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Run This Town

April 11, 2011

2011 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle was a success!

[Completed in 58:30, hot sweaty and dehydrated]

In total, the 70 degree weather and constant inclines were no match for these running legs! I conquered them all with strength and pushed on towards the finish line even when I wanted to walk. This black girl ran!

Two days ago I visited the Shamrock Shuffle Health and Fitness Expo, where I picked up the race bag filled with information and the race bib. All runners were also gifted with an official technical tee-shirt, which I ended up wearing for the race. Typically, the Shamrock Shuffle occurs at the end of March, rightfully termed the “Thaw Out” race. However, this year race officials moved the 8k to the middle of April in the hopes of better weather and running conditions. Their intuition worked! The temperature began in the low 60s and quickly rose to the high 70s by the time I crossed the finish line (highly unusual for this time of year!)

At the expo, I purchased a very pretty gray long sleeve race technical tee thinking temperatures would still remain in the low 40s and 50s. This 8k would be my 3rd official race since running Cross Country in High School and was the first race I ran alone. To commemorate, I splurged on the beautiful and well fitting tee.

Race day morning began with a 6:00 am wake up call. Even though the race didn’t begin until 9am, I hadn’t packed my race bag the night before and I would be taking public transportation downtown to Grant Park. I knew I would need as much time as possible, but in hindsight, I might have woken up a little too early πŸ™‚ I quickly packed my race backpack, grabbed an english muffin with almond butter and cinnamon, and raced to catch the bus.

I checked my backpack at gear check. It included:

  • water for the race
  • banana to eat on the way to the race
  • change of clothes for after the race
  • flip flops (amazing decision!)
  • Nathan running pack (with cell phone, camera, cash, runner’s ID, headphones, shot blocks)
  • sunglasses
  • keys
  • race bib, d-tag, safety pins

I arrived at the 8k at 7:10, and had my gear bag checked by 7:20. The race was extremely organized by bib color and there were plenty amount of volunteers on site waiting to answer any questions I may have had. Since I arrive so early, I had time toΒ  be one of the first to use the port-a-pottys (!), stretch, and take in the experience. At 7am, temperature was in the mid 60s with a slight overcast, and although I was a bit chilly in my tech tee ( decided not to wear the long sleeved shirt ) I knew by the time the race began I would quickly heat up.

Before I knew it, runers began filing in and my corral quickly filled up. During the race I decided I actually much rather the corral system versus lining up at the start line and sprinting. I never felt congested and had room to move around freely.

The race promptly began at 9, and by 9:25 my corral made it to the start line.

And we’re off!

The first .5 miles took us on an incline, which was totally unexpected. After the initial incline, we were greeted with a flat surface and cheering fans. My plan at the beginning of the race was to start as strong as possible, giving myself some room towards the end if the heat proved to be much. Once I began the race, my stomach felt queasy and I secretly hoped it would fade. At mile two, we were met with Gatorade and water stations, and that is where I made my first mistake. I am not a big sports drinker, and should have stuck with the water. After trudging on for two more miles I knew I would have to releave myself if I was going to finish the race with a decent time. I sprinted to the nearest port-a-potty. The mini-break put me 4 minutes behind, but I was determined to give the end my all.

The last .97 miles took us down the historic Michigan avenue, and the the killer…another hill!

Upon reaching the hill, I told myself I could walk at the end. I pushed and pushed even though my quads felt like they were on fire.

Once I reached the top of the incline, I saw the red Finish Line sign, and took OFF! I felt like my legs were moving so quickly, but my body wasn’t going very fast. While sprinting, I felt my left calf muscle tighten, but I kept running. I just wanted to be done! Once I crossed the finish line in 58:30, I instantly felt better.

I picked up my backpack from gear check, grabbed two bottles of water and banana, and took five minutes to stretch out my legs. The race was still going on, so I decided to stay on Michigan avenue cheering on runners as they made the final stretch to the finish line. They greeted me with warm smiles and congratulations on completing the race. Sometimes, it is just nice to cheer on other runners. I know from experience how encouraging it can be when you’re pushing hard and there is a person there tell you good job. After 20 minutes of cheering and being hungry, I decided to walk a mile to Whole Foods for lunch. We passed the street on the race course and I made a mental note to go back once the race was finished. I walked to stretch out my legs, keep them moving, and most importantly to enjoy the 80 degree day! It was absolutely beautiful in Chicago, and I wanted to enjoy every bit of it.

At the hot bar I pilled my plate with a salad of mixed greens and kale, farro for carbs, mushrooms, shredded beets (!) sunflower seeds for protein, and chickpea stew for protein as well. I am kicking myself for not going and writing down the ingredients above the chickpea stew at the hot bar because it was extremely delicious and filling. For dessert, I treated myself to a handful of peanut butter covered pretzels.

All in all, I throughouly enjoyed the 2011 Shamrock Shuffle race. While I am proud of my time I will use it as something to build on. Going forward, I am planning to add some type of cross training into my weekly routine and continue to do strenght training to get stronger. I may also hit the track for speed workouts, but I will have to seek out repitubal resources. I also can’t wait to sign up for more races!


How did you spend your weekend? Was the weather nice and beautiful where you were?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2011 7:58 am

    Congratulations, girl! Haha, loved this!—>”the 70 degree weather and constant inclines were no match for these running legs!” Good for you for pushing through!! Believe me, I know there is nothing harder than to keep running when your body is saying “no!” so you should definitely feel proud of yourself! πŸ™‚

    The weather was beautiful here too…until Saturday night. It did a complete 180 and became dark, windy, and we had super heavy rain. Trees were blown over and everything. Then Sunday it was beautiful again as if nothing ever happened.*shrugs* Gotta love the South! πŸ˜‰

    So do you feel like doing races are as addictive as people say? I can’t wait to do my first one! And I heart Chicago! πŸ™‚ My hometown is about 1-1/2 hours away!

    • April 12, 2011 8:35 pm

      Thank you!!! girl, YES…races are extremely addictive! The rush, the excitement, the commodore…all of it! They also can be extremely expensive and add up quickly lol. As soon as I finished, I thought of ways to squeeze in a race each weekend, but when I did the math, I knew it wouldn’t be a financially smart thing to do lol. When it comes to racing, I think it’s nice to do a few of more ‘known’ races in ur city. They provide beautiful scenery and usually go to a good cause. The one exception is in New York lol. Even though that’s my hometown, many races are just in Central Park. I don’t know how many times I’ll pay to run in Central Park lol. The one criticism of this race is we didn’t get finisher’s medals :-(. The race fee was $45 so besides the short sleeved tech tees I assumed we’d get something since it was such a big race with 40,000 participants. However, i think you should TOTALLY do at least one or two races this season. Trust me, you’ll be hooked!

  2. April 12, 2011 8:06 pm

    what a beautiful post!! Congrats on such a great accomplishment as well, I’m completely envious of most folks who run these kinds of marathons. I’m not a runner, sadly….lol, but cardio, working out and being a bit more active in my daily life are things that I used to to…that I now miss. Because of this shoulder injury, I’ve had to scale back, but think a trip to a Yoga studio might be in my future.
    that salad looks soooo good!! Chickpea stew is one of my favorites!
    The weather was just as nice here in NYC, spent it celebrating a friend’s birthday & movies. REALLY looking forward to even better weather where most of my days are luxuriating outdoors;)!

    • April 12, 2011 10:36 pm

      thank you chai!! i too get slightly envious when I see people competing in things that are physical. i always think if they can do it, so can i! it gives me just enough motivation to get up and get moving! i do know how it feels to be sidelined due to an injury, but i’ve also learned to let the body heal properly….cardio can always wait. please do visit a yoga studio! just be cautious though, some yoga poses are hard on the shoulders like the chatarangas.

      ooh and that WF salad was amazingly delicious. gah, thinking about it makes me want another one. i aspire to make beautiful salads at home, but mine always come out boring and bland lol. i did buy one beet this weekend to shred. let’s see how this turns out…

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