Sunday, April 14, 2013

Shamrock Shuffle Report late recap

This recap comes a bit late because I was under the weather and busy dealing with the Perils of Corporate America all week.  Last Sunday, like 40k other Chicagoans, I ran the Bank of America Shamrock shuffle. I've run this race every year since 1997 or 1998 (I'll have to look that up on Athlinks) except for 2007 when I was supposed to be in Atlanta running a marathon. 

Us pre-race

That year was a terrible year for my running, my career and my social life so it kind of made sense that missing out on the Shuffle was like the ominous warning in a Greek Tragedy.

Ahem, back to the present.  Like it does to many, this race once represented the official start of the Running Season to me. That is until I became a year-round runner and discovered that people who run year round run other races and the Shuffle is more of a fresh-soph event than varsity.

Still, it represents something and I'm quite happy to have run it so many times that I am awarded with a decent starting corral in spite of my declining racing times.

About a decade ago they enacted a corral system and IIRC the first year signing up early got you a preferred start.   The email came in November or something and I signed up within minutes of receiving it, breaking my previous pattern of avoiding making plans too far out. 

A few years later they started associating start times with other race results And past Shamrock shuffle results.  At the same time my race times had started to improve and I was getting faster.  The combination worked out splendidly.

It turned out to be one of the warmer Shuffles in recent years
One year they had two types of pre-starting corrals --Preferred Start and Qualified Start -- and then the regular start.  SHB had gotten a Preferred Start and was kinda bragging among our group.  I quietly said "that's cool, I didn't get a Preferred Start this year."  She knew me well enough to avoid the set up I was placing her in and she said "that's because you probably got a Qualified Start."

She knew me very well. 

Ahem, back to the present.  The first year I introduced Nightingale to the Shuffle (2010) it was cold and she was actually running under a friend's bib.  Her seed was in the Second Wave which wouldn't start until 45 minutes after the First Wave, when I would be finished, even in my then reduced speedy capacity.

This meant that she had to wait in line for over an hour before she even crossed the Starting Line and then another hour until she finished.  While it somehow worked out the first year, the problem that does occur at this and many other races is meeting up afterwards.  At most races, I usually know a lot of people and I want to spend some time talking to them.  This means I sometimes forget to make it back to where we said we would meet up post-race.  If I didn't get to gear check and didn't have my phone with me, it was hard for Nightingale not to get pissed to figure out what was going on.

So luckily we have B's place.  Ever since B got her South Loop Condo, she's almost always had some type of pre and post-Shuffle party. Understandably so, for the last few years it's been more informal and just a place to stow your gear and grab some coffee, with light munchies afterwards. This year it seems she's working toward swinging toward the other end of the pendulum as she had more people and some wonderful chili.

I got to enjoy a couple of beers while waiting for NG to finish

Now the plan is to make our way back to B's place at whatever pace we can.  If she gets there before I do, she's not alone and has people to talk with while she waits for me to do my Mayor of the Running Group thing.

It's All Relative:  Oh this year's results.  So I averaged 7:47s and finished just under 39 minutes.  Not my best time but it should be enough to keep my B corral/Preferred Start.

Mr Massage and I lined up together and I thought he took off but I ended up finishing two minutes ahead of him.  My friend THS, who got me started on this pay to run races things nearly two decades ago, finished 20 seconds ahead of me, and he even stopped for a bathroom break.  A really fast runner friend who has also been coming back from injury finished exactly six minutes before me.  She was a little disappointed that she didn't finish faster.  I finished with a time like hers just once and I was sad that I hadn't had enough in the tank to break 30 minutes.  I don't think I'll get another shot at that so good luck to her.

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