Friday, March 27, 2015

2015 Shamrock Shuffle Heath & Fitness Expo

The Shamrock Shuffle is this Sunday! How did that happen?!? I feel like this race kind of sneaked up on me. The Shamrock Shuffle was the main topic of conversation at last night's training run, which is the only reason I remembered that I needed to head down to the expo to pick up my packet today.

I made the trek down to McCormick Place for the Shamrock Shuffle Health and Fitness Expo this morning. Having never gone to McCormick Place before, I had to look up how to get there on public transit. One train and one bus made for a long but pretty easy trip.

There were only three other people on my bus heading to the expo this morning.
I had never been to McCormick Place before, and I was a little overwhelmed. It was just so big.

This place is huge!
Luckily, there were signs to lead the way. And there were plenty of people walking in the opposite direction who were carrying green Shamrock Shuffle bags, so it was pretty clear where to go.

Thank you, sign! I will go in that direction!
After a lot of walking, I saw the "Packet Pick-Up" sign. Huzzah! I have to say, pick up was incredibly simple. Shockingly simple. I mean, seriously, these people knew what they were doing. Everything was clearly marked and easy to find. Just go to the line that corresponds to your bib number, give them you email with the bib number assignment (sent earlier this week), and they hand you your bib. Boom! Done! There was no line when I went this morning, so I had my bib and was ready to rock and roll in seconds.

Packet Pick-Up! I found it!
Next up, shirt and bag pick up. Much like my bib number, this was well organized and made for an easy pick up with very short lines and little to no wait time. You just had to make your way across the whole expo to get there.

So many booths, so little time.
I went straight to the shirt pick up, ignoring the various booths and vendors, because I wanted to make sure that I had everything I needed in case I ran out of time and had to leave for work. I loved that they had a separate table for shirt exchanges ready to go, so you could try on your shirt and immediately exchange for a different size if you needed to.

I really like the shirt design and the super bright green color.
So...now I had my bib, I had my shirt, and I had my gear check bag...it was time to check out the rest of the expo. There were so many booths and vendors!

I did a bit of shopping, buying a couple of headbands (my hair is too short to tie back and too short for bobby pins to stay put, but just long enough to get in my face when I run) and a new short sleeve running shirt (60% off = awesome).

Then, I hit up a bunch of booths for info about upcoming races, organizations, and, of course, some freebies. Everyone was there - representatives from CARA, CES, Athletico, and a bunch of various charity teams. I made sure to stop at the CES booth, which happened to be staffed by one of the awesome coaches for spring training out of Lincoln Square.

Oh, CES, I think I love you. And your awesome coaches.
There were various freebies. As I made my way through the expo, I was handed a pin, some magnets, a headband, some packets of vitamins, and there were a few "spin the wheel and win a prize" type of things.

The most random freebie today had to be the box of Minute Rice. Thanks for the groceries, expo!
By the time I left and made it to work, I was tired but laden down with goodies. I've never run a race big enough to warrant an expo before, so this was a new experience for me. I have to say...it was pretty fun.

All the stuff I was given today, including my packet and shirt.
I'm looking forward to the race on Sunday, but I'm still a little nervous. My breathing has been a little difficult during recent runs, and the weather forecast calls for rain. I still think it will be a fun race, though, and I'm hoping for the best. I'll let you know how it goes!

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