When you're part of the Running of the Irish (the literal translation of "Ras Na Heirann), the best thing to do is throw on some Celtic Punk music and let the drummer carry you through the mileage. I haven't done a lot of running outdoors over the months and I can't remember the last time I ran a race (last fall perhaps?), so all in all, this was going to just be a fun run for me. My fast goal was 40 minutes, my slow goal was 45 minutes. Over the years, as the race has grown, so have the costumes. It is no longer odd to see a guy run in a leprechaun suit, costumes are now the norm for this race unless you're one of the 5 minute miler guys in the front of the race.
So, having never run in a costume before, I figured I'd try making a running skirt. When I bought the fabric last week, the woman in line behind me did the squealie, "Who's going to be a fairy princess?" I was, "Um me." :) She gave me a withering look, but I went home and cut and hand sewed a running skirt for the day. Last night I realized it needed more and ran out to buy something for my hair and some fairy wings. I covered them with the fabric from the skirt and some bad-ass looking sprite wing-like things to wear.
At 10am, the streets were empty, all of a sudden, around 10:20, 4,000 runners came out of nowhere to start lining up. I dutifully lined up about halfway between the 14 minute/mile and walking gates and waited. Ran into folks I knew in the starting chutes and we got ready to run. I cued up the Nike+ and "Knuckles Up" by Flatfoot 56. It took about 6 minutes to cross the official start line from where I started, pushed the button on my watch and was off.
The first hill of the race is a 2-3% grade for about half a mile. I ran along, taking my headphones out to listen to the pipe band playing for the runners at the beginning of the race. Since I didn't have a firm plan, the rhythm I fell into was run for about 3-5 minutes (a song or two) and then walk for about 3 minutes and run some more. I cleared the first mile in 12 minutes. Feeling good and heading downhill, I figured I could ease up on the throttle a bit. Trotting along I walked slowly through the water stop and passed mile 2 at the 26:00 minute mark. I was feeling strong but certainly slowing down and walking a bit more and running a bit less than in the first mile. I was still the run a song/walk a song mode, but I wasn't pushing as hard as I had earlier. Facing the last hill, I was feeling a little worn out. It wasn't as drastic as the starting hill, but it was still enough to make me sigh. Then the song "The Long Road" came on:
It’s a long road, and you’re waiting at the gates for me
...so for him I will run the race marked out before me
It was perfect and drove me up the hill in beat with the drummer as I pounded up the hill step by step to the top. With a smile, I started down the last stretch. I could see the finish arch in the distance and knew I was in the home stretch. As I reached the finish line, I could see Pi off to the side helping at the final gate. I made it across, my watch read 42:17 even though the clock read 48:17. It's OK, I suspect when times are finally posted that the gun/chip times will show 42 is closer to my real time. So I hit in between the two times I set for my goals, which works for me.
Right now, the next up is training for the Doyles 5 miler at the end of April.