Where do I even begin. I’m breaking this up into two parts because it’s just too much to write in one. Let’s be honest, if it was all together you’d probably quit reading before I got to the good stuff. So get comfy…here we go.
Friday I had an early flight out of BWI and landed in Midway around 9am local time. I was still nervous for some reason, but knew that it would go away eventually once I got settled. The expo was actually connected to my hotel making it very convenient. One of the things I love about large races are the expos. They always have free samples and discounts on the best running essentials (nutrition, shoes, hydration, apparel, etc.). This expo was so well organized and they really made it easy to pick up your bib and swag bag. Everything was so spread out so I had the chance to make my rounds. The people were so friendly and you could tell everyone was getting excited about the marathon.
It was so such a relief seeing the alert level LOW for Sunday. The weather was going to be just perfect.
After I picked up my bib, it was time to go into the actual expo.
If you’re wondering what they mean when they say ‘Run the Line’ they are referring to the blue line that marks the shortest route on the course. I totally followed this when I was running. Remember you don’t get brownie points for running 26.3 miles so you need to be smart.
First stop was a photo with my bib because that’s just what you do at every packet pick up. People are always so generous to take your picture so some lady asked if I wanted her to take my photo. Of course I said yes.
Oh and the running photo…
Nike had a huge set up with the official Chicago Marathon merchandise so I stopped there before the checkout line got too long. Then it was off to the Nike pacers booth to pick my tattoo for the 3:30 group. This was going to be the best way to stay relaxed and hit all the paces without having to really think about it.
I then made my rounds to the vendors. Did you know Kashi now has a protein powder? They weren’t giving out actual samples but they did hand out packets to try. Has anyone tried this?
I wasn’t a fan of these gels initially, but they are growing on me. I first tried them at the Philly RockNRoll Half. I think I like them because of the consistency. They go down much easier than typical gels and are easy on the stomach too. I grabbed some extra bottles of water to use and refill to stay hydrated.
Gatorade was one of the sponsors so they had samples of the endurance formula and the blocks which they were handing out on race morning.
I scored some Newton headsweats visors for $10.
After stopping at Vital Proteins, I’m really interested in their products. Has anyone ever taken this stuff before or take something similar? It’s supposed to be good for muscle recovery and overall health. They all tasted great, so I think I may need to order some. You can buy on amazon or on the website. They even have a starter pack that is Whole30 approved.
Let’s see what else..
I also checked out some of the other booths and took some random fun photos.
After getting into triathlons this year, I’ve been seeing a lot more about the brand 2XU. They had 20% off compression socks so I decided to try them. I typically run in ProCompression, but figured that I’d give these a shot. Turns out, I actually really love these…like a lot.
It was great to listen to some of the experts talk about the race and give tips for training. Normally I don’t have time to stick around for this stuff, but since I had all day I wanted to take advantage.
I think the highlight of the expo was meeting Bart Yasso, one of the best known figures in the sport of running. If you don’t know him, you may have heard people use the term Yasso 800s when it comes to training. He signed my program and then was nice enough to let me take a photo with him.
After hitting all the booths, I headed back to the room to relax and get off my feet and do some foam rolling/stretching.
Here are all the goodies from the expo:
Now I’m sure you’re wondering what I ate. Well dinner was at the hotel restaurant and consisted of a burger on a gluten free bun with avocado, fried egg, lettuce and tomato with a side of fruit.I had been eating carbs throughout the day (including superhero muffins) so didn’t pile on too many at dinner.
Then it was time to get some quality sleep. Only 2 sleeps to go.
I didn’t set any alarms and allowed myself to sleep as long as possible. I caught up on some reading and watched a little bit of the today show. I also got in some more foam rolling and stretching.
I ate a pretty big breakfast which consisted of oatmeal, a sweet potato and a banana. I did put sunflower butter on the sweet potato and in the oatmeal.
I hopped in an Uber and headed to the Westin Chicago for a little shakeout run with blogger Kelly Roberts (aka RunSelfieRepeat) and Oiselle. If you haven’t read her story I highly recommend you check it out. She’s amazing.
We did a little over 2 miles along the water which was a great start the day. I was happy to be able to catch up with Lauren (aka BreatheDeeplyandSmile). This was going to be her 3rd year running Chicago and she was hoping to also qualify for Boston.
After the run, Oiselle gave us a shirt and hat.
Lauren and I then walked to Trader Joe’s for some snacks and then walked to the Marriott to catch a shuttle back to the expo.
Look at that…more BEET JUICE!!
We also met up with Annie at the expo, grabbed a quick photo, and wished each other good luck.
Saturday just flew by and by the time we left the expo it was time to start thinking about what I was going to eat for dinner. After giving it some thought, I decided to head back into the city and hit up Whole Foods. I knew I could find something on the salad bar and get more sweet potatoes. The hardest part when traveling for races is the food. Having a super sensitive stomach and being lactose intolerant I get nervous eating out for fear of getting sick. I ended up getting some brown rice, quinoa, beets, an egg, spinach, steak and chicken. Oh and…more BEET JUICE.
For a snack later that night I ate 2 of the superhero muffins, but made sure I was done eating around 7pm.
I did more foam rolling, laid out my race outfit, and then lights out around 8:30-9pm.
1.Lulu Tank 2. Lulu Rack Pack Bra
3. Lulu Speed Track Short (love these because they have the pockets on the side for gels) 4. Ciele Athletic GOCap 5. ProCompression socks
6. Huma Gels 7. Newton Distance 8. Bib and 3:30 pace tattoo
And with that…only 1 more sleep till the the start of the 2016 Chicago Marathon.