Monday, April 4, 2016

Shamrock Shuffle

Mary and me waiting for the start.
I was trying to remember why I signed up for this race and I'm not really sure. I guess because I did it last year, because several of my friends ran it and because it's a CARA Circuit race so why not (not that I would get points from this race, but at least it counts towards participation*).

So there I was, yesterday morning, putting on my running clothes like the other 23 thousand runners in Chicago. I skipped the expo this year, opting to have my husband pick up my bib for me. I'm still bitter that my son lost last year's neck gator doohicky give away, and I don't really need a pair of green sunglasses, but I think the shirt is cute. Other giveaways in the goody bag included some cold medicine and those gummy vitamins we seem to get from all the races. I do question why there were so many items in the goody bag when there is an online version. I thought the online version was so we didn't waste paper. I guess not. Apparently it is so different prices can be charged to be included in the physical goody bag versus the virtual goody bag.

Moving on. I did my long run on Saturday, 9 miles, so I wasn't really expecting much from this race (much like last year). But then again, my running group has been doing this distance pretty much every Wednesday morning (just so you know, from Montrose at the path to the CARA water trough and back is just under 5 miles) at a 9:30ish pace. My 8k PR is 47:56 which is a 9:38 pace. So there's that.

After Mr. H. and I dressed for the cold weather that began the day (not to be confused with the mid 60 degree weather that ended the day), we made our way downtown with all the other runners on the train. Whenever there is some big race downtown I always wonder what the people on the train who aren't runners are thinking. I assume it's either 'why are all these people wearing running clothes' or 'what is wrong with people who get up early and go run 5 miles in freezing cold weather for fun'. But it's probably more like 'Crap, I forgot the Shamrock Shuffle was today. Now I'm going to have to wait in a huge line at Starbucks with a bunch of stupid runners.'

Once downtown we make our way over the the Wave 1/Red gear check because Mr. H. was in the A corral. I made the mistake of (a) underestimating the pace I would be running and (b) not remembering how much it sucks to be at the back, so I was put way back in F corral. Since we took off more than half an hour after the race started, pretty sure Mr. H. made it to the finish line before I even started the race.

After Mr. H. checked his bag and made his way to the hoity toity** A corral, I made my way over the Wave 2/Blue gear check. After checking my gear, I met up with Mary and her son and we made our way to the F corral. Amazingly, Adrienne was able to find us in the corral and so all three of us were able to run together***. After standing around talking about whatever it is you talk about while standing around before a race, we were off.

The first mile was a little slow for us, mostly because there are 20 thousand other people and because we were trying to stay together. We wanted to make sure we were together at the second water stop so we could take a picture with CJ, who was dressed up as a big dog for PAWS. First mile 9:53.

Miles 2 and 3 were pretty much the same but we were able to pick up the pace a bit. One of the worries I had about this race was the wind. Last year it was windy as heck. But for the most part, the wind wasn't playing much of a factor, at least so far. We skipped the first water stop and finished the 5k with a 9:38 pace. Having turned off auto lap on my watch because it's useless downtown, but then not figuring out how to get it to lap manually, and missing the mile 1 mile marker, I stopped trying to use my watch to pace myself at mile 2. All my pace info comes from what the results are telling me.

Adrienne, CJ the Dog, Mary and me
When we turned south onto Franklin right before mile 3, I braced myself for the wind as this was the worst section last year. Happily, it wasn't bad. That is until we got toward the Sears (yes, I still call it Sears) Tower. Then all hell broke loose. Even though the flags on the side of the building were all waving due east, the wind on ground level was heading due North and we basically ran against a wall of wind for a couple of blocks. Once we made the turn on to Harrison, it calmed down. As we approached the next water stop, we started to look for a person dressed up like a big dog. You'd think this would be pretty easy. Until we realized that with water on both sides of the street, we weren't sure which way to look. But find CJ we did.

Right up until this point I had been telling myself to just get to this water stop. Once we were through it I gave myself permission to slow down if I wanted to. But after our 30 second or so stop and a quick swig of water, my legs actually felt pretty good. I finished mile 4 eager to make the turn on to Michigan and get this race over with.

So, because apparently Bank of America races have some requirement to run up Roosevelt, we make our way up "Mount Roosevelt" before the finish. Of course, running up this hill after 4+ miles is a whole lot different than after 25+ miles. Adrienne commented on as much, saying that she wasn't used to the lack of despair this hill normally induces. Finally, making the turn on to Columbus, we sprint as much as we can to the finish.

Look, we do other things besides run.
Finish time: 48:09, 348/1591 age; 3712/13521 gender; 9387/23448 overall. So you know, no placing medals for me, but still, a very respectable finish.

Unfortunately, our quick photo with CJ probably cost me a PR since I missed it by 13 seconds, but it was totally worth it! Mr. H., who did NOT stop for a photo op with CJ, did however manage to PR. But, that meant he had to wait all that much longer in the cold for me to finish.

Next up, oh yeah, I signed up for the Chi Town Half next weekend out of peer pressure. As Adrienne so aptly noted, these are the types of things we make each other do now. Getting up and running at 5 a.m. Running half marathons just because. But let's not forget, just two short weeks ago, we were playing beer pong at Staci's birthday party.


* I could do a whole long thing up there about CARA's circuit races, and how you earn points. But I figured most people don't really care. The short answer is, if you finish in the top 25 overall or in the top 15 in your age group, you get points. Since the Shamrock Shuffle is so huge, no chance that's going to happen. But there are also participation categories which depends on how many races in the circuit you run. So even if there is no way I'm going to get points, I still get participation points. All of this assumes that I do enough races to qualify. But it's early going and you never know.

** I am in no way implying that Mr. H. is hoity or toity. Just that the A corral itself is.

***I realize that 3 plus 1 is four, but Mary's son didn't want to run with us/wasn't actually in F corral, so it was 3 plus 1 minus 1, which is 3.


Pete B said...

Congrats on the near PR. Getting the pic with your friend in the PAWS costume was totally worth missing your PR! I did not know how the CARA participation points worked. Interesting. Do you know if CARA have a pre-race lounge area this year? I did not hear about one.

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