This year’s Shamrock Shuffle 2017 was one of those races you dream of but can’t even really even put into words in a way to plan or visualize in advance. I was a bit bummed since this was the first year I was heading down by myself – without Mike, but ended up having a magic unicorn 🦄 type of day.
Mike was nervous about his upcoming Boston Marathon and didn’t want to race Shamrock, and “can’t run a race without racing it.” In terms of the impact that had on me, I’ve done the Shamrock Shuffle 7 prior times always with him there or guiding the morning routine:
- 2010 – I had not started this blog yet. I do remember how cold it was! My finish time was: 59:11
- 2011 – The first warm year. I’d run 20 miles the day before, and got a special finisher’s “gift” at the end! Time: 53:19 2011 Recap
- 2012 – Just before our wedding! And I PR’ed Time: 45:21 2012 Recap
- 2013 – I achieved my long-standing goal of starting the race before Mike finished! Time: 45:25 2013 Recap
- 2014 – A new PR! 44:56 2014 Recap
- 2015 – I gave up hope and walked, and found out too late that I actually was not too far off of my PR. I finished up 90 seconds off my PR for a time of 46:22. 2015 Recap
- 2016 – I eeked out a 20 second PR! I was about 90 seconds slower than I’d hoped. 44:35 2016 Recap
Anyway, I got up and out of the house without a problem (after grilling him for what my schedule should be!) and got to the race start. I did my warmup and then dawdled in getting all my bathroom breaks in before feeling ready to get in my corral. They’re pretty strict about when they close the start corrals and I was cutting it close… and was actually the first person they denied access to Corral B for being too late! One last sprint as per of my warmup to get to corral C and was able to side inch my way into B. I still had some “nervous pee” in me, so decided I’d just drop trough as discreetly as possible to be ready and feel comfortable to start the race.
So glad I did.
I stared the race with my basic plan of staying at or just below an 8:30 pace. With my many shuffles from prior years, I knew I usually run the first mile fast, and then think the second mile is slow but it’s really GPS inaccuracy. This time my plan for mile 2 was going to be based on effort… no looking at the watch! Finished that mile and manually lapped when I hit the mile 2 marker. I didn’t believe the time I saw for that mile. Kept on with this “by effort” approach for mile 3, curious if I could maybe hit a 5k PR (even though I knew it wouldn’t be official as it’s inside of a longer race).
By the 5k mark I had already broken the sub-8 mile marker (a goal of mine at the beginning of 2017) and PRed my 5k distance. I figured I’d fall apart at some point but never did. Kept trucking along and kept my mental demons at bay. I focused each mile, not ever looking at my overall time at the 5k mark. I did struggle at the final Roosevelt hill, my last few days nutritional transgressions starting to talk back to me. (#balance!)
When I crossed the finish line and looked at my watch, I actually thought my watch might be broken! I’ve spent the last 3 years trying to break a certain time, and always pushing hard just to fall short. I passed it this year by 3 minutes! WTF! Never could have imagined this number. My final time was 40:41.
Losing some unneeded weight has certainly helped me get faster and gain confidence, but I gotta give a big shout out to my running & tri coach Keith Klebacha for building this engine and helping me push past the mental demons I’ve been facing and constantly believing that this run speed was hiding within me somewhere, just waiting to be unlocked. Thank you Keith!
I had Honey Stinger waffles as part of my pre-race breakfast, and snacked on some Honey Stinger chews pre- and post-race to get some glucose back into my system quickly. Apparel notes: Tank top, capris, Saucony Fast Twitch racing flats.