Shamrock Shuffle 8K 2018: The good and the bad

Not my first rodeo.. I ran the Shamrock Shuffle back in 2014 under a co-worker’s bib. Technically, since it was under her name, this year was my first real Shamrock Shuffle 8K. Going into it this year, I was so excited since I remembered all the fun I had at the expo beforehand and the…

Shamrock Shuffle 8K 2018: The good and the bad was originally published on Self Evolve

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Not my first rodeo..

I ran the Shamrock Shuffle back in 2014 under a co-worker’s bib. Technically, since it was under her name, this year was my first real Shamrock Shuffle 8K. Going into it this year, I was so excited since I remembered all the fun I had at the expo beforehand and the post-race after-party. And of course the race itself. But unfortunately, it feels like a few things changed over the past few years.

First of all, this shirt is awesome!

I must say the shirt greatly improved from the white shirt I got 4 years ago. The shirt from 4 years ago wasn’t green or anywhere close to being shamrock themed. This year, it’s black with a very cute shamrock design on it. The only complaint is the women’s shirts run short. Kind of small, but a short running shirt is never fun to wear. In addition to the awesome shirt, we also received awesome medals! I don’t remember receiving a medal last time I ran this, so must say this is also an improvement.

Chicago the beautiful

shamrock shuffleI love the course of this race as well. The start and finish are the same as the Chicago Marathon, so I did have a few flashbacks. But an easy 8K was much better than those 26.2 miles I ran last October. We still got to see some great areas of the city, and end with that Roosevelt St bridge that everyone hates. 🙂

Let’s talk about this expo..

In years past, the expo was bigger and had way more vendors. To the point where it was almost hard to navigate around the place. This year there were not enough vendors, and way too much visible carpet. Of the vendors there, it seemed like there wasn’t really that much to even buy. One of my friends said this was the first expo she ever went to and didn’t buy a single thing. Bank of America may want to rethink their expo strategy if they want to make money.

Brrr Shamrock Shuffle Icicles

sharock shuffleThe only other thing was the weather! But running a race in March in Chicago, you have to be prepared for the worst. And it could’ve been worse! It didn’t rain or snow, and the sun was definitely out. While running, I felt very comfortable. Beforehand and afterwards, I was freezing. Needless to say, I didn’t stick around long after the race. I got home quickly to take a nice warm shower after the race.

Overall, I had a great time running the Shamrock Shuffle 8K. I didn’t PR because I ran it with some of my awesome running friends. But I did feel great running, to the point where at the end I felt like I could’ve kept going. Makes me want to start running outside again, if only it gets a little bit warmer.

Did you run the Shamrock Shuffle?

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Shamrock Shuffle 8K 2018: The good and the bad was originally published on Self Evolve

2018 races: running season is here

Are you a runner? If so, then you’ve likely already started registering for your races this running season. Last year, I ran a few fun runs (i.e. Star Wars Half Marathon and the Hemingway 8K), but I mostly just trained for that marathon thing. This year I’m scaling back and hoping to use my experience…

2018 races: running season is here was originally published on Self Evolve

Are you a runner?

If so, then you’ve likely already started registering for your races this running season. Last year, I ran a few fun runs (i.e. Star Wars Half Marathon and the Hemingway 8K), but I mostly just trained for that marathon thing. This year I’m scaling back and hoping to use my experience and knowledge to help others with their marathon training. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still running a few races this year (Shamrock Shuffle, local Oak Park races, and maybe a half marathon). And today I’m going to review a few of my all-time favorite races in and around Chicagoland.

Shamrock Shuffle 8K

I may be biased, but Saint Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year. And anything having to do with this magical day makes me happy. The Shamrock Shuffle is a great 8K that takes you through downtown Chicago. You start in Millennium Park and end in Grant Park, the same start and finish for the Chicago Marathon. But 5 miles is a lot more do-able than 26.2.

running season

Hemingway 8K

I just moved to Oak Park last year and I participated in this local race last summer. The locals call it Running with the Bulls, and many people dress up to fit the theme. It was so fun that I plan to run this race again along with the other local Oak Park races this year.

Forest Preserve Trail Half Marathon

running seasonThis one is a smaller half marathon that usually falls around the same time as the Chicago Marathon. It’s a great half on the trail up north in Lake County. I ran this one in 2015 and I’m thinking about running it again this year.

Hot Chocolate 5/15K

When I ran this race, it was so cold I was miserable. The route was great, my only complaint was the cold. But they’ve moved this race from end of November to end of October in order to avoid those frigid temperatures. The only reason I didn’t run it last year was due to that marathon thing. The hot chocolate at the end makes the 15K worth it! There is also a 5K option. 

Now that running season is here, which races are you registered for?

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2018 races: running season is here was originally published on Self Evolve

So you want to lift weights

Lately I’ve been hearing quite a few women (and some men) tell me how they get intimidated when they go to the gym, and not by the treadmills or ellipticals. It’s the weight area that is filled with those extra-beefy men lifting those extra-heavy weights. While the view is nice, most beginners are worried they will…

So you want to lift weights was originally published on Self Evolve

Lately I’ve been hearing quite a few women (and some men) tell me how they get intimidated when they go to the gym, and not by the treadmills or ellipticals. It’s the weight area that is filled with those extra-beefy men lifting those extra-heavy weights. While the view is nice, most beginners are worried they will look like fools while trying to lift weights. Also, if you’re anything like me, you don’t want those beef-heads talking to you, trying to tell you how good you look lifting. (which is why I wear headphones to the gym all the time, works about 90% of the time)

I’m here to tell you there’s nothing to fear! Free weights and even those bars are nothing to worry about. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind next time you’re in the gym:

  1. Warm up before lifting weights! A simple 5 to 10 minutes on the treadmill will do, be sure to get the heart rate to at least 100 to 110 BPM!
  2. For the beginner, start super light! Don’t feel bad grabbing only 5 pound weights, or starting with just the bare bar. Start low and you can always add weight if it’s too easy! It’s better to go up than to go too heavy and injure yourself.
  3. Start with a simple 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Give yourself 30 to 60 seconds between each set for rest.
  4. Exhale while contracting your muscles, i.e. exhale while curling up on bicep curls and inhale while going back down.
  5. Maintain control throughout every movement. It isn’t a race, and you get the most out of the exercises if you do them with control. Focus on the movements and don’t let gravity or momentum take over.
  6. Proper form is key. Overall, the general rule is to keep your core engaged, your knees should never be fully locked, and you want to watch yourself in the mirror if available to make sure you’re not hunched over or letting your form slip.

If you’re not even sure what proper form looks or feels like for you, I can help you find your proper form through a few personal training sessions. Even if you’re not local to Oak Park, it is beneficial to find a personal trainer to help you learn proper form while lifting weights. Many people in the gym may be willing to help you as well, but take advice with a grain of salt. Unless they are fitness professionals, they may not know the proper form for you. Everyone is a little different and your form might not look exactly like that beef-cake who weighs 300 pounds. Just saying. 🙂

Also, another myth busted: lifting weights doesn’t make you super huge. You will gain muscle and tone up, but in order to get huge like a bodybuilder you’d have to do way more lifting than any normal person at the gym does. So unless you really try, you will only get stronger muscles and look sexier of course.

Do you lift weights? If so, how did you start? Are you intimidated by the weight section of the gym? If so, why? What’s your biggest fear? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

So you want to lift weights was originally published on Self Evolve

SPENGA what?

SPENGA: Spin, Strength, Yoga. Last week I tried my first SPENGA class, kinda. It was on a rooftop and not in the studio, so unfortunately there were no bikes and therefore only strength and yoga (50/50). Despite missing the spin, I had a great time! It was a gorgeous, breezy night in Oak Park, and I…

SPENGA what? was originally published on Self Evolve

SPENGA: Spin, Strength, Yoga. Last week I tried my first SPENGA class, kinda. It was on a rooftop and not in the studio, so unfortunately there were no bikes and therefore only strength and yoga (50/50). Despite missing the spin, I had a great time! It was a gorgeous, breezy night in Oak Park, and I…

SPENGA what? was originally published on Self Evolve