Last weekend, Autumn, Ariana, Priscilla, and I traveled to Chicago to run the Shamrock Shuffle 8k, which also doubled as the National 8k Team Championships. We were one of twenty female teams entered in the race, and were aiming for a podium finish (top 5 teams got prize $). Last year, Ariana and I had traveled as a duo (teams needed at least three women to enter), so we were excited to be back with a full team. We arrived Friday and spent the two days before the race eating healthy, acclimating to the weather on our shake out runs, and indulging in some of our favorite TV programs (Dateline for Ariana and World Figure Skating Champs for me!).
|pre-race dinner at Freshii|
As I do before each race, I sat down with my Believe I Am Journal on Saturday morning and came up with a game plan. My mantra for this one was "get one more." Every second was crucial to the team competition, since scoring is done by the combined times of each team's top three runners. I wanted to keep pushing until the end, using the hundreds of other fast women on the course as motivators. My teammates liked my mantra, and we arrived on the starting line Sunday fired up and ready to pass as many women as we could in the final miles...
Individually, my race plan was to run an average pace in the low 5:40s. I wanted to run a 5:50 for mile one and descend from there. It sounded manageable given my recent workouts, but things unraveled pretty soon after the gun. I wasn't wearing a watch, but when my teammates took off in the first mile I felt like I would have to sprint all out just to stay with them. I thought I was running around 5:50 effort but was pretty discouraged to come through the first mile in a 6:03 (there were clocks at every mile). For perspective, my slowest mile in the Phoenix Half Marathon at the end of February was a 6:04!
After a brief moment of shock and frustration upon seeing the clock, I remained positive and determined give it my all. Although I wasn't in a scoring position at that moment, I had to keep pushing because I had no idea what might happen with my teammates up the road. I rallied for the second mile, coming through the marker in 11:45ish. I kept focusing on girls up the road, trying to pass as many as I could despite being far behind my performance from last year (28:38). My final miles were in the low 5:50s, and I finished in 29:15, which was a pretty disappointing time for me. However, I think I rallied pretty well after my abysmal first mile. I'm happy that I at least stayed positive and gave it what I could.
I understand that it's sometimes hard to run fast during marathon training, but I was pretty bummed that I couldn't contribute to the team more. Luckily, my teammates kicked some serious butt! After cooling down, we were thrilled to return to the elite tent and see the results - we finished fourth in the team competition! That more than paid for our post race burgers and beer, and caused me to declare the Shamrock Shuffle my "best bad race ever." As we enjoyed our celebratory meal, we hashed out plans for a return trip and a higher finish next year. Seven weeks will give us plenty of time to recover after next February's Olympic Trials Marathon ;).
|best team, best uniforms, best bad race ever!|
|Look who we found in the hotel bar! PZ Party of One!|