I, along with many runners in the Chicagoland area, ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8K on Sunday. I had a good time running the course, although the setup and layout of the start area was almost identical to the Chicago Marathon, which mentally freaked me out a bit since I had to take a DNF at last year’s Chicago Marathon with my bad hip flexor injury. I haven’t done a ton of tempo runs or speed work in the past few weeks, so I was hoping to be able to run at about a 9:45 pace, but was mentally prepared to run slower if I had to. I was also guaranteed a PR since this was my first 8K race.
Scott and I got downtown pretty early. He had found a cheaper parking garage in the area online, but when we got down there we couldn’t find where the entrance was, so we wound up just parking in the Millennium Park garage. It would be nice to be able to take the train in, but I think the only time the trains run in from the suburbs that early on a Sunday is for the marathon. Getting in early allowed us to avoid street closures and I was able to grab some Starbucks.
We chilled out near Buckingham Fountain for a while and decided on a place to meet after the race since they didn’t have a formal family meetup section set up.
Getting into the corrals was a mess. At every other race I’ve been to that has start corrals, they start telling you to line up in your start corrals at least 20 minutes before you need to get in the corral. We didn’t hear any announcements like that on Sunday, and I was listening for them. Due to the crowds, I got to the entrance for the ABC corrals at 8:17, two minutes after the sign on the corral said they were set to close. (I also don’t remember reading about the start corrals closing at 8:15, but I’ve also never been to a race where they’re super strict about that.) The race volunteers weren’t letting people through the entrance, so people were climbing the fence. Luckily, eventually they did open things up, but I thought the whole situation was handled badly. I did have to hop a second fence to get into my corral. My intent was to stand at the back of my corral, Corral B, since my fitness isn’t as great as it was when I got my qualifying time. Due to the confusion and getting runners into the corrals, I wound up starting with Corral C, but there were tons of Corral B runners in with me.
The race itself went relatively well for me. I was getting passed by tons of people, but I fully expected that to happen and just tried to stay to the right side of the road and out of the way of faster runners. I did a really good job of pacing myself according to effort and passed a few people toward the end who probably started out too fast. I wound up finishing in 47:40, putting me at an average 9:36 pace, which is faster than I thought I’d be able to run the race. So, although I am definitely not as fit as I was a year ago, I was still happy with how I ran based on my current fitness. I’m looking forward to getting back into the speed work and tempo runs after my marathon and hopefully getting faster.
I met up with Scott after the race and we enjoyed a post-race beer. But only one, because I had to work that afternoon.
Overall, not a bad race for me.
Did you run the Shamrock Shuffle? Another St. Patty’s day race?
Do you like running themed races?
Do you run tune-up races to determine your fitness level before a big race?