|via Hermes Cleveland|
Considering I spent all of 2015 trying to run one race per month, it's a little weird to think my first race of this year didn't happen until March and then for it to be such a beautiful day, too. This was my fourth time running St. Malachi and mid-March in Cleveland can be sooooo unpredictable. I mean, the first time I ran this in 2013 the weather was horrible. But not this year!
In the past I've always done the 5 mile but I was also usually training for the Cleveland Half in May. Since I'm doing the 5K/10K Challenge instead, I opted for the 2 mile distance, which fit in perfectly with my training plan. (Come to think of it, the 5 mile distance always fit perfectly into my half training as well. Almost like it's planned or something.)
(Fun fact: Before Great Lakes Brewing revamped their branding, St. Malachi used to appear on the labels for Conway's Irish Ale. The Conways are GLBC co-owners and their grandfather was a Cleveland policeman who directed traffic in the area for many, many years.)
I don't know if it's because Cleveland has a significant running population or a large Irish community or some combination of each, but this is always a huge race and always St. Patrick's Day themed, which means a large sea of green for miles and miles.
I rarely dress up for any race. For this one, my Shamrockin Jamberry nails and some sparkly shamrocks in my hair were about the extent of my festivity.
One nice thing about this race being so large is I that I tend to know lots of people running it, including several other Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors. Before my race I ran into my friend Mary!
So, here's the thing I didn't take into consideration about this race: because it's only two miles, pretty much half of the entire course was the Detroit-Superior Bridge which, lemme tell ya, is a beast to run up and over once, let alone twice. The church is right by the bridge so up and over, run a little downtown, then back and up and over again and down a big hill to the finish line.
While the 5 mile distance is structured the same way and also starts and ends with the bridge, there are several miles of flat road in between to give your legs a break.
I did my Run-Walk-Run intervals (45:30) for 3/4 of the race, but when we hit that bridge again I just could not keep it up so I powered walk up the crest. But once the bridge started to turn downhill, I picked up my pace and ignored my intervals and ran the whole way down the bridge and the neighborhood hill towards the finish line, making up some time along the way.
My goal was to finish under 32 minutes and my official chip time put me at 30:35!
Because I'm a slow runner, by the time I've finished the five mile race in the past, the vendors outside have usually packed up and left (of course, I also ran in crappy weather so I can't fault them for wanting to avoid the snow and ice). This time, I finished before the 5 mile even started so the party was going strong and this was the first time I went to the nearby McCarthy's bar for the party in there, too.
This has always been one of my absolute favorite Cleveland races so no doubt I'll be back again next year.
Love from the ashes,