Running Changes Everything…Really?

The Shamrock Shuffle has come and gone, but for a while it was a race that I was never going to run. Don’t get me wrong I love the Shamrock Shuffle, but over the last couple of months I was no longer in love with running or anything associated with it. You might be thinking burn out from too much running. No, not really. Honestly the main issue had everything to do with my separation from my former FF Racing Team. I don’t plan on going into detail about it but let’s just say the mantra of “Running Changes Everything” seemed like a cruel slap in the face.

Feeling betrayed coupled with not enjoying my training sessions placed me in a foul mood. My focus has been on other things. Such as family, work and finding balance in life. Running has always helped me relax and placed me in a Zen state, while racing has helped me channel my extra energy into positive outcomes. But now Running had become a stressor in my life. I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve and I clearly was bothered by the betrayal of my former team.

I made a decision to run the Shamrock Shuffle the week leading up to it, but mentally I wasn’t committed. On the eve of Shamrock Shuffle the only concern I had about the race was waking up at 3:30am …. Damn I forgot how early that is…lol. I had not even bothered to go through any pre-race rituals, hydration and/or nutrition traditions. I was enjoying hanging out with the family and getting more important things accomplished. Then after an innocent conversation, I had a revelation and my attitude took on a different outlook.20130411-152441.jpg

On the morning of Shamrock Shuffle I was prepared to let it all hang out. I was mentally committed to go fast and I had planned to add a minute rest period to my pace in miles 2, 3.1 and 4. Leading up to the Shamrock I had not worked on any speed training (I knew I could hit a 7:20 minute mile but nothing under that). I wanted to conserve as much energy to let it rip as I made the turn onto Michigan Avenue. Getting into the Corrals was pretty easy and I couldn’t wait to get started. Normally when I’m in Corral A or B I feel out of place. Like I don’t belong with these fast folks, but this time around I didn’t worry about any of that. As soon as we started I was off. Almost immediately I passed one of the Shamrock Shuffle Green men. Then I was behind the Dick Pond Fast Track Team. In the past I would have doubted my abilities and backed off from hanging with the fast pack, but this time around I was committed to staying with the pack.

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Along the course I felt really comfortable. I’ll be honest my Garmin was acting up so I had no clue what pace I was running and I didn’t know how much time had passed before my corral started. I did spot the clocks along the course but I wasn’t paying attention to time. I ran on feeling. I felt great. I felt free and more importantly I felt a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I started my surge as soon as I hit mile 4.  As I positioned myself for the final turn I saw members of my former team and the sense of betrayal and anger started to bubble up again.

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But I turned those emotions into positive momentum and started to take them out one at a time. I have no clue who they were and frankly I don’t care. I was running for myself. I was focused on the road ahead. I knew if I wanted to obtain my main goal this fall I needed to let the past go, run harder, think smarter, and stop fearing my potential. When I made the turn onto Roosevelt I was cruising. As I approached the finish line I saw the time and was dumbfounded by the results. I knew I ran well but I didn’t expect to finish in 33:01. I’m not trying to brag (it’s not in my nature), but I didn’t feel I ran that fast.

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The Shamrock Shuffle was a race I almost didn’t run, but I’m glad I did. I might not run another race until the Chicago Marathon, but on Sunday I closed the chapter on the past. More importantly I gained confidence, a sense of clarity and my outlook on the road ahead is full of potential-in all facets of life.

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