Race Review: 2022 Shamrock Shuffle

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Last Sunday, the Shamrock Shuffle returned after two years of cancelations due to the pandemic. This is one the largest and most popular races in Chicago as it marks the beginning of the racing season for many of us. It is also a very diverse field from the very fast competitive athletes to the fun-loving recreational runner. We all come together to celebrate spring in all shades of green.

Due to the pandemic, the logistic were a little bit different. The packet pick up was at Grant Park which I had concerns about, but it worked out well and was an efficient process.  The course was a little bit different for what I could remember. I have done this race multiple times over the years.

Race day brought warmer temps and sunny skies; it was a beautiful morning for a run. There were over 20,000 people running. I arrived early thinking it would be chaos, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well organized the race was, the corrals were well marked, and they had gear drop off and two different locations making it accessible to everyone.

I felt very lucky to be running last Sunday, the energy was contagious and motivating. It was so good to see so many old friends and be back on Columbus drive. I felt an enormous amount of gratitude and happiness while running on the streets of downtown Chicago, people were cheering, runners were smiling, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the race. The volunteers were amazing, lots of young people on the aid stations. There was something magical about the shamrock shuffle this year. I thought about it and I realized that it brought some illusion of normalcy or maybe just hope for a bright new normal. Either way I am embracing the feeling and holding on it for as long as I can. Keep on running!!

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Erika has been an endurance athlete for over 20 years. She fell in love with running in her 20’s in graduate school, working full time and being a single mother. Running became time for reflection. She has run over 30 marathons and countless triathlons; qualified for 70.3 World championships. To qualify for Kona is her next goal! She loves being a mom to a wonderful young lady and a fur puppy (cocker spaniel). Travel and exploring new places to train around the world is a passion. She is a licensed clinical counselor who specializes in the treatment of anxiety, depression and trauma. She spent 15 years in academia and has recently taken a role as a clinical director to focus on her clinical work. Erika believes in the therapeutic benefits of endurance training for people who struggle with mental health illness and stress. She is patiently waiting until we can all travel and race safely again, until then she recommends staying active, healthy. and consistent.

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