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This year was my third Shamrock Shuffle 8K and I at the current moment have no intention of missing this race any year soon. This race in 2015 was the reason I started running. I was convinced by friends it was a fun run, and it really was. The crowds and spectators are all along the course, and the runners are all out there having a great time like it is one big party. I love the course so much, and it amazes me every year the parts of the city I get to see running by on the streets. The Willis Tower, State Street, Financial District , and the river. I also love that the race starts a little later in the am then the marathon and hot chocolate and the road closures are not as bad as those races. So it is easier to get to.

If you are looking for a Chicago race without a huge distance commitment, do this one. The race is 8k which is 4.97 miles. It flies by because you are so preoccupied with the sites and spectators.

This race was especially special for me because the kids were there. In the past, it seemed like a hassle to bring them down for the marathon or Hot Chocolate. Plus it is a lot of walking and waiting. This race is perfect time wise and close enough to find a good spot and hang out. It meant so much to have them there and see that at any age you can start something new and have big dreams and goals.

I ran this race for time.My goal was anything faster than my 2016 time of 41:54 (2015 time was over 50 minutes) and keep about the  pace of what I hope to run the marathon in October.  I am starting to realize I have a thing with having to beat my last race time. I am going to have to eventually get over this, lol. I have decided though, due to my mentality, not to sign up for any more races until the Chicago Marathon. I need to focus on that and only that for here on out.

Flat Gina ready the night before. I never sleep well before a race.

I felt great at the start. I had friends running as well. So it was motivating to now after we were going to have some fun.

The Spectators! 

I love that the kids, Tom, Parker and Marisa were at mile four. It was needed for that last push. I ended up running this entire race with a side cramp. One of my worst case scenarios. I never seem to be able recover when I get one on a practice run. I kept telling myself to push through and it was not that long, I could handle the pain and it would be over as soon as I finish. The start of the race was more crowded then I remember and I felt like I was dodging in and out of other runners for a while. Maybe why I got the cramp since I did not get a good breathing rhythm to start?

Here are two pro photos that I liked the best. The left I obviously noticed the camera and the right I must have been trying to breath through the cramp. How funny is it that I am pretty sure that photo on the left is right at the end during that horrible hill on Roosevelt. The image on the right was most likely before that. I was keeping an eye on my pace and I know how wacky a GPS can get in the city so I kept my pace on my Garmin around 7:30 and would not let myself go slower than 8:20. Again, I knew this was not accurate but at least I was going faster than what my goal was according to my  Garmin.

Jackie,Kevin and Pat passing mile 4 for high fives! Jackie is a true running BA. She has ran Boston and coaches cross country.

I learned quickly to grab as many water bottles and snacks as I can after a race. Especially when you have hangry kids waiting at the end.

After I was done, Tom and the kids were still cheering and my friend Laura and I met up. She took me into the VIP Bank of America tent. You guys! This place was heated, with a bar, and a buffet! At that point could not think of eating sadly, but I happily chatted with Laura and had a class of pinot. (Laura…didn’t some guy take a picture of us there? I was hoping it would be in the race photos, next time we need to take our own 😉 )

We did it!The sun was out and it was a gorgeous day.

Love they were all here

Champagne and pizza at Parlor  (Cheesus, Mary, and Joseph, and Brussel Shuffle, yum!) with friends was a must. Not only did a beat my time from 2016, I was sub 40. That is an 8:01 average pace which if you told me in 2014 I was going to start running and someday run an 8 minute mile during an 8k I would have laughed at you so hard.

Sadly the kids were overtired and over hungry at this point so after we were all ready to head back. But not without…DESSERT! Kevin and I have been dying to get here ever since we discovered it on IG. And it was worth the wait. Delicious rich hot chocolate covered with marshmallow fluff, caramel and chocolate sauce, sprinkles of yumminess and a donut. Because. Bombobar is a Chicago must for their hotter chocolate.  

Do you love the Shamrock Shuffle? Tell me your favorite parts of the race or memories.

This race completed week 3/30 for the Chicago Marathon training.

This week I missed a run on both Monday and Tuesday. I did run Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with a weekly milage of 21 miles including the Shuffle. I ran hills on the treadmill Wednesday, 4 quarter mile hills, and speed trained Friday doing a half a mile at a 9:13 pace then half a mile at 7:53 alternating for six miles on the treadmill. I am following Hal Higdon’s 30 week plan and this week should have had a milage of 22 ish so I was close to my total, just crammed it into 4 days instead of six. I felt good but know it is time to incorporate more weight training. I do yoga at least five times a week. I love Yoga with Adrienne. She has a video for every time, feeling, physical need, emotional need…she has something for whatever you need.

For those of you who do not know, I am training for the Chicago Marathon to Boston qualify. Hopefully. This means I need to shave more than 45 minutes off last years marathon time. Judging by my February half marathon time and the pace from the Shuffle, it is possible. With hard work and focus, but possible. I am so grateful for all of you who ask and are supportive of my little hobby. I am going to try to do a weekly recap on the blog of my training. I know how annoying it is to see every run or workout someone does for some people on social media, so I will promise not to do that. Those who want to see can check the blog for my weekly recap. I do love nothing more than this running community, so please share your blog or social media handle so I can follow and cheer you on. Support  and cheerleaders are so important with running and any kind of training/goal achieving.