Coach Scott here with a report from this past weekends Shamrock Shuffle 8k in Chicago.
I’ve done this race 3 times now…it gets a little bigger every year and this year took the cake with 37,000 or so finishers. That’s a big race. The start/finish area is in downtown Chicago…same setup as the Chicago Marathon with identical start and finish lines. The weather was beautiful this year, which almost makes up for the shitty weather we’ve had every other year – in the form of snow and ice.
I think these big races are fun. It’s exciting to be part of a spectacle like that and it’s definitely competitive. The only thing I hate is the previous-day packet pickup rule. For the love of god, race directors, please give us the option to have our packets mailed. I’ll pay the extra 5 bucks. And don’t worry about the shirt, you can keep it, or donate it to charity, or make a flag out of it, whatever. Luckily our friend Amy grabbed my packet for me on Saturday, so I can’t complain one bit.
It was an 8:30am start time so I left the house at 7 o’clock. No traffic at all, so I grabbed a free parking spot on the street in the loop and walked down to the start area. I had plenty of time to check my gear at bag check and do a warm-up. The shorter the race, the longer the warm-up should be, so I got in a jog with some pick-ups, then did some strides.
I was in the A corral (I think they went from A to H), and it wasn’t too crowded, so I milled around with the masses waiting for the start. The horn sounded and off we went.
My goal was to just try and beat my time from last year…when I went 34:57, averaging 7:01 minute miles. I am not in great shape right now. I built my run fitness all through 2011 up until the Hot Chocolate 15k in November, where I peaked for the year, but then took some time off knowing that our Africa trip in February would not allow me to run hard through the winter. Plus, I needed a break, and wanted to sneak in a round of P90x over the holidays – so long story short – not much running going on for me from November to March…maybe 2 runs a week on average.
We got back from Africa 3 weeks before the race and I ramped up training as fast as I could, but I also have some plantar fasciitis I’ve been dealing with, so I was trying to be careful not to do too much, but it flared up anyway…more on that later.
With my goal to run sub 7’s I started out the first mile at 6:45, then 6:53. I felt okay, but I was working hard. By mile 2 my heart rate was pegged at 181 and stuck there. My legs were burning and I was literally on the rivet from there on out. Mile 3 went by at 6:51,then I hit mile 4 with a 6:58, so I was confident of making my goal but boy I was maxed out. I limped home in 7:06 for 34:31 total.
I beat last year by 26 seconds and I was happy about that. I was also happy that hung tough mentally and physically. My average heart rate for the race was 180, which is stoopid high for an old man like me, so I know I was giving it everything I had.
Here is a link to my Garmin file.
My plantar fasciitis didn’t bother during the race but it is still something I need to address ASAP, so I’m going to go heavy on the treatment and stay on the couch for at least a week and plan out my next move only once I feel I have things under control. Thanks for reading!