The Irishman, 3 races, 1 day. Sioux Falls doesn't have too many competitive road races so you don't want to miss them when they come along. The St Patty's Day Mile and the associated Irishman didn't disappoint. I went over to the All Sport Central offices at noon on Thursday to pick up packets for the race team and running club. It took me about a half hour to get through the line that was about 5 people long. Not a good start for the event from an organizational standpoint. The next day, the day before the race, they sent out and email telling us of course changes. Major course changes. The Start/Finish would be the same but otherwise the 5 mile and 5k would be entirely different.
Race day began with a bang, literally, and the 5 mile field was off to little fanfare. Early on, in the first 3 blocks, it became evident that this was going to be a 3 person race between myself, Dan Allen, and fellow 605 race team member, Chris Gruenhagen. Dan was questioning me about my fitness early on and I didn't know exactly what to tell him. I did run 127 and 134 miles to close out February but little Cleo Susannah was born on March 2nd and my running had gone down a but since then. I also haven't found the motivation to do many workouts besides attacking a few Strava segments per week. I did perform a solid tempo run leading up to the race where Strava informed me that I ran a 5k in 15:46 so I was fit enough. After about a half mile, I knew that I could handle a boost in pace and started to push. That's how it was for the next 4.5 miles, push. There were enough confusing points in the course and sharp turns that I felt like I was always trying to regain my momentum. The lead bike was way too far ahead of me and the teenage volunteers on their cell phones out on the course didn't help matters either. I felt like I ran an even pace for the whole race but it's hard to tell with no mile markers of any kind. I finished the race in 25:44, about 35 seconds in front of Dan and more in front of Chris. After watching family and friends finish up, it was time for a cool down.
I ate 1/3rds of a banana and drank water between races. I don't know if I didn't have enough or what my deal was but I was nauseous on the 5k start line. After the 5 mile, I knew that I would have a good chance to pick up another win. The race was largely the same with a few of us out front together for a little bit then me pushing it and creating a gap at about the same point. The courses were identical for nearly a mile. The rest of the race unfolded pretty similar to the 5 mile. Speeding up after bad turns and pushing, just at a slightly faster pace. I finished in 15:38, 10 seconds off the course record. Chris turned the tables on Dan and they would be only one second apart heading into the final race.
The time between the 5 mile and 5k was about 2 hours and the time between the latter and the mile was a full 2 hours and 45 minutes. Again, I didn't eat much and I was feeling nauseous once more. I was hoping to puke during the race to create a spectacle, and relieve myself. The whole wait time between the races really dragged on. There was little motivation for me to run this last race hard. I had the Irishman all but locked up while there was little chance that I would be in contention for the win in the mile. 605 Race Team member, and brother in law, Benny was the heavy favorite. He was fresh as was 605 store owner Logan. The race played out in an interesting fashion. Nobody took it out very hard and as soon as I found my legs, I very nearly took the lead by accident. Soon after, Logan took the lead around 14th Street and began the long push for home. Benny, Marty Wennblom (mile record holder), and former 1:52 800 runner Lee Irvine followed closely. I was content to lead the next pack with Dan and wait to see what was going to happen. Having not eaten all day and having run two longer races earlier, my body was in shock. It was simply not happy about running again, much less about running that fast. The race out front fizzled out as quickly as it began with Benny taking a 9 second win over Logan. Dan kicked his way into 3rd, just ahead of Marty and I took down Lee in the last few blocks for a respectable 5th place. By every indication, the race course was long and ASC messed up timing adding 4-5 seconds onto everyone's time. I ran 5:09 and 5:02 pace for the first two races and only managed a 4:57 according to the official results. My watch had 4:52 and many GPS watches had this straight race course at 1.05 or longer. Besides the course length, the race was fun and I was happy to come away with the 2nd fastest Irishman in race history.