Monday, March 19, 2012

Race Recap: Shamrock Shuffle 10K

The McMullin clan
I've always loved St. Patrick's Day (Heck, my mom's name is Patty!).  When I married, my husband gave me an Irish surname and the green holiday became even more fun!  I love fun theme races, so I'm always in search of a St. Patty's Day race.  Last year, we did the St. Paddy's Day race up in Chicago.  This year we headed to one of my favorite cities ever... Madison, WI.

Let me be forthright... I loved the Shamrock Shuffle!!  The race organization was excellent. The course was winded through the University and then hooked up with the scenic trail along Lake Mendota. The weather was absolutely beautiful!  And I scored a new 10k PR!

Before the race, we met up with our family/friends in the Overture Center, the designated pre-race gathering area for the event.  Live band, clean bathrooms and lots of space.  I imagine it made a warm dry shelter for the typically cold Wisconsin weather in March.  This year however, we enjoyed sunny skies and temps soared quickly throughout the morning.

The Shamrock Shuffle had three events (10k, 5k and 2 mile walk) that was sold out at 4000 before race day.  We made our way down State Street to the starting line shortly before 10:00am.  The 10k started first, so I lined up and had some time to myself before the start.  I hadn't thought much about race strategy, planned just to have a fun run.  But there I was all hyped up and started to 'think' - which is always dangerous.  In true Wisconsin fashion, the MC amped up "Jump Around" and the jumping began.

The runners were off and thinned out quickly, one of the things I love about running smaller races.  Within the first mile, we hit Observatory Hill.  It was a slow zig-zag climb, but the way down was fun. We wound through the University and then hit the scenic trail along Lake Mendota.  I've always wanted to run this trail, so I was in pure heaven.

Mile 1 - 8:42
Mile 2 - 8:29

Around mile 2.5, the leader of the 10k passed us on his way back (with the pace bicycle leading his way). He was flying along at a 5 minute pace!

Mile 3 - 8:59
Mile 4 - 8:53

After mile 4, I could have used my ipod for some pick-me-up music (but I forgot to bring it on the trip).  I tried to focus by doing math.  Is that weird?  I always find myself doing time math during races.  I had only completed one 10k before at the Pumpkin Classic, which I had run really well.  If I could hold my current pace, I was pretty sure I could beat that time of 55:xx minutes.

Mile 5 - 8:53

When we hit the mile 5 marker, I picked up the pace.  It hurt.  I surged up the final hill and then downward to the finish.  I saw my six-pack of cheerleaders with a 1/2 mile to go and heard my hubby (who was already done with the 5k) yelling at the finish line.

Mile 6 - 8:28
Mile 0.2 - 1:35

I did it... a new 10k PR of 54:01 (8:42 avg pace)
#389/1100  overall rank
#49/254  age division rank
#148/684  female rank

Things I always notice that make a good race... The finishing stretch was well-protected with barriers on both sides to prevent spectators from crossing in front of runners (sounds simple, but so many races don't do it).  Water was available immediately after the finish line (thank you, I was dying of thirst since it was so sunny and hot).  The only thing that could have made this race better was a shamrock shaped medal... but hey, it was only $25 to enter and benefitted the Boys and Girls Club.  Runners also received a cotton long-sleeve shirt with entry.  All in all, the Shamrock Shuffle was a great race that I would repeat.

There was a post-race party at State Street Brats. After a quick change out of sweaty clothes, we headed there to find it packed and alive with St. Patty's Day fever.  Luckily we found two open booths on the second floor and celebrated with some green beer!

Only in Wisconsin will you find a big fake cow in the middle of the beer garden!

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the grass of Capitol Hill while the kiddos fought for candy in the annual St. Patty's Day parade around Capitol Square.  Have I mentioned how much I loooove this city?!

But the Irish races don't end there.  I also signed up for the Shake Your Shamrocks virtual race.  After a long drive home Saturday night, I got up Sunday morning to fulfill my 13k run.  I started off with an easy 1.2 mile warmup and then then ran out the remaining 8.08 miles (13k).  It was another beautiful morning and really quiet out (Hmmm, was last night St. Pat's?!  LOL).  Asked to be creative, I pulled out my goofy hat...
1.2 warmup plus 
13k virtual race - 1:18:34 (9:43 pace)

How was your St. Patrick's Day?  Did you race?
I know there were many PR's in progress this weekend 
so CONGRATS to everyone!


  1. Congrats on your PR! Ha, we did the same race you guys did last year - we have the same lovely green tuxedo shirts. My husband wore his on Saturday too.

  2. Way to go!! New PR...awesome!!!

  3. Great PR Jess!! Sounds like a really fun race and after party! No race for me this weekend, I so wish there had been a St Patty's Day race closer to me!

  4. Congrats on the PR! That's awesome! And your whole family looked so cute! I love it!

  5. Great job! Sounds like you had a great time and great weather! I raced this weekend as well and it was so much fun!

  6. Lovin' all the green! You are so festive. Way to go on the big 10K PR!!!

  7. Sounds like you had just about the perfect race. Congrats on the new PR!

  8. Congrats on a new PR - looks like a fun day all around!

  9. Wow! What a great PR! Congrats! And it sounds like a great race. I really, really appreciate well thought-out races.

  10. Congrats on the PR! You ran a great race and you look AMAZING! Big hugs!

  11. Great job Jess! That is a great PR! I would have loved to do this race and meet up with you, but my back is still giving me fits. I am hoping to be ready to go for Oshkosh!

  12. Congrats on a PR!! That's awesome! And I love your family's green outfits! So adorable!

  13. Congrats on the PR, looks like it was a great day all around :)

  14. Congrats on the PR! Hooray for a great race!


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