I have the luck of Clark Griswold. And I know everyone always claims to be the most jinxed person around, but I’m serious guys. Bad Luck Brian has got nothing on me.
However, this St. Patrick’s Day (which obviously happens to be one of my least favorite holidays), something magical happened. We’re talking extra marshmallows in your Lucky Charms box magical. 🌈 And it all started when I made the bold decision to get a little bad & boozy the night before a four-mile race around Ballantyne.
You read that right. I spent the eve of my 8am race cheers-ing to leprechauns with 15 of my closest friends. Don’t get me wrong, I’m usually that responsible girl who party-poops for runs. In fact, I’ve NEVER partied the night before a race. But given that it was the most tipsy holiday of the year, I was faced with a unique situation where I had to choose between fitness and friends, and I was determined to make both happen.
But this decision didn’t come without a cost. When my first alarm went off at 6am (exactly 4 hours after I called it a night), I had just enough energy to lift my head up to discover how deathly I felt. It took two more alarms for me to peep my eyes open for an instinctive Instagram check, when the first words I saw staring back at me were, “You’re only one workout away from a good mood.” 😑 (Leave it up to the gram to be my magic 8 ball…) So I took that as a prophetic sign that I needed to get my hungover tush out of bed because there was a St. Patty’s race that needed running.
Although, as I scurried out the door and rushed through a 30-minute drive to Ballantyne in torrential rainfall, I had a internal debate if I made the right decision to leave my cozy bed. I was running extremely late, I spilled my water bottle in my lap, and it was starting to become very evident that, yet again, luck wasn’t on my side. Somehow I managed to pull up with five minutes to spare, and then before I knew it, there I was: standing puffy-eyed and sleep-deprived at the front of the starting line of the Shamrock 4-Miler.
I kid you not, it was as if the bang of the race gunshot broke a parting in the clouds, because just as we took off, the rain came to a halt. And then when I rounded the first corner of the race, I was greeted with an unexpected 0.5 mile downhill stretch. I swear, it was as if some leprechauns were sending all of their lucky vibes my way!
And apart from a few bouts of nausea and a couple side cramps here and there, it seemed like the brews from the night before were actually helping my running game. My splits were shocking, my energy was on point, and at mile 3, I began pondering if this was a strategy I should start implementing on the reg. 🍻
As we approached the final 500-yard stretch, I pinpointed 3 contenders that I wanted to pass in my finish-line sprint. (I always get some sort of wicked pleasure out of sneaking up on other runners and robbing them of their expected finish 😈 ). So I crept up just in time, turned on my turbo-boost, and raced into the cheering crowd with the most evil (and somewhat queasy) grin on my face.
After the race, I walked over to the results tent and nonchalantly typed in my bib number. I literally had no expectations of any sort of finish, because the one goal I came into this race with was already fulfilled: I didn’t puke.
But life has a funny way of shocking you sometimes, because when I looked down at the numbers that popped up on the screen, I was stunned to see that by some St. Patty’s miracle, I finished FIRST PLACE in my division, with a pretty impressive time. 😱 How in the world did that even happen!? Was this some sort of computer glitch? Or did I really just rock this run, all the while feeling like a train hit me? Regardless, my hangover was instantly replaced with a surge of endorphins that would make for one heck of a St. Patty’s story.
Sure, I might have lost a few hours of zzz’s by downing a few too many kamikaze shots the night before, but I walked away from the Shamrock 4-Miler with three golden lessons learned:
1) You can play hard if you’re willing to work hard too.
2) You’ll never win the races you don’t run.
3) Irish scally caps should totally make a comeback.
31:01 finish time
7:46 average pace
1st place F25-29 out of 69
18th place female out of 564
79th place overall out of 898