Let the running season begin!

The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K is considered the beginning of the running season in Chicago and this will be my second year running it.  Now, for me, keeping in running form over the winter is kind of hard, but I try to make sure that I am somewhat ready for this fun race.

Being a father of two keeps me pretty busy throughout the day: taking my wife to work, getting my daughter ready for school, house chores, hanging out with my son all day until the time my daughter gets out of school, prepping dinner, etc.  So somewhere during the day I have to find a way to get prepared for my runs.

So I do little things during the day like chasing my son around the house or doing squats a few times with him on my shoulders, but those do not help out as much as you would think they do.  I really need to work on a workout routine.  If anyone has some suggestions they would be greatly appreciated.

The mornings of the run I try to make sure that I have a good breakfast before I leave the house.  For my first few runs I would drive to the local fast food place and get a “healthy” smoothie to get me going.  This was ok for a few runs, but after paying too much for food and parking I decided I needed to cut down on these cost. Also add the fact that I could not find my car once and spent 40 minutes walking around a garage, I decided that I was not going to do that anymore.

I started eating KIND bars before a run after I was given one at a health expo.  I liked how they filled me up enough that I did not feel weighed down during a run.  Whenever I would run around the park I would eat a bar (Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate being my favorite) and a banana before the run and then repeat after a run.  This year for the Shamrock Shuffle, I was going to change it up a little and eat a STRONG & KIND bar, Honey Mustard, after my run.

My pre and post race meal.
As the Shamrock Shuffle approached I started getting worried if I was going to make it. I mean, I have not run a really good distance since I attended the Dad 2.0 Summit in February, so running an 8K was not looking like a good idea. No matter what, I knew that I had to stay focused and just keep running. I also was running for a reason: to honor a fellow dadblogger that had recently passed and had a big influence on my life, Oren Miller.

I’m honoring my friend when I run.

A few days before the race I asked around if anyone else was running the race and my next door neighbor told me she was running it too.  We met the morning of the race and she told me that she had an extra ticket to the VIP tent because her company was involved with the race.  Pretty cool way to start the race if you ask me.

Just hanging out in the VIP tent.
The tent was heated and full of goodies to eat.  So we hung out there until it was time to start the race. I am not going to lie to you, I was a little cold waiting for the race to start. Standing there among the thousand that were getting ready to start, I began feeling butterflies in my stomach.  As our group got closer to the starting line, I just tried to stay calm and keep focused on what I had to do: run.

The 2015 Male and Female Shamrock Shuffle winners.

If you look closely at the picture above you can see me accepting my award for coming in first place in my age group and if you believe that I got an internet bridge to sell you.  While there were some parts of the run that really challenged me; the strong winds, the cold air and my knee hurting a little, I finished the race in about fifty-six minutes.  I feel that if I trained a little better I could have run it in a much faster time.

Just hanging with 1st time Shamrock runner and NBC 5 news anchor, Zoraida Sambolin.

After the race I warmed up in the VIP tent and got to see the men’s and women’s winners and rub shoulders with some of NBC’s local news anchors.  I felt like Jack Dawson on the Titanic.  I went from being just a regular runner, to getting a VIP ticket from my neighbor and hanging out with local celebrities.  If I was drinking in the tent I would have toasted “To making it count” to everyone in the room.  Odds are that if I did that, everyone would have stared at me like, “Who is this guy?” and I would have been chased out by security and probably cramped up while running away.

Until next year Shamrock Shuffle. Until next year.

Thanks for reading.

Disclaimer: Although KIND Snacks provided me with some of their STRONG & KIND bars for my run all opinions are my own and were not swayed by the products I was given.  I am in no way a health expert. I am just a dad that likes to run to be a little healthy for my kids.

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