To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Shamrock 15K - Third and Done.

Third times a charm? No. More like “three strikes, you’re out!” That’s my review of the Shamrock 15K in Portland, Oregon this St. Patrick’s Day.

2011 was my first attempt. It was the first time I had run on anything with such crazy hills, and also the first time I had a mid-race Meniere’s attack. When I crossed the finish line I said what we all say at one time or another … never again! In 2012 I was back again, determined to improve my time – and I got myself a 10 minute PR. And again, I said “Never again!” By the time we were at breakfast after the race I told Cilley Girl that I was in for 2013. You can probably put the pieces together … this time I am serious “Never again!!

Going into this very tough race I had run only 13 miles since Goofy Weekend in Walt Disney World. Can we say un-prepared?? I had a goal of just finishing and enjoying myself. It’s been a constant Meniere’s struggle for me in 2013, so I knew that I wasn’t going to be on my game like last year, and I was fine with that. I bought myself a bright green shirt, pulled out a new skirt and was on my way north for a weekend of fun with my bridesmaid and future groom! First up we hit the expo. I scored with a first aid kit, some chips and a green Camelback water bottle with the race logo on it – I spent not even one penny! As per usual, we had Raccoon Lodge and tater tots (a key to any successful race!!). We spent the day very relaxed, watching the Hangover and its sequel…required viewing to be in the wedding of the ‘Zilllas! Early to bed we went, ready for a tough, wet morning.

Woke up on race day, turned myself pretty darn green, grabbed some water and a Power Crunch bar and called it good. We got to the race much later than my nerves can handle, which I think Cilley Girl relished in (meanie!). But I had plenty of time to hit the potty while MF dropped off our bag of clothes. Soon Cilley and I split up and MF and I jumped in and took off to start 9.3 difficult miles. But you know what we didn’t have?? Rain!! For the first time the entire race was dry! Go figure. MF says it is because HE was running, he claims he brings good weather.

The course now starts with a long out and back along the same stretch the Portland Marathon covers. I’m pretty over that section – especially the part that is filled with an overwhelming stench of urine. Once we turned and went back into the downtown streets I enjoyed the new scenery. Oh – so in that long out and back part everybody was moving together in a nice, big pack. From right behind me I hear a dude. “Whoa, look at all the thick runners. People in Oregon are probably 75 pounds heavier than in Indiana.” This didn't sit well with me, especially since he was right behind me at the time. After loudly repeating what he said so other Oregonians could hear I believe it went something like “Why don’t you and your beard go back to Indiana?” Ass hat.

Water. No medal, but we got water...
So back through town, I am very excited to report I ran over 2 entire miles with zero walking! I haven’t done that in ages due to things like, oh, character photo stops in a theme park! Grabbed water at the first top and continued on my way. I started breaking up small walk segments during the mini-incline just to save energy for the BIG one at mile 4. We dropped down into the major section of the race and I recognized we were almost at the base of the hill where there was a water stop. I had us each take a gel so we’d have that boost going into the climb. We get to the water stop … the tables are empty. “Are you kidding me? No water?” Everyone says they have more up the hill. This did NOT sit well with the runners that know that means TWO MILES AWAY. So after 35 years of putting on this race they can’t have plenty of water for the mid-pack runners? I was so pissed off that I stormed my way up a good chunk of the first hill, taking advantage of the adrenaline. MF and I continued moving, running on anything not steep, and quickly walking up the steep parts.

Cheap socks? Yes. But cute!
At the top I heard the bagpipes and knew water was close! I ran up the last segment and saw tables on their sides and put away. Again not sufficient water. I was able to get a small cup from a volunteer, at which point I channeled the disappointment of the whole production and used it to haul ass downhill. MF and I didn’t really talk anymore, instead focused on forward momentum and staying in the low 9’s on my Garmin. Nothing spectacular to report. Just running, a couple walk breaks to keep me from pushing and then fizzling since I haven't been training. We did see a spectator in his pajamas fixing bacon and serving it to runners! It was in the last mile that I told MF the whole Earth was moving around on me. I battled vertigo off and on the whole race and it was now really before me. I decided to just focus far ahead, try to not hit any runners with any drifting I may do and just push it. I signaled MF when I was about to turn on my final kick and then took off, flying through the finish line.

Hooray! I did it! And then it happened ... puking at the finish again. Just like the good ol' days - only this time I think it was due to sprinting through a Meniere's attack. A lot of factors were adding up against me. But I didn't care - I puke like a pro now! As my timing chip was being snipped off of my shoe we heard it... THE announcement that would infuriate tons of runners and cause me to just finally say No More. "Attention runners, we have just run out of medals." WHAT? Are you freaking kidding me? Less than 8 minutes from a PR, tons of runners behind me and you are out of medals for all of us that worked so hard??
Bonus of the race: 50% off at the Adidas store!
They say they are mailing them out to us, so hopefully it arrives when they say it will. But really, is a medal after the fact as exciting to get as it is at a finish line when you are celebrating another victory with your friends? The whole finish line turned to chaos with tons of upset and confused people. I didn't even stay for the after party because I was just annoyed. Running out of water AND medals? I learned later they ran out of the beer that we runners were also supposed to get a free cup of with our entry. Poor planning. Terrible organization. It was just really disappointing. *I learned at the Adidas campus that the head guy there ran, also missed out on water and a medal and was NOT pleased and wants to know who/what/why to all of these issues and does not want the Adidas name to be associated with something so dysfunctional.

At breakfast we continued to discuss the race. Turns out 5K and 8K runners were getting our medals. Volunteers were handing them to everyone and open boxes of them were left on the ground for anyone to take. Not. Cool. Facebook was filled with tons of comments about how this race did not live up to the past years and that they might not do it anymore. As far as running, I am really happy! I made a conscious effort to not slack even though I was undertrained and dizzy the whole time. I ran past a mural of Steve Prefontaine 2.2 miles into the race. I declared then that I was going to have a good personal performance ... and I really did! It was just the boost I needed to get me back!


  1. I would LOSE MY MIND if a race ran out of water AND medals.

    Do you read Running Ricig?? She is also a runner (duh), and has Meniere’s - she's pretty successful, I think, at running with it, might be an interesting read for you!

  2. Sounds crappy. Boo. But good job toughing it out and trying hard, anyway.

    1. Yeah - I think three times on an insane course is enough, right? Right! At least I left my mark - so to speak - with my little puddle of vomit! ;)

  3. 2012 was the best year! I'm so sorry you guys didn't get your medals. That whole fiasco stinks.

  4. Not cool. What's up with the running out of medals trend?

    1. Right? Not hard to say "this color bib ONLY gets a medal". Ssh, whatever. Lame. They said mine is on the way!

  5. Boo!! No medals??!?! And no water?? Definitely - three strikes and you are out.

    1. I just got an email last night - my medal may be here next week! Yay!

  6. Great job but it does sound like a crappy race. I definitely wouldn't go back.


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