Chicago Marathon: the expo

So...  If you have not already guess based on my twitter posts with splits, I DNF'd in Chicago. I don't want to go into many details here, it deserves its own post, and that will come. Later.

But for right now, let's talk about travel to the city, the expo, and my pre-race plans.

On Saturday morning, I got up pretty early, about 5 am, let my dogs outside and fed them before putting on my headlamp and heading out for an easy 2-3 miles, and then 2-3 strides. As you know from my weekly recap, I ran 2.7 miles and then 3 strides for 30s each. I ended up at just over three miles total (like 3.07 or something?) After I got home, J went to the basement to do a workout of his own on the treadmill.

After Addie woke up, J and I loaded up the car, said goodbye to her (she was staying with Grandma) and hopped in the car. We were on the road probably by 8 am. We got to Chicago uneventfully by about 1 pm (EST) and went right to the expo. It was noon-ish in Chicago, and we made the decision to go right to the convention center and park there despite the fact that parking was going to be pricey.

So into the convention center we went. First stop was to get my bib. In order to do that, someone had to scan a little QR code that came in my participant guide that linked to me. I was then told what station to go to to get my bib. By the time I got over there, they already had my packet out and knew my name and everything, it was kind of crazy. It was like a well oiled machine.

After that, I grabbed J (he was waiting for me to do that part so he didn't have to stand in a line) and we headed out into all of the vendors. I was a little bit overwhelmed by the number of people, but we made our way to the back of the center to get my shirt. They gave me the shirt (red, Nike, tech) along with my clear plastic bag for gear check (full of coupons, samples, and advertisements for other races) and I only waited in line for a few minutes.

There were a few must see booths, including one special one for the man I dragged to the city with me... the Goose Island beer bus. We hopped on the bus and got some beer samples (2 small cups of 312 for me and 2 small cups of the Goose Island IPA for J, and then I purchased a glass and bottle opener from them too. Other purchases included insoles for J's shoes, a Saucony "Run Chicago" tee shirt, and "Meb for Mortals".
When we left the expo, we went to hang out at the hotel and watch football for a while. I had arranged for parking through an app called "ParkWhiz", if you have not heard of this and  you live in Chicago (or plan to travel there!) I recommend it, it worked out pretty well. I had booked my hotel through the race website as soon as housing was available. We were staying at the Allerton, which was a small but nice hotel. We watched football and I napped a little before we headed out to Rock Bottom for dinner. We decided to go a bit earlier than originally planned for digestion time. I decided to have a beer with my dinner as well to try and take a little of the edge off.

After dinner, I was in bed by 8 watching a football game and asleep before nine, preparing for my big goal race in the morning with a 4 am wake up call.


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