ShamRock & Roll 5K Race Recap

On March 4th, I ran the ShamRock & Roll 5K in New Haven, CT.  Since St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, I had been wanting to run this race since I first heard about it back in November.  I hesitated to sign up since the race was the weekend following the Princess Half Marathon since I wasn’t sure how I’d be feeling afterwards.  My legs started feeling normal again about 4 days after the half, which was also the deadline for registering.  So the taunting of a free tech shirt and the fact that the race was 10 minutes from my house beat out my soreness from the half, and I registered.

It was chilly the morning of the race.  The temperature was somewhere in the high 30s and it was overcast and breezy.  I actually prefer running in this weather compared to warm weather, so I didn’t mind, but I felt bad for Barry who was standing around waiting for me to finish.  I wore shorts, which might have been pushing it a bit…my legs were freezing!!

Check out my awesome shamrock Bondiband!

When we arrived at the race site, everything seemed disorganized.  The finish line was outside of a music venue called Toad’s Place and everyone seemed to be crowded around this area.  We walked around the corner to where I thought the start line was supposed to be, but there was no signage and no people around.  I was confused.  We headed back to Toad’s Place in search of water and to see what was going on.  At that point I heard someone announce that we should all head over the the starting line.  OK, and where would that be??  Tons of people started pouring out of Toad’s Place, which little did I know, was where everyone was hanging out (in the warmth) before the race.  Like a salmon swimming upstream, I made my way inside to grab a few cups of water and then followed the crowd of festive runners to the starting area.

Runners dressed up…is that a kilt towel??

We arrived at the starting line and it was exactly where I thought it was.  15 minutes prior, this area was deserted and now it was jam packed!  I got close to the front of the group since I knew I was going to be slow and didn’t want to finish last.  These smaller races usually are full of people who run faster than me!

Crowd at the starting line

A very tall gentleman next to me saw me taking that picture of the crowd and made a comment that I’ll need to get higher than that.  Unfortunately my 5’3″ size only gets me so high.  So he offered to take a picture for me of in front of us and behind us, which he said was much more impressive.  I could only take is word for it at the time.  What a generous offer from a stranger, and I wasn’t even in Disney!

Starting line from much higher above!
Behind me at the starting line

The race began a few minutes late and I couldn’t even hear the announcements they were making.  I knew we started when the group started moving.  The race went through the Yale University campus, which is very beautiful.  The historic buildings are great to look at.  New Haven can get a bad rap, but I love this city.  The course was a pretty straight out and back on a relatively flat road.  There were some gradual inclines around the half mile mark and right before the finish line (not nice!).

A nice addition to this race were electronic time clocks at all of the mile markers.  At the last race I ran with this organization back in December, the Christopher Martins 5K, they had volunteers at each mile yelling out the time from their phones.  Big improvement with the clocks!  Another plus on this race, was the addition of entertainment on the course.  There were 2 bands set up playing live music to get the runners energized.  I guess this was to be expected since the race had rock & roll in the title, but I really enjoyed it.

Once I started running I realized that this probably wasn’t the best idea.  My legs immediately started screaming and all the soreness from the Princess Half came right back.  This was going to be a long 3 miles.  I finished the 1st mile in about 12 minutes and was starting to feel a bit better as my body warmed up.  I kept going along at this pace and was feeling ok, well that was until just after mile 2.  My calves started seizing up and my psoas injury was starting to rear its ugly head.  Ugh.  I decided to slow down to walk for a little bit and give my legs a rest, but this was a HUGE mistake.  The pain just ended up getting worse  and it made finishing much more difficult.  But I pushed through 🙂

Race photo around 2.75 miles…trying to stay positive!

My goal was to finish in under 37 minutes, which clearly didn’t happen due to still being sore from the half, but I’m still happy with my time of 38:21.  It’s 1:24 faster than my last 5K (the Tangled Royal Family 5K doesn’t count) in December.  I’m still making progress and that’s all that matters!

Check out this video of my crossing the finish line.  A nice surprise from Barry after the race!


Overall it was a fun race, but there are some things I have learned from this experience.

  1. Don’t run another race (even a 5K) the week after a half marathon.  Especially if it’s you’re first half marathon!  My legs were definitely not up to this and I didn’t run the best race I knew I could.
  2. Running a small local race right after running a Disney race is a total let down.  Disney really spoils their runners with entertainment, water, and medals!
  3. Don’t push it when injured.  I should’ve rested for a few weeks after the half marathon to let my injury properly heal, but in what is typical fashion for me, I pushed it.

Have you ever had a less than stellar race experience?

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  • Sounds like you made the best of a not perfect situation.

    Of course, I’ve had some bad race experiences. They happen, but each one is a learning experience and I always take something away from them. There is only one that I have just dismissed the course and went my own way because it was so poorly organized and marked – no one knew where to go!

  • Hey sarah. Where r u from? I am from northford. I heard your podcast with be put guest and love your blog! Do u know of any running groups in our area? What next disney race are you going to do? I want to do the princess next year.

    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog! My next Disney race is the Tower of Terror 10-miler. I’m planning on doing the Princess again next year, so hopefully I will see you there 🙂

  • I came across your blog while checking into this year’s Christopher Martin 5k. 2011 was my first year running that race also. Im 52 and just started running a bit a few years ago. Im running about the same times as you were. A Half Marathon is my ulitimate goal. Good for you! I enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work and keep running!

    • So glad you found the site! I really enjoyed the Christopher Martin 5K last year and I’m looking forward to doing it again in December.
      If you can do a 5K, a half marathon isn’t far off…keep training! Hope to see you in New Haven 🙂

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