Tuesday, April 9, 2013

2013 Shamrock Shuffle 8k

And the PR streak unexpectedly continues.
Looks like Sunday I had the luck of the Irish on my side.

"Any idiot can train himself into the ground; the trick is doing the training that makes you gradually stronger."
Keith Brantly 
 PR's have become synonymously interchangeable in the running world where the term more often than not seems to leave an underlying assumption that the miles were some awesome experience that made a runner feel like they were on top of the world and felt unstoppable.

That was not how Sunday's PR went  down for me.

Going into the Shamrock Shuffle, I had really no expectation. It was going to be just another race for me where my goal was to run by feel instead of relying on a watch to dictate my pacing. At this point in my life, this shouldn't be such a difficult thing for me to execute yet it somehow has become my hearts latest ambitiously laborious pursuit.

Coming back from burn-out has been very challenging for me mentally. Physically my body has repaired, recharged, and recovered, but mentally I'm still a hot mess. Learning my limit has left me cautious and questionable about racing and training just all around, so I've been playing it safe. Keeping to mainly fartlek style workouts, taking extra days off, and not making any mileage goals.  The most important thing for me right now is staying healthy and balanced where PR's are no where close to being on my radar.

My head is still doubtful about pressing it, and speed feels foreign to my body where even at my quickest paces it seems like I'm moving in slow motion at times. 

Race morning I met up with a very speedy girlfriend of mine that I planned on racing with. She's a former rockstar collegiate athlete and has some amazing natural speed in her legs. Before the race even started, I had my doubts that I'd be toe-to-toe with her since workouts have been lacking in my neck of the woods and in my mind I'm not exactly in race shape.

Blue top, shades, and pink shoes in middle of frame. My speedy friend was in the blue top ahead.
Having gotten the luxury treatment the past two years of this race, I had no idea how chaotic getting into corral A would be. With about 15 minutes to spare until the corrals closed, we figured we had plenty of time to scoot off into our respective start areas. But as we stood like a herd of cattle marching off for slaughter, the clock ticked by quickly and we weren't making much progress towards the gates. As 8:15 neared and the volunteers starting to slowly close the corral gates, the runners behind us begun to panic. I'm not great in crowds, and I had a mild panic attack as I feared being tramped by crazed runners.

this gal has a bit funnier account of the pre-race mania

That was basically my worst nightmare as people were infringing on my personal space as I begun to sweat profusely and have shortness of breath.

Not exactly my ideal pre-race situation.

I had a hard time getting my head together after that and just never really mentally checked in for the day before I crossed the finish line. Thinking back now, I have no idea how my legs were moving because I felt like it was all going by in slow-mo where it felt kind of like a dream. My thoughts were racing, I let my running partner get ahead a few strides, and my stomach begun to hate what was happening...again. The only vivid recall I have of the race was when I saw my girlfriend round the corner of Roosevelt after feeling as if she was light-years ahead of me and counted just about 7 seconds until I passed that exact point.

At that point I remember thinking "7 seconds is nothing...why did I let her get so far ahead?".

But, by then it was too late and the race was pretty much over.

Unexpectedly I worked my way to a 13 second PR and finished just a 5 measly seconds behind my girlfriend, who crossed the line in 30:58.
5. Measly. Seconds.

It's funny how I ran without a watch, did substantially lower mileage, got in just a handful of workouts, and took more days off as a build up for this race over any other year that I've ran it yet I still hit a PR. Curiously odd...but pretty much confirms things for me about how I should be training.

My #1 fan, Mr. Chicago Runner Girl
The Shamrock Shuffle is still my favorite race, despite the fact that the PR streak continues and that I felt like Mufasa being stampeded beforehand. After all, it's tradition.

Update as of 4/17/13...finish time may have been 31:01. Looks like they've updated some stats, which would have put me 4 measly seconds behind my girlfriend and only 2 seconds away from breaking 31. 


  1. Congrats on your PR and on keeping the streak alive - it IS funny that you felt so off kilter, but your legs still did what they were supposed to do. So yeah, you are definitely doing it right training wise :)

    Thanks for the link - I'm not sure what I was more afraid of then: being trampled or being forced back to E. I was indignant - I ACTUALLY QUALIFIED for a decent corral - they were going to have to drag me to E! But wow! My heart was a hot mess for a couple minutes there...

  2. Very cool! Glad the streak continues. I love when races become tradition. :-)

  3. Congrats on a PR and a great race! It really is funny what the body can do when you change your expectations! That is how I got my half marathon PR last year. I always love having a speedy pal for that friendly competition on race day. The Shamrock Shuffle is such a great race and I'm already looking forward to next year! :)

  4. Congrats on your PR! I wanted to run the Shamrock Shuffle this year but had to go out of town for a conference. Hopefully next year!
    My blog: www.healthyfitgoddess.com

  5. Nice job on the PR, and no 5 seconds is not that much. Funny that you were not feeling that it was going to be so great. I had that same feeling this weekend and while I didn't PR, I ended up feeling amazing and doing way better than anticipated, which also tells me my legs like less mileage.

  6. Congrats on the PR, despite the chaos in the beginning. I am realizing that over-training is bad as well. I hate the yearly "over-train then injury cycle". By the way, I got a video of you running by mile 4 on my blog, looks like you were flying!

  7. Great job!! Such a fun, crazy atmosphere.

    I always get to the corral early after being shut out of the corral system at the 2010 CHI Marathon. Hard lesson to learn. Glad you got in!

  8. Fantastic job on the race PR!! The unexpected success is sometimes the best success. It is hard to take the "less is more" approach, especially in running, but you don't have to run crazy miles every week to be a good, and fast runner. You just proved that. Now we all need to see the lesson in your success story!

  9. The streak lives!! That's awesome!

    The gate situation was so scary. I was so super jacked on adrenaline that I worried my heart rate wouldn't go down before the gun went off. Is it always like that?

  10. Yikes. Getting into the corrals sounds like a mess! I would have probably freaked out too.

    Great job on the PR! Maybe the adrenaline rush helped a bit? Who knows!

  11. Great race! yeah, I've been doing way less mileage and I've been seeing better results. granted I've been hitting the weights more often and cycling a lot...I think it helps to build your strength.

  12. Congrats on your PR!! That gate situation was CRAZY. I was stuck in that too, and not proud of it, but I turned it into my own obstacle run...hopped both fences while the megaphone man yelled at me. It was actually somewhat scary though because people were shaking that first fence. Thought i was going to fall off but decided I would make sure to at least fall on the "right" side of the fence. :) I would have had no problem with them gating it off if I was late. But I was there at 8:05am -- should have been able to move through the gates. Something went badly wrong on their end. Oh well, I ended up with a PR as well so maybe the extra adrenaline kick was a good thing!

  13. Damn, girl! Congrats on the awesome PR and after such a hectic start!

  14. Yay! Congrats on the PR! It's really interesting how you did so well with the breaks in training but that just proves that we need our rest days just as much as we need anything else! Way to go!

  15. Congrats on the PR! Well deserved, and so awesome your hubby supports you like he does!

  16. OMG! I hear you on the feeling like you were in a herd of cattle. I was so afraid I wasn't going to get into my corral. Scary! However, I agree the Shuffle is always a great race and seems like a lot of people hit a PR during that race. Great job!

  17. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Hug!

    So excited about your PR, coming after some lower mileage and modified training. Smart girl!

  18. Congrats on your PR! Glad to hear that treating your body right is paying off. Also I saw you and Mr. CRG in the crowd post-race but didn't have the energy to run up and creep you out :)

  19. Congratulations! I am so happy that things are going so well for you. You are super talented and I love watching you excel every time you race! Keep it Up!!

  20. Congrats- I know 5 seconds... I was on the other side of the clock & not PR'ing by that amount. It's certainly an odd feeling when you're "moving in slow mo" during the race - and pleasantly surprising at how fast you can be!

  21. Congratulations! Great time! You are so freaking fast girl!

  22. Congrats Mrs Speedy! Even though your head might not have been on board, your legs and heart certainly remembered what they were supposed to do that morning. So impressed youve improved each time at the shamrock :)

  23. Awesome job at The Shamrock Shuffle! You're speedy! My stepmom ran it also, and my hubby and I plan on running it next year!

  24. Congrats on your PR! It sounds like listening to your body for pacing and other cues really works for you. The corral situation was a disaster--this was my first Shamrock Shuffle and I had a big problem getting in, too. They definitely need to come up with a better solution for that problem. I'm sorry that the morning was so mentally tough for you, but it's awesome that despite all of the bad things that happened, you performed really well. Congrats again! :)

  25. Did you see all of the people jumping the fence after the corrals closed. It was crazy to watch!!! Congrats on the PR. That is crazy fast and fun way to start chicago race season!!!

    1. thanks! the people jumping the fence were crazy, i suppose desperate times call for desperate measures! this race is always like that though since it's so large, and so it the marathon. just wish there was a different system, which i suppose would be just as tricky since this is such a large race. felt kinda bad for the volunteers.

  26. Congrats on the PR, you ran a great perfectly paced race!