Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bank of America Chicago Marathon Race Recap: Part 1

A race as big as Chicago deserves two posts for sure!  There are so many pictures that I divided the post into two smaller posts.  My next entry will be all of the race details!

Friday, October 7, 2011
My family headed to Chicago via minivan at 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning.  This trip worked out perfectly since it was also our preschool's Fall Break.  Our days off from school (and work for me) coincided with our days for the trip.  What a nice coincidence!  In the car, my daughter had us laughing when she asked, "Is that Chicago?" when she saw a building that was literally two miles from our house (and even though I told her we'd be in the car until dinner)!  With stops and traffic, we made it to our hotel at 4:30 p.m.  I had been hydrating in the car expecting to be at the hotel by 4:00.  When that didn't happen, I started doing a potty dance as we inched our way to the hotel.  It was a good hotel in a great location.  We could walk to restaurants, shops, and, most importantly, the start of the marathon!
I had taken a rest day on Thursday, so I had planned to run on Friday after we got to the hotel or on Saturday morning.  Below is a picture of the new shoes I started breaking in about a week before the race.  I love comparing the old ones to the new ones!  

New Nike Air Pegasus + 28 Breathe shoes for the marathon!
Around 5:00 p.m., we took a shuttle close to Niketown to the marathon expo and stayed at the expo from 6:00-7:00 p.m.  I am a "geek" in that I LOVE the expos.  I rarely buy anything, but I just love to "window shop."  Seeing all the running gear and all of the other runners gets me excited about the race!  I was a little bummed that I missed seeing Hal Higdon, who was there promoting a book.  I wanted to thank him in person for the training program!  We ended up with a lot of free samples, though some were not the best for carbo-loading (One I remember was a natural peanut butter.).  It was great to try out a sample of the drink they'd be using for the race (Gatorade G Series ProTM 02 Perform Endurance Formula lemon-lime flavor). 

My absolute favorite part of the expo was seeing a video they had playing of the course, complete with music and little icons that would flash the different mileage checkpoints along the course.  Everyone was crowded around watching it on big screens.  I had seen it on facebook already, but I liked seeing it on the big screens with others that would be running the course on Sunday.

Packet pickup went from 1-45,000 bib numbers!

Entry to packet pickup
Below is an event sign showing the status of the event as "Moderate." 

I had already read about the Moderate status in an email we received.
It stated:

"The Alert Levels range from Low (green) to Moderate (yellow) to High (red) to Extreme (black) based primarily on weather conditions, as well as other factors.

According to the advance local weather forecast, the weather on race day is projected to be sunny, with morning temperatures in the upper 50’s (degrees F) and afternoon temperatures in the mid to upper 70’s (degrees F).

(And the part I didn't like) Plan to adjust your pace for the weather. The increasing temperature will require more of your body’s energy and resources to maintain normal function, so a slower pace than originally planned is recommended in order to get you to the finish line without overheating.

Having to adjust my pace wasn't something I wanted to do! 

Moderate status
Nike has the coolest expo display.  I wish I'd taken a picture of the whole thing.  It looked like big squares from far away, but when you got closer you saw that it was actually a list of all of the runners' names!  We has fun finding our names and getting a picture of them!

My daughter finds our names

"Katie Maehlmann Rick Maehlmann" (middle of picture)

There was also a HUGE map of the course (something I had also seen and studied before this day).  It was a great photo opportunity!
My bib number was 3634 (the 4 is covered by the timing chip). 
"B" and the red color were for my start corral. 

Rick and the kids

Enormous expo!
After the expo, we decided to get some pasta to go from a restaurant that was right up the street. It was around 8:00 p.m., and everyone was starving. Rick and I had both decided to eat more carbs for the three days leading up to the race. Our lunch was two baked potatoes each from Wendys, and dinner was a whole lot of pasta. The portion for a small was an 8x11 inch pan!

Buca To Go (small portion!)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rick and his friend, Teddy, went for a run first thing in the morning, and then it was my turn.   I knew I only needed a couple of miles and not too much more.   Once I got going, though, I found a pretty popular path near the lakefront.   Runners were everywhere, getting in their last runs before the race.   The runners, the beautiful yellow trees, the water and boats, and the big buildings in the distance made the most beautiful sight!   I ended up doing about 5 miles at a relaxed and easy pace--a little more than I wanted but highly worth it!   What an awesome run!

I wanted to try out my pre-race fuel of choice the day before, so my breakfast was a Honey Stinger Waffle.  For 170 calories for such a little flat thing, I joked to Rick that we could make the same thing ourselves by squishing a donut with something with a grid design!

It is hard to tell how tiny and flat this thing is by this picture, so just trust me.
Since we had our children with us, our agenda for the morning was very full!  We took them to the beach (I had no idea Chicago had a beach!) and to the Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier.  We go to different museums around the country for free since we have a reciprocal membership with our local museum.  Maybe we should have a goal to try out a children's museum in each state too!

The beach with pretty fall leaves and buildings

They were so happy to take their shoes off and run to the water!
Chicago Children's Museum

We picked up my sister, Laurie, at her bus stop and began our afternoon activities. We ate lunch at Jimmy John's, shopped at the Magnificent Mile, and ate dinner (more pasta) with our friends, Angie and Teddy.
Aunt Laurie (and our sitter!)

I ate a vegetarian sandwich at Jimmy John's.  Their bread was delicious and a good source of carbs.  It was interesting to really think about each thing I ate in the three days prior to the race as being fuel (in the form of stored glycogen in my muscles) for race day.  I normally don't give a whole lot of thought to the food-performance connection.

Jimmys John's vegetarian

Rick carbo-loads!

I don't know how wise this was, but I walked everywhere in the Magnificent Mile that day.  We spent hours going to American Girl to Ghirardelli (can't say no to free samples even if they're not carbs!) to Niketown (AWESOME store with soooooo much marathon stuff!).  Rick was smart and rested for some of that with my daughter in the room.   I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to shop!  I really liked seeing the Apple store's makeshift tribute to Steve Jobs.  There were post-its covering the windows with little tributes people had written. 

Apple store

Post-it tributes

"Well Done"

"You changed the world for the better.  Thank you."  Wouldn't we all want that said of us?

Niketown ROCKED!
We got more pasta to go (much easier than waiting forever for a table and a better decision with small children!). 
I got bow tie pasta with broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes.  Yum!
Then it was time to get everything ready for tomorrow.  I had a bag of gear packed, my clothes, and a reminder note to retrieve my drinks from the fridge (yes, we had a full-sized fridge in our suite!).

Ready to roll!


  1. Congrats on such a speedy marathon!! I just found your blog through Miles Post. I am somewhat new to blogging but I love finding other moms who run! ;-)

  2. I love this post! And I too love "window shopping" at expos. I rarely buy anything, but it is so fun! I love the pictures of Chicago. Jason and I went to Navy Pier as well, so I know exactly where you were! Can't wait for the next post!