Spoiler alert: I PR’d! But of course I did, I’ve never raced an 8K!

I knew going into today’s race that it would be a little crazy. With 40,000 registered, the Shamrock Shuffle 8K is the second largest race in Chicago (after the marathon) and the “official” start of Chicago’s running season. I guess. I’ve been racing all winter …

Anyway, I had a lovely 5am wake-up call in order to catch the Metra train to get downtown by 7am. I met up with the other F’N Runners at the Hilton for indoor bathrooms and a group photo.

F'N Runners before the Shamrock Shuffle
Look at all those sparkle skirts! This isn’t even the whole group. 

Then it was off to gear check and the corrals.

Shamrock shuffle
Me, Kelly, Amanda
My arm warmers are courtesy of my high school soccer team.
They were my socks, I cut off the feet. Worked really well.

Upon entering the race area, Kelly looked around, and said with a straight face, “I’m surprised no one else is dressed up for The Hunger Games.” Cracked. Me. Up.

I didn’t find our corral to be too crowded or crazy, but maybe that’s because we got in about 20 minutes before they closed. And then had another 15 minutes before the race started. According to the official results, I crossed the start about 2:20 after the gun, er, air horn. And even though the course was pretty crowded, I didn’t have to deal with too much weaving around people. So I’m glad I submitted my recent 5K times to get in such a high corral.

I, of course, forgot to turn off my auto-lap on my Garmin, so shortly after we went under the first tunnel, my Garmin beeped for lap 1. I spent the race doing mental math, between what Garmin beeped and hitting lap at the actual mile markers.

Amanda sped off ahead somewhere under the first tunnel, so Kelly and I ran the first 3 miles together. Her goal was to finish sub-40, but she was running Garmin-less, so I told her our [actual] splits. After the mile 3 sign, Kelly took off, and my heart rate was right where I wanted it to be, so I didn’t try to catch up. Around mile 4, the course turns down Michigan Ave (almost the Mag Mile, but a little too far south), and I kept plugging along, trying to mentally prepare myself for the Roosevelt hill (overpass) that I have heard about so many times, but had yet to ever experience. It wasn’t too bad today, but I’m sure I’ll hate it at mile 26 of the marathon.

The last turn (off of Roosevelt) was close to the finish, so I started speeding up. I think a guy tried to pass me in the end, so I sped up faster, and I’m not sure who finished first. Which is silly, it’s a huge race and I’m sure there were plenty of people around me speeding past, they just weren’t right next to me. I like to think that my sparkle skirt inspired the people around me to run faster, because they are probably thinking “just don’t let the chick in the sparkly skirt beat you.” So this is one way I can give back to the running community.

Officially:

7:57 pace
I was pretty happy to get in under 40 minutes. This isn’t quite what McMillan thinks I can do, but I wasn’t expecting to hit that time. 

I found my friends in the post-race area, and we ended up taking some photos with the infamous Green Men of the Shamrock Shuffle but those photos are on someone else’s camera, so you (and I) will have to wait to see them. Then, after waiting for everyone else to get through a monster Gear Check line (I had my super-fashionable fanny pack and DIY arm warmers and didn’t need to check anything), we made use of our beer tickets and enjoyed a beautiful Chicago day morning by Buckingham Fountain (which was still off).

Shamrock shuffle
Get your own “I run with fast women” shirt at http://magmilerunner.spreadshirt.com.
Proceeds go to the American Cancer Society!

Shamrock shuffle
Amanda, me, Kelly
Expo vendors, if you’re reading, sunglasses are a great giveaway for us cheapskates.

After waiting around for my train (damn you Metra and your Sunday schedule), I was starving when I finally got home, but luckily I walked in on the middle of a late breakfast, and there were pancakes and sausages already made! Seriously, I may never move out of my parents’ house.

Also, my niece was over for a visit!! So today is like the best day ever. I think she liked my skirt. Or maybe she smiles at everything. Not this picture though.

Aunt Maggie & Madeline

Next up: Chi-Town Half Marathon next Sunday. At one point during the race today, I thought to myself “I can’t believe I signed up for a half next weekend. What was I thinking?” In true runner-amnesia form, I wasn’t even off the train before I was thinking “I’m gonna KILL my PR at Sunday’s half! Yeah!!!!!! Running is awesome!!!” Although PR’ing shouldn’t be hard, my half marathon PR is 2:22. But I’ve improved a lot since my last half.