Posted By Kristabella on March 26, 2012
On Sunday I had the pleasure of running in the Shamrock Shuffle race here in lovely downtown Chicago. By the fact that I am writing this, it should be clear that it did not kill me.
I’ve done this race once before. That time was on even less training. But I was also five years younger. This time around I had made it to the end of the Couch to 5k program and had run a solid 30 minutes straight. Too bad the Shamrock Shuffle is 8k. Which is an additional 3k. Or almost 2 more miles!
I was super nervous. I’m not sure why. Nothing was riding on it except my pride. I knew that if I walked, it would not be the end of the world and even if I walked the whole thing, I would still finish in the allotted time and not be kicked off the course.
But something about having to walk when you’re running it such a mental sucker punch. Mentally it makes me feel like such a failure. Forget the fact that I’m RUNNING. And I am running for many minutes in a row, something I couldn’t do eight weeks ago. It doesn’t matter because mentally it feels like someone kicked my dog.
I ran with Katie and tried to warn her that I run slowly. Despite my long legs, I have a very short running stride. Taking longer strides fucks with my mind and my breathing. Running: A constant mindfuck since the dawn of upright humans!
Katie is the same height as me and also has very long legs. She does not, though, have a short running stride. She’s also run a half marathon and is much more experienced runner than couch-to-5k me.
We moved closer to the end of the 40,000 runners at the start line. I think we hit the start line over an hour after the race had begun. Before we even hit the starting line, the elite runners were already done and on their third banana.
Katie started off like a rocket. Because she is tall, with a long stride and hates crowds. I too hate crowds, but cannot run fast to save my life. I don’t think it would be possible even if a zombie was chasing me.
I tried to keep up and I slowed her a little, but I think our first mile was a nine-minute mile. Considering I had been running 12-minute miles, I was about ready to quit after the first mile. But I didn’t.
I did walk sooner than I wanted. And regretted not going pee and drinking that second bottle of water before the race. That water and the RUNNING SO FAST gave me a side stitch and made me want to vomit for basically the rest of the race.
We slowed it down quite a bit, but I still had a few sessions of walking as the race went on. And then the sun started scorching me and I realized long, black yoga pants were not a good call, and basically, I wanted to die.
Katie had enough of me during the last half-mile and blew past me and everyone else and met me at the finish line.
The Shuffle is evil and it makes you run up this hill on Roosevelt with like a third of a mile left. You can see the finish line, but you also want to stab a kitten because HILLS! AT THE END! And that SUN! SO HOT! FUCK YOU ALL IN THE EYE!
I ended up walking up part of the hill, but I ran the rest of the way and then all the way to the finish. I tried to sprint through the finish line, but it wasn’t possible. Maybe, had the reward been a fucking TV, I would have sprinted, but I just jogged as best I could.
And I finished! And I would say I ran like 90 percent of it. I tried to make my walking breaks short. My time was under an hour, which was a faster pace than I had been doing – under a 12-minute mile. (And faster than 5 years ago!) Thanks to Katie for keeping me company and pushing me!
All in all, it was a great day. And I’m proud of myself of doing it. And now I’ve signed up for another race in April and will be starting the Bridge to 10k program next week.
So I guess I’m a runner now and not just a “runner”.