Race Recap: Shamrock Shuffle 2019

Normally, I like to write my race reports in the afternoon the same day after running a race. But this report is coming at you 2 weeks later if that’s any indication of how I feel about the race and running in general right now.

The race itself was fine. The weather was nice enough that I could comfortably ride a Divvy to and from the expo. I picked up my bib and Robert’s. One little mishap – when I went to pick up the team bibs for aSweatLife, the folks at the booth said someone already picked them up. I messaged the other team members, but no one spoke up and the bibs never appeared and I didn’t see anyone on the course wearing them, so who knows what happened there.

Race morning came, I had my coffee and PB&J toast, got dressed. It was chilly but not too cold and the rain was holding off. Robert and I got out the door a little later than planned (I blame Mother Nature), and I ended up missing my own meet-up with fellow aSweatLife ambassadors, and only found Brit, who was also running late.

I headed over to Wave 2 gear check and found Kelly and Meghan, chatted for a little bit, made a final pit stop, then got into Corral F, where I found Kelly again. Neither of us are running the paces we could pull off years ago when we were in Corral A-B at the Shuffle. I told her my pace is slow and she should feel free to leave me behind on the course. We crossed the start line around 9:07am (Wave 2 started at 9am), and I kept up with her for the first few blocks, but before we even turned onto Grand Ave, I was falling behind.

The past few months, I’ve been dealing with some chronic pain. My calves have felt really heavy and fatigued, and I’ve had some pain around my Achilles. It’s symmetrical, so for a while, I didn’t think anything was wrong that couldn’t be fixed with fewer miles and more stretching, but that didn’t make a difference. In February, I started a course of treatment at Delos Therapy to work on “muscle pliability.” Basically, my muscles are tight and knotty and that can cause problems. My therapist spent a lot of time focused on my calves, and also worked on the bottoms of my feet, IT band, hamstrings, quads, hips. Basically everything from the waist down. After 4 weeks of thrice-weekly appointments, I thought we had made significant progress, so we dropped down to once a week, and I added a little more mileage to my week. But, unfortunately, the pain is still there, and was there during the Shuffle. It was really frustrating. It’s been going on for almost a year, I’ve tried some things – and invested a lot of time and money – and I’m not seeing the progress I’d like to see. And it’s taking the fun out of running.

So, that’s how the 4.97 miles of the Shamrock Shuffle went for me. I basically spent the whole time hyperaware of how my calves and Achilles were feeling, and frustrated and sad that this was still happening. I finished in 55:40, which is a personal worst for me for the 8K/5mi distance. Oh well. I got my medal and armful of snacks, “enjoyed” my Michelob Ultra, found my husband and headed home.

And then I took 2 weeks off from running. It was really easy to stay distracted – the day after the Shuffle, I flew to Las Vegas for 4 days for a conference, and with all of the walking I did (20,000 steps per day), I didn’t have the energy to run on top of that. (I’m still glad I brought a pair of Nikes because even in my cute slip-on sneakers, my feet were worn out by the last day.) I got home, took a day of relaxation, and then the next two days, I dealt with some significant shoulder pain/stiffness and didn’t want to make it worse by doing anything physical.

And then I decided I should turn a week off from running into something longer. I realized I’m way too behind on mileage to salvage any hope for my spring races. (The Lakefront 10 in Chicago next weekend and the Grandad Half in LaCrosse on May 4th.) So maybe it’s just time for a little break. Not quitting running, just not doing it too much.

I’ve been thinking about what has changed in the past year or so to lead to this issue. One quick fix is making sure I activate my glutes before a run – that’s a habit I got into after physical therapy a few years ago, but haven’t been good about lately. Another, longer-term thought is that my strength training has decreased significantly. I’ve probably lost a lot of overall strength, including my glutes, core, etc. I’m wondering if those are weaker, are my calves working harder? And is that leading to pain and fatigue? Regardless, I like lifting heavy things, so I’m going to put running on the back burner and focus on rebuilding my overall strength, and after a few weeks or months or whenever I feel like it, start to build up my mileage again.

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2 Comments on “Race Recap: Shamrock Shuffle 2019”

  1. Have you considered compartment syndrome? I question myself if I have it, but the pain/discomfort isn’t so great that I want to use up my high deductible.

  2. That sucks about your leg pain 🙁 I can’t imagine that going to Delos three times a week is sustainable in the long term from a financial or free time standpoint. I’m sure this is a stupid question, but have you brought it up with any doctors? I wonder if maybe something is off balance that wouldn’t get caught in routine bloodwork. I had routine bloodwork done in January that said everything was fine (except my cholesterol, but that’s always higher-than-desired), but when I went back for unexplained bruising three weeks later and they did more extensive, iron-related bloodwork, it turned out I had low iron stores (non-anemic iron deficiency). Since I’m not anemic, my hemoglobin was fine (basically, I *can* keep enough iron in my body, it’s just that I wasn’t putting enough iron in), so no one would’ve known if not for the more thorough, iron-related bloodwork. Obviously that’s not your exact situation, but I wonder if maybe you have a non-iron issue. Regardless of the cause, I hope you get to the bottom of it soon, because that sounds really frustrating 🙁 I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this for so long! 🙁

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