Good afternoon! It is sunny and 60 degrees here in Chicagoland! I don’t think we’ve seen weather like this in a long time – it’s wonderful!!
This morning, I ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8k with Danny, my stepmom, and her friends Nick, Cindy, and Stephanie.
I have lived in the Chicago suburbs for close to 32 years and this was my first race in the city. And my favorite race. I’m normally not a huge fan of crowds and people and with 40,000 other runners, I was a little worried, but everything worked out perfectly.
The expo was Friday and Saturday. My dad and Sue picked up our packets for us. They said the expo was nice and although parking took awhile, packet pick-up was a breeze.
Danny’s fast. I’m not fast.
They even had some great photo ops at the expo – my dad and stepmom.
We dropped the kids off at my mom’s on Saturday night and woke up about 5:30 am on Sunday morning. When we woke up, I wasn’t feeling the best. The kids have had a cold lately, and they gave it to me. This made me really nervous about running. I was also worried about my hip and calves and planned to walk/run.
I said going into this race that I didn’t have a goal in mind and just wanted to finish. But in my mind, I really felt like I needed to finish in an hour or less. Once I started going, I felt a lot better than expected. I ended up being able to run the entire thing and finished in 51:56!!
Danny finished in 40:55. Yay Danny!!
I was incredibly happy! I really planned on walking, but with the energy of the crowd and the cool weather, I managed to run all of it. My legs almost collapsed when I crossed the finish line but I walked around until they felt better.
Right now, my calves are absolutely killing me – the worst they’ve been in a long time, but it was worth it to cross the finish line without walking (ask me if I feel the same way tomorrow).
My hip felt really good, so that cortisone shot I had must have helped a lot.
We meet up with everyone else in the morning and arrived in the city about 7:30 am. We parked at a hotel for $30 (totally worth it!) and we’re able to hang out in the hotel with the other runners and use the indoor bathrooms.
I was really worried about what to wear. I knew it would be sunny out, but about 35 degrees at race time. I warm-up really quickly when I’m running but was also worried about being too cold. I ended up wearing pants, a short-sleeved dri-fit t-shirt, a long-sleeved dri-fit shirt, my calves sleeves, and my Reebok ZQuick shoes.
After we left to the hotel to get to our corrals, I was really cold, but managed to warm-up pretty fast. With 40,000 other runners, there’s a lot of body heat. The corral were really crowded. My stepmom and her friends have run this race for a few years now and they said they’ve never seen the corrals so crowded.
Can you spot me?
We managed to get into the corral (we all started together) and the race started exactly on time – 9:15 am.
The course went through downtown Chicago and traces some of the streets that will be used for the Chicago Marathon later in the year. The course started out really crowded and remained pretty crowded throughout the race, but it didn’t feel overcrowded.
Running with that many people really gives you energy and makes things fun. There was music at every mile marker, water/Gatorade stations, porta potties, and medical stations. I enjoyed looking at the buildings and Chicago landmarks and watching the other runners and cheering crowds.
I did get warm, but not too warm. I unzipped my shirt a little bit and pushed my sleeves up a little. I was hot but not too uncomfortable. I listened to my iPod shuffle and wore my Spi belt in case I didn’t want to listen to it anymore. I also had Kleenex in it in case my cold started to act up.
At the end of the course is a giant hill. It killed my calves. Killed them, which is probably why my legs almost gave out at the end of the race. I wore my Garmin but the distance was totally off, so I just went by the total time. I saw the finish line and knew if I could push through the pain, I could finish in under 52 minutes.
I kicked into semi-high gear and crossed the finish line in 51:56, 8 minutes faster than the goal I hoped for in my head. It was tough, but I was happy! I immediately drank a cup of lemon-lime Gatorade which tasted like the best thing in the world at that moment.
I am not a banana fan, so I grabbed a snack bag compliments of Mariano’s grocery store which included SunChips, a Bel-Vita bar, and pretzels. I ate the Bel-Vita bar and shared some of Danny’s sun chips. After the race, you have to walk a while until you’re able to meet up with the other people you came with. It took me a while to find everyone else (although we had a meeting place!!), but eventually I found everyone.
We took a few pictures but didn’t stay for the after party since we had to go pick up the kids from my mom’s house. Despite all the people, we managed to get out of the city fairly quickly.
We dropped my dad off since he rode with us. He is also the official photographer/supporter/bag holder/and sign maker.
After we dropped my dad off, we stopped for coffee. I might or might not have had a jelly donut. Oh, pre-race I had a Clif bar around 7:15 am in case you were wondering.
When we got to my mom’s house, it was extremely difficult to walk without pain in my calves. I eventually need to stretch them out – maybe I should do that soon.
When we got home a little after noon, everything hit me – the fatigue from not sleeping well the night before, the cold that I have, and the soreness of my body from running a longer distance than I’m used to. I passed out.
I asked Danny to wake me up after 30 minutes. I slept two hours. Two hours. Danny says he tried to wake me up but I wasn’t having it.
I took some Advil when I woke up but my head and nose are still stuffy and I am not even going to talk about my calves.
Overall, The Shamrock Shuffle was a wonderful race. I’m glad my stepmom finally talked me into running it. It was a lot of fun and made me realize that I actually do enjoy large races. I liked the people, I liked the course (minus the hills!), and I thought everything was well organized. I would love to run this race again in the future!