Thursday, October 13, 2011

Marathon Weekend

The Marathon may just be on Sunday, but it really encompasses an entire weekend.

Have you ever been to the Chicago Marathon Expo?

You don't have to be a runner to think it's awesome. And believe me, it's awesome.

Most people I know go on Friday. I guess it's because they're locals and they can. Or because it's less crowded. Or more likely it's because the anticipation is killing them.

Imagine the movie 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' when Charlie walks in to Willy Wonka's factory. I think that's the look on just about any marathoner's face entering the expo. It's sensory overload, in a good way.

I could easily spend half a day visiting the lay of the land. The new gadgets, destination races, celebrity appearances, nutrition samples... But coach Kim reminds me that I need to get off my feet, so we enter the expo on a mission.

Two and a half hours later, we exit with my bib and race packet, a few gus, and two shirts. A new expo speed record.

Friday night's also traditionally a large pasta dinner night. This year I had mine at home since most of my dinner friends were still traveling Europe after their Berlin Marathon. I went to the ethnic market a few days before and got everything we needed to make dinner.

Saturday I sleep in. Like, past 7:30. I haven't done this in about 6 months. Weird.

In the early afternoon, Dave and I head down to my charity's luncheon at the Hyatt McCormick Place. The luncheon was much smaller than last year. Salute said they had a smaller team this year, but were able to raise more money. Great news for a great cause. One guy raised over $9,000! Amazing.

Late afternoon we head back home and talk to my Mom about her arrival. My mom is my biggest supporter. She's come to just about any race she could in these last few years. She could write a book as to how to follow a runner through the Chicago Marathon. As part of the marathon ritual, she comes to the City the night before the race and spends the night.

As Saturday progresses, I notice I'm getting a sore throat. Family, friends and co-workers all around me have been sick, but I'd hoped I could fend it least until after the race. I take tablet after tablet of Airborne and hope for the best. There wasn't much else I could do.

I laid down around 9:30. I knew there was no chance I'd fall asleep at that time. The night before the marathon is the only night of the year I don't sleep like a rock. I tossed and turned for awhile, but eventually fell asleep, crossing my fingers the sore throat was nothing to worry about.

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