Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Shamrock Shuffle race plans

Chicago's popular Shamrock Shuffle takes place this weekend!
Getting into the spirit of things at last year's Shuffle
The weather forecast has been shifting around over the past few days. Right now they are saying possible rain. Fingers crossed any precipitation holds off until the afternoon! If conditions are reasonable, I hope to make this a PR attempt.

My current 8K PR is 44:12, which is about an 8:53 pace. I set this PR at the 2012 PAWS Run For Their Lives - so it's been awhile. Granted, at the time I was at the tail end of my Chicago Marathon training cycle. I was also about 15 pounds heavier. Basically, a lot of things have changed since then.
I feel I've made a lot of training improvements in the last several years. Admittedly, I haven't done any 8K-focused speedwork since I'm more focused on incline work these days. Even so, I feel reasonably confident that I am capable of achieving a new PR.

My hope, as discussed with Pete (aka the master of race strategy), is to run a negative split - or at least an even split.

Even though I've had very good success on the rare occasions I managed to execute a negative split, I still get terrified during the first mile or two. I think I fear starting out too slowly and then not being able to pick it up later on. (This has happened in training, particularly during long runs.)

That aside, here's my "perfect-world" plan:

Mile 1: Start out easy, maybe around a 9:00-9:10 pace. Don't let the crowd pressure get to me.
Miles 2-4: Try to maintain around an 8:45-9:00 pace, gradually working down closer to 8:45 or better with each subsequent mile.
After the 4-mile marker: Try to pick it up as best as possible. In the final 0.5 mile, gun it and hold on for dear life!!!
Now, the biggest challenge, of course, is actually executing this plan.

Pace strategy aside, I am also thinking about running by feel instead of relying on the Garmin. I know my Garmin's readings will likely be thrown off by all the tall buildings downtown. Plus, having to run through that tunnel at Columbus and Wacker at the course start always messes things up. So it would probably behoove me to take my Garmin with a grain of salt, regardless.

I am nervous about this weekend. At the same time, I am trying not to put too much pressure on myself. After all, we do these races for fun, right?
Here are words that I am trying to live by:
Take a deep breath and shuffle on!!! =)

28 comments:

  1. 8k is such a fun distance! I haven't raced one since 2013 when I did Run for the Dream in VA. It was SO hot that day that I swear it felt like I was running a half marathon..lol. I'd be anxious to see if my time would improve if I did it again. Have fun!

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    1. I like the 8K distance, too! You don't see it very often, so it's not one where it's easy to get a lot of race practice, yes? Completely agree that when the weather is hot, though, 8K can feel like eternity. Hopefully you'll get to test yourself out at another 8K soon!!!

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  2. Sounds like a solid plan to negative or even split the race. Good luck on Sunday!!

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    1. Thank you, Xaar! Good luck to you, too, on Sunday - will see you there!!! BTW - when are you planning to go to the expo? I might go on Friday after work, or on Saturday morning. Let me know. Would be fun to catch up with you there, too!

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    2. We will go after work on Friday to the expo. Would be lovely to see you too!

      Also planning on a meet up at the corner of Columbus and Jackson like last year- time TBD but likely around 30 min pre race

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    3. Awesome! I will plan on trying to go Friday after work, too. Can't wait to see you!

      Yay for pre-race meetup! Which corral are you in? I'm in Wave 2, Corral E. Wanted to verify if the meet-up was 30 minutes before Wave 1 or Wave 2. =)

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    4. Wahoooooo!

      Good Q! It would be 30 min before the start of wave 1 :) I'm in wave 1, corral A.

      Can't wait to see you!

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    5. Holy speed demons! You are an Elite! Go Xaar!!!!!

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    6. Buahahaha I wish! I focused on 5k training last winter and shaved more time off 2015's race :)

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  3. Your incline work will pay dividends on "Mt. Roosevelt"! I find that once the race start all the jitters go away and the task at hand becomes my sole focus. As long as you have a sound strategy (and it looks like you do), you can only run as fast as your legs and the weather will allow. So have fun with it! Anyway, good luck, maybe I'll see you in the beer garden afterwards! - Pete aka "Master of Strategy"!

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    1. Ahhhh, I completely forgot about Mt. Roosevelt on this course! Thank you for the reminder so I can plan accordingly both mentally and physically. You are right, we can only run as fast as our legs and the weather will allow, so no use in stressing out too much, right? Look forward to seeing you this weekend, Mr. Master of Strategy! I know you are going to tear it up! =)

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  4. Not getting caught up in the crowds is always tough! It's one of the reasons I like pacers or at least pace signs at the start corrals. I always start one or two back from my goal pace to keep myself from going out too quickly.

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    1. Seriously, it is probably THE hardest challenge EVER in a race to not get swept up at the start and go out too fast. Yes on the pacers or pace signs (although I've certainly seen some pacers start out too quickly, too)! Good call to start a little back from goal pace to keep yourself grounded. I should try that in the future, too!

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  5. Have fun and GO for it!!! :)

    Do you plan to do 5K focused speedwork when you do your 5K later this year? I think doing the speedwork would make you a BIT less nervous (but not entirely, that's impossible - we're not robots!).

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    1. Thanks Kim!!! Yes, my target 5K (the Super Sunny 5K) is June 4. My plan was to start 5K-focused speedwork right after the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. Although, now that you mention it, that doesn't give me a lot of time. So maybe I'll start introducing some "easy" speed work in the next few weeks. I think you're right, had I been doing some speedwork already, that would have helped me get more comfortable going in. Hopefully the incline work will have some side benefits!

      BTW - I saw your note about your next boxing classes coming up. Unfortunately I can't do either 4/9 or 5/14 since I have conflicts both days (Chicago's Perfect 10 on 4/9, graduation party on 5/14) - but please do keep me posted on future schedules. Doesn't even have to be boxing, could be any other class you teach!

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    2. Cool - I think that will definitely help for the 5K :) A month isn't ideal but it's better than nothing! :)

      I will let you know! The other class I am teaching in April is cycling intervals outside if you want to come ;)

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    3. Do I need to have my own bike for outdoor cycling intervals? I don't suppose bikes would be provided, would they?

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    4. Yeah, you'll need your own bike. Do you have one? :) That class is on Sunday the 17th.

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    5. Bummer. I do have a bike but it's nowhere near operable condition right now. Plus I don't have a bike rack for my car. =(

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    6. No worries! I will keep you posted about future stuff! :)

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  6. Pete is the master of race strategy. I'll never forget how he analyzed my 2014 Chicago marathon performance, telling me how many people I passed, etc. He's awesome!

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    1. Yes, Pete is AMAZING. He should seriously open up his own business advising folks on race strategy. He'd make a killing in the marketplace!!!

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  7. Have fun at the race! Maybe I'll be up for running it next year.

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    1. Thanks Natalie! I hope you are feeling great in the final weeks of your pregnancy! Cheers to next year - you could bring your baby along, too! =)

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  8. Hoping the weather holds out for you!

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    1. Thanks Alexandra! Fingers crossed!!!

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  9. My 8k PR is around the same as yours. I think maybe from the shamrock shuffle in 2013. Good luck! You are stronger and so I know you can do it!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Amanda! I always appreciate your confidence and your support!!!

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