I was lucky enough to train for the Shamrock Shuffle this year with a couple of great Nike coaches, Emily and Dave. Our group met twice a week for 30 minutes of strength training and 30 minutes of intervals on the treadmill (with a couple of runs outside). We were a mix of seasoned runners and people who were doing their very first race. It was a great opportunity and I really enjoyed training with everyone.
Unfortunately, I dealt with some limitations during training. First, it was my back. I don’t know what I did, but for about 5 days in a row, my back was incredibly stiff. I pushed myself during a workout and likely made it worse, which was stupid of me. Alternating heat and ice finally provided some relief, and I thought I could throw myself into training … and then I stupidly rolled my ankle while working on some choreography.
So, anyway, instead of following a rigorous training plan, I limited myself to running only during the group workouts, which probably came out to only 5-6 miles per week total. I’d like to say I made up for it by swimming laps and doing other strength workouts, but I made it to the pool once and didn’t do as many other workouts as I would have liked. Oh well. YOLO?
Going into the actual race, I didn’t really have a goal but I still thought I could beat last year’s time. Although I forgot to look it up before the race, so I didn’t really remember what that was.
Anywho, this was my sixth Shamrock Shuffle, so I knew the drill. Headed to the expo after work on Friday to grab my bib. I was a little disappointed with how sparse the expo was compared to previous years, but I wasn’t really planning on doing any shopping or anything. On Saturday, we had our last team workout which included a shakeout run and some stretching and foam rolling. I stopped by Goodwill afterward for some throwaway layers, then spent the rest of my afternoon working on choreography for my next act (good news: I finished the act) as well as some costuming, and went to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour.
Race morning was pretty typical. Got out of bed around 6:30, made some coffee and oatmeal, took care of business, packed my gear check back with some extra layers for warmth, got dressed with my throw-away layers. Robert was also running the Shuffle (his first!), so we requested an Uber around 7:30 and got to Grant Park around 7:45. According to my Garmin, the temp was 30 degrees during the race, but at least it was sunny.
Yup, I bought him a shirt.
After snapping this pic, we headed to our respective corrals (D for me and H for him). I checked my bag, got through a long port-o-potty line, and joined the crowd trying to get into corral D at 8:20am. Which is when corrals close, so I think they were funneling everyone left in Wave 1 to that corral, so it was a bit crowded trying to get in, but once in, I found a curb and did some hip dips to fire up my glutes, and did some stretches for my hips and calves. According to my Garmin, I crossed the start line at 8:46am. (Corral A started at 8:30am.)
I started my watch when I crossed the start line, but knowing that GPS watches typically have issues in downtown Chicago races, I only checked my watch when I passed the mile markers. (I didn’t look up how to manually lap myself on my new-ish watch.) I kept a pretty conservative pace, and just enjoyed the run. I seemed to be running around 10:15-10:30. When I crossed mile 4, I noticed my time was just shy of 41 minutes. I felt like I had a lot of gas left in the tank and decided to see if I could run a sub-50. Definitely not a PR, but definitely faster than last year (all I remember is that my time was 5X:XX).
My official finish time was 49:35, so I got my sub-50 and I beat last year (51:27 by the way). My pace for the first 5K was 10:19, and 9:26 for the last 3K for an overall pace of 9:59. Could I have run a faster time? Yeah, probably, consdiering how much I felt like I had left when I went into the last mile. Looking over the Garmin info for my 8K PR (2013, when I ran a 39:09), my heart rate averaged 176 bpm and peaked at 187. This year, my average was 150 and I peaked at 174. Granted, I’m 5 years older and should target slightly lower heart rates, but not that much lower.
Anyway, temperature-wise, I felt good during the race, by the time I got through the finish line, grabbed a medal and the many refueling options (water, banana, Pirates Booty and various protein/breakfast/etc bars), ran into Jill and chatted for a bit, I was freezing once I started heading to get my checked bag. And of course, the Wave 1 gear check is a hike (a half a mile away) from the finish line. I was so cold by the time I got back to gear check, and I was very happy I packed a sweatshirt, jacket, scarf, extra pants and two extra pairs of mittens. I headed over to Buckingham Fountain and the post-race party to see if I could run into anyone I knew (mostly to give them my beer ticket), but didn’t see anyone (although I didn’t do a complete lap), so I headed over to the Wave 2 gear check to wait for Robert, since the Live Tracking estimated that he would finish in about 10 minutes by that point. (Technology win.) It was spot on, and once we reunited, I was ready to head home, warm up, and refuel.
Anyway, since my ankle still feels a little tender when I bend it, I’m going to take a break from running. And from dancing … after my performance tomorrow night (I’m doing an Industry Night / open mic-style burlesque show because I want to get video of a new act). If after a week off from those, my ankle still feels the same, I promise I’ll go to physical therapy.
Did you run the Shuffle? How did it go? Were you freezing?