Friday, April 5, 2013

A shamrock tradition

This Sunday I'll be toeing the line of my 7th Shamrock Shuffle 8k. This race has become an unintentional spring tradition for me where I anticipate the start all winter long. In this dreary grey place, it seems to be the glimmer of hope for me that sunshine and warm weather is just around the corner.

The first year I ran this race was in 2007.

I didn't train and didn't have any clue what kind of split I would put up because those were the days when I would run and run with out any sense. The night before I even worked an overnight shift where I didn't get home from work until about 7:30 am. Going on 24+ hours of no sleep, I have no idea how I crossed that finish line. But I did, then passed out for about 14 hours later that afternoon.

The only pic I have from this race. Terrible quality, but apparently I ran it was the Mr. before he was officially the Mr. Had no idea until I found this pic.


Then in 2008, I thought that I could finish faster.

Even though I was injured and hadn't done much of any activity, I assumed that a good nights rest would be enough to finish just a wee bit quicker. And it was.


This race is HUGE, and that's why I love it. You are running on the streets of Chicago with thousands of runners all around you. It's pretty awesome.

In 2009 I was finally healthy.

My knee had finally healed and for the first time in my adult life I decided to make attempts to actually train for a race with my eyes on the Shamrock Shuffle. This is when I begun to log my training and actually started following some type of logical progressions with my workouts. Race morning it was cold, windy, wet, snowy, and there was several inches of slushy snow covering the streets of the course. It took just over 4 miles for me to gain feeling in my feet on the course, and my husband sat inside a Dunkin Donuts to keep warm while I was racing.

Poor conditions and all, I somehow still managed to work my way to a pretty sweet PR.


2010 brought new momentum.

I was getting fitter, faster, and smarter with my training. Suddenly I begun to become more motivated to gain speed and challenge myself with my running goals. After hitting an 8k PR the previous fall, I knew that I wanted to set my sights high and go for a sub 33 split finish. I didn't rest the day before and instead did a long run because I was ramping up for a half a few weeks later...because it makes total sense to burn all your fuel stores before a goal race...

That was the race that taught me the importance of rest days on race eve. Ah, what a valuable lesson that has served me well.

2011. The year of Elite.

Ah yes, elite...such a funny word that brings such funny feelings for me. I'm no elite. I'm average where there will always be plenty of peeps ahead and behind me. Still think that this was some type of typo or clerical erro, but I was the elite corral with the real elites. Excited but feeling very out of place, I lined up at the very back of the corral and went out way too fast.

This race was the turning point for me with my running and set me up for some pretty sweet PR's later in the year. I ran hard and fast (for me) and had fun while doing it, finally realizing that running can be a hoot if you just go out there to have fun.

2012. Elite, part 2.

And then there was last year...

I put up a pretty decent split for myself and raced like a weirdo on very unrested legs.

6:16, 5:42, 6:11, 6:32, 5:56.
I raced. It hurt. I had a blast. And earned myself a pretty sweet PR.


2 days out from race day, I've decided that the plan once again is that there is no plan and instead to just enjoy tradition. No watch. No goal time. Nada. Just my favorite Pam Beasley way to race...

Start fast.
Run fast in the middle.
And end fast.

Sometimes traditions change, and my PR streak for this race was bound to hit an end eventually. But PR or no PR on Sunday, I'm still going to head out there and run the best race my body allows and have a blast while doing it. And if that means my body is somehow able to magically produce a faster split, than that's great. And if not, the Shamrock tradition will still continue for many years to come.


  1. Looking forward to cheering for ya on Sunday! I'll be at State/Jackson (mile 2) and the finish. Chanthana bought vuvuzelas and Tim bought an extra cowbell so there's a good chance you'll see (hear) us. :D

    1. i have no idea what a vuuvzelas is, but i'm sure looking forward to finding out! i'll be wearing a bright blue lululemon tank and will most likely be running with a tall, thin, beautiful blonde and her nearly 7ft tall boy toy. i'll keep my eyes and ears open in that area!

  2. I love the tradition of the shuffle! Although this is definitely not a year for a PR for me (possibly more of a PW), but I'm happy and hopeful that I'll still cross the finish line and keep the tradition going!

    Are you working the expo this year?

  3. Nice post. I was about to skip Shamrock. Stress fractures are no fun and running has taken a back seat. But, there is something special about shamrock...and I love Chicago's racing atmosphere..I just can't pass it up.

    I'm planning on running for fun. Hope you have a great race. Cheers.

  4. Have a fantastic race! Enjoy!

  5. Fast is the only way you run girl...go get 'em!

  6. Love this history! Great JoB and Good Luck!

  7. I love reading the history too! So cool when you find that race you love and do it each year. That is the WI half for me :)

    And super awesome with your PR streak! Have a fantastic time on Sunday! :)

  8. What a history you have with this race! I'm running it for the first time on Sunday and I'm so excited!

  9. Good luck on Sunday! Hope you have fun! :)

  10. I loved this walk through "Shamrock memory lane," so inspiring to see your progress through the years. This race is so fun and definitely is something to look forward to all dreary cold winter long. Good luck this Sunday!

  11. 2009 was my first shuffle! In the snow, slush and my feet were soaked before we even started the race! Good times!!

  12. it makes me a little jealous my 5k is much longer than your 8k. Good luck this weekend!

  13. Have a fantastic race tomorrow!! I loved watching through your progression...I've been following your blog for quite some time now and it's amazing to see how you continue to transform as a runner.

  14. I hope you nailed that PR and had a blast doing it!

  15. Hi Britt,
    I talked to you this morning at the Corner Bakery before the start (bathroom line haha). Nice to meet you and I hope your race went well today! Awesome blog...its so cool to read about other runners in the Chicago area. Keep it up!

    DJ Salmon--Griffith, IN

    1. Hey DJ! It was neat to run into you, even if it was in the line for a bathroom! The race was a blast, hope that you did awesome and that our paths will cross again sometime soon!

    2. The Shuffle is always amazing, all the excitement of the marathon and you get to stop after 5 miles. I had a great race, PR in 31:03. Just happy to knock a bit of time off last year.

    3. ha...too funny, that was my finish time too! congrats pr twin!

    4. Wow, what are the chances of that? Crazy. I saw that time and was happy to improve, but at the same time I'm like man, can I get 4 more seconds and hit 30:59?