Race Recap: Shamrock Shuffle 8K (33:46) PR!

Woohoo!  Well, the Shamrock Shuffle 8k was a good race.  Obviously, you know how it ended – 33:46, which is a PR.  Not that it was too difficult to PR given this was only my 2nd 8k ever and the 1st one back in December was a really bad race for me.  So let’s back up a little to start…

The Shamrock Shuffle 8k Expo:

I was expecting a bit more out of the this expo.  Knowing it was such a huge race (25k runners) and put on by the same crew as the Chicago Marathon, I expected an equally huge expo for the Shamrock Shuffle 8k.  It was not nearly as big and most “vendors” were just charity groups seeking runners for their Chicago Marathon team.  (BTW, if you are interested in running the Chicago Marathon for a charity – check out the American Heart Association!!)  I did get to see my friend Kris working at the RooSport booth and of course my Sweaty Bands friends! (15% off if you use that link to buy Sweaty Bands now!)

I picked out the pretty painted shamrock Sweaty Band for race day, as well as picked out 3 matching pink ones for me, Angela, and Liz to wear in our half marathon this coming weekend.


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We saw a few people walking out of the expo with Portillo’s chocolate cakes (which are the equivalent of heaven) – turns out Team World Vision was giving them out to anyone who registered with their charity on the spot.  So that was interesting.



I had no idea what to wear.  During the week, I was assuming/hoping it’d be warmer, but I think it was around 35 degrees at the start.  The added dilemma was that I wanted to wear green.  So that presented quite the challenge.  I don’t have many good pictures of my race outfit, but here’s one my mom took during the race:


I can’t seem to crop – can you see me there?  To the right wearing the dark green shirt (not the blue.)

I ended up going with the long “heavy-duty” spandex (they are more fleece-lined), a tank, and a long-sleeve over the tank.  I also wore gloves the entire time, which I was happy with until about the 4th mile when my hands started getting warm, but I never shed them.  Otherwise, I never thought I was too hot wearing the pants or long sleeves, so I guess they were a wise choice.

I slept at my parents’ house in the suburbs Saturday night, so we drove downtown early in the morning and chilled in the Rock ‘N Roll McDonald’s for awhile so mom could get her diet coke and I could stay warm and use the bathroom until I had to go warm-up.

As a warm-up, I ran from River North down to The Loop and around for a bit to get in 2 miles – 9:14 and 7:40.  I did the first mile super easy then tried to pick it up to a more normal pace for the 2nd mile + I believe 3 short (maybe 30 seconds?) pick-ups.  Then I went straight to a port-a-potty line and then into my corral.

The Shamrock Shuffle 8k Race:

I was fortunate to be in Corral A, so the first half mile or so was a bit more crowded than ideal, but mostly everyone around me was keeping a decent pace so I didn’t feel hindered by the crowds in any way.  I did end up on the wrong side of the bridge over the Chicago River though, so I was running over the grates instead of the part they covered the grates with carpet.

Oh, sidenote: I didn’t realize Desi Linden was going to be at this race until they announced it at the start!!  So now I can say I raced her.  She beat me.  But I think I put up a good fight.

I did use my Garmin during the Hot Chocolate 5k last fall, but other than that I’ve always just used my normal Timex watch.  It didn’t have issues with it during that race, but it went crazyyy (similar to during my long run last week) going under the tunnel on Columbus drive.


So then it told me I had done the first mile in 5:30.  That was obviously a lie and I crossed the actual Mile 1 marker in 6:42 (at least I thought, according to what the running time on my watch said), but the official results say I did the first mile in 6:36.  So either way, the first mile was speedy, but I felt good so I decided to go with it.

What is a bit discouraging is that that according to my Garmin, the last .3 miles (it told me the total distance was 5.3) was at 7:08 pace.  And it looks like that last segment was pretty close to actual and not bouncing all over the place.  So my finish wasn’t strong.  But back to the middle miles…


I really can’t tell you exact splits, but I thought I crossed Mile 1 at 6:42, when the race clock said 6:55, so I was going with being 13 seconds under the race clock and tried to calculate my time at each mile.  But #math is hard when you are running.  I came up with splits of approximately: 6:42, 6:38, 6:47, 6:57, and 6:42 for the last .97 miles.

The race results told me 20:48 for the 5k, which would be consistent with those first 3 mile splits.  But if my 1st mile truly was a bit faster at 6:36, that would mean the next 2 were probably slightly slower than the splits I had calculated.  Once I hit 4 miles at ~27:04 according to my calculations, I thought “wow I can get under 34 minutes!”  After that first mile, when I decided I was gonna race this thing, I knew for sure I wanted to/should be able to do under 35 minutes and thought I could be close to 34 minutes, but I never really fathomed breaking 34 minutes.


33:46 – 6:48 average pace.


Females 25-29: 57th Place (out of 2,800+)

Females: 145th Place (Out of 13,000+)

Overall: 803rd Place (Out of 23,000+)


Immediately after finishing, I saw my friend Sarah who was volunteering at the finish line passing out Gatorade with the high school team she coaches.  We chatted for a bit, then I continued through the finish area collecting all my goodies (water, a bag of pretzels, my medal, etc.)

Surprisingly, my mom was standing right outside the finish line area.  We had agreed to meet at the “S” post of the family reunite area, but this was super easy – probably attributable to being in the A corral and finishing before that area got insanely crowded.  I was very cold upon finishing and luckily had brought a fresh shirt to change into but didn’t plan well enough because I really should’ve packed a jacket as well.  We stopped in Panera for a coffee and then walked back to the car, along the course so we got to see more of the runners.

After stopping back at my place, we picked up my brother Kyle and went to brunch at Jam ‘N Honey in Lincoln Park.  I had a delish omelet (with onion, cheese, bacon, and avocado), potatoes, and toast.  And more coffee :)

I will definitely be running the Shamrock Shuffle 8k in years to come…and hope the weather is better next year.  But it’s March/April in Chicago…what can ya do?

6 Thoughts on “Race Recap: Shamrock Shuffle 8K (33:46) PR!

  1. Woohoo! Congrats on your PR! Sunday was such a good day for racing. And Jam ‘N Honey is AMAZING. Excellent choice for a post-race brunch :)

  2. Yay!! My first sweaty band! You da best. And you rocked that race :) can’t wait for Sunday!

  3. Congrats on the PR!!

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