under the 6 min mark.
The steady wind was ok but the gusts were pushing us into each other,
the curbs, etc. Felt great and settled
Mile 2 (6:17): We are still with the wind and moving fast
and easy at 6ish pace. At about the 1.75
mile comes what we were dreading, turning back into the wind. Paces plummet and runners weep.
Mile 3 (6:56): Fully into the head wind it was brutal. It was a struggle to keep forward momentum
with the gusts. We move into packs
drafting off each other trying to hide from the wind.
Mile 4 (6:55): Suffering and ready to be done. Going over a large exposed overpass our pace
rose to over 8:00 briefly. A lot of passing back and forth as people go out
into the wind to try to push.
Last 0.5 (6:15 pace): Now we turn back with the wind and
kick it home. Let it push us the pace
dropped back to race speed. Dropped the
last 0.15 miles to 5:30 pace to outkick a group of 4 trying to get me.
Overall: 29:27 (6:33 pace). 74th of 3850 overall
and 12 of 386 in my age (25-29). I was
beat, it was the worst conditions I or anyone I talked to have ever raced
in. Some called it dangerous. Kind of disappointed
with my time and place but the conditions made it very tough to judge my
shape. A bunch of people that finished
near me ran 1:04 to 1:06 at a 10mile race in poor conditions (snow, slop, and
wind) 2 weeks ago. If I’m in that kind of shape, I’d be pretty excited. Also got to finally race in my new racing
flats (Mizuno Musha), I like them a lot and had no issues with them. Excited to
try them out some more. I’m looking for
a 5k to run in the near future in hopefully better conditions.