Portland Shamrock Run 15K

The Portland Shamrock Run is famous for two things: Beer and clam chowder. That’s right. Everyone gets both after finishing the race. No bananas, no Powerbars, no sports drinks. Just beer and chowder.

I’m smack in the middle of my Boston Marathon training program and this weekend I opted out of my long run and decided to compete in my first 15k race. What a challenging distance! The Shamrock Run was not easy. The course was hilly. My legs were fatigued and my body just didn’t seem ready to race at 8:40 on a Sunday. Despite all of that, it was a great race. I even had a one-person cheering section at the finish line.

The day went like this:

4:45 AM: Alarm clock buzzed. “It’s RaceDay,” I proclaimed with excitement. Does anyone else have a weird habit of waking up extremely early the day of competition with the giddiness that falls somewhere between Christmas morning and going out on a third date?

5:15-6:45 AM: Drank two cups of coffee, one cup of tea, ate one bowl of butternut squash with pumpkin seeds. Read the Parade section of the newspaper.

7:30 AM: Got dressed. Lubed feet with BodyGlide, triple-checked I had everything I needed for the race.

8:00 AM: I arrived at the starting area of the race with plenty of time to warm up. I was really happy to see how many runners there were. The announcer said that there were over 16,000 participants. Of course that was split up between the 5K, 8K and 15K races, but it was cool to see how many people were out early on an overcast and cold Sunday morning.

8:40: The 15K began. We’re off! With over two thousand runners it was a messy start with lots of shuffling and trying to get around runners. I hate that part. About 1/4 mile into the race I paired up with a guy sporting Ironman tattoos on his calves and an Ironman hat. Together we worked through the crowds and passed the first mile marker. My legs felt cold and sleepy.

Mile 2: The Ironman passed me and was off on his race. I was OK with that. Running with an Ironman for even a few minutes felt great.

Mile 2.5: I had heard rumors that the 15k was hilly. I was not prepared for just how hilly it was. My legs still felt tired and I just couldn’t get into race mode. It didn’t feel hard, but I didn’t feel fast.

Mile 3: More hills. It leveled off for a bit, only to keep climbing. This was not turning out to be a easy run.

Mile 4: Still on the hills! At the half way point we passed a bagpipe band and my legs finally started to wake up. I passed a woman going up a hill and she said “wow, it’s like you’re not even working.” If she only knew.

Mile 5-6: Downhill at last. I felt good. My pace felt right and I was discouraged that it took so long to find a good rhythm.

Mile 7: I felt strong. I passed some runners.

Mile 8: I start calculating how many more minutes until I would reach the finish line. I chugged along. I was tired but happy to be racing on such a great morning with such great runners.

Mile 9: Why did the finish line look so far away? I finished determined, fatigued and somewhat fast.

Overall impressions: I felt like I should have been faster, but that somehow it just wasn’t in me today. My legs were not very fresh feeling. I also felt like today’s race was absolute proof that I need to do more hill and speed work if I want to be ready for Boston. I’ve been stuck in a rut of doing what I do best: long mileage at a very consistent pace.


Great race atmosphere.

Tons of impressive, fast amazing runners.

Amazing post-race breakfast

Time: 68:08

Average: 7:18/mile
Division Place: 22/263

59th out of 1221 female runners!


About heatherdaniel

I'm a runner, writer, eater and traveler.
This entry was posted in Boston Marathon, portland, race report, running. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Portland Shamrock Run 15K

  1. Rosa says:

    Hi! I just stumbled across your blog while browsing, and notice you mention using bodyglide on your feet. Is that to stop blisters? I’ve never heard of lubing feet before (I am a reasonably novice runner, done a few 10km and 15km races and training for my first half-marathon now), but I get blisters everywhere on my feet, and use strapping tape to minimalise… Just curious.


  2. heatherdaniel says:

    Yes, I use BodyGlide on my feet to prevent blisters. I used to have huge blister problems and found that the combination of BodyGlide all over them (between toes and on hot spots like the heels and big toe) and a pair of good socks like SmartWool or Balega have really improved the health and happiness of my feet.

    Congrats on training for your first 1/2 marathon. When is the race?

  3. smchurchi says:

    Woo Hoo, Heather! You did great! And what a fantastic race report. I agree: 15k’s are tough. I never know if I’m running too fast or too slow. (When I ran my 1/2 in Florida I started out too slowly.)

    Sounds like you had a great race and 59th out of 1200+ females is outstanding!

    Look out Boston, here comes Heather!

  4. heatherdaniel says:

    I know… I felt like I had a hard time figuring out what pace I should keep. It’s great to swap race reports with you. It keeps me motivated and inspired.

  5. johnking82 says:

    chowder and beer afterwards….where do I sign up!

  6. Kevin says:

    Saw your blog…I ran the Shamrock 5k and 15K not on purpose..well the 5K then when I got finished the 15K started. It was hilly. I came all the way from NJ and visiting my niece and nephew in school. I did Bad not even sure what they don’t have my gun/chip time. came in 149 out of 160 in the 45-49 male range, 1:42??. my last 15K was 1;27:30..yes I’m a snail..yet survived cancer 20 years woo hoo!!!! People are friendly in portland walked away with a case of water..then couldn’t find my car.
    Doing Marine corp in October for Team In Training

  7. 88*Keys says:

    I ran the 5K at this event, and you’re right, the crowding made it really difficult — there were (appropriately enough) 5K runners doing the 5K. Since this wasn’t open to walkers, that was five thousand RUNNERS, meaning that the crowding I usually expect for the first half mile of a marathon persisted for the first two miles of the 5K! I am pretty sure that cost me a PR, since I missed it by six seconds. 😦

    I had to smile at your description of what it feels like when you wake up — nope, you’re not the only one! I love waking up on the morning of a race!

  8. Rosa says:

    Sorry, I’m a bit slow with coming back to you. πŸ™‚ I have Thorlo socks (I live in New Zealand, and they’re pretty top-notch as running socks go here, but don’t know comparisons), and always use strapping tape on my instep to stop blisters there, but there are a couple of other spots where I perpetually have blisters on blisters now… I might have to try the BodyGlide thing. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the heads-up!

    The race is not until June – I’m a third of the way into the 12 week training programme, so far so good!

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