My goal for the Shamrock Shuffle was always to PR my 2011 time of 48:04. That equals a 9:40 pace and with the way my running was going in January...seemed like a "sure thing". Of course, when you expect a sure thing...life likes to bring you a curve ball to challenge you a bit. Thanks Life.
Since I dislocated my shoulder and took about a month off of running...and almost all exercise, it's been slightly challenging to get back into it. Hence...the small local 8k race to prepare for the Shamrock Shuffle.
The race was on Sunday, March 10, 2013. The morning after daylight savings time and we would lose an hour of sleep. I'm never a fan of losing an hour of sleep. Especially because I had a surprise birthday party for someone in my run group the night before. Of course, I started with a light beer since I was running in the morning. Then followed it with 2 long island ice teas...one of my favorite alcoholic drinks! I got home about 12:30 and went to bed.
|Derek and I at the party the night before the run|
When I realized that I was being a baby and that a little rain was no excuse to skip this race, I finished getting dressed and decided to tough it out. Plus the weather was in the lower 40's and I miss "warmer" weather.
I got down to the run in about 5 minutes...and got to park in the lot right by the building (got to love small local races) and picked up my packet. I talked to some Yankee Runners and then hung out with some of my Frankfort/New Lenox runners before the race started.
My plan for this race was just to run easy and see how I do. I had NO HOPES of running a sub-10:00 pace. I really didn't think I could do it for 5 miles since coming back from my injury. I also honestly thought (and really never considered I could) that I definitely would not PR my 8k time of 48:04.
The race started about 15 minutes late due to "the rain and technical difficulties". Finally it started and so did I. My first mile? About a 9:06. Wait!? What!?! Ok, I figured I could slow it down the second mile a bit. My second mile? About a 9:08. I guess I slowed it down. I thought "How is this happening? I haven't been able to run sub-10 since I came back from injury!" Now I really figured I needed to slow it down because this was an 8k (not a 5k). I needed to make sure I would be able to sustain a good pace for the rest of the run and not fall apart. So I told myself to bring the 3rd mile back a bit. I was already on a PR pace. I was running about a 9:39 for a good portion of the 3rd mile but then looked at my watch after 3/4 of the mile and saw it dropped to 9:20+... What the hell?? 3rd mile came in at about 9:23 and that was with me slowing it down!
Well, now there were only 2 miles left. I just wanted to keep a "consistent" pace and I'd finish with a decent time for me. Most of the run was on the streets through Tinley Park but the last mile was on a trail. When I saw the trail, I immediately got nervous. I didn't know if there would be any slick, icy patches. It had been raining almost the whole time and I didn't want to chance slipping and falling. When I got to the trail, I saw that it looked clear and relaxed a bit. Of course, that's when it decided to downpour sideways rain! That was fun. So I was running straight through about 5 puddles in the last mile. I was getting cold and wet and was glad it was almost over. Of course, I wanted to stop and walk. In fact, I thought about bringing the last mile back to a 10:00 minute pace...just because I could and still PR (and because I was pretty tired). But I'm not a quitter and I know that's no way to run a race, so I pushed through. It's a little humbling to have to "push through" 5 miles but I am where I am right now in the running world. My 4th and 5th miles were 9:15 and 9:21.
So, after all my stress and worry about running an 8k, and being completely positive I wouldn't PR and not even thinking I would run faster than a 10:00 pace... My final time was 46:23 with a average pace of 9:20. I came in 12th in my age group (out of 40). Not bad at all from coming back from an injury and only running a couple times before this race.
I like running races in Tinley Park for a couple of reasons (and this race was no exception). It's right in my backyard (almost). They have a starting mat and finish mat so you get an accurate time. Right after you cross the finish line, you can go and get a printout of your time and your current standings. They have a pretty awesome spread of food afterwards. The location of this race meant we would wait inside the Park District building which was great due to the rain. It's well organized and inexpensive (pre-registration prices are $19 with a shirt or $16 without a shirt).
I've never done this particular 8k race but I really enjoyed myself and I'm pretty sure I would do it again.