2012 Shamrock Shuffle 8K Run Recap

Where do I even begin? The quantity of different emotions that I felt in the past 24 hours is beyond overwhelming…overwhelming being one of the emotions as well. It all started with a speedy 2-mile warm-up run yesterday. Around mile 1.5 a burdensome thought hit me like a lightening bolt: When and where do I pick up my bib?

I couldn’t shake the thought for the remainder of the run, and as soon as my Garmin beeped signaling mile 2, I got down to business. I pulled up the Shamrock Shuffle email buried under a pile of old emails and what I read nearly gave me a panic attack. I had only Friday and Saturday until 6pm to pick up my bib and packet at Navy Pier. Now mind you- it was 5:45pm at this time, and I was in the suburbs. There was no one I could’ve asked to complete this favor in such short notice and within this tiny timeframe.


Despite the website and email repeatedly warning me that there will be no packet pick-up on race day, I decided to hope for the best in the morning. I prepped my green gear and fell into a strained sleep.

The obnoxious noise of my alarm clock woke me bright and early at 5:40am on Sunday, March 25th. I was tired but not I-can’t-crawl-out-of-bed exhausted.

Breakfast of champions: the perfect bowl of oats + coffee

The parentals were awesome (duh) and eagerly volunteered to come cheer me on. Nothing says I love you like waking up at 6am on a weekend to drive 30 minutes in the dark for your daughter’s 8k race ♥ Thanks, mom and dad…I love you!!

Upon arrival to Grant Park, my mom and I headed straight to the info booth while my dad waited in the car.

(sorry for the crappy double-vision photos- something is malfunctioning with the iPhone camera!)

People were already trickling in, and I quickly got pumped. All I wanted to do was run the largest timed 8k race in the world <– truth! Unfortunately, I got my hopes up only to have them dropped to rock bottom- I couldn’t run the race because there was no way I could pick up my bib. Devastation, pure disappointment! Honestly, I couldn’t believe that such a prominent race would screw over some of its runners like that! I admit that it was my fault for not being more attentive to the email, but still…

Luckily, my superwoman mom came to the rescue. As we were walking back to the car, my mom took a chance, came up to a small group of people with a box of packets, and asked if they had an extra bib. SCORE! Apparently a few runners dropped out last minute. Thanks to a speckle of luck (luck of the Irish?) and a mother’s determination mixed with some human kindness, I was able to run the Shamrock Shuffle under the name of Andrea. And guess what- Andrea was also supposed to start in corral D, the same one as me! Needless to say I was borderline tearing up and my mom even hugged the girl. Ha!

Thank you Andrea, whoever you are, for dropping out (I hope you’re ok though!) and granting me the opportunity to run. Sometimes my stupidity amazes even me.

My day was finally improving and I was pumped to begin.

I entered corral D around 8am but only ended up crossing the start line around 8:45am (official start was 8:30am for Wave 1).

Check out the sea of red and green:

Within the first 3 minutes of the race, my Garmin lost reception as we entered a loooong tunnel. After surfacing, I knew immediately that my Garmin was unreliable. I was bummed but decided to trust my body and run without reliance on technology.

The run was scenically incredible. Honestly nothing beats running down the wide streets of Chi city with people decked out in green cheering you on and motivating you to push forward. I was worried that it would be foot-to-heel which is why I did not wear my tulle skirt, but there was plenty of room. No regrets though…there’s always next year!

Halfway through the race I knew that I pushed myself too hard at the beginning. Although the course was fairly flat, there were a couple of minor hills that I couldn’t see but immediately felt in my quads. Mile 3 hit and I just wanted the race to be over…I was drained! As the intricate balance of unlucky and lucky would necessitate it, the last 0.25 miles consisted of the largest hill of the course (to me at least). That evil hill ate some of my speed and definitely added at least 15 seconds to my time.

FINALLY, the finish line was in view! I sprinted immediately and simultaneously kept a look-out for the parents, whom I spotted before they spotted me. After some screaming and arm-waving, we exchanged glorious smiles and I proceeded to cross the finish line. Done, done and done!

Water bottles, goodie bags, and bananas were handed out.

As soon as my parents and I were reunited, my internal pride was reflected on their faces and I felt incredibly grateful to be where I was at that moment. My parents rock!

My post-run snack was an orange-filled Trawffle:

I’m telling you, Trawffles are perfect for anything and everything!

A few hours later, the times were up! Check out that time discrepancy between the men and women. Regardless, I’m proud to be a woman!

Unfortunately, the searchable page was overloaded and crashed. I got to see this wonderful screen for many hours:

Eventually, I got through. My final time was 47:28 (9:33 min/mile), almost a minute slower than last year’s Bastille Day 8k Run. I was disappointed for about 2 minutes and then got over it. I should be nothing but proud of myself! After all, there’s always next time…

Dear Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle, thank you for an awesome race filled with excitement, joy, inspiration, and perfect weather. See you next year!

♥ Irina