Monday, March 30, 2009

Sunday's Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8k

I woke up Sunday morning to a boatload of snow in my yard, driveway and everywhere else.

My wife and were supposed to run the Shamrock Shuffle Sunday in Chicago. Since we live about 50 miles away from the city, I figured it might not be so bad on the course. We got ready, loaded the Explorer and headed out. The moment I pulled onto the road, I knew we were in for a long drive into the city. The roads were only partially plowed and the stoplights could not b
e seen because they had been iced over. You couldn't tell if the light was green or red. I proceeded cautiously until we got to the highway, which had not been plowed all that well either. I put the car into four wheel drive, just for extra precaution and went along as fast as the weather would allow. We finally made into Chicago, and the next trick was to find parking. I drove along Michigan Avenue and found an open garage just a few blocks from the race. I love Chicago and the parking rates $26 for a few hours.

We suited up with our layers and headed out to the course. At home we had about 6 inches of snow, but it had only snowed a few inches downtown. The problem is that the streets and sidewalks were covered in a slushy water, that quickly left your shoes completely wet. We arrived at the lineup for my corral and I wished my wife good luck as she proceeded to the open start. Inside the corral, it was cold and windy and started to snow in a blizzard like condition. The corral quickly filled and it seemed like forever before we started moving. By this time my feet were frozen and I could barely feel anything. I was wearing a hat, headband and mask on my face to keep warm, but couldn't do anything about the water and cold feet.

We were off and luckily the movement started to warm me up quickly, although I still could not feel my feet. We were running through water 3-4 inches deep and a slushy snow. This was the most brutal conditions I have ever run in. If I was at home, I would have been thankful for the treadmill. After a the first mile, I was getting into my grove and was doing the best I could, considering the weather. I pushed through, just wanting to finish and get out of the messy road. I finished with a time of 45:13 and an average mile pace of 9:06.

Once I finished, I waited for my wife to come across the finish line. She crossed the start line about 20 minutes after I did, so I knew I would have to wait at least that long. There I was wet, cold and no where to wait but in the open. I stared to get really cold and was starting to get concerned that I needed to get out of the weather. Finally after 25 minutes, she appeared. We did not stay for any festivities and just jogged back to the parking garage and into the car. I did not bring any extra shoes, but luckily dry socks and a dry shirt. I changed and proceeded to crank the heat and drive home in my socks. There were 32,000 people signed up for this race and only 13,294 actually ran. We did have some other friends that were supposed to go, but they bailed out the night before. I told my wife, I was going regardless if she did or not. She toughed it out and completed the race at 49:34 and a 9:59 pace.

I don't know if I would endure these conditions again, but I am proud to say that I ran it. I somehow feel stronger knowing that I did it.


  1. I hope you rewarded yourself properly for your efforts.

    Great job!

  2. okay, this race sounds like it was completely brutal. i don't know if i could have done it, but amazed that you did.

  3. Way to get out there is such tough conditions! I probably would have stayed in bed. :)

  4. My wife and I drove in from MI(former Chicagoans) and enjoyed the race. Something about knowing you ran in some of the most extreme conditions & it felt great. Your right the wait at the finish line was the hardest part, body temp drops fast, luckily I only had to wait a few minutes. I wish I hadn' been so cold it seemed they had a ton of excess beer from all the no shows, the guy was telling me take two we got plenty. You know its cold when I can only drink one free beer then run to my car for warmth.

  5. It was nasty, but I am glad to have done it. I know there were 13,393 other brave/crazy ones that I ran with.

    Misery loves company!

  6. haha its the first time ive washed my husbands car. so dont give me too much credit!

  7. I was thinking of you on Sunday, wondering if you went for it! I am so happy you did. You are one badass runner. :)

  8. These are the events you always remember. Great running time too :)