Catch the Leprechaun is a popular race held each year around, you guessed it, St. Patricks Day. Since the race is on a weeknight and a 40 minute drive, though, I’ve never raced it before. Luckily, this years’ race happened to fall on speed work night it was easier to justify the evening away.
The weather was calling for about 47 degrees, but a check in the morning revealed that it was also going to be windy. Like, 14 mph gusts windy. So, just in case, I packed 3 sets of clothes. (Hey, can’t say I wasn’t prepared). I left work wearing long sleeves and running tights. I arrived about 5:20 to pick up my number, confident I had chosen the right outfit. Walking to get my bib I was freezing. But when I left my car again to use the restroom, the wind had died down a bit and I got warmer. I discussed my options with 4 different people, because I guess I thought maybe they’d know my typical exercise body temperature enough to tell me if I should change (they didn’t). Upon my return to the car I made a last minute decision to change into my capris and the only t-shirt I had, the race shirt.
Melissa and I ran a quick warm up, threw our jackets into the car and headed for the start where we found John and hung out around the front with him. With 5 minutes to spare we posed for a picture.
But the sun was directly in our faces so we turned around and tried again.
Not much better. I just needed to grow about a foot to block the sun. Or maybe I should have had John stand in the middle. Hindsight.
Catching the Leprechaun is a little mis named, because in reality the person dressed as the Leprechaun waits until most of the group starts running and works his way up to the front. So really you’re trying to avoid HIM catching YOU.
I overshot my abilities at the last 5k, running 2 quick miles and then hitting a 3rd that was more than 15 seconds longer than the first two. So this time I aimed to see if I could run a steady 7:05.
Mile 1 (7:04)
The horn went off and the group began running. As always, I shot out too fast, saw my pace was at a 6:45 and started to slow down. That’s me, in the blue, looking pained. Note how the girl in front of me looks amazing. I hate her a little for that, but I caught up to and passed her before the end of the race so TAKE THAT RANDOM NICE LOOKING RACE PICTURE GIRL!
But I digress. The first quarter mile included a small hill, but overall I felt ok pace wise.
Mile 2 (7:05)
I stayed pretty consistent through most of this mile, and not much to report here. But I felt better than I did in Mile 2 of Charlie Post and hoped this was a good sign for the rest of the race.
Mile 3 (7:12)
Just kidding. I’m not sure what happens when I hit mile 3, but my body is like “sorry honey, this isn’t happening”. I actually started out the mile in the 7:20’s and slowly (and PAINFULLY) increased it to a 7:18, then a 7:18 – back down to a 7:18, and finally up to a 7:12. It was the LONGEST MILE EVER. It was also (dammit) windy.
Last .15 (6:52)
Lord knows where it came from but I was able to kick it a bit faster to the end. I’m sure the downhill helped.
I crossed the finish line in 22:25 – 13 seconds slower than my last 5k. My average pace was exactly the same, but since the course ran longer of course it added time. Sucks because I actually tried to run the tangents this time. Still, I wasn’t disappointed given the wind and wasn’t sure how I’d perform 10 days after the half anyway.
Melissa and I took a pic with the Leprechaun (who did not catch up to me!), where I took a particularly awesome picture with my eyes closed.
On the plus side I won 2nd in my age group and a couple of my speed work friends won something too, so we stood around freezing to death waiting for awards.
Race Time: 22:25 (7:06 average)