Saturday, April 9, 2016

Shamrock Shuffle Race Recap, April 3rd 2016

Here it is! My first (run) Race Recap of the season! Thanks for your patience while I got this up (a day later than planned). I need to get better about recapping these right away...there are lots of races this season so I need to keep up!

I'll start at the beginning!
On Saturday I slept in then went to yoga with my mom, and after we got home and ate lunch I got ready to leave. My mom was driving into the city for a play, so I drove in with her. The weather was mildly (hah hah) worrying. It basically alternated between gray skies, white outs, and perfectly blue skied weather. This pattern repeated randomly for the entire drive.
It was even snowing Dippin' Dots at one point! All I was hoping was that Sunday's weather would be much nicer, and that I wouldn't be running in the snow!

The Expo
When we got downtown I took an Uber from the theater to McCormick place for the packet pickup. I've never been to a race expo, so I was looking forward to wandering around and checking out some of the booths for things I'm doing this year (both Lifetime Tri and RMHC supposedly had booths!).

After much confusion with drop off, I got inside and headed for the expo, meeting up with my friend Steffi on the way. We've been friends since high school (age 14ish), and she was the one who asked me to do this race with her. It felt like I'd been waiting for this weekend for months, so I was really excited that it was finally here!

We grabbed our packets, then wandered through the expo to the back where the T-shirt pickup was. The shirts this year were pretty cool, but I gotta say...I'm a bit miffed because there weren't any sunglasses in my bag (which I didn't realize until we got back to Steffi's). Alll the other stuff was in there...but no cool green sunglasses. They were actually decent quality too! I hate being the person to complain, but when you pay for a race and end up missing out on the swag, it kind of sucks!

Annnnyways. We did wander through the expo, and I was excited to see a Ragnar booth since I'd love to plan a relay team for next year (what what Tamara Shazam!). I signed up for their email list and chatted with them a bit before getting out of the way for other people. Then I had some fun telling Stef about Ragnar while she shook her head and told me I was crazy (sadly, I don't think she'll be joining the team...but maybe I can convince her!).

I did also stop by the RMHC table just to say I'm excited to be on the team, but I couldn't find the Lifetime booth anywhere. I'd wanted to ask some questions about rules and the course for the Chicago tri, so I was kind of upset that I couldn't find them! I'd even gotten an email saying they'd be there! There was a wide open area that looked like some vendors hadn't shown up on Saturday, so maybe they were only there on Friday? Who knows.

Dinner and Tutus
After the expo Stef's boyfriend Shawn (who I've been waiting to meet for ages, I'm happy to say he was very nice and polite, cool, and reminded me a lot of Cam!) drove us back to their apartment and dropped us off to "do our girl stuff". Our plans were to have dinner and make tutus, so I don't blame him for peacing out on us :P

I made Stef take a selfie with me almost immediately, and I also snagged a picture of the view from her apartment:
Also, check out how good I'm getting at using PhotoGrid! Wooo skillz :P
We settled on Lou Malnati's for dinner - everyone has their race routines when it comes to food, and mine is pizza the night before! I don't know what it is - maybe the carb/fat/protein ratio - but if I have pizza the night before a race I'm golden the next day. I'd warned Stef about this way in advance though, so she was ready. We got a thin crust with sausage, onion, and mushrooms (three slices each), and split a dinner portion house salad as well.

Sidenote: If you aren't from Chicago then you probably don't understand deep dish crust. At Lou's they call it "Buttercrust" and it is the absolute best. I could eat it all day long, it is that delicious. So yeah. Amazeballs. Best pre-race dinner!

I forgot to take a picture until we were halfway through:
Oh yeah. And ranch. There was ranch, too.
This totally hit the spot, and after waiting for 20 minutes for the bathroom (only a slight exaggeration) we went back to her house to make tutus!

I've never worn a tutu for a race before, but I'd found some easy DIYs and it seemed like a fun way to add some sparkle to a boring ol' running outfit. We ended up using these instructions to make ours.

When we started, I realized I'd kind of underestimated how much tulle we'd need, but it actually worked out okay. We used the following for each skirt:
  • 3/8 inch elastic (enough to go around our waist, minus a few inches)
  • 1 6-inch roll of green tulle, 25 yards
  • 1 3-inch roll of purple tulle, 25 yards
  • 1 3-inch roll of silver glitter tulle, 10 yards
  • 1  18' roll of thin green ribbon
I didn't think it would be enough, but it was! (I was actually kind of panicking that it wouldn't be...) My skirt ended up being about 18 inches long and very flowy looking (left), and Stef's was a bit shorter and fuller (right):

We also got glitter everywhere in the process of making these (that's the bottom picture). Seriously, anywhere they step for the next year will be glittered. I'm actually kind of jealous. I don't look it, but I love glitter!!!!

After we made them, we cleaned up as best we could, and headed for bed.

Race Day
Race day dawned, bright and cold. I knew it would be cold, but that didn't mean I was looking forward to being outside in the cold. It was (of course) colder than the weather people predicted, and I wish I'd brought some cold gear leggings with. Alas, I didn't. I pulled on some black crops, a purple thermal Cuddledud, and my green HRC shirt. We saved the tutus until we got out of the car ;)

Shawn drove us from their apartment to Michigan Avenue, which was as close to Grant Park as we could get. They close a ton of roads for the Shamrock Shuffle (pretty much the entire loop) so this wasn't surprising. We hopped out of the car at about 7:15 and walked the rest of the way to the park...where we wandered around for the next hour and a half, trying not to freeze our assets off. We took a selfie while we wandered:

Hurry Up and Wait
During this time I also ate my breakfast (a Sierra Trail Mix Clif bar with a shmear of natural peanut butter) and drank a bottle of water. There was also a quick potty stop, which involved me getting a ton of glitter all over pretty much everything in the porta potty. It looked like a fairy had been in there, no joke. Note to self: TULLE STICKS TO EVERYTHING - especially work out gear!

Our corral was set to close at 8:45, so we went and lined up at about 8:20. Right after we walked into the corral we asked someone to take a picture of us together:
I love this picture of us together!
The building right in the middle is the Aon Center, the one to the left is the Prudential building, and all the way on the left...Well F You, Donald Trump (something I wanted to shout as we ran over the river).
Check out that HRC shirt! I bought it just for this race ;)
Sidenote: This race benefits the American Cancer Society, and the provided extra bibs (though no safety pins!) for you to write who you're running for. I wrote "In Loving Memory...Daddy..." and his name. I had to pin it to the front of my shirt because I didn't have enough pins to put it on the back :( I love this idea though and I'm glad they did it!

We spent almost the entire time in the corral talking to two women who were hilarious. They'd gotten some Goodwill clothes to wear as throwaways and they kept talking about how ugly their clothes were. We talked about a ton of other stuff too, like the city and running in general, races in the city versus the burbs, I even talked about HRC! Talking to them really helped the time fly. We didn't see them at all after we started, but it was fun to make friends for just those few minutes!

The Start
The Wave 2 start time was 9:15, and we were crossing the start line right around 9:30 (we were a few corrals back).

Right when we started running I realized my feet were entirely numb. Everything from my ankles to my toes. My feet literally felt like they were just flopping at the ends of my legs, and all I could hope was that I wouldn't fall over. I decided to see how long they'd take to warm up...and it took over two miles! At the 2 mile mark my toes were still numb, but by 2.5 they had that tingly-burning sensation you get when feeling comes back. That was half the race!

The course it self was pretty nice. It's fun to run through the city with all of the roads blocked off, and it's the first time I've done so! The Cinco de Miler and the Corporate Challenge are mostly along the lake front, so this was totally different. I had this strange, excited feeling during the first mile:

This is my first Chicago race this season. I've got two goal races. They'll both be on these streets, surrounded by these buildings and these crowds...whoa.

It was like being hit by this wave of emotion. At that moment, during that first mile I realize it was literally just the start...there is so much to come this year, so many ways I will challenge myself, and there are so many things I will accomplish in this city I love. And I cannot wait.

I also decided to be a nerd and look up the Shamrock Shuffle route compared to last year's Marathon route...good news, I will start and end in almost the exact same place, as long as they don't change too much!

And while I'm sharing routes, it's hilarious to see how much the tall buildings mess with GPS capabilities. It looked like my Garmin had a few drinks before the start of the race:

So squiggly!!!

This does, however, mean that my Garmin's recorded distance was definitely off. It logged 5.32 miles, but I'm guessing it was nose on the published 5 miles.

The whole thing went by very quickly...I actually couldn't believe it was 5 miles when we finished. I mentioned the other day that I have a much better grasp on my perceived level of effort when I'm running, and it came in handy during the race. I was wearing my heart rate monitor, but because of the GPS interference the pace-prediction was all over the place. However, my heart rate stayed between 153 and 158 during the race, so I knew we were running somewhere between a 10:45 and 11:30 min pace.

Sure enough, adjusting for the distance, we ran a steady 11:16 mile (11:19 according to the Shuffle data). Here's all the data from my Garmin:

Obviously this was all thrown off by those few drinks my Garmin had, but oh well, I'll keep the data anyways.

And, of course, the official race data. I was pleased to see my 5k time has been creeping down, and it makes me confident that I can PR my June race.
So there it is! A finish time under an hour for another 5 mile race! Woot!

I demanded both a high-five (race tradition) and selfies from Steffi after we crossed the finish line, so once we were out of Grant Park we took a few:
Lovely and sweaty glistening!

I insisted on a medal shot as well. My favorite part of the medal is the GLITTER!!!!
Other Highlights

Hogwarts Running Club
There were some other pretty cool things that happened during the race. You can obviously see from the pictures above that I decided to represent the Hogwarts Running Club during the race. I bought the shirt solely so I'd have a green one, although I admit that it's now a favorite because it's super soft.

Only one HRC member tagged me on the course, and I managed to get my phone out so we could take a picture together on the fly:
Me and my new Ravenclaw-some friend, Vivian!
It's a terrible picture and I look insane, but whatevs! We were having a blast!! I posted it on the HRC Facebook after the race, and someone commented that they were behind me most of the race but didn't say anything. For the record...if you're an HRC member and you see me, SAY HI!!!!

There was a spectator towards the end of the race who saw me and pointed and said, "OH! THERE'S ONE!!!!" and waved, which was also very cool. HRC is a large community and we don't all know each other or anything, so it's fun to spot "wizards in the wild"...and to be spotted!

Age is Just a Number
Probably the most inspirational thing that happened along the course, however, happened during the last half mile of the race. There's a small climb on Roosevelt as you run the overpass that leads to Lake Shore Drive, and we're all digging down, getting ready for the turn onto Roosevelt for this climb.

This guy passes us, and right when he did he ran into (not literally) this other guy he knew. So they're doing this whole "Oh hey! How cool! What's up dude!?" thing, and then the second guy says, "Hey, look, this is my ma! This is her first race!" And he turns and points to this woman who was so short I didn't even realize she was in front of me. I'm not kidding, she could not have been 5 feet tall. And then the second guy says, "Yeah, this is my ma - she turns SEVENTY-FOUR next week!"

I'm not kidding, it was like everyone around stopped and turned to look at her, but without actually stopping. And all of a sudden there are all these admiring gasps and shouts of "Happy Birthday!" and this little old woman just nods her head in acknowledgement and she chugged along, taking it all in stride while she focused on her run.

Then her son starts coaching her through the climb. And she's still going, right there next to us. Let me tell you, it was awesome and inspiring to run the climb next to that woman, who decided that for her 74th birthday she would run her first race with her son.

These are the things I love about running and racing. Running itself is such an individual sport, but when you're racing it's just as much about everyone else and those small moments on the course as it is about you and your race.

At the end of everything, yeah, I'll still remember how my feet felt numb for the first half of the race...but I am also going to remember that woman who earned her first medal at 74, and I'll continue to chase that feeling and those moments, cold feet be damned.

This is why I'm a runner.

And finally, an honorable mention to my step count for the day. Between walking to and before the race, running the thing, and walking to the train station afterwards, I accumulated over 24,000 steps, which is the most in a long time (probably since my 12 mile run last fall). It was fantastic to see a number like that again. I'm trying to up my step count in general (aiming for 10k on all days but my rest day) and I think it's working!

That said...I don't think I have to worry about it too much this summer...

Peace out, people. I'll have another workout recap on Monday, and I'm hoping to put up a recap of this weekend's 5k much sooner than next Saturday.

Until then, have a good one!


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