Monday, March 17, 2008

Running The Shamrock Run 15K

I am in Portland, Oregon for a few days to present at WritersUA, a technical writing conference and while I was driving through town on Saturday, a poster for the 30th annual Shamrock Run caught my kids' eye. I checked out the website and found out that there was still a chance to register on race day. Better yet, the race start and finish line was two blocks away from our hotel.

I got up early and since we were also going to go for a hike later that day, Vicky and the kids decided to watch the race from the hotel window :) When I arrived at the start of the race, I instantly understood why Portland is rated the 5th-fittest city in the United States: there were 16,000 runners running in the 5K, 8K, and 15K combined!

I decided to run the 15K and despite the huge crowd it only took me five minutes to get a race bib (they were out of chips for the late registration) and just two minutes to check in my clothes, thanks to the hundreds of fantastic volunteers and an impeccable organization.

Never having run a 15K, not knowing the terrain, and not having run any short races for a while, I really had no idea what I could expect as a finishing time. I lined up towards the front of the roughly 2500 15K runners, after having seen the 5K starting line take almost the full 13:30 that it took Dan Brown to finish and win the 5K to simply get past the starting line.

We took off, touching the Shamrock race banner for good luck, and after a short tour of the downtown we started a pretty good climb. Whenever you see several race signs that make fun of going up a steep hill ahead, you know that you're going to be in for a pretty good climb and, sure enough, this one did not disappoint. The first 4.5 miles were all uphill (approximately 600' climb) and it only really started dropping back down at mile 7.

Elevation Profile of Portland's Shamrock Run 15K

The course was really pretty and I enjoyed running in the new environment. I paced pretty well and went faster than I expected. I hit mile 6 in under 42 minutes, which surprised me a little bit. At mile seven, the race joined with the (3000+ ?) 8K runners and the 15K runners started weaving through the crowd. Towards the end, the two races ran in different lanes and I picked up the pace for the last half mile. I sprinted past about three runners who had previously passed me just seconds before the finish line. I finished in 1:03:30, in about 24oth place overall (a new PR by default for this new distance, but one I was quite happy with). I grabbed some water and within ten minutes, I was back at our hotel room.

We went for a great hike at Multnomah Falls later in the day. The hike features a one-mile, 600' climb to an observation deck at the top of the waterfall. This is the second highest waterfall in the United States -- pretty spectacular.

Race Details (Motionbased):

Next up: Rucky Chucky 50K (Note: the first aid station of this race cannot be reached by trucks, so there will not be aid for the first 13 miles of the race, so if you're running this race, bring extra water bottles -- so much for using this as a supported training run :)


Catherine said...

Congratulations on the fast finish. Sounds like no short races hasn't hurt your speed!
I'll see you Saturday but I will be volunteering.

hao said...

great job, peter.

good luck finding the perfect shoes for the through run. i'll likely run somewhere between 10~20 miles for pacing on the weekend of your through-run since I also have cascade crest 100. unlike michael, i don't have a 100 miler to my credit yet. so i am planning on preserving a bit the weekend before. to make up for the short pacing run, i'll definitely be around to crew for you, bring you some icecream/milkshakes. :) you can email me at so we can arrange the details.



Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Nice sprinting. Those falls look intense--was it like the photo in the link? See you this Saturday (thanks for offering to drive me from Auburn--my family will appreciate it).

adidas San Francisco Urban Run said...

Love your blog, and it was nice to get to talk to you and Scott after Rucky Chucky! Good luck on meeting your goal at Tahoe!

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

24th out of 2,500? That's super strong!


Peter Lubbers said...

Hi Dave,
No, it was 240 out of 2500.
Looking at the latest unofficial results, however it looks more like 160 out of 2447, but the results are a bit mixed up and are still subject to change. Anyway, top 10% for sure, which was better than expected.

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