RECAP: BoA Shamrock Shuffle 2013

Short and sweet recap of the BoA Shamrock Shuffle 2013: almost DNSed, serious lack of late-stage training, missed PR by 27 seconds but shaved four minutes off my 2012 time, very satisfied with my performance all things considered. 🙂

I came into this race weekend in a daze. A serious family crisis erupted right after Easter, and we have spent many, many hours at a local hospital. My sister and I considered not running because of the tenuous situation, but as the race drew closer, we decided it would be a good distraction for us, even if our finish times were terrible.

I was supposed to volunteer at the Expo Friday afternoon but had to cancel. That seriously bummed me out, although I’ll find another race to volunteer for later this spring or in the summer, and I’ll sign up to volunteer for the Shamrock again next year.

My sister and I went to the Expo on Saturday. Ingress into the parking lot was atrocious, but we found a spot relatively quickly. We breezed in and out in under 15 minutes, although the Expo looked way more exciting this year than last year’s was. I saw two booths for two races I want to do: Soldier Field 10 Mile and the Chicago 10K. Still trying to figure out if those will fit into my budget / training plans.

Sunday morning we parked in my mom’s office garage in the central Loop and headed towards Grant Park. Wave 1 had already started, so we had to cross State Street via the CTA train platform at State and Lake just like last year. (Read the awesome tip on the event’s Foursquare page from Scott Kleinberg). I had signed up for Corral H (whose finish time I could have done had I trained just a little more regularly this winter as I intended), and as soon as we hit the entrance they announced the start corrals were closed. I just made it in. My sister went to her corral but had to walk around to the post-close entrance. Boo.

We were in those corrals a looooong time. Sooooo many new runners and first-timers. I secretly prided myself for NOT wearing the 2013 Shamrock shirt to the race. Someone announced that Robbie Gould was in the race this year. Yay! He has been my favorite Bears player for several years. I even scored his autograph a while back.

As far as the race, I had tossed all my goals out the window and had no formal strategy. My recent “training” runs have been so slow I should have lined up in Corral Q if it existed. I knew a finish under one hour would be miraculous, so I decided if I at least finished under 1:07 which was my time last year I would be happy. I didn’t want to be a slave to my watch, so I decided just to run as long as I could then walk when I needed to.

Once we finalllly started, I felt ok. Sure a lot of people were passing me, but I was keeping up with a bunch of other runners so that felt great. There were a ton of spectators on the lawn just past Monroe, and a ton more lining the bridge along upper Randolph, but hardly anyone on the Millennium Park BP Pedestrian Bridge. I took a quick walk break up the Columbus river bridge, but then kept a steady run for a while. The outside of my left knee started to hurt, although I quickly forgot about it, and it dissipated.

I noticed we detoured from the course map down Wabash at Grand and ran past Trump Tower. I read later that was a last-minute detour due to someone threatening to jump from the State Street bridge. First responders were able to save the guy. 🙂

I did run with my iPod (minorly cut myself in the corral on the broken screen glass – argh!) and used last year’s playlist for the race. I mostly zoned out for the duration and just kept pushing myself to move forward. I didn’t do too much looking around, although I did high five some guy dressed like a lemon at the start of the Michigan Avenue leg. It felt like there were a lot fewer spectators on the course this year, but at least I didn’t high-five a sweaty hipster guy this time.

At the halfway point I was cursing myself for the lapse in training, but the mileage seemed to go quickly after the 5K mark. I walked up Roosevelt then promised myself I’d run in the rest of the way from the top of the bridge. It was very very hard, but I did it. Grabbed some water then parked myself just outside of the refreshment area to watch for my sister. About five minutes after my finish I had a rush of endorphins and looked at my watch for my time. 1:03! I didn’t PR, but I didn’t suck as much as I thought! I was really happy and proud of myself — a 180 from my attitude mid-race.

My sister found me first, and we went to grab bananas and the Mariano’s bags. We hopped in the line for a free small slice of Home Run Inn pizza. I don’t usually like their pies, but this slice was a thin, crispy crust and it was DELICIOUS! Then we headed out of the park, stopped at a Starbucks for iced tea, then walked to the car and drove home.

Marathonphoto is starting to tag some of the runner photos. There are two up for me and both have hilarious other runners in them. I’ll put one below with a runner going the wrong way in front of me. I don’t remember her at all, but it makes for a funny pic.

Where are you going, lady???

Where are you going, lady???

I wasn’t able to wear my new NB shoes because I haven’t worn them even once on a run, yet. I wore a pair of shoes I bought at Nordstrom Rack a few weeks ago. They did ok.

So this race didn’t turn out as I had been planning for a multitude of reasons. I’m still glad I ran it, but this pushes me to really really really train hard and consistently for 2014. 🙂


I don’t usually post about my family here because I am intensely private, so I might edit this out later. But for now I want to talk / write about what’s going on. You might be wondering why I’ve been spending time at the hospital. My dad called Tuesday morning and needed to go to the ER. A few hours after he arrived at the hospital, he was admitted into the ICU with severely acidic blood, a blood infection and lack of oxygen. The next day tests and xrays showed he had severe double pneumonia. Wednesday afternoon he had to be sedated and intubated and the doctors determined he had developed ARDS. Since then he has been on a ventilator and heavily sedated. He’s critical but stable. It’s a waiting game for now.

Reading about ARDS online can be disturbing. Does anyone have any experience with it? My dad has been through A LOT in his life and survived many things he shouldn’t have. I can’t go into details here about his feelings and wishes, but I know my dad is tired of being sick.

I’m keeping this info in my recap post because I write this blog primarily for myself, and this event had a big impact on my running and personal life.

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