Sunday, April 02, 2006

Shamrock Shuffle 8K Race Report

Well after a long, hard, cold morning the race is over. Jason and I did very well considering the weather...wait, I can't give you the final results with out all the gory details so here we go! (caution this is a bit long)

The race started a 9:30am, keeping in mind the time changed last night, so we had to be sure to move our clocks up an hour yesterday (don't want to miss the race!). So, because I am insane, I like to get to places way earlier than is really needed. So I thought that we should get up at around 6am and leave around 6:30. The el has been running REALLY slow lately due to work on the tracks and so I didn't want something to happen and have the train be sitting there and the little vein in my head exploding. We set tons of alarms (again because of my terror that we miss all the alarms and wake up at 9am or something) and got up around 6:15. I was surprised because we had set Jason's cell phone for 6:05 or something but as it turns out Sprint's time hadn't changed yet so it was still sitting at 5amish.

So I get up do another check of the weather on the Mac weather widget and just like it has been saying the past few days 58 degrees with thunderstorms. So I put on a dri fit t-shirt and shorts and ate some breakfast and thought for good measure I should check as well....what the fuck!?!?! 40 degrees and feels like 33 as the current temp at the temp at race time about 44 with a feels like 39!!!! This is not good. I change out of the t-shirt into a long dri-fit shirt, jason does the same. I throw on some addidas pajama pants and another long sleeve on top and we are out the door.

Let's just say that there was nothing wrong with the el this morning and we were downtown around 7:20am. Dammit. We realize that we forgot to take an Aleve before we left but it's too early and none of the phamacies are open downtown. So we decided to forget about the Aleve, as I don't think we really need it and head over to the race area. There were basically tumbleweeds rolling down Columbus Ave (the start of the race) when we got there! I would like to note that since I didn't win the race I should get a prize for being the first person there! We walk by the starting line and see the signs noting where the competative/"preferred I"/ and "preferred II" runners would be lining up. The next thing we notice is how close the Preferred I bin is to the start. WHAT! I might even be able to see Constantina Tomescu-Dita (alright well maybe not, but still it's the closest I have ever been to a starting line). After seeing that I started freaking out a little because I wasn't sure if I would have a good preformance with the bad weather. Last year we ran 38:30 which was about 7:45 miles so we wanted to do at least that good this year.

We walked a big more and sat on a bench to put the ChampionChip on our shoe and our number on our shirts and got all of our stuff organized. As I am re-tying my shoe laces, I realize that the pulling on the laces is actually cutting big deep cuts into my hands (ok, not really, but seeing as how I had no motion control of my finger tips, I couldn't grab the stupid laces to tighten them up and I was getting really annoyed).

We walked around (and around and around) because, you know, we had at this point about 90 minutes until race time. We looked at all the smart runners who had long pants and thermal tops and hats and gloves and felt really, really stupid. We decided that we'd better get used to the cold air and so we dropped off our gear at the gear check tent (which is the first time we have ever done this) and started warming up. After running around we realized it wasn't so bad except that I could not get my fingers to warm up (at this point they have turned a lovely shade of lavender). Around 9:10 we headed to our preferred coral to get mentally with it. There weren't too many people there yet, but I do love looking at all the other runners of different shapes and sizes. That kept me busy for 10 minutes while I was stretching or, as I like to say, trying not to tear my muscles.

Then it happened. I don't know what the hell it was. I was standing there listening to the national anthem and I realized for the first time in my life there isn't anyone there to watch us or for us to look out for. I know I KNOW I am 26 years old and I shouldn't need people there to cheer for me, but it's still nice having that. I actually got a little "Verclempt" and had to lean over, with my hands on my knees. Don't want the other runners to look at me funny and get ideas about beating me :-) That passed and I got really into the race that was going to be starting in 5 minutes. Running more and more is becoming a huge major part of my life. It's always been there in the background as what I did after work or before work or on my lunch hour. Lately it's all I want to do or at least read about and means more to me than just "running". I realize that I am doing a bad job of describing this :-)

Alright enough of that, it's back to the race. We actually HEARD the gun go off. Maybe I should mention that this is the biggest 8K in the country and has 25,000 runners in it and so, usually with races this big, we are so far back that people just start moving and you never hear the start. Alright, so then I am farther up in the pack and realize that the people around me are running fast! Too fast? Maybe not. I get to Mile 1 and realize yep too fast we crossed that point in the race at 7:23 (according to my watch). Jason and I don't run this fast. So I immediatly got a bit concerned. I also realized that it was still cold out. I had forgotten about the weather with all the excitement of the start, but at that point realized that my legs were stiffish, coldish, not wanting to movish. But I kept going.

Mile 2 was probably a bit slower than Mile 1. Between Mile 2 and 3 there was water and gatorade. We didn't stop for any but I did see and oldish man take quite the tumble and after rolling on the ground getting stepped on and the such got right back up and kept running! What a hero.

Jason was a freakin' animal, by the way! At mile 3 I was thinking maybe we should slow down because we still had two miles. Jason started to move ahead of me a little bit and since that can't happen I kept my pace up. He kept me going strong all the way until the end. We passed Mile 4 and I started to realize that, wait, we can actually beat our time from last year. I was thinking that I had slowed down too much to do this and had been going for 40 minutes! Shows what I know about pace (as usual).

We make the turn at Roosevelt and up that stupid hill. I don't understand why races have to end on this and we sprint down columbus, cross the finish line, stop my watch and then I just about keeled over. Man was I tired! I look at my watch and see that according to my watch we finished in :

Wow. that was about 50 seconds off of our time last year!!! I was so excited that we did pretty well that I got a bit more energy and made it through all the food & water stuff with a bit more spunk in my shoes than when we first crossed the line. Then we got to gear check to claim our bags.

The lines were freakin' looooooong. So we got to the end of one of the lines and a mere 20-25 minutes later we had our stuff. We grabbed our free beer tickets, threw our pants and long sleeve shirts back on and headed to the after race party. One of our favorite local bands, Underwater People, were supposed to be playing and, even though it was still cold, I was looking forward to seeing them. So we got our beer and headed towards the music and I realize that the Underwater People are playing now. I had figured they would be the main act since there was another band scheduled, so the first band must have been short or something. I soon realize however that they were actually the first band and are almost done. Oh well, I'll have to find a time when they are playing again in the neighborhood and go out for a night to see them.

In between the bands this cool doood with big mohawk spikes starting playing with this handheld hacky sack. He was doing all kind of tricks and throwing it all crazily. It was way entertaining. They handed these out at the expo and I can't even catch the stupid thing. I guess you are suppoed to just catch it with the back of your hands. The guy caught me checking out his hair and he asked if we wanted said hacky sack and explained that it was a game they made up in college and, yep you guessed it, if you dropped it you drink. College Kids. Wack wack wacky!

They also put the winners on stage. The female champion was Constantina Tomescu-Dita with a time of 26:27 (she won by almost a minute!) and the male champion was Chad Johnson with a time of 23:52. I think we can say that these people are super fast.

After we had our fill of beer we heading on back to the el with a quick stop at The Corner Bakery for a sandwich so we wouldn't have to cook when we got home. I am way happy and stoked (yes that's right I pulled that word out) with the way we did.

They don't have the offical and full results online yet. Well they do, but when you click on it, it says No results. I post those tomorrow so stay tuned! If you got all the way down here, thanks for reading the full post.


ShoreTurtle said...

Congrats to you both on the race!

LeahC said...

Thanks! It was a fun day.

Bob said...

Thumbs up to the both of you, sounds like it was a great time. Great report!

Kendra said...

Congrats on the race! I got wore out by just reading your post about it.

LeahC said...

yeah i tend to be a bit long winded on race reports :-)

Lisa T. said...

I am living vicariously through you from my computer chair...way to go you two!!!
run fast

Scott said...

I was with you in spirit (If such things were believable) during the race. Can't wait to come see you guys run in INDY!!


kb said...

congrats on your great time and good work with the full report. i'm hoping next year i can have a preferred start so there's a little less bobbing & weaving... and over 10 minutes to cross the start! happy training!

Melissa said...

That hill at Roosevelt totally sucks - I always wonder why they end the race that way! It was fun despite the crappy weather! Thanks for visiting my blog!

LeahC said...

The preferred start is nice...but it does move fast right away!

LeahC said...

yeah the hill is terrible. When i lived in Bloomington I did all my long runs through many hills but here in chicago it is flat flat flat so there is no way to get used to hills!

Jason said...

The hill is to separate the weak from the strong! Actaully, I just blame sadistic race planners.

LeahC said...


I know you were :-)

Full Metal Lunchbox said...

I laughed when I read what you wrote about climbing the hill at Roosevelt because I felt exactly the same way.

Great report on the race.  Congratulations on a good finish!

The Clyde said...

Very cool....I did the race as well...just a bit slower, but I was way in the back (1st mile time showed 19 minutes on the official time clock)....I'm in the preferred section next year traffic for us, see you there.

And I agree...damn it was cold, especially after, when the sweat froze almost instantly.

marty said...

Congratulations! I'm so impressed with your times. :) IT was a fun day, but so cold.

Tim said...

Hi Leah, Congrats on your race and improving your time, and thanks for the comments. I saw on your profile that you're a Physics Ph.D. student, which is funny b/c I just finished my Ph.D. in Physics and I don't know what I want to be when I grow up either. Small world! Anyway, good luck with the marathon. Cheers, Tim (

LeahC said...

Hey Tim-

Excellent! I'm not the only one! I am working out at Fermi Lab and should be done (my advisor thinks) by the end of the year...then who know....serving beers at cubs games perhaps! Thanks for stopping by.