This morning, I registered for my fifth Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k race. The Shamrock Shuffle is my favorite race in Chicago because it represents the official beginning of running outdoors after a long winter. Training for the race is also the perfect reason to run outside regularly during the first few weeks of spring. This year's Shamrock Shuffle race will be held on Sunday, April 3, starting and ending in Grant Park. I posted my training plan last year - 4 Weeks to Shamrock Shuffle. I ran a personal best in 2015, finishing in 46:25 with an average pace of 9:21 per mile. I'm planning to follow the same plan this year, focusing on 3 to 4 runs per week.
Before the 2015 Shamrock Shuffle race, I had the amazing opportunity to interview Olympic hopeful and Nike Oregon Track Club elite runner Alexi Pappas. Pappas held the No. 1 bib in the 2015 Shamrock Shuffle race. Last year, she took the women's title with a time of 26:32. Earlier this week, it was announced that Pappas will return to run the Shamrock Shuffle this year, defending her winning title.
I talked to Alexi Pappas about her life as a runner, including her daily routine and motivations, both on and off the track. Last year's Shamrock Shuffle race marked Pappas' second visit to Chicago and her 25th birthday. Her first visit was in fall 2014 when she paced elite runners in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Pappas grew up in Alameda, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay area. She attended Dartmouth for her undergraduate years where she ran with the women's cross country team and studied creative writing and English. After graduation, she moved to Eugene, Ore., to run with the University of Oregon running team, the Ducks, and attend graduate school.
Beyond her running career, Pappas is a filmmaker, writer and actress with a background in improv theater. She and her boyfriend are currently in post-production on a coming-of-age film called "Tracktown USA," which stars Pappas and actors Rachel Dratch and Andy Buckley.