« Health & Fitness

2014 Shamrock 5K

by Michael Louden

It is great to be back in racing season.  The Kalamazoo Area Runners racing schedule got underway today with the Shamrock 5K run at Hackett.  It was a cold and cloudy Saturday morning, but there were two positives.  

1.)  It was at least a little above freezing

2.)  It wasn't snowing

So both of those were wins.  The race kicked off at 9 am with the course leading us down Kilgore Lane and then into the neighborhoods around Kalamazoo.  I started up in front to get the best possible start I could.  I beginning quarter mile was very tight as we only had one lane to run down due to caution tape blocking the middle of the street.  Once we got into the neighborhoods it was wide open.

Now before I get into the meat of the race I would like to say I just started running my speed workouts (Intervals and Tempo runs) at the start of March, so I was not expecting a fast time today just a time in the 21 minute range would be satisfying for me.

After the first quarter I was with one of my running buddies I always find myself around, Chris Dhulster along with one other runner.  I counted how many runners I had in front of me as well and there were only seven other runners.  I was a little stunned with how well I was doing considering the amount of speed work I had so far this year, but I felt good and nice and relaxed.

After we got to the first mile my time was at 6:13. so a very good start so far and I used the downhills and uphills to my advantage.  

I was still with Chris and the other runner at the two mile mark.  Our pace had slowed as we were at 13 minutes, but I still felt good.  I wasn't burned out so everything was going well.  I was sitting in eighth place at the time, but Chris and the other runner with us started pulling away from me, but with about 1/2 mile to go I began to pick my pace back up and the margin evened itself out. 

The crowd support along the course was great and helped me out to the finish line.  Now I was coming down Duke St. and knew the finish was just ahead.  All I had to do was a navigate a downhill, followed by an uphill and a couple of turns and I was good to go.  I flew down the hill and my time at the bottom of it was in the 19s so I was thinking I may get in the 20s.  I powered my way up the final hill and took the final couple of turns and hit the finish.  My friend Jeremy just finished behind me as w

I not only broke my 22 minute goal, but also broke 21 minutes setting a PR for the Shamrock race with a time of 20:47 good for 8th overall and 1st in my age group.  Last year I ran a 21:20 in the same race.  I'm a good 33 seconds ahead of where I was at the start of last year.  I look forward to another great running season as I look to break my PR of 19:08.