Thursday, April 3, 2014

bank of america shamrock shuffle 8k expo

Last Friday, March 28, I had to pick up race packets for myself and my mom for the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k taking place on Sunday, March 30, in Grant Park. The Expo was being held at Navy Pier in Hall A.

Notice the construction crane on the right

Navy Pier is a 15 minute walk from my office, so I used my lunch break to head over there. I left around 11:30 in the cold wind, and when I got there, noticed there was a lot of construction going on. It appeared that the whole outside was closed off (the images of the renovations they had on the walls make the new outside look really nice, but I'm not sure when construction will be completed – hopefully by summertime), so everyone had to walk inside. This was a bummer, since it's much easier to bypass people outside on the Pier than it is inside. It was really crowded (spring break for some, perhaps?) with young kids/families meandering about. The other problem was that I was wearing my big winter coat, since it was cold outside, but walking inside I was sweating my booty off! I guess I could have taken it off and carried it, but that would have made squeezing past people and kiosks more difficult. Oh well, not much could be done about either (minor) issue. They did a good job of posting signage to point you in the right direction. I'm sure it was confusing for a lot of people trying to make their way through the construction/inside.

Entering the Exhibit Hall

Anyway, after making my way into the hall where the expo was held, I headed straight to get the bibs (there was no mistaking where that was with the giant banner they had, as you can see in the photo below). Our numbers weren't next to each other, but they were in the same section, so I only had to wait in one line, which was nice. It didn't take long before being helped by the nice gentleman volunteering, as there was only one person ahead of me in line. After a quick minute, I got both the bibs in their envelope (with pins included), thanked the man, and headed to the opposite side of the hall to grab our shirts. 

I had to go to two separate lines for shirts, as my mom and I wear different sizes, but again, it was really quick and I only had to wait behind one person in the first line and none in the second. They had sections, consisting of two volunteers for each: Women's XS, S, M, L, and XL? and Men's XS?, S, M, L, XL. I have to be honest – I didn't pay that much attention to all of the sizes offered. I had my blinders on to get what I needed and get out of the way. The shirts came in a clear plastic bag with the Shamrock Shuffle logo on it, filled with coupons and pamphlets. All of the volunteers were very friendly, which is always nice to bonus. I know sometimes they have to deal with people yelling at them (for things that might not even be their fault), so I try and be extra polite/friendly, hoping to keep them happy (they are volunteering their time, after all). I checked to make sure the shirts were the correct size, held my own up to make sure I didn't need to exchange (they had a little section off to the side of where you picked up the shirts for exchanges), and then I wandered around for a bit. 

This is one of my favorite local expos other than the Chicago Half Marathon (which is in the same location. I haven't done a marathon, so can't speak of that one held at McCormick Place, but I find Navy Pier easier to get to.). They have so many different booths/exhibitors to look at. Mariano's was giving out small samples of wine, pretzel chips, and Naked Juice (I tried Green Machine... pretty good!), Sweaty Bands, Bondi Bands, Nuun (they had samples to taste), Charity Teams, Hippie Runner, FlipBelt, Clif Bar (also with samples), Fitletic, other races, and much, much more! So much to look at, so little time (and energy). After perusing, I went over to the Fleet Feet booth to check out the Shamrock Shuffle gear they were selling (Nike products). I bought my mom a black, long sleeve tech shirt and myself a neon orange, short sleeve tech shirt and a black half-zip tech pullover (the softest material ever! I bought one last year as well, and it's my favorite). I then went to the Official Merchandise section, which were pint glasses, and picked one up for D/myself (to add to our pint glass collection). 

After that, I headed back to work, looking forward to race day. Sunday was scheduled to be fairly nice weather (much better than that day), but in Chicago you just never know until you wake up and head outside.

Race recap coming up next!

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