Monday, April 8, 2013

Shamrock Shuffle Race Recap

It's not secret that I'm a fan of the Shamrock Shuffle 8k in Chicago.  I've run it 9 times out of the past 10 years.  It's definitely gotten big over the past several years with 40,000 registered runners.  The one year I did not run it, I registered but then took a vacation to Florida instead.

I hear the expo is great.  Yes, I go to it every year.  It's at Navy Pier and I run down during lunch.  It takes a good half hour from start to finish to get to the expo from my work.  So it generally will take about 1.5 hours to get my packet for this race.  I never typically go on Saturday because I usually have things I'm doing and unless I'm going to hang out at Navy Pier for a while, I don't want to make the extra trip to the city.  Therefore, I tend to "breeze through" the expo.  I know I miss lots of free stuff and a good expo but it is what it is. 

The night before the race, my friend Becky invited me to a Maroon 5 concert.  Both of us were running in the Shuffle but she got the tickets for Christmas.  I told her I could go and I would just suck up the fact that I would probably get to bed late that night.  We had a great time!  The concert was at the Allstate Arena and they have never figured out a good parking situation there so it took us 40 minutes to get out of the lot before we could head home.  Therefore, I got home at 1:45 a.m. and to bed at 2:00 a.m.  Up by 6:00 a.m. makes for a very tired Sunday and Shamrock Shuffle day!

Becky and I at the Maroon 5 concert

The Shamrock Shuffle is so big now and to keep crowding down as much as they can, they divide the race into 2 waves.  In each wave there are a handful of corrals that the runners are organized in (depending on your expected finish time or if you qualified for a wave 1 corral).  I was in wave 1 and corral D.  Before the race, I met up with some of my Frankfort/New Lenox Running Club members for a photo!

F/N Runners

Derek & I before the run

Becky and Derek walked me over to my corral since I was starting in Wave 1.  Their wave started about 45 minutes after mine so I appreciated the company on the walk over.  I lined up in my corral and waited for a while.  It was lonely in my corral as I didn't know anyone else in it.  They started the race on time but it took almost 25 minutes for my corral to start.  And I was off.... In good fashion, my music (which I checked in the corral and was working) didn't start.  Um...why does this always happen.  I was fidgeting with it for a few minutes and got it working but almost twisted my ankle as I stepped in a pothole.  I shook it off and kept running. 

By mile 1, I was already getting hot as the sun came out full force!  The weather was perfect though in the mid-40's!  Great day for a run.  I rolled down my arm sleeves by mile 1.5.  As I previously stated, I wasn't sure I would PR my overall 8k time I received in March!  I figured I would PR my previous Shamrock Shuffle best time.  Then I got to thinking that my 8k PR from March came right after my shoulder dislocations in February and I had just started running again.  If I could get that time with a month off of running, I should be able to beat it.  I decided to just run my best and see what happens.

The garmins get all screwed up in Chicago and so I only knew my pace at the mile markers when I could use the overall time.  By mile 3, my time was 27 minutes flat and I knew I was running 9 min miles.  My PR is a 9:20 average pace so I knew if I could just keep my pace, I'd get a new PR.  The sun was really beating down on us by mile 3 and it felt really hot!  I was running at a comfortably hard pace and was pushing it up the "hills".... (bridges that were inclines) but looking back, at times I felt I could have run harder.  I was just trying to make it through, get the PR, and not die by mile 4.

With the last mile in site, I knew I just had to keep running to ensure the PR.  I had a least 1-2 minutes cushion.  I saw the hill of death (Roosevelt bridge hill) and put my head down and powered up it.  While running it, I was thinking they should move the start/finish of these races to Michigan Avenue so we wouldn't have to run up this ridiculous hill at the end of most races!

And I finished!  A new 8k PR is in the books!  I was really happy with this PR.  I do wish I was a few seconds faster and get a sub-9:00 average pace but what does that mean really??  The race had sensors every mile so we got to see our splits which I liked since my garmin was all messed up!

9:08, 8:54, 9:03, 8:58, 9:05

These are the kind of splits I would like for my Indy half in May to get my sub-2:00 PR!  Not sure I could manage this for 13 miles but I can certainly try!

Me, Derek and Becky - all PR's!
 Frankly, I was too tired from being out late the night before that I didn't try to coordinate meeting any other people in my running group afterwards.  I just wanted to sit and relax afterwards!!  From what I hear, everyone did great!

I need to learn how to push myself a little more on the lower mileage races (5k-8k).  I hold back to keep energy in the tank.  I hate bombing at the end.  That didn't happen here so maybe I did what I was supposed to.  Maggie runs her races by heart rate and gave me some advice on that.  

Are you good at pushing yourself at an uncomfortable pace during races??   Any tips you can give me for "kicking it up a notch?"


  1. Congrats on the PR, especially considering you only had a few hours of sleep. The conditions were nice for running fast yesterday. As for the Indy Mini, you will likely be heading into the wind for the first few miles, so hold back a little more than usual. Then once you do the 2 mile loop around the track, you can kick it up a notch. To kick it up a notch, make a game of the last 5 miles by trying to pick off as many runners as you can. You should have juice in the tank to do this because you took it slow in the beginning (and most of the runners you are picking off will be out of juice, and you'll have a tailwind, hopefully). My Half PR was set in Indy!

  2. I read this on my phone on Monday and forgot to come back and comment. Holy Shizz Sista! Great job on your PR - that is so speady.

    Not even sure I could keep a 9 minute mile pace for one mile! Kudos!!