St. Paddy’s Day weekend brings a fun race to Bay City, and this year I was able to conquer the Irish Double – an 8k followed by a 5k. Leading up to this race, I was trying to come up with a game plan. My husband and his friend were going to be running the 5k, and I was trying to decide if I wanted to try to PR the 8k (thinking there was no way I could) and then run with my husband during the 5k, or if I wanted to take it easy on the 8k and try to get my 30 minute 5k that I have been chasing down. I finally decided that I was going to go HAM on the 8k and then run with my husband for the 5k, hopefully getting him a PR.
The night before I had gone shopping to see if I could find any fun St. Paddy’s day accessories on clearance but I had no such luck. I decided instead to get a bottle of gold nail polish and painted my nails green and gold. I took a picture and sent it to my friends – getting a response back from my friend Staci of a picture with her nails done almost the exact same way! Me and that girl, I swear, we are twins from different families!
Race morning was chilly, but I love running in the cold. I wore my race shirt from the previous year, which was a really cool lime green tech shirt – one of my favorite race shirts ever! I met up with my friends and thought about how far I had come in a year. The year before, I had not met any of my running club friends in person. The year before I came to this race with my family, ran the 8k, and peaced out quickly – not really taking in all that the day had to offer. I realized that before meeting my running friends, races were just about me, myself, and I. Now races have become my chance to get together with all of my friends in one place, enjoying something we all love together.
I started off the 8k with my friend Jenny. We run together often, and in fact met racing in the Crim in 2016. She was also the friend that helped my husband get through his very first 5k running! Once the crowd started clearing up, Jenny went to her run/walk intervals, and I kept running. I hit my first mile in 10:42, definitely a respectable pace, considering my previous 8k PR was an 11:14 pace. Mile 2 I slowed down to 11:11/mile… WHY. WHY is my second mile always, always, always slower than my first? Even though I swear I feel like it is faster! Sometime past the half-way point I passed my friends Staci, Joyce and Renee who were running with My Team Triumph. (The Mission of My Team Triumph: “To enrich the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities by fostering lasting, authentic relationships through the teamwork environment of endurance athletics.” Also from their website: “With myTEAM TRIUMPH, disabled participants get to do it all! They will “Captain” a team of “Angels” through an entire race guaranteeing them their moment of glory as they cross that finish line that so many of us take for granted.”) It was so cool to see my friends (“Angels”) with their Captain! I said to Staci, “Nice nails!” and we laughed.
I picked up the pace a bit for miles 3 and 4 – 10:57 and 10:58 per mile. Somewhere in there, I saw Jenny whiz past me! She didn’t even see me until I caught up to her during one of her walks. She was doing her running intervals SUPER fast because she had dropped something on her foot earlier that week and said it felt like her toenail was going to come off. So she just wanted to be done! Hey, I guess whatever gets you going!
The only thing that I despise about the St. Pat’s race is that I swear the finish line moves. The finish is so long, I think it’s 3/4 of a mile, and you can see that dang finish line for what seems forever. I kicked it into high gear for that last mile, and accomplished what I didn’t think was possible – another 8k PR!
The toughest part of the Irish Double isn’t that you have to do two races. It’s that you have to wait around for the second race to start. For us turtles, it isn’t quite as long as it is for the speedsters, but it is long enough to have your muscles cool down and start shivering! Just before the start of the 5k, our local running group got together for a picture and I think it was the biggest group picture we’ve had! It was so awesome to see everyone that had come out for the race.
The 5k is definitely the bigger of the two races, and unfortunately it meant that we lost people very easily in the crowd. My husband and I decided to run together – he wanted to do run/walk intervals again, so I set my watch to do 2 minute runs and 1 minute walks. The race began, and Ken was off like a rocket. I had to remind him that I had already run 5 miles this morning and that I wasn’t feeling super speedy! I told him if he wanted to leave me in the dust he could, this was his race! But we stuck together and pushed and pulled each other along the way. Once again – 2nd mile was the slowest! But we stayed pretty consistent in our time. Maybe the second worst part about the Irish Double is seeing that dang finish line again for what seems like hours, but it did help having Ken there to push through. When we got closer, Ken sprinted through the finish line. He ended up with an amazing PR of 35:42, shaving off more than a minute from his previous 5k time of 36:59!
Overall we had an amazing day. A PR for me in the 8k and a PR for Ken in the 5k! I am loving that my husband has gotten the running bug (our bank account might not agree) and that we are doing something healthy and fun together!