Shamrock Shuffle Weekend …. 2014 Edition

It’s not really fair to call this a race review because honestly, I’ve openly admitted a billion times that I think the Shamrock Shuffle is the BEST.RACE.EVER. 

Green Men_Shamrock

I mean where else can you chase down “little green men” and be considered sane?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  BEST.RACE.EVER.  And what’s better than 2 green guys?  Three, like we saw in 2013.  And what’s better than 3 green guys?  Well, the addition of a green gal, of course.  As a result, 2014 may be the BEST Shamrock Shuffle EVER cuz we now have 3 green guys and a green gal.  Thank you, mystery lady, it was super nice to see your addition to the group!  You can follow “The Green Guys” on Facebook HERE.

Shamrock Shuffle 2014_green guys & gal

In addition to chasing green people, there were a few more things to the 2014 Shamrock Shuffle weekend.  We started with the expo, which is super family friendly and busy over at Navy Pier.  My friend Nicki and I always take the kiddos on Saturday.  We spend the day “frolicking” at the expo, then hiking Michigan Avenue and the Lakefront path with our little monsters angels.   In addition to more candy than even MY children could eat, the expo also offered lots of fun in the form of a magic act, multiple dress-up photo ops, free food samples, free logo items, lots of “wheels” to be spun and people to meet.  The kids look forward to the expo each and every year and there is always a lot to capture their attention and lighten momma’s wallet.  We even took a friend of Aby’s this year to help with Mr. Michael enjoy the festivities.

Shamrock Shuffle 2014_kids expo  Shamrock Shuffle 2014_Aby Kara  Shamrock Shuffle 20104_kids-water

Sunday morning brought us SUNSHINE and coolish temps that quickly warmed up into the upper 30s, low 40s, by race time.  I met with some friends pre-race.  My Frankfort New Lenox Run Club (FNRC) members, Rebecca W – one of my fellow Emergen-C Ambassadors, my girl Nicki who goes to all the shorter distance races with me, and Kerry C who I’ve know for so many years and so thankful for our friendship!

Shamrock Shuffle 2014_fnrcShamrock Shuffle 2014_me & rebeccaShamrock Shuffle 2014_me & nicki Shamrock Shuffle 2014_me & Kerry

Then we were at the start corral’s and off and running before we knew it.  2014 brought us a three wave corral start, which I heard had a few hiccups, PLUS a new run course! 

image

The new course was great and kept us closer to the Loop and Grant Park areas.  I liked the course a lot.  Fewer bridge crossings which are super hard on bad feet!   Wider streets.  More centralized location for spectators who want to see their runner more than once.  Great update for 2014!

As for my race, not the best but not the worst!  I finished in under 40 minutes and given my current schedule, lack of March miles, and the “few” extra LBS I’ve gained, yeah, I’ll take that as a win.  And as always, the Shamrock is a great kickoff to the  Chicago running season and let’s us all know what’s up in regards to our fitness. Good, bad or ugly.  Winking smile

There is always a huge post race party.  So if you didn’t like your race OR if you need to celebrate, maybe head over to the beer garden to drink a few beers listen to the band.    Here is a pic below of Maggie, Nicole, Judy & and I “listening to the band”. 

Shamrock Shuffle 2014_maggie nicole judy & me

Short of any “problems”, I’ll be ShamROCKing next year.  Maybe I’ll see you there?

Don’t forget to enter my raffle for RMHC – Ronald McDonald House Charities HERE.

**ShamROCK Chicago ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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Trying to Find My Speed ….

It may be a little early for some people to think about St Paddy’s Day but as a dedicated Shamrock Shuffler, that’s about all I’ve been thinking about for the last month.  Smile  Which means that I also need to start preparing to run a little bit faster.

Shamrock Shuffle banner

This is my favorite race of the year.  It’s a wicked fast race.  It’s a short race.  Participants bust 5 miles thru the city of Chicago on many of the same streets which we run during the Chicago Marathon.  It is the largest 8K road race in the world, hosting a massive 40,000 runners and bringing a million plus spectators into the city to watch US run.  Yep, it is for sure THE.BEST RACE.EVER.

In addition to the Shamrock Shuffle being THE.BEST.RACE.EVER. it is also the one race each year where I want to run fast.  Like as fast as I possibly can run at the given time.  Last year I was coming back off a very severe injury and was still not a 100% so I for sure would like to better my effort of 39:22.  I would also like to throw down my fastest Shuffle to date, meaning I need to run sub 38:56 (7:49 pace), which doesn’t seem that fast sitting here in my computer chair but I’m pretty sure it will be hard when I am out on the course huffing and puffing and trying to according to Aby STAY CALM and RUN FASTER

So, for the first time ever, I am pulling a training plan for the Shamrock Shuffle.  I’ve kinda been in long/slow run mode for a long time so need to remind these legs what it feels like to get up and GO!  Enter the Run Less Run Faster app on my iPhone and I’m instantly hooked up with a training plan that gives me speed and tempo runs to make this shit happen.  This week’s training:

Shamrock Shuffle Training_week 8

 

Key Run #1 – SPEED – 4x1000m @ 8.9mph (6:44   min/mi), with a 400 meter rest interval.  I normally walk a half a lap to guzzle water then run a lap at 6.0 mph (10:00 min/mi pace).  So my RI is actually as much as 600 meters.  Sorry but it’s all about survival here.  Smile 

Notes:  This week didn’t go well.  The speed caused me to pee my pants almost instantaneously on the first 1000m interval.  Then I just had trouble hanging on at that pace for 1000 meters.  It was hard.  Like super hard.  I’ll give it a couple weeks for my body to get on board and if I’m not coming around then I’ll slow things down.  Although I want to get used to running faster, I DO NOT want to get hurt and well, my right hamstring is always troublesome anyhow so I’ll give it an honest effort but will err on the side of caution and slow things down if necessary.

Key Run #2 – Tempo Run – 4 miles @ 8.1 mph (7:24 min/mi), 1 mile warm up, 1 mile cool down.  Yeah, I have this up on deck tonight.  I should have done it yesterday but I chickened out decided to clean my house from top to bottom instead.  It’s not like I wasn’t snowed in all day and didn’t have time to do both but I still skipped it.  No more time to put it off so if you hear whimpering and crying tonight, no worries, it’s just me.  To be  honest, I’m not sure I can do this but I need to give it a shot.  I can always back the pace down but I need to make an honest effort.  I also frequently find that although a pace is daunting to begin with, if I hang on then I my body gets into the grove and can manage more than brain wants to admit.  I’m very aware of the fact that if I always run within my comfort zone, I will never know what I can really do and well, this is the year that I want to see what I can do with the Shuffle.  I am not going to run comfortably hard this year.  I’m going to run hard.  And the tempo run is the key.  I think the tempo run is the most important element of any training plan IF I want to hit my pace.  And I am going to hit my pace this year and do it with a smile on my face.  Well, at least I’ll be smiling at the finish line.  Smile

Key Run #3 – 10 miles at 7.6 mph.  This is the long run for this training plan.  Since I’m still in marathon mode with Little Rock coming up on March 2nd, I’ll be doing a few more miles and I’ll be slowing the pace down.  If I weren’t also marathoning then I would for sure give the 10 miles as shot at 7:53 pace but I know it would be a big push.

Have you ever used a training plan for a short race?  If so, which one did you use?   I personally default to the Run Less Run Faster plan because the app is so easy to use and it just spits  out detailed workouts for me.  I like that.  The easier the better in my life.   Plus the plan only calls for 3 runs a week which makes it easy to squeeze in CrossFit  without fear of overdoing it.  I’m always open to new ideas so tell me your training secrets!!

** Everybody SHOULD BE Shuffling ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

2013 Shamrock Shuffle 8K

It wouldn’t be fair to title this a “race review” since I’m clearly in love with the race.  I do understand that it’s not for everyone; however, it is definitely a tradition for me!  I love everything from the family friendly expo to the fast paced race thru the streets of Chicago.  Add in the green sparkle skirts, green men, and the amazing atmosphere and it would be hard to keep me away. The Shamrock is really a weekend event for me, not just a race.  I have friends who come from out of town and locals who go with to the expo for a full day of downtown shopping.  The expo was good this year with lots of stuff for the kids:  a magician, balloons, noise makers, sunglasses, candy and snacks galore!  There were a few things for the parents too from great deals on gear/shoes to naked men models from the Women Rock Chicago calendars.  (L to R:  Me, Pam, Mr. April, Amy, Mr. July & Nicki)

Womens Rock Models

Aby even made a shoe painting with Nike Free’s!

Aby Shoe Painting   Aby Shoe Painting_finished

And we came home with lots of loot.

Expo Loot

Sunday was race day.  The expo & downtown walking/shopping, plus my marathon training took its toll and my legs were definitely tired.  I knew this.  What I didn’t know was how that, plus my lack of speed training, plus my extra 6 lbs would effect my race time.  I can honestly say that this is the first event in a long time where I toed the line having no idea what to expect.  So I ran by feel.  Can’t trust the GPS watches downtown anyhow because one minute they say your running a 3:50 pace (right, I wish!!!) and the next it reads a 16:50 pace.  Total confusion.  If you “need” your watch, then go with a foot pod. The course was particularly crowded this year, possibly because I was running slower.  I did lots of weaving around.  The course had a detour, due to a jumper on one of the bridges over the Chicago River, but the course change was imperceptible and seamless.  As always, the Shamrock organizers did a fantastic job of running us thru the city streets as fast as possible.  I loved every minute of it and although I never ran particularly fast, I felt good, had zero foot pain and just enjoyed the moment. Last year I run just under 39 minutes even with a bit of a wardrobe issue.  I should have been faster.  So yesterday, as I was entering the 3rd mile, I flipped over to my time view in an effort to get under 39 minutes again this year.  I didn’t make it.  I finished in 39:23, officially a 7:56 pace although my weaving gave me a lot more real estate than the normal 8K distance so my Garmin pace recorded a 7:35.  Does it matter?  NO!  However, I was unofficially shooting for a 7:30ish average and to be honest, the race felt a lot more controlled that last year so I’ll take it as a win.  Smile My official goal for the 2013 Shamrock was to have fun and get a photo with the green me.  Guess who I saw as soon as I crossed the finish?

Green Men & Me

Hell, yeah!  Mission accomplished!  Let’s go grab some of that free beer now!  Thanks ladies for hanging downtown with me and sharing those beer tickets!  I had a blast.  My fellow lushes Shufflers from L to R (back):  Meg, Dawn, Michelle, Nicki, & Kerry.  Front:  April & Me.

AfterParty

Apparently we looked like we were having an amazing time because fellow Shufflers were giving us their unused beer tickets as they were leaving the Green Men found us again and took another photo with us.

Green Men_group

And they gave us their card.  Find the Green “Guys” on Facebook and “like” them cuz I know you already LOVE  them.  Fun times!!!

Green Guys_card

Until next year, keep on Shuffling! ** ShamROCK Chicago ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Other Shamrock Shuffle posts & photos hosted by the MagMileRunner blog hop:

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