Shamrock Shuffle 10K Run with Heart Palpitations

The Shamrock Shuffle brings out the Irish in the crowd

The Shamrock Shuffle brings out the Irish in the crowd

If you had asked me that morning what my biggest concern about the race was, it would have been whether or not to attempt to run with bare feet. Having recently run as far as 9 miles without any kind of footwear, and loved it, I knew I still had to consider Idaho back country roads. As I looked out over the gravel covered dirt that led out to the main road, I remembered the constant popping of rocks as my husband drove me on that main road. I decided that I could always take my Moc3′s off, should the asphalt get citified.

A festive bagpipe player at the Shamrock Shuffle.  He was quite talented and his music was pleasant.

A festive bagpipe player at the Shamrock Shuffle. He was quite talented and his music was pleasant.

Secondary was the fact that I hadn’t been recently training on hills. The drive up to Ste. Chapelle winery had revealed a long, steep hill along the first part of the race course. I knew it would be hard, but I suspected I could relax into it, especially with the advantage of my minimalist form.

I still don’t like to run a warm-up before a long race. The only time I have really run right before a race was the Main Street Mile. That made sense and helped. This morning, I was again disinclined to follow any suggestion to do this, even though I do listen to my husband/coach about a lot of things!  Instead, I walked, did a few high knee lifts, flexed my ankles, and tried to stand in the sun. When the starting horn sounded, I was ready. (click on any photo to enlarge)

Greg says I am the blue and black person centered over the roof of the third car from the right.

Greg says I am the blue and black person centered over the roof of the third car from the right.

My Garmin watch (Christmas gift from husband) is already an integral part of my running experience.  I greatly appreciate being able to check the mileage covered and the current pace.  The watch informed me that I was doing decently after the 1/3 mile long hill.  I didn’t feel quite warmed up and flowing yet, but I was getting there.  I chatted a little with a couple of runners as we exchanged positions.  I also thought about how my shod feet were responding to the pavement, and periodically made a conscious effort to relax my breathing.

Mile 3 had me both encouraged and concerned.  I had run it rather faster than I had been training for long distances lately.  Not all that unusual for a race, but I didn’t want to overdo it too soon.  I felt like I was running easily, though, so I only backed off a little.  No sense in letting the people I had just passed pass me so soon!    

In my two training runs earlier in the week, I had had the slightest sensations of heart palpitations during the run.  While the palpitations are not at all new to me (which is why I knew exactly what I was feeling), feeling them come on while running was.  It was such a minuscule discomfort, that it didn’t at all affect those runs.  I didn’t have any idea it would bother me for this race.

Within the last 12 months, I have run 10K and farther, many hills, in extreme heat and humidity, not to mention dancing for hours, swimming miles, and stressful road biking.  There was no reason to suspect problems today.  But when I began running another hill in mile 5, my heart strongly threatened to devolve into a full episode of heart palpitations.  I made the hard choice to walk, rather than end up sitting on the side of the road trying to get my heart back to a normal beat.

I had to walk 3 times in the last part of the race.  The sensation of impending palpitations didn’t totally go away until just before the finish line.  Even on the now downhill long stretch, the feeling was keeping my attention, but the downhill required less running effort and I was able to keep my heart under control with my breathing. I was even able to pick up my pace and let myself “fly” down the hill some, finding satisfaction in passing some of the 5K walkers.

No, I am not heal striking.  That is just the position of the foot in the air.

No, I am not heal striking. That is just the position of the foot in the air.

In the final stretch, I thought I heard onlookers cheering on someone directly behind me, so I sprinted!  My heart did not complain one little bit and it felt great!  Of course, it was only about 20 feet, nothing Olympic.  Funny thing, though, is that no one was there…

I barely remembered to stop my Garmin, but I did hear my time of 53:02 (minutes) called out.  That really wasn’t so bad for having walked some. It worked out to an average pace of 8 minutes 33 seconds per mile.  I knew mile 3 had been an 8:20 pace, so the others must have been better than I thought, too.

Enjoying the final sprint

Enjoying the final sprint

Now I had 3 things on my mind. I had to admit to my husband that my heart had given me trouble, I needed some of those sliced oranges, and I wanted to figure out WHY this had happened??? I hung my head on my husband’s shoulder and confessed. He and I talked about how the physical stress, and altitude (Taipei is at sea level, Nampa about 2700 feet above) and time changes of travel a week prior may have had a lot to do with it. Instead of restrictions, I have been assigned more hill repeats.  

Only second place in my age group this time, but all things considered, that is okay.

Only second place in my age group this time, but all things considered, that is okay.

Looking out over the Snake River plain from Ste. Chapelle winery's park area, the opposite way from the race course

Looking out over the Snake River plain from Ste. Chapelle winery’s park area, the opposite way from the race course

And what was my husband doing while I ran? He was at the wine tasting party! There were some coupons in my race packet that he made use of. He received a special glass at the tasting. We will likely share the wine at the dance party tonight. :-)

Greg found some good Ste. Chapelle wines while I ran.

Greg found some good Ste. Chapelle wines while I ran.

 Stats:

chip time 52:56

total running time 53:02

11th female of 101

29th overall of 147

2nd in age group

About Laura Blodgett

I am just an ordinary 53 year old woman having extraordinary fun!  My fun right now includes barefoot running, swimming, triathlon training, gardening, discovering how to be a grandma (going by the grandma name of "Lulu"), sewing, studying Mandarin Chinese, learning about the stock market, non-institutional Christian fellowship, cooking, and occasional traveling. Read more about me here!

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