The Shamrock Shuffled

Shamrock Shuffle Results   (Click here for my results.)

Oh Happy Day!  My enforced massage training schedule produced better race results that I expected!

I signed up for today’s Shamrock Shuffle fun run for just that: fun!  Fun was what I got! My drive into Anchorage was traffic-free, and allowed me to focus on pranayama all the way to Anchorage. I encountered my friend and Houston High former student, Ashley Buckwalter, on the walk from the Romig Junior High parking lot to the Beartooth Brewpub and Theater. I did not recognize Ashley, but she recognized me by my peculiar (not to me) walking pace. Meeting Ashley  was fortuitous because I was feeling just a bit isolated by not coming with, or meeting, a group of friends.  Ashley and I picked up our bibs and parted ways until the start of the race.

My plan was to meditate for fifty minutes before the race. I recommend meditation before the start of anything, and it makes a delightful prelude to a fun run.

Ashley and I started together, and then I lost her in the throng of green-shirted runners. I chased a lady in a pink shirt that I thought was Ashley for about a mile.  That misperception certainly improved my race time!  Dropping down the hill to Westchester Lagoon, I was pleased that everyone behaved themselves: nobody in my pack took a tumble on the ice.  I have enjoyed running by Westchester Lagoon several times this year, but it is so much more fun when you share the bike path with a thousand and a half of your closest friends!

My left calf telegraphed a destress signal as I started the ascent to West High School. Runners passed me. Instead of panic, I heard Jamie Woodside whisper in my ear, “Jeff, it’s time for a two-minute walk.” I obeyed.  Thank you, Jamie.

Crossing the bridge over Minnesota Street, I felt the hitch in my calf complain louder.  I was running next to a woman who seemed to be panting from the effort of the race.  I thought to myself, “At least I am not hurting at chest-level! What’s a little stitch in the right peg; I can limp pretty fast if I need to.” I couldn’t pass that person, so I throttled back and let her lead out. I wasn’t in this race for time, anyway.

Rounding the final corner, I thought, “Do I push down on the accelerator and hurt later, or do I throttle back and protect my calf?” I throttled back in the final stretch as folks jogged past me. I felt good at the finish; that was the point of this race for me.

I would like to thank Skinny Raven and The Beartooth for organizing such an excellent run!  You guys are great: you made my day!

Now all I have to do is figure out how to string four of these five Ks together for the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon in June. I might have to train more than three massages a week and step up my meditation game. Oh yes, and I plan to lose about thirty pounds of chocolate chip cookie fat before June!

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