I did something last weekend that I have not done since the Chicago Marathon last October: I RAN A RACE!
With all of this wedding planning business, my life is not very running-focused as of late. Despite the fact that I spend literally every weekend doing something wedding-related, I was able to stick with a training plan for the last 8 weeks and really enjoyed doing so. Running is therapeutic for me and I love it!
Race morning started with a 5:15am alarm, a bowl of oatmeal, and some crankiness on my part 😉 I live out in the NW suburbs right now and Oksana lives closer to the lake, so I volunteered to pick her up since her place is sort of on the way. Oksana had a cold and I am not a morning person, so race day enthusiasm wasn’t easy to muster up on our 30 minute car ride downtown, haha.
I used my trusty SpotHero (<-referral link for $5 off!) app to find an $8 parking spot about a mile from the starting line and we were pleasantly surprised by how smoothly this part of the day went. Actually, if I could describe the Shamrock Shuffle 2017 in one word, it would be smooth. Everything was drama free on that day, which, after eleven Shamrock Shuffles, I can tell you that race day definitely does not always go smoothly. In the past, we have had issues such as getting stuck in our parking garage, my family members having difficulty finding each other, or the weather not cooperating. Anything can happen this time of year in Chicago (weather-wise) or when there are thousands of people gathered together for the same race and I am grateful that last Sunday’s Shamrock Shuffle went by without a hitch.
And, yes, this was my ELEVENTH Shamrock Shuffle. I started running this race when I was 18 and never turned back 🙂
Oksana was in corral C and I was in corral D. We tried to sneak into the same corral, but the volunteers were very strict about everyone staying where they were assigned. Originally, the two of us planned to run together, but being separated by corrals made this impossible. I decided to just give the race all I had without tracking my pace in any way. I had no idea what I could do, considering that my speed training was not super speedy (but it did happen, so that’s something!) and that I haven’t set any speed records at all in years (probably 2014? I don’t even know). For some reason, I just am not too concerned with PRing anymore. The reality is that I am getting older and have a lot more going on in my life, which makes it hard to focus on running as “seriously” as I once did. While I may not be interested in beating records I set years ago, I am focused on doing the best I have done in recent years (2015 until now). This is much more realistic and positive for my mental health.
Enough about pace! Let’s get to the recap!
Pre-race: snapped the photo above, made a lame attempt at sneaking into the wrong corral and got caught (I guess I suck at breaking the law, haha), waited for what seemed like ages to start the darn race.
Miles 1-3.1: tried to run fast, but not too fast and was shocked by an 8:xx pace (I wasn’t really tracking my pace, but was able to guess how fast I was going based on the clocks at each mile marker)! I felt GOOD 🙂
Mile 4: continued this fast (for me) pace, but started to tire out. Despite this, I tried to remember that I can do anything for another 2 miles. My attitude was SO POSITIVE and, despite tons of pain and fatigue, I was able to maintain my pace for the most part, but I think it went down a bit simply because I was getting exhausted.
Mile 5: I could not manage to keep up my pace and moved into the 9:xx zone. Positive splitting for the win! I still pushed myself as much as humanly possible.
The finish: I crossed the finish line and felt as though I was dying, but in a really happy way 😉 My official time was 44:45, which is 7 seconds faster than my time from last year (44:52, ha!). I feel really proud of this because it means I am still in good shape and, maybe when wedding planning is over next year, I will have more energy to focus on my running and get EVEN FASTER!
Post race: I ran into Oksana IMMEDIATELY after crossing the finish line. Well, I exaggerate because it wasn’t immediate, we were actually in the banana line, baha. Again, this race went SO SMOOTHLY. Everything seemed to work out perfectly. We skipped the free beer (I know, so sad) and instead got Starbucks (wahoo!). Andy’s mom is making a project for our (probably running themed since Andy and I met at a race – side note: it seems I never wrote about how Andy and I met on here, which needs to change! Perhaps I’ll write up a post about this sometime) bridal shower and had Andy and I pretend to take a picture at the race when I got home. Andy chose sleep over the 5am wakeup call, which I suppose is respectable. Fake picture at a race it was:
Andy is literally a foot taller than I am, so he had to bend way down for that selfie. Fun fact: our wedding is EXACTLY 4 months away from today. We have to work out some minor details and find a limo/party bus service, but a lot is done done done already 🙂
Ok, back to running! I’m super pleased with my performance at the Shamrock Shuffle! My time is definitely a PR since 2015, which is awesome. More importantly, I had a FANTASTIC DAY at the race and cannot wait until the next one. I’ll probably do the Race Against Hate 10k again and Oksana and I are still looking into a half marathon for the summer. For now, I’m going to just run for fun and focus a bit more on strength training.
Have a fantastic Wednesday!