Monday, March 17, 2008

Where’s Me Bloody Green Beer?

The following is a guest post by my wife. It is her race report from the St. Paddy’s Day 5K which she ran this past weekend.

The Highlands Ranch St. Patrick’s Day 5K forgot one key ingredient for a successful race. I’m sure that Booze Hounds would agree with me: You run a race for the free swag, you run a St. Patrick’s Day race for Free Green Beer!

I got a bottle of water, an apple, an orange and a new homes flier. I think federal inmates eat better. The swag bag looked like a stocking gone wrong from a RE/MAX Santa. I don’t want fruits sleighed across the border and I don’t want your organically grown Whole Foods oranges. I appreciate that no oranges were harmed by angry pesticides during growing or shipping, I eat them all week long after my runs. What I want after your race is ALCOHOL. You may decide what kind. Is it because it was 10am? Because I would have happily run later in the day, plus I’m pretty sure that rule doesn’t apply after a race or on vacation. I would also be willing to run it in the Bahamas- they would probably blend my fruit up with some rum for me. Is it because I only ran a 5K? I would run it again for some Free Green Beer.

Ian loves getting race shirts. It makes him feel cool. He can’t wear his running gear to the movies, so he likes to wear a shirt that proves his addiction. I however, am over cheap cotton, garish-logoed T-shirts that are going to look like a car rag in a month. They are just more shirts I’ll have to hide at the bottom of Ian’s shirt drawer. My St. Paddy’s Day wearable is a really soft white technical shirt! Best race shirt I ever got. Problem is they printed a clip art leprechaun in a tragically wrong green on the front and stamped company logos all over the back- I know those logos paid for the shirt, maybe next time they’ll spring for food. (OK, I’m over it. Really.)

The race was a Bolder Boulder qualifier- I say was because after they read this, it might not be. It was also not on St. Patrick’s Day but I don’t think the Bolder Boulder cares about that.

When my company plans social events we go over A LOT of details, sometimes we have to make small, last-minute changes. When I’m waiting for a race to start I often appreciate how well planned it is and notice how well the masses of people are routed. The Highlands Ranch St Patrick’s Day 5K was very well organized: the tents were well placed, there were extra staff to move cattle to appropriate lines, there was free, pre-race lukewarm Starbucks (hey, Starbucks is Starbucks), motivational music, a great announcer that was actually audible, and a warm pub that I could stand in and dream of... what else... green beer.

Ten minutes before the race, I began looking for the start. The finish was excitingly visible. No starting line… No wait, here it comes, race officials were bringing it up the street. (It wasn’t supposed to be on this street.) Last minute changes I guess, I hope they measured well from where it was supposed to be. Why did it get moved? It did make more sense in its new location, but it created one glitch- The course would cross the finish line 3 times. Really. After the announcer yelled “Go”, (I’m always disappointed- seriously call the track coach and get a starters pistol) runners crossed the finish line within the first tenth of a mile and then turned right. (#1) With a quarter mile remaining we ran past it again in the opposite direction (#2) and then looped back around a Cul de Sac and headed back to the finish (#3). After the first pass Ian overheard a volunteer say “they’re running back over this mat when they come back? That won’t work!” (Keep in mind all the racers were gone now.) “You can’t have people running both ways across the mat! You’ve got about twelve minutes to fix it!”

When you call a 5K a “run/walk” you obviously get some folks who are going to walk, you hope that they won’t line up towards the front. It’s really good to see that all those people are working on their fitness and trying to get faster. It’s refreshing, when so many people strap a Slendertone® to their green-beer gut and try to drop 50 pounds while eating their Sam’s Club Tub-O-Cheetos. (Sorry, soapbox.) I’d just be more refreshed if you wouldn’t work on your fitness WALKING 3 people across on a frickin’ bike trail. Again, people please etiquette! I realize my crabbing is ill-placed because the 21 minute 5K runners had no problem. They were long gone. Yes, I want to be Mrs. Half-Fast and for you to just stay out of the way!

That’s me in the middle, without the feather boa.

In the last 5K that I ran in September I posted a time of 34:18. [Ed. Note: Race report here] I read in Runner’s World that shaving 20 seconds off your time was impressive but I was not about to be impressed with a 20 second deduction.
With the sweat that I’ve invested, I’ve earned more than a 20 second return. I felt much stronger, faster, and more in control than I did at my last 5K. This was in part due to running with a Garmin and partially due to more intense training. I have been completing tempo runs at a 10:30 pace, so I knew that I could achieve that pace during this race. I was actually slightly faster as I finished in 31:54 (10:17 pace). A new PR! It felt good, even though I probably just screwed myself in the Shave Your 5K Challenge. As if that wasn’t enough, the FIRST plan calculates your training pace based on your current 5K time so my workouts will be speeding up. Additionally, the McMillan Calculator indicates that I should run the Bolder Boulder 10K in 1:06:16 which just sounds like crazy talk to me but I think Ian is expecting it now. [Ed. Note: Actually with 10 more weeks of training I’m expecting closer to an hour.]

Want to run faster? Train harder. It works and I hate it- during my FIRST intervals I’m pretty sure I curse under my breath- sometimes they slip out. (Confidential to the red-head with the Pekinese: Please tell your mommy I’m sorry you learned that word from me- someday you’ll understand.)


  1. Cool write up! And yes you should be going closer to an hour with your progression.

    Note to self...BYOB...

  2. What the foul-mouthed interjection is this crap?! I almost stopped reading after seeing that there was no beer -- green or otherwise -- to look forward to in this report. Great job on the PR!

    Let this be a lesson in future race selection.

  3. Excellent job! Too bad you couldn't catch up with the green feather boa lady, knocked her over, and absconded with the boa. Then, you could have had a boa AND used the word "absconded" in a race report. A win-win.

  4. I fully intended to be the first one on here to say congratulations, but then I forgot.

    Anyway, congrats honey! Shaving two and a half minutes off your previous 5K PR in 6 months is awesome!

  5. I would have waited at the finish for you with a green martini. Although you passed the finish 3 times so that might not have done much for your PR, me throwing martini's at you, I know you can't resist them.

  6. Awesome job! Nice PR!

    No beer? That's one of the reasons why I opted out of our St. Patty's day 5k! That and 8 degree weather!

  7. Hilarious post, as I just did the 12K across the Golden Gate yesterday, and yeah...the walkers!

    Great job on the PR, and personally, you should have ripped the boa off of her and kept running.


  8. Great 5k!!! Awesome PR!!!

    I still think you would be a good nemisis, minus the fact that you live together, you'd be perfect!!! :o)

    sorry about the no beer. . . . I'm not a big drinker (been DD for 5 yrs, so the thrill has wore off for me)PLus, I'm a light weight now, I'm 1/2 in the bag before the first beer is gone--sad, I know.

    But after this last week, I'm reconsidering my position on not drinking. I figure its like running, the more I do, the more I can handle! Potential for running with a beer prize at the finish!!!

  9. My lord, that's a major improvement. Totally gives me hope. I am so pissed for you on the no beer situation. That isn't right.

    I'm thinking that FIRST has done some major things for both of you. Gawd, now I'm going to have to check it out.

  10. Just imagine how fast your time would have been with the promise of free beer at the end. I hope those race coordinators were in receipt of a very stern mail message!

    Cheers to you!!!

  11. Hooray - she blogs!

    I hope Vanilla had some green beer waiting for you at home.

  12. Great race report, Mrs. Half Fast! WTG on setting a heck of a PR!

    Vanilla we demand to hear from the Mrs. more often :-)

    No green beer on a St. Patty's race is just not right.

  13. I'm very late on this, but I really enjoyed your report. Congrats on the new PR! I PRed in my (day before) St. Pat's Day race too, which is definitely going to make the SY5K tough. Mine at least had free beer at the end, though it was not green.


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