Boston Training Weeks 14 and 15: Shamrock Run and 22 miles

By Carissa

My muscles are sore and my left arch is tight, but I made it.  The past two weeks concluded what my schedule deemed race preparation.  Am I prepared to race?  I sure hope so.  One would think fifteen weeks of training would get me ready.  But the marathon has an uncanny way of humbling every runner.  There’s no guarantee that all this work will translate into a great race.  As a runner we must embrace that uncertainty and be prepared for the lessons we will learn along the way because lessons and growth are what is guaranteed. 
At least I had some new shoes and
Skirt Sports shorts to break in on the treadmill.

Week fourteen started with the treadmill.  Four days later I was still on my treadmill due mainly to the fact that my youngest is three years old and with me 24/7.  As much as the treadmill is a lifesaver, twenty eight miles on the thing drove me a little nuts.  I cut my Thursday run short by two miles because I couldn’t handle another minute on the thing.

Sunday of week fourteen was Portland’s Shamrock Run.  I signed up to run the 15k although I have never run that distance before.  I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the hilly course that climbs up Terwilliger before dropping back down for the finish or an event that hosts 35,000 runners! Lucky for me the race starts were staggered and the 15k started first so I was up against the smallest crowds of the day.  After a warm up I knew I needed one more trip to the bathroom and by the time I was out of the port-o-potty, the race was about to start.  My friend Kelly and I rushed to the start and jumped through an opening in the barricades where the 7-8 minute milers were lined up just before the gun went off.  
I stole the green arm band from my six year old.

The first couple of miles were really crowded.  I forced my way through narrow gaps between people instead of my normal strategy of weaving around racers.  The crowds thinned out by the time I started to make my way up Broadway.  I tried to race at a comfortable pace because I didn’t want to totally burn out on the big climb up Terwilliger.  Once I got to Terwillerger my pace felt good for the climb.  I have the opportunity to run hills frequently so they do not scare me.  This gave me an advantage over many other racers.  I passed people at a steady clip and  felt remarkably well.  All I had to do was get to the Chart House and it was downhill from there.

Official results
Many racers dress festively for this event so I made it my goal to not let someone in a tutu beat me.   Once I reached the downhill, it was bliss.  I was flying and hoped the course wouldn’t level out before the finish.  About two miles from the end of the race I counted seven women in front of me.  I knew having that many women finish right in front of me would be a good ding in my standing so I worked on passing each of them.  By the end of the race I passed all seven!  I came into the finish feeling strong, fast, and ecstatic to be feeling good after such a disappointing last race.  My finish time was 1:04:22.

The following day was a challenge.  My schedule called for a seventeen mile training run on tired muscles.  I know how sore I can be after racing and I wasn’t sure how it would feel.  My answer?  IT WAS SO HARD.  I was really blessed to have Jodi join me for this one.  I love spending long runs catching up with her.  It was the only thing that saved me.

I could tell by six miles that I was fatigued.  By twelve miles I was hungry.  Really hungry.  I had another Gu but my body wanted food.  A hamburger in fact.  Jodi had some raisins/Craisins with her and I ate all of them.  It didn’t hit the spot but it was better than a Gu.  By the grace of God my watch eventually dinged 17 miles.  I made it!  We returned to the small shopping strip where our cars were parked and Jodi joined me as I scarfed down some Mexican food which she said looked like “barf on a plate.”  She cracks me up.

My muscles took some time to recover from that big effort.  It’s no surprise that my speed session that week did not go well.  By the weekend it was time for my last long run and my only 22 miler of the training cycle.  I was intimidated by the thought that this run could feel anything like the one with Jodi. Despite feeling nervous I set off to meet my friend Holly.  Holly and I live a couple of miles apart.  She’s one of my roommates for Boston and though our pace is really compatible we haven’t done much training together.  I’m so glad we could run that last big one together.  We had some climbs and some rolling hills and it was nice to pass the miles catching up with each other.  When I got home I was so excited.  I was heading into the three week taper that comes before the race.

We'd love to hear from you Sole Sisters!  Did you run Shamrock?  Have you ever raced in a tutu?  Have you ever gotten REALLY hungry on a long run?  Do you have experience with racing the day before a long run?


  1. Marathons are so humbling. We train so hard for them, yet anything can happen on race day. I truly hope that all the stars are aligned so that Boston is perfect for you. If Shamrock is any indication, you are ready and you are going to do awesome!

    I have never raced in a tutu, but I have raced in a sparkle skirt.

    1. Thanks Tasha! I bet you ROCKED that sparkle skirt. :)

  2. Hey Carrisa, I'll be praying for you! I ran Boston last April. Crazy heat, but the experience was awesome. You'll love it. I just finished my last 22 miler 3 weeks ago and will be running a marathon in the morning hoping to BQ again. We'll see what happens!

    I've never raced in a tutu - yet! Maybe Disney someday?

    1. Thank you for your prayers Claire! I'm praying for your marathon this morning. I'd love to hear how it goes and I hope you get that BQ you are hoping for!
      PS-I bet Disney would be a perfect tutu race! ;)

    2. Well, I was three minutes shy of a BQ. Nothing I could do about the 20 mph winds that we ran straight line into for the last 10 miles. Just thankful to be healthy enough to run 26.2! Thanks for praying!

    3. Great job Claire! The winds sound rough!