Race: The Leprechaun 2 Mile Run
Place: Jeffersonville, Indiana
Date: March 12, 2013
Last year, this race was known as The Shamrock 2 Miler and if you will recall…it was a somewhat toasty 76 degrees at race time. I was reveling then in the beautiful evening. And cursing the heat after the race because…76 degrees is comfortable when you’re mulling about…but it warms up fast when you are running a race…especially a shorter one where you can give a little more sooner than you normally would.
This year, however, it was 53 degrees when I arrived, but we had serious winds going on. Over 10 mph gusts (The Weather Channel said winds were gusting near 20 mph) were sweeping down the streets of Jeffersonville, sending my ponytails fluttering in its wake and driving a lot of the runners inside the 300 Spring building where packet pick-up was happening. Honestly, last year after I got my packet, I headed outside…walked around…enjoyed the weather. This year…I parked myself in a chair inside until it was close enough to race time to stretch. I got to say “HI” to Dawn and Matthew who ventured by, so that was nice. I love seeing friendly and familiar faces at the runs. I even saw Derek from BlueMile as well. I was still sitting and not stretching or warming up.
I’m not good about stretching when it’s cold. Or when I’m cold. Or both. Seriously.
Believe me…I was not looking forward to stepping outside, but race organizers made the announcements that runners needed to start heading toward the starting line as the race would begin in 15 minutes. Honestly, I need to get over being the ‘cold runner’ because there were people out there in way less clothing than me looking very comfortable and doing a few sprints to warm up. No kidding. Me…I was walking around with my arms crossed and shivering in the wind. I am such a wimp when it’s even slightly chilly out. I mean, I run in the cold pretty much every early morning I get up to do my training runs…but there is something about racing in the cold that just discourages me. I can’t put my finger on it.
Anyway…Cathy and I ventured outside. It was sunny and windy and I knew the start line was further up from the finish chutes that runners return to (women on the left, men on the right). But no one else was venturing that way. So I started heading there…and stopped…because I was by myself. The race organizers, the Fast Freddie people, came to announce where the start line was and that runners and walkers should move that way, with runners, children, strollers and pets toward the back of the pack giving runners the space they needed at the front.
And now…the pilgrimage of runners began. Heck, I could have beat them all there. As it was, I was one of the first to arrive at the start anyway…just behind a couple of track teams. Track teams are often encouraged to come out for this race as it is fast and flat. But, dang, they always win everything. LOL! The high schoolers dominated this year, for sure…but I am getting ahead of myself. As I was one of the first to arrive, I had a spot right on the green tape they placed across the road to signify where the race started. I felt out of place standing up there at the front. I normally avoid being up there because I am certainly not one of the fastest runners in this area and I never believe I rightfully belong there. Everyone else was hanging back, and I was boxed in right there…so regardless of whether I felt like I should be up there or not…I was now up there.
I finally shucked the hoodie…even though I didn’t want to. The wind was strong and chilly…but this was a 2 mile run, so at least I wouldn’t be cold for too long. As it was, I had on my green compression socks, my capri running pants and an orange tech shirt. I knew, being a St. Patrick’s Day themed race, that most people would be in green. I was right…so I sort of stuck out more than others did. We were told the race would start in about 5 minutes, so a few track members sprinted out away from the line to keep those muscles loose and warm. Me…I don’t think I ever really loosened up my muscles or got warm. But, that’s typical for me. The sad thing was…it wasn’t really even that cold. The wind just made it feel colder.
With everyone back behind the starting line, the race organizer got on the bullhorn and said that the race would begin with a “Runners ready…and then the blow of the whistle.” He gave the verbal cue and then…whistle blow.
And the track team left me in the dust. Honestly. I was coming into this race having run twice the day before and hitting up the gym for a hard cardio and strength training routine. So, tired legs…you betcha. But, I never really let that get me down…or slow me down too much. Not when it comes to racing. My own training runs…sure…I’ll take it easy and slow and not worry so much on time. But racing…no. That competitive nature…not really with others, but with myself, kicks in. Especially on races I have run previously…because I have a time I want to beat.
I admit, I pushed hard on this one. It’s not a difficult course at all. Basically, you run down the street until you get to the little island of trees, run around that, head back. Last year, with the weather being warmer, people were out mowing their lawns…and it made for a difficult push. This year…no lawn mower fumes or grass clippings to contend with. Just run with all your heart, round that island of trees and come back home. Simple. I was pushing myself for this. Why? Because I needed a good, hard run this week and I had been taking it rather easy on my training runs. My legs were tired, but I wanted to really challenge them.
The run out felt like it was over in a flash. I saw runners heading back the other way as I was coming up to the bend in the road to take me toward the island of trees. But there it was…the almost halfway point. I circled the trees and passed the Mile 1 marker…ignoring the clock. And that was when all of the runners had the fun (insert sarcasm) of running straight into that crazy wind. I mean, this wind was strong. And while we might have had it to our backs for the first half, we were taking it straight on now.
The last mile of the race was a battle between gusts of wind and those little calm moments. They were few and far between, but you work with what Mother Nature hurls at you, right? I was recognizing buildings from the start of the race, so that meant I was close to the finish. Up ahead, I could see the little glow of the red clock as it counted up the minutes each racer was taking. I tried to push, but the wind was laughing at me. Mocking me. So, it was then that you just let up and have some fun with it. I pushed as much as I could and ducked to the left to finish in the proper chute, crossing at the exact same time as one of the male entrants. I was handed a card and my medal for being in the top 100.
Cathy hurried over to me to tell me I was just flying at the end so she didn’t get the finish line shot. BUMMER! I hate not having that shot…even if I am blurry. I just want to see me at that line. No such luck this year. But, I did have an official new 2 mile PR…of 14:42. Which…is good. Yes. It is good. But I can’t help but wonder…if we had less wind…what I could have been capable of.
We moved back inside the building to fill out my card with my official time and information. These would later be used for the door prizes…which we stuck around for this year, and of course my name wasn’t drawn. If I leave…it’s always picked, LOL! But it was fun. I was coveting the Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt…but had no money with me to buy one. But now I was craving. Damn late runs when I don’t get dessert. So, we stuck it out for the door prizes, then took leave. I said goodbye to Dawn and Matthew and congratulated them as well on great racing.
Official results of The Leprechaun 2 Mile Run is that I was finished in 14:42. I was 37/171 finishers. I was also 7/105 women to cross the finish line. That…is awesome. And I love doing this little run. It’s a nice, short race that allows you to really push without having to pace yourself. Can’t wait to do it again next year!