Shamrock Shuffle 8k

Yet another race report that comes waaaay after the race. But two races in one month?! That is half the number of races (including triathlons) that I did in all of 2014! Just like the Emerald Isle Mile, Shamrock Shuffle was on my calendar since early in the year. It was another chance to see how the speed is coming along and {bonus} an almost guaranteed PR since I haven’t raced the distance since 2010.

2015-04-12 10-58-43_Registration - Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle

The race snuck up on me. I came back from the UK the previous Sunday and then was trying to dig myself out of a mountain of work the remainder of the week. It wasn’t until I saw a comment from someone on Thursday that I even thought to look at the weather forecast. If I wasn’t excited about the race before, seeing a forecast of low 30’s with 25+ mph winds definitely didn’t help.

Usually as race day gets closer, the excitement and nervousness builds, but I never got butterflies. It was a mixture of several things, but primarily because I didn’t have any strong feelings about goal times or paces. It wasn’t until I got the race plan from Coach the night before that I thought…oh wow, this is going to hurt. Kevin initially wanted me to go out around 6:45 and then shoot to negative split down to sub-6:35. I have a tremendous amount of trust in Kevin, but I had several thoughts about that plan…mostly of the yeah, right variety.

Race Day

I took the train to downtown on Sunday morning and met Jenny and Chanthana at 7:30. Jenny and I did a 20ish minute warm-up while CT generously stayed with our stuff. Then we split up so CT could warm-up while Jenny and I took all of the bags to the drop off. Despite being there plenty of time, at the last minute we really rushed for time and squeezed into the corral with less than 1 minute before the cut-off. I didn’t get to do any drills and only did 2 quick strides before slipping into the corral, but at least I had ~3 miles under my belt. We found CT quickly in the corral and we huddled together trying to stay warm while we waited.

FullSizeRender (54)We were in corral B, which seemed like a good place to be at the time, but we learned later that supposedly a sub-23 5k earns you a spot in A.

Mile 1: 7:12

The masses of humans in front of me in the start was like nothing I have ever experienced. I was weaving in and out to pass people and trying hard not to make contact with shoulders and elbows. I could see Jenny just ahead of me doing the same thing and thought that if I was slightly behind her that I was probably in a pretty good place. The mile didn’t feel hard, but with all the weaving, it did feel much faster than 7:12.

Miles 2 – 4: 6:50, 6:54, 6:52

I knew I had to pick up the effort and pace significantly to get down closer to where Coach thought I should be. All the way through mile 3 was still significantly crowded. The pace felt okay, but I was just generally annoyed by all the weaving and dodging that I was doing. There was more room going into the 4th mile, but that was also where we headed straight south into the 30+ mph wind gusts. The wind felt like an invisible wall and didn’t let up until we made the left turn back toward the lake. I felt like my legs were moving in slow motion, so I was surprised to see that mile was still in the low 6:50’s.

Through the majority of these 3 miles, I kept trying to convince myself that I really wanted to run fast and make it hurt. I felt a little like my heart and body were fighting my head. In my mind, I wanted to race hard, but the willingness to push my limits and embrace the pain wasn’t there.

Mile 5 (0.97): 6:38

I tried to lay it all out in the final mile. I was passing tons of people, but it was more spread out so I wasn’t weaving quite as much. Eventually we made the turn onto {Mt} Roosevelt and I pushed up the hill with as much effort as I could.


Pain face at the top of the “hill”.

When I rounded the corner and could see the finish chute, I had a brief flashback to Chicago Marathon and how that felt as Char and I ran the same path to a PR. I picked up the turnover as much as I could and tried to leave as much as I could out on the course. I did make it hurt in that section…I felt like I was finally giving all I had on that stretch.

FullSizeRender (55)

Shamrock Shuffle 8k: 34:29, 6:57 min/mile

Shortly after I finished I spotted Jenny and we also saw Kimmie. The three of walked through the finishers area together, chatting and commiserating over a tough, cold day. Jenny and I eventually convinced ourselves to jog out another 2 miles for a cool down and to make 10 total on the day.

While I didn’t have a time goal going into the day, I thought I could have possibly broken 34 minutes. On a different day? Maybe. Given that I lost nearly 20 seconds in the first mile, I do think a sub-34 is in the cards for me. But at least it was a 2+ min PR from my 2010 time! Onward.


About Corey

I am a 30-something swim, bike, run addict married to my best friend and in love with my two schnoodle doggies.
This entry was posted in Chicago, friends, Goals, Race reports, Races, running, training, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Shamrock Shuffle 8k

  1. I ran a 5 mile race in Baltimore a couple of years ago that was insanely crowded- it’s so frustrating to be fighting through throngs of runners for the first couple miles of such a short race!
    Regardless, good job pushing the pace, esp in the last mile (& fighting through the wind)! Congrats on the PR 🙂

  2. Pete B says:

    Congrats on the PR. The winds were brutal that day and it stinks that you had to do so much weaving.

  3. Congrats on the PR!! I am sure you could push harder especially if you were in corral A and less wind!! I read Jenny’s report and she made the wind sound much much worse! 🙂

  4. erin says:

    Super speedy! Congrats on the PR, Corey! (The wind this spring has been so bad, right?!)

  5. elizabeth says:

    nice work!!! your first mile sounds like the peachtree. and reading this, and you describing the hurt, really makes me glad i’m doing distance and not short stuff right now :):)

  6. Pingback: Bayshore Half Marathon: The Race that Wasn’t |

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