How is it already Thursday? Where is this week (and my spring break) going??
No matter the answer to that, it’s time to get off my butt and review this past weekend’s Shamrock Shuffle. In short, it was awesome. I probably haven’t been that pleased with a race since Gopher to Badger in August.
But going into the race, I wasn’t expecting anything positive. This was going to be my second run back after MCTU, after a casual 9.5 with a friend from Iowa the day before. That run went…ok. But y’all will hear more about my training in Monday’s post.
Going into Sunday, I slept absolutely terribly the night before. Couldn’t tell ya why, I just did. Somehow, I also forgot to prepare any breakfast (read: overnight oats), nor did I leave myself enough time to cook some in the morning.
My solution? Starbucks.
I figured a nice coffee, and some warm oatmeal, and I’d be a happy camper. Naturally, I arrived right when Starbucks opened, but despite saying it three times, I never got my oatmeal. So now what? Well, I needed gas (because again…didn’t plan ahead) so I hopped into the gas station and picked up some jerkey. Coffee and jerkey, the fuel of champions, right?
Anyway. I arrived in downtown right before the race closed the roads, so I got a clutch parking spot close(ish) to the start/finish line. Easily enough I walked down to Grant Park, found an unused porta pod, and relaxed before the race.
The cooler temps made it tough to relax, with 30s and a wind off the lake. But no matter, conditions like that are more or less perfect for running. After waiting around, I was ready to check my bag, take off my warm clothes, and jump into the corral.
When I signed up, I had slotted myself in Corral B, knowing this was 7 Days post MCTU, but corrals A and B were released at the same time, so ultimately it didn’t matter.
The first mile of the race was spent weaving around those running a slower pace. In theory, putting 7-8 minute Milers in the same corral is a good idea. But that’s a HUGE pace differential once everyone is on the road together.
Honestly, I didn’t take in much of the course, as I was focused on those in front of me. I acknowledged when we went over the river, only due to the slight inclines. I didn’t know we ran past the Willis Tower until I looked at the map after the race.
That day, I made a point of not checking my watch at all, and to run roughly 80-90% and then push once the finish was in sight. This worked immensely well as I was legitimately surprised we hit the 5k so quick. From there it was just about weaving back through the city to Grant Park.
Like a lot of big races, the final stretch to the finish is like the longest yard. You can see the straightaway, but it takes FOREVER to get there.
When finished, runners were greeted with the most luxurious finishing chute I’ve seen for an 8k. Granola, bananas (that were frozen…darn winter), endless Gatorade, water, our medals, and more! Plus, as we progressed back to bag check, there was chips and guac from Chipotle, hot chocolate with a fee mug, and beer. I was in heaven.
Oh. You want to know how the race went? I ran a 32:04 which was surprisingly close to my PR. And honestly, it felt easy.
My only mistake was getting my beer before my bag check. Drinking a beer in 30 degree weather is a little chilly in a singlet.
Overall though, this was a fantastic day and a fantastic event.