Friday, April 2, 2010

2010 Chicago Shamrock Shuffle

Here in Chicago the first official large race every year is the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8k. This race is traditionally held on the first Sunday of Spring, and brings a large crowd of runners who have been in hibernation during the harsh Chicago winters. I found myself there again this year along with over 25,000 of my fellows runners. While the racing conditions were cool, wet and windy; the field of competitors was the largest ever. While I'm in the tail end of half marathon training, and found my legs feeling heavy and unrested on race morning, I did manage to achieve a 3 second PR.

Crossing the line in a 33:15 I at first found myself a bit bummed out with my performance. As most racers I generally hold myself to high expectations, and sometimes manage to crack under the pressures that I try to burden myself with during a race. My splits were great, and negative. I clocked the first mile at 6:43 feeling great, the second at 6:41 still feeling rather great, the third mile at a 6:39, fourth mile is where I really begun to feel the banana I ate for breakfast and clocked a 6:36, and the last .97 was rather difficult for me and took about 6:39.

While I did successfully have the PR that I wanted, I did seem to lose it in the last mile. My orginal goal was to break 33:00, which was not achievable that morning. I made the best adjustments that I could during the race, going out slow for the first mile. I am still proud of my race, yet I've spent quite a bit of time lately rehashing the last mile. While it can be torture to continually relive a race that did not go as expected, I've been finding it oddly productive. To be a successful runner and achieve the times that I desire, it's important for me to sit and think about where I may have cranked it out or where I let myself fall apart in a race.

Looking ahead to The Illinois Half Marathon on May 1st, it's now important for me to focus on the back end of my race. By keeping it in my mind that the last few miles can be the most difficult as I train, it will remind me to push through the discomfort and finish as strong as I start. Keeping the focus on consistency and strength both mentally and physically is my goal in the next four weeks.

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