Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Chicago Shamrock (Blizzard) Shuffle 2009: Can I Run if I Can't Feel My Toes?

The answer is yes, but not well. Of course, I'm not a good runner anyway, but when your toes and legs are slightly frozen, those fist several hundred yards are a little rough.

First, I should say I was not very prepared for this race. I ate like crap all winter, and I didn't run nearly enough to be properly ready. So, as the weather forecast grew worse everyday that I checked, I was thinking I was not going to do this. Jenn wouldn't let me out that easy. I'd say it was going to be too cold, then she'd bring up that we ran in Lake Geneva last year in February. I'd bring up that it is going to be snowy, and again she'd bring up the mounds of snow in Lake Geneva. At that point I was kind of regretting running that race last year.

So, we put together all our gear the night before with me still on the fence. We had Jenn's parents ready for a kid drop just in case I was going to be the brave soul that I knew deep down that I am. (No, I couldn't keep a straight face reading that either.) We set the alarm for 6am (isn't that a bit early?) and went to sleep. The dog woke us up at 5am (thanks, Quincy) and I noticed it had already snowed, but it stopped. There was a nice dusting of snow with no wind; I could handle that! So, I tried to go back to sleep, but I wasn't very successful until about 20 minuted before the alarm went off. That almost did me in right there. I was not well rested enough to run an 8K! But, I got up. Jenn asked me if I was going to do it, I said yes, kind of hoping she'd say forget about it, but she didn't. We got dressed in many layers, got the kids an headed out to her parent's house. The funny thing about that was as we were getting out of the car in the parking garage she said she was ready to say forget it if I did. I was so close to being able to sleep in my nice warm bed. If only I had been a bit more of a wuss, or a little more crabby, I could have kept me feet warm.

Now, by this time it was a full-on blizzard. It was hard to see, snow was coming down sideways, and we saw many cars off the road. The funny part: Most of the cars we saw off the road were police cars. That's never a good sign. But, we made it to her parents, and to the race, okay, if not a little bit late. We had time to use the porta-johns and line up. Then wait.

And wait. See, as I said before, we are not good runners, so we don't get to be in the lettered corrals. This means we wait for the good runners to go, which takes at least 10 to 15 minutes, then wait five minutes, and the rest of us get to go. That takes another 10-20 minutes, depending on the amount of runners and how far back you are. This meant we spent a lot of time standing in the wind, cold and slush. The slush was the worst. My feet were getting pretty wet and slowly the heat leached out. My big toes, you know, the most important ones, were numb by the time I got to the starting line. Like I said, the first few hundred yards were not easy. I felt like if I ran too hard I'd fall over. I probably looked like a very old man running. I certainly felt like it.

By the first mile mark, I was pretty warmed up, I took of my scary mask, and ran with just a normal hat. I almost took that off, then I was hit by a blast of cold wind and thought better of it. The whole time I could her my mom telling me I'd catch cold if I took my hat off. After I was warmed up, it was an enjoyable run. There weren't too many spectators out there, but there were more than I thought there would be. I almost took a few pictures with my cell phone, but I didn't want to screw around too much. I really wanted to take a picture of the sign for the Reagal Beagle, which cracks me up. Actually, Jenn had thought about having my 40th birthday there at one time. Just because I'm a huge 70's/80's TV dork. (Their burgers look awesome! Now I'm hungry.)

There was one point when I was running along some boot camp. At first it was kind of interesting, then the chanting got kind of annoying. Good thing they were faster than me. Oh, and at the second water stop I got some funky water. I took a swig and tasted a ton of salt, or something. I immediately spit it out. It could have been my own sweat, but I don't think so. The rest of the run was pretty uneventful. I saw one person fall down, one guy in a banana suit, and kept my feet relatively dry for most of the race, however the last 150 yards was very slushy. So much for wam feet!

So, all-in-all, I'm glad I did it. It turns out I'm less of a wimp than about 20,000 people who didn't run it. So, I got that going for me, which is good.

For some more pictures, and a view of the race from a faster runner, read Mr. Unfocused's post here.

Oh, and the Chicago Tribune has some good photos. I'm not in any of them. I'm certainly not the person in the tank top and shorts. 

Sorry if this got a little on the rambling side. I'm on the midnight shift this week, I can't help myself.


dc said...

Note to self: Must go to Reagle Beagle next time I'm in Chicago!

Anyways, you have more posts up than I can keep up with! Sheesh! I'll try to read the other older ones. if I can. I haven't been online much since I'm in the process of looking for a new place to move too. Blah.

Glad you got threw the run. In that weather my lung would have collapsed! So, good for you! :)

Mike said...

DC: Jenn and I were talking about the Reagle Beagle tonight. We want to try to go soon too.

Good luck with the move. I know how much if a pain that can be!

Florinda said...

The Reagle Beagle wants you to come and knock on their door... :-)

Looks like I missed some exciting times while I was off at Disneyland. Glad you survived the race without frostbite!

Mike said...

Florinda: Well, at least you were warm. :) Thanks.