Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Everyday I'm Shufflin': Shamrock Shuffle and Week Three
There's something that can be said about running a race. Whether it's the first or the fiftieth there's always a level of excitement that rushes over you. It usually starts the night before when you say to yourself, "Yea, I'm not gonna workout today," or "Just a short workout" which turns into 2 hours. When I first started running I was all into the 'Dos and Don'ts' of racing. The funny thing is that there seems to be a mixed consensus on what you really should or shouldn't be doing. So let me say this much: EveryBODY is different. So the first race I ran was back in 2009, and I actually entered it alone and it was a 5k. The day before I didn't workout and I crammed down a ton of pasta. I'm sure many of you have heard of the concept of carbo-loading. Well what I have come to find is that you can definitely over-load on the carbs and it doesn't provide you so much with fuel and energy as it does weight you down and slow down your time. But as a rookie I didn't know that. As I got more serious into racing I found that carbo-loading can actually be done with more than just pasta. And again, because everyone's body is different these are just things that you have to experiment with on your own. But when I was training for a half marathon, the week before I started increasing my carb intake a bit. However, since I wasn't used to eating like that I would find myself carbo-passed out about hour after eating. So what can I tie this all together with? Well for me, and for my body, taking in carbs is important, but just as important as balancing in the other food groups, especially protein since I'm a veg-head. But I think this is something that everyone has to figure out on their own--they have to over eat or eat the wrong things so they can figure out what the good stuff is for them.
So Sunday 3/25 was the 2012 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle, and technically my first race of the season. Needless to say I was crazy-stupid-excited about it. I even went to Target and bought Shamrock knee-high socks....because I'm cool like that--->
So the week before the race (Week 3) things didn't really change up and I don't run every day so I wasn't worried. In the back of my head though I did think about my knee, which every now and again when I go for a long distance run will act up. But I have settled on the fact that this is how it is as a long distance runner. Typically the night before a race I try to go to bed early and I try to drink a decent amount of water and oh yea, I try to lay everything out for the morning. In this case I was 0 for 3. I ended up going to a friend's place on the north side and didn't end up getting home until close to midnight...which is when I decided that I turned into a pumpkin and would just get everything together in the morning. (Word of advice: even if you don't get stuff together the night before, take 2 minutes before you pass out and make a list of everything you need in the morning because trying to remember that one thing you said to yourself 'I'll remember' right before you doze off is slim to none of happening).
So the next morning I wake up probably around 6am. I, like many others, have a race morning routine. I have to get up at least an hour and a half before I have to leave. Mostly so I can have a cup of coffee. If you know me you know I have at least one cup of coffee everyday....in fact I think half of the things I own smell like coffee from the many, "Oh crap!" moments that I have spilled and splashed. However, as any regular coffee drinker knows it will dehydrate you. So the minute I finish that last sip I'm pounding down water and emptying my bladder 3 or 4 times before I walk out the door. It's a process.
So the day before, when I went to go pick up my packet, I was a half hour late and the expo had already ended. At which point I had a stink and ran up to the first person I saw with a tag and gave them the old, "Iwasrunninglateandireallyneedmyracepacket....ATLEASTTHEBIB!!!" haha or at least that's probably how it sounded to him because he looked at me like I was crazy. After a second of letting that digest he said to me, "Ok, let me see what I can do." Well lucky for my, my bib was already packed up so this poor guy had to go in and reassign me a bib. Basically I owe him for helping me out because I don't know how I'd run without the bib. The funny thing about this all is that I apparently missed the part were the race had two wave starts. How do you miss that Sam it's all over the website?! Yea well it happened. I was on the metra with my friend Shauna and she asked me what corral I was in and when I showed her my bib she laughed at me and goes, "Oh hunny you are in the first wave, you're supposed to start at 8:30".....It was 8:24. We both busted out in laughter.
When we got off the train I of course had to pee, AGAIN. And I had to check my bag AND get into my corral before 9:15. Shniiikee. Well first things first, hit up the port-a-johns. If you've run any race before you know that the lines for those things are wicked! But mostly populated by the female population because the guys, yea they just drop their drawers and find a bush....no shame. But I have to admit I found myself in that line twice before I even made it to my corral...really!? In between that I tried to go check my bag. I got over to the area I thought was mine and found out it was the bag check for the second wave. Even though I was running the second wave I had a first wave bib, so now I had 20 minutes and I had to book my butt all the way across Grant Park to give them my damn bag. But wait it gets better, when I get over there what do they tell me, "Actually this check area is closed, you'll have to go drop it in the second wave area." ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? I didn't even think twice about this, I simply turned around and sprinted back across Grant Park and walked up to one of the volunteers in the tent. i figured since it worked so well yesterday I might as well try my panicked voice again, "canyoupleasetakemybagtheyclosedmybagcheckandineedtogettomycorralpleaseohpleaseohplease!?" Males must really be dumbfounded when this happens because this guy, much like the other gave me a blank stare and was like, "Umm ok". As soon as I got the green light I took off towards the corral entrance.
Let me break this down for you, my corral was D, which as I have made apparent, started in the first wave. So I was going to do my best to get up to the front of the line to get in a good pace group. The problem? The volunteers were closing off the corral entrances. So each time I would get up to the front of a corral...H.....G....F.....there would be a nice, thin yellow rope with a volunteer staring at you with a face of, "Don't even think about going under this rope." Well lady you're gonna have to catch me, alright. With the help of some of the people in the E corral I made it across. (It was one of those moments when they knew I was gonna go for it and they stared her down, waited for her to look aside and yelled, "Now, now NOW!" So I made it up front.....but not just up front I was one of the first people in the line. How exciting right? I was one of the first few people out of the gate, I got to hear and watch the air horn and it was amazing!
The run itself was crazy-invigorating! I have to say I love this course because it's the first 5ish miles of the marathon, which I will be running in a few months!!! But also because it goes through downtown Chicago. The only really bad part about the course are the potholes....you catch your foot in one of those bad boys and you are going DOWN!
At the first water stop I ended up doing something regrettable...I drank the gateraid. Now you have to understand this, gateraid and I, we just can't seem to get it right. My first half marathon, after drinking the gateraid on the course I couldn't keep it down after I finished. At last years marathon I didn't drink it, I dehydrated and was deficient in electrolites.....there's just no winning. So I decided to do a quick swig, threw the cup in my face and whatever I caught in my mouth I'd drink, and then I followed it with a cup of water. About a half mile later my stomach was cramping. I was so frustrated, the pain was getting worse and my time was slowing. But I wanted to set a PR on this race from last year, so when I hit the turn on Michigan Ave I let it rip. Pushing through the stomach cramp, which was probably also in part due to the large crowd of people cheering us on. Right before I got to the hill on Roosevelt road I noticed this lady in front of me, she had a shirt on that said, "I don't sweat, I sparkle." (Side note: whenever I run a race there are three things I look at/for: 1) funny sayings on shirts/shorts 2) Ironman tattoos (which I found one guy with one at this race!!) 3) a person to pace/chase. I had a nice chuckle when I read her shirt and decided that she had a pretty good stride going so she was going to be my chase. i strutted my stuff all the way up the hill, and reached the final stretch. Sprint time. The finish is always the hardest because you're putting out all you have when you're almost out of gas. But Ms. Sparkle sweat kept me going. I finished right behind her and as I was cooling down, grabbing water and a banana, I walked up to her and told her I liked her shirt and that she was my pacer. We had a little chat and found out she was chasing one of the other ladies in front of her. Us runners, we're so alike.
After the race I tried to find some of the other people I knew running but it was almost impossible. So I gave up and hopped on the L. Later that day I checked the results of my run and even though I thought my pace had slowed significantly, I had still taken 54 seconds off my time from last year. What an accomplishment. It feels good to meet the first part of my goal (which I blogged about earlier: I want to beat all of the times for the races I ran last year.) I think a lot of this is in part due to the IM training because it has made me feel stronger and more fit, which in turn improves my running. I'm looking forward to the Soldier Field 10 miler, that's the next big one, hoping to take a full 60 seconds off that one :)
Posted by Running Shoes && Adrenaline Rushes at 2:23 PM