Race Recap: Kelly St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock 5K

I love to dress up in silly costumes and not even just on Halloween. I dressed up as a bee to do a snowy Polar Bear plunge into the Chesapeake Bay a few years ago. I wore a bathing suit and grass skirt to guest bartend at a benefit for the Gulf oil spill. I regularly leave my house wearing these:


I get endless compliments on these pants.

Obviously running in Baltimore’s famed Kelly St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock race would mean some gaudy green would be on the menu and I did not disappoint. Check out this rockin’ ensemble:


I look kind of like a hobo leprechaun. More about why some of this outfit would be a very bad idea later.

The race start was at 1:15 pm and I was much better prepared for it than the last late start race I ran on New Year’s. I made a delicious little fruit and yogurt smoothie before heading downtown and fueled with EnergyBits about 45 minutes beforehand. By the time I met up with my friend Suze at around 12:30, I was bursting with excitement and anxiety. Mostly the anxiety was race related, but also I had left the house in such a state that I totally left my wallet behind. Thankfully I had purchased a parking space online the night before so I wouldn’t need a credit card or ID to get my car out of the garage.


We took the required pre-race selfie. This bar we were in was SO. CROWDED. People in race bibs everywhere and a large number of them were pretty tossed already. Cool for them, but I can’t imagine running a 5k half in the bag.

We headed out to (what we thought was) the starting line at about 10 of 1. By all accounts this race is a really tough start because it’s so many people crammed together on a very narrow street. Most of the first mile is downhill and Suze and I wanted to take advantage of that. We crammed ourselves into the sea of green. She was underdressed and I was overdressed so we took turns complaining about our respective problems. In the end, she would probably be the more comfortable of the two of us. I haven’t really run outside in awhile and it’s like I forgot how to dress for it or something.

Obviously I had to take a picture of my feet and my sweet kilt that I got at Party City that morning for $6.


Not shown in this picture is my SPIbelt which was literally full of everything but the kitchen sink. My iPhone 5S –  which is huge and takes up most of the pouch on its own – my gigantic car key, some GU, and my frigging SUNGLASSES because I’m dumb and didn’t leave them in the car. All crammed in there. I guess it’s a good thing I forgot my ID because I don’t think another thing would have fit.

So an announcer said a bunch of things I could barely understand over the din of thousands of people packed into tight quarters and then it was time to start. We wished each other luck and off we went.

Like a herd of turtles.

We THOUGHT we were right in the front, but yeah. Apparently we weren’t. The first quarter mile was probably the most frustrating I’ve ever encountered. People were literally walking 4 and 5 people abreast on this very narrow street while the faster runners were trying in vain to get around them. This guy and I took turns following each other as we weaved our way through the crowd as politely as possible. Once the crowd thinned a little, my ankle was feeling pretty fantastic and I was able to hit cruising speed quickly on the downhill. That first mile was the fastest I’ve ever run in my life, even with the big delay. I have no idea how I managed that.

After that initial descent, the rest of the course is mostly flat. Not my favorite, but I was just so happy to be running at all that I didn’t care. It’s also a point to point, but you do turn around at one point and head back the way you came so you get to pass other runners again for awhile. I knew quite a few people running yesterday so I tried to see if I could spot any of them after I made the turnaround. There was so much green that everyone pretty much blended together and I didn’t see any familiar faces.

So my kilt. Adorable and yet by the time I was in the midst of mile 2, I was ready to rip the darn thing off and throw it in the street if I wasn’t so anti-littering. It had a velcro closure on the waist that was itchy and kept riding up. And then my overloaded SPIbelt was riding up with it and I had to keep yanking it down. It was by far the biggest race wardrobe malfunction I’ve ever had and there were a few times where I felt like it was slowing me down. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll keep the costuming to a minimum.

Mile 3 was probably my favorite, even if I was feeling seriously zapped. I just love running on my city’s streets. The harbor was on my right and the big downtown buildings towered up ahead of me. I made the home stretch turn and felt an extra burst of energy. I didn’t pay any attention to my clock time as I crossed because I knew my chip time would be significantly different after the messy start. I blindly stopped my Garmin and as the volunteer pulled the chip off my shoe, I glanced down at it:



This was WAY better than I was expecting after coming off basically an entire month of rest. I huffed and puffed my way to a bench peeling off my too-many-layers of clothing as I went (I HATE YOU, KILT!) and soon was texting Suze to find out where she had ended up and we took our post-race WE DID IT! pic:


The party was raging. Since I finished relatively well, I should have just jumped in the beer line, but my brain had temporarily stopped working. By the time I realized there was free beers to be had the line was about a mile long. I don’t really like beer that much anyway so I decided not to wait. Free flowing wine would have been a very different story.

Overall this was as great of an event as I have come to expect from Charm City Run. I will definitely be doing it again next year. The packet pick up on Saturday was probably the best organized one I’ve ever seen, the post-race snacks were plentiful, and I loved that they had volunteers at the end handing out fun shamrock leis to everyone. The race tee is awesome looking (it’s green of course). Plus I love a good St. Paddy’s Day party and the finish line festivities did not disappoint. Good moods and attitudes all around. The only thing I do wish is that they had done corrals.  I know this isn’t considered the most serious of races, but the complete free for all at the start mucked it up for a lot of people and was the hot topic amongst the runners I talked to at the finish line.

Other than that, great times! Next time I’ll remember my wallet so I can have more fun at the end.

Did you race this weekend? How did it go? Have you ever dressed up in a ridiculous costume for a race? (I know Piratebobcat has!)

~ Salt


47 thoughts on “Race Recap: Kelly St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock 5K

  1. Laura says:

    Comment posted before I finished… Oh iPads… Anyway, what I was trying to say was that it really love your leggings and want some just like it! So far I only have bright blue ones that I wear whenever I can!

  2. SuzLyfe says:

    Please adopt me so that you can dress me at all times 😀 And great job working against some challenges–most important is that you ultimately enjoyed the experience. And got to wear as much green as possible.

  3. Pandora Viltis says:

    I wish I had your legs, but not the kitten leggings so much. I bet your daughter loves those though.

    Great race recap. I bet having a slow 1/4 mile helped you in the long run. Great time! I love your kilt, so it’s too bad it was annoying. The closest to costuming at a race I’ve done is wear an orange running skirt with a black shirt for Halloween. I’m not very festive.

    • runsaltrun says:

      They are her most favorite pants. She meows at me when I wear them.
      Orange and black for Halloween is totally festive! And you were much better off sticking with actual running clothes. I don’t think I’m going to be trying such a crazy getup again.

  4. ambertherunner says:

    Great job kicking butt after so much time off running!
    Seriously, your turtle like start reminded me of the Celtic 5-miler in Dec. So frustrating – esp in a 5k because it’s such a short race!
    I dressed up as Where’s Waldo once for a Halloween race, it was a simple costume with no wardrobe malfunctions. But I will say it wasn’t as cute as your green kilt 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      I remember reading that on your blog! These races have gotten so big in recent years maybe they should be considering a staggered start for them. I’m surprised Celtic isn’t that way yet since it’s a bit more serious than the Shamrock race.

  5. piratebobcat says:

    Haha, thanks for the shout out! I’ve also worn a cape in a couple races – just putting it on makes you feel fast! Nice job on your race!!! I know how frustrating it is at those big/corral-less races. I wish they would make all walkers start at the back. Oh well, glad you had fun. Happy St. Patty’s to you!

  6. txa1265 says:

    haha on the leggings – my younger son (the 16 year old) has a shirt like that, but the kittens are riding on donuts … it is awesome.

    Great job with the race … I have never run a really large race, and all of these tales of ‘starting line clogging’ don’t make me want to! 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      Oh my gosh I need to find a shirt like that. I would wear it all the time. Though probably not with those leggings. 🙂

      And thanks! Yeah it was definitely a new and weird experience. Once the initial clog was over it was fine, but I talked to some friends that were much farther back than we were and I their chip and gun times were like 5 minutes off from each other. Little insane!

  7. missadventuresinrunning says:

    Wow! Glad you had such an amazing race! That is a great time! St. Paddy’s races are the best! I am definitely doing another one next year!

  8. Meg says:

    I don’t think I’ll ever go too crazy on costumes. I will dress up for the DPH but it will remain minimal.

    So glad you were feeling great and did so well for your first race back! I can’t imagine running drunk or even buzzed either. I’d be puking after my first few strides. I’d definitely keep the drinking for post race!

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