This post was made possible by the Verizon Health and Fitness Voices program. As a participant of the program I have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product. I was also invited to Chicago to kick off the program which included a hotel stay, travel expenses and an entry into the Shamrock Shuffle 8k. Click here for more info on the program.
This past Sunday I ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8k for the first time. In fact, it was my first ever race in Chicago or the state of Illinois so that made it even more exciting. It was also my second ever 8k!
Prior to signing up for the race I had never heard of it. So in case you are clueless about it like I was here are some fun facts about the race. It starts and finishes in Chicago’s famous Grant Park. It represents the official kick off of the racing and running season in Chicago AND it is the largest 8k in the WORLD! This years race had over 33,000 participants! Wowza!
On Saturday before the race, Chris and I headed over to Navy Pier to pick up my race packet. Generally I am not a fan of expos, but I LOVED this expo. I am not sure if we just got there at the right time of the day but it wasn’t overly crowded and there were a lot of fun booths with things that interested us both.
The night before the race I got flat Betsy ready so that I would have no thinking involved when I woke up Sunday morning.
I ended up adding a black jacket to the outfit and in hindsight I wish that I did not wear the jacket because I was a tad warm with it on during the race but before and after I was glad that I had it.
On Sunday I woke up, fueled with some oatmeal and water, got dressed and headed over to my corral area with Chris. Chris wasn’t allowed to go very far with me as spectators were not allowed in the participant area. We experienced this with the Nike Women’s Half Marathon so this was not a surprise for us. In fact, for large races, I think this is a smart idea as it helps keep things organized and controlled.
Speaking of the size of the race, big races always make me nervous. Any mistakes made by those in charge of the race can have a HUGE impact on how runners and spectators experience race day. I was supper impressed by this race. It was VERY organized and well thought out. The corrals were probably my favorite of any race. There were two start times for the race and each start time was broken down into corrals. In order to get into the first start time, you actually had to submit a time from a previous race and from that time you were assigned a corral. To be part of the second start of the race you had to submit what time you thought you would finish and then you would be assigned a corral. I submitted my time from my 8k in January which qualified me for the earlier start. Never at any time during this race did I feel like I was being held back because there were too many people or that the people in front of me were not in the right corral. This is a HUGE accomplishment for this size of race! Kudos to the race director!
Somehow the stars aligned and I accomplished all three of my race goals!!! I am super pumped especially about my time. I ran sub 9’s the entire race. I don’t normally run that fast but I felt super strong the entire time. Well, maybe not the ENTIRE time. At mile 4 I was starting to fade but at that point I just held on because I knew how awesome my time could be if I kept it up.
I attribute my PR to the consistent training and healthy eating I have been doing and also to the great crowds along the course. Having people cheer you on always helps and there were not many parts of the course that didn’t have people. I never did see Chris during the race but knowing he would be waiting for me at the end, certainly gave me an extra push as well.
Overall I LOVED the race. I think it is a must do for every runner and I would love to be able to run it again!