After running Rock 'n' Roll DC this past Saturday (recap to come) I ran the annual KELLY Shamrock 5K in Baltimore. Since it's Saint Patrick's Day, it seemed appropriate to recap this festive 5K that I have run the past three years.
It's really great but after doing a double header last year, I was not sure if I'd do it again. Of course, it was part of the Charm City Run B3 Race Package which included two other races I was planning on running so I figured why not!
The KELLY Shamrock 5K is a big race that sells out every year and marks the start of spring racing in Baltimore. It is Charm City Run's largest race with 5200 runners but is always well-organized. The 5K happens right before the Baltimore Saint Patrick's Day Parade so it's awesome having everyone already lined up for the parade to cheer for the runners.Everyone is very festive and decked out in everything green!
After a night of drinking and a big Irish dinner, I got back from Washington D.C., with an hour to spare before the race started. I drank some water and Nuun since I was clearly dehydrated and got ready for the race. Partying the night before a race is not recommended! I was not as sore as I expected to be aside from some nagging calf tightness and a sore knot on my right hamstring.
The weather was beautiful and sunny (unlike the previous day) but some strong winds had me wearing a jacket on top and shorts on the bottom. The race ends at PowerPlant Live! so I wanted my jacket with me at the end of the race and decided just to run with it on, even though I'd probably be a little warm during the race.
I walked a few blocks to the start and squeezed into the sea of green-clad runners.
With a race this large, if you are not at the very front you get stuck behind tons of people for the first half of a mile or so. This plus the first mile being so fast and downhill, I always go out fastest for the first mile of this 5K. It's really hard for me not too when I am trying to get to the pace I want to settle in at but can't because people are in front of me. I wish people would take self-seeding more seriously because it can be dangerous!
The first mile was fast, but my legs felt okay. The second mile as we came down Key Highway moved quickly, and I cheered as I saw speedy Sarah running after the turnaround. After the turnaround I was running into the wind which felt awful. I felt like I was having to work a lot harder to move forward. Thank goodness I had my iPod with some music to help me push through it.
Mile 2 was the worst, and I totally felt unprepared to try to run a speedier 5K. A big reminder that I need more speed workouts in my life. As we came back down toward the Inner Harbor I felt better and tried to finish strong. I gave it everything I had at the end as the race flew by. I ended up finishing in 21:58 with an average of 7:05 min/mile. I felt great because that time is just a little over a minute off my PR and close to my faster finishes in this race. I finished 12th in my division which isn't bad either.
I finished, caught my breath and quickly grabbed a banana. My next move was to get in line to grab a free beer of course. I went with the Blue Moon peach beer which was refreshing (and way better than the alternative-Coors Light).
It's a nice post-race atmosphere because most people hang out afterwards and grab food & beer. They had a live band playing 90s cover songs, which for some reason always makes me thing of spring. I always felt like it was spring when I could drive with the windows down and play some upbeat music I love so maybe it comes from that.
Soon after the whole area was really crowded so my boyfriend and I decided to go take a walk around Baltimore and eventually met up with Sarah, her boyfriend, and some friends.
Overall I think this race is a great event. It's a fast course, well-organized, and always has a nice after-race party. It's pretty big for Baltimore which makes the start hectic, especially with the parade going on shortly after.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Also I saw this on RER today and had to share because I have seen many a green smoothie on social media today!
In honor of a bit of Irish in me, I'll be having a beer or two tonight!
Have you ever run a Saint Patrick's-themed race? Do you go out too fast on 5Ks? Are you drinking green beer tonight?