I have this notion that I may run the CARA circuit this year (ssshhh - don't tell anyone in case I change my mind). Since, the first race on the circuit is the Shamrock Shuffle and I've been training for a half, I'm all good to do an 8k.
But first, can we all agree the expo is weird. I mean I get it that it's a HUGE race. But do we really need an expo for packet pick up? And if we do, does it really need to be at McCormick Place? What a pain in the ass. The cab I took from work dropped me off at the West building and naturally the expo was in the East building, so I had a nice long walk. And then I had to take a cab home - because there's no good way to take public transportation back from there unless it's a bus and no. But whatever, Mr. H. was there manning the CARA booth so I took off early on Friday, headed over, got my packet, browsed around reminding myself I didn't need any additional - insert all running related gear.
Race day I head downtown early with Mr. H. as he is working at the CARA compound in the Hilton where members can gear check and hang out inside before the race. Which is great, because it's cold outside, and windy. There were lots of people deciding on what layers to wear. I went with tights and a long sleeve shirt with a singlet underneath. I had the good fortune to qualify for the first wave with a time that eeked in just under the cutoff and was assigned corral D. I head on over about 10 minutes before the corral closes and stretch and try to stay warm. Then I stand around for the next 20 minutes waiting to get to the start line. (When I get to the finish line, corral H is about to go off, so yeah, getting into first wave a plus).
This is the part of this race I don't like. The standing around. Standing around for the marathon is one thing. It gives you time to back out if you want, and really, who's eager to start at 26.2 mile run? But an 8k. Can we just get this show on the road. Eventually we make it to the start and I go out.
I would give you a breakdown of my miles, however, I made a mistake and forgot that the Loop does not agree with satellite watches. My watched told me I had run the first mile in about 8:10 (a record for me) - but since I was no where near the first mile marker, I knew it was lying. So the rest of the run I had to do math each mile to figure out my pace. I believe my miles were something like 9:40ish, 9:30ish, 9:30ish, 10:15ish (very windy) and then back under 10. I finished with an overall pace of 9:43 per mile for a finishing time of 48:18.
My strategy for the Shuffle was to push myself a little, but not really race since I had run 9 the day before. Of course, that went out the window once I started running. Of course my legs were sore from the day before, so not having my watch tell me exactly what my pace was probably helped a little bit since I was always worried I was slowing down to a crawl.
It was a good race, and a fun way to start of the season. I like the shirt (it's almost made up for the lack of design on last year's marathon shirt). The medal is OK. I mean I don't really need another bottle opener medal - I just don't open that many bottles. But I'll never turn down something that I can display to remind myself that I am not a slug and that I actually get out and run every once in a while.