I love the Shamrock 5k and I've raced it (or watched others race it) since my college days at UMBC. 2012’s edition would be my first real race back since succumbing to injury in 2010. I've run a couple of low-key, sub-16 5ks and a hard track mile, but this race would be more of an indicator of where I stood in terms of fitness as I progress towards bigger and better things later this spring. I was aiming for a time between 15:15 and 15:30, but more than anything, I wanted to get out there and compete; maybe get my ass kicked, maybe be a dark horse, but definitely get dirty and do some fighting.
As noted in an early post, intelligence reports out of Baltimore indicated a competitive race where no clear winner could be projected. The weather was essentially ideal, albeit a 10-mpw headwind for the first half of the race (which doesn't really matter because of the fast, downhill start). We all stood on the starting line jumping up and down and smacking our thighs. It was quite sunny and even a little warm, but nerves triggered our instincts to dance to the drunken amusement of those on the sidelines. I took one final look around and got fired up. It was any man's race.
When the starting horn finally blew, we poured down Charles Street like a rushing river. My college teammate, Adam “Sugar” Driscoll, bolted to the lead and I tucked in behind him. He told me before the race that his goal was to stay with me "as long as I could". The pace seemed slow and I felt neither smooth nor worked as I strided downhill towards the Inner Harbor. After about a half mile Sugar moved to the side, or slowed some, and I took the lead. I didn't intend to lead the race, but I didn't shy from it either. It just happened. By now three or four sets of feet were pounding the pavement just behind me. The race was beginning. We turned the corner on to Pratt and headed for the mile marker. I think I slowed a little inviting someone else to take over pace-setting duties, but strategically (and smartly), no one took the lead. Instead of worrying about it, I just tried to keep pace and run hard. I hit the mile in 4:41 leading a pack of four. After a couple of minutes, Carlos and Conrad brushed past me on both sides. I grabbed their coattails and hung for as long as I could. At the turn-around (roughly 1.5 in), it was still a four man race and Sugar was somehow still in the game. I could hear a few other footsteps behind me, but I dared not look. Carlos and Conrad were pulling away, slowly. I was now running for bronze. I hit mile two in 9:44, about 8 seconds behind the leaders, and began to feel my lack of fitness. I just had to hold on and grind my way to the finish line. After all, it was only 5 more minutes of racing. Soon after that, Tristiam, and then Dusty, crept passed me, but I wasn’t able to respond to either of them. I know I surged a couple of times in an effort to get back into the game, but I was running on empty.
I turned the final corner and kicked like hell (but it was probably only a shuffle) towards the clock, which already read 15:2_ . Damn, I wasn’t going to break 15:20. Still I kicked because now breaking even 15:30 wasn’t a sure thing.
I ended up running 15:28, which was at the high end of my projection. To be honest, I thought I’d be faster, and 15:19 would have looked a lot better on paper, but I can’t complain too much since this is the first race back. Averaging sub-4:59s isn’t a bad jumping off point. Still it is frustrating to run 40 seconds slower on the same course I raced 2 years ago and also frustrating not being able to put up a fight in the last half of the race. If I could do it over, I suppose I would have gone out a little slower, behind the pack, but there are no do overs and I am content with the fact I gave it a fight. This is certainly a step in the right direction. Now I’ll have to see where things go from here.
1 1/317 Carlos Renjifo M 29 Columbia MD 15:05 15:04 4:51 2 2/317 Conrad Laskowski M 25 Baltimore MD 15:11 15:09 4:53 3 3/317 Tristram Thomas M 25 Baltimore MD 15:20 15:18 4:56 4 1/530 Dustin Meeker M 30 Baltimore MD 15:24 15:22 4:57 5 2/530 Jake Klim M 31 North Bethesda M 15:30 15:28 4:59 6 3/530 David Wertz M 36 Arlington VA 15:37 15:35 5:01 7 4/530 Adam Driscoll M 30 Halethorpe MD 15:42 15:40 5:03 8 5/530 Cory Smith M 33 Philadelphia PA 15:46 15:45 5:04 9 1/23 Thomas Worob, Ii M 18 Denton MD 15:48 15:46 5:05 10 6/530 Christopher Bain M 34 Takoma Park MD 16:13 16:10 5:13 11 4/317 Daniel Miranda M 25 Baltimore MD 16:15 16:12 5:13 12 5/317 Brennan Feldhausen M 27 Baltimore MD 16:18 16:15 5:14 13 7/530 Seth Geoghegan M 32 Columbia MD 16:22 16:21 5:16 14 6/317 Mark Buschman M 27 Columbia MD 16:30 16:28 5:18 15 7/317 Sergio Flores M 27 Abingdon MD 16:32 16:31 5:19 16 8/530 Kris Simms M 39 Baltimore MD 16:42 16:40 5:22 17 9/530 Michael Mashner M 32 Baltimore MD 16:51 16:49 5:25 18 8/317 Stephen Febish M 22 Baltimore MD 16:54 16:51 5:26 19 1/253 David Doherty M 43 Towson MD 16:55 16:53 5:26 20 10/530 Matt Cobo M 35 Cockeysville MD 16:58 16:55 5:27