Date/time: Sunday March 16th, 2014 @ 7:40am
Registration/price: I paid $40 for the 15k
Location: Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Events offered: 5k, 8k, 15k
Number of runners: 35,000 (the largest running and walking event in Oregon and the second-largest on the US West Coast)
Beneficiary: Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation
Packet pickup: I registered as part of NW Personal Training's team ($4 from registration went to charity), so I just picked up my packet from their gym. I did feel like I missed out a little on the expo--friends said it was fun--but I liked the convenience of picking it up in Vancouver.
Swag (t-shirts): This year's shirt was fitted green Adidas shirt (NOT Dri-fit fabric!) and for 15k only bottle opener medal. The whole reason I ran this race was to take on Terwilliger in a race and earn the Shamrock 15k medal. The bottle opener medal is okay and the lanyard is a little hokey. T-shirts ran ridiculously small. Apparently it was a production error, and Shamrock's organizers ordered extra shirts available for exchange (although I didn't find that out til the day of the race). Fortunately I'd brought my shirt with me just in case and was able to exchange it for a larger size. Also included: a tiny cup of salmon chowder and a beer but I didn't want to wait in line--we headed to Rock Bottom instead.
Parking: We arrived one hour before the start of the race and parked just two blocks away!
Bag check: Because we parked so close, we did not do bag check, but it was available.
Course: I've only run Shamrock once before. I did the 8k a few years ago when I first started running, and while there's a certain energy and tons of people hitting the bars for more beer afterwards, I didn't love how crowded the course was or the after party. So I swore off Shamrock... Until this year. A ton of friends were running it, and I wanted to take on Terwilliger in a race just once, earn my Shamrock 15k medal and just get it out of my system. The 15k course is medium hard. There's slow gradual uphill on Broadway before you hit the awfulness that is Terwilliger (an unrelenting uphill climb that lasts for miles) before heading downhill for a few miles to the finish.
The race: I was tired. Just a mile in I wished I'd signed up for the 5k instead of the 15k. Every step felt difficult, my legs felt heavy and I felt like I was breathing hard. By the time I got to terwilliger, I just thought AW HELLLL NO. my only goal was to run the entire race, no matter how slow that meant I was moving. And it got slow. Really really slow. But I did it. My favorite part was the bacon and beer aid station at mile 8. I didn't take any bacon but I did grab a little paper cup with about a shot of beer in it and drank that. It didn't feel right not to ;)
Post-race: There were signs pointing toward the 15k medals and water but better, bigger signage would have been helpful. I do appreciate that they attempted to avoid the fiasco of a previous year when non-15kers grabbed the medals that were being handed out at the finish line by having the runners pick up in a separate area and have their bib marked to indicate that they had received their medal. Cell reception sucked for most people. I was lucky that my Straight Talk iPhone 5s didn't seem to have any issues. But just keep in mind that you may not be able to use your cell to find your friends. Have a plan of where you'll meet.
Photos: I looooove that race photos are available for FREE! There were lots of photographers on the course, and I probably found a dozen good ones of me.
Results: Not great. 1:27:54, 9:25 pace.
As much as I don't like huge races where you're constantly weaving around people, Shamrock Run Portland is a really fun and crazy experience.