Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicago Marathon Part 1 - Expo and Pre-Race Dinner

On Friday, I flew up to Chicago for marathon weekend.  I knew that I wasn't trained as well as I'd like, I was definitely a little sick with some sinus gunk, and it was going to be 80+ degrees on race day... so I headed up with simple expectations to have fun in one of my favorite cities with some of my favorite people!

I met up with Stephanie and one of her friends for drinks before our Canadian friend Amanda and her boy made it to town.  It's always so fun to be back with my two best girl friends again!

We grabbed breakfast the next morning where I put away scrambled eggs (with cheese), bacon and two pancakes to start prepping for race day.

Then, my friends set off for some shopping while I hit the race expo.  In hindsight, I should have taken the extra vacation day and flown up Thursday night so I could do the expo Friday while my friends were at work/driving to Chicago, etc.  It ended up taking the whole afternoon so I missed out on shopping with my crew.  Oh well.

I got to the expo and was a little disappointed to find that this year our names were on the fake wall of the Nike booth instead of on the wall outside of Niketown on Michigan.  Nonetheless, I took the time to find my name.

I couldn't help but laugh at the warning that conditions would be "less than ideal" for marathon running.  This felt like a big understatement between the weather and my sore throat and stuffy nose.  I had also developed a canker sore that was killing me.

Does anyone know what this odd symbol in the 26.2 is supposed to mean?  I've never seen it before.

I made sure to grab a free photo in front of the green screen.

Honestly, I was disappointed in the expo this time around.  Maybe I had SUCH a great experience when I ran this in 2009 that anything else pales in comparison... but I kind of thought it was reasonable to expect it to be as good as it was then.  Maybe it's less interesting to me because I've seen all these same booths at numerous other races?

Part of it was definitely that I could tell that everyone is hurting financially... I got WAY less free stuff, and what I did get was sample sizes and not full sizes like I got in 2009.  I don't mean to be greedy, but this race is expensive so I kinda hoped to walk away with a bit more than this.

My friend Amanda works for an appliance company and appeared to have a small heart attack when I showed them the Affresh dishwasher cleaner and pointed out it was the most random item.  Apparently she's needed a bunch of them for a client and can't get them... now she knows it's because like 40,000 of them where in the Chicago goody bags. HA.

I was also disappointed in the race shirt (photo to come later).  It was white for starter, and the design was uninspired.  Maybe a clever ploy so that we'd buy more of the other merchandise?  I mean, it worked on me... I bought a few things (photo to come later on those, too).

I reunited with my friends so that we could head to the grocery store to pick stuff up for dinner.  Steph and her husband were amazing and allowed me to invited my Nashville friends over for a spaghetti dinner.  I managed to impress Amanda's boy... I ate salad, a huge plate of spaghetti, several pieces of bread, and some of both desserts... when I hit that point, I believe he said, "Wow, you can really put the food away!"

All in the name of prepping for a long run.

I also had a bit more wine than I probably should the night before a marathon, but I figured I had no time goal and wanted to have a fun weekend all across the board... so why not?

Here's the three of us the night before the race.

After dinner, it was time to get serious.  I showered and shaved my legs.  I got my number and my name thing Steph made me pinned on my shirt.  I laid everything out for the morning and somehow managed to sweet talk Steph into setting her alarm for 5:30 to make sure I was up.

I headed to bed and managed to fall right to sleep and stay there until my alarm went off the next morning for the race!

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