Countdown to Chicago Marathon: Chicago Marathon Weekend

This whole weekend for the marathon was exciting, but completely exhausting…and I didn’t run the race. Go figure!

Saturday was the day that I partook in the Expo experience. It is the best part of the weekend. I literately call it a “Runner’s Christmas”. There’s opportunity to try new foods, gels, and drinks. The best part is that I did not have to worry about my stomach being a mess the next day because I was not running the Chicago Marathon.

I was able to try on a new pair of Saucony shoes that I knew was coming out in November. I also was able to check out the new products available out on the market that I wasn’t ready to purchase yet. I also took the time to thank manufacturers of products that I currently use regularly and tell them how much I love their products. (Note to CWX and CEP products – Hint! Hint!)

I also was able to run into a few of my favorite elite runners like Deena Kastor and Desiree Davila. I also saw Jonny Imerman from Imerman’s Angels who has an awesome cancer support system that helped my husband during his diagnosis.

I came home last night with a lot of good stuff and information. I found some new races that I want to do in 2013. I also found some that I may hold for “dream races” in the future years.

This morning, my event day started at 6 am when I woke up and got dressed to head back to the Hilton Chicago to watch the Chicago Marathon in the Press Room. I am thankful for the cup of coffee that I got from Caribou Coffee because I really needed it.  It was really cold this morning at 40 degrees in Oak Park.

Once I got to the Press Room, I found a space at a table where to turned to my personal desk before grabbing some food. The marathon crew provided some breakfast food for the press crew,which I greatly appreciated since I only ate a coconut milk yogurt and a slice of gluten-free bread before I left the house.

I arrived just in time for the 2nd wave start. It was nice to see all of the runners taking off and starting their race. There would a total of 38, 535 starting participants during the race. I also found that the television showed a great view of the race and was able to watch the elites at every mile of the race.

I found the race was very exciting to watch. Both the men and women lead packs had a strong race, but I found things got really exciting around mile 20 when they declared that there would a new course record set for the men elite competition.

It ended up being a historic day for both the men and women participants. On the men’s side, Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede set a new course record time of 2:04:38 broke the previous course record by nearly a minute. The Ethiopians finally best the Kenyans for the first time to make history in both the men’s and women elite pack. Kebede was ironically not selected for the Ethiopian Olympic team to go to London.  I think that the Ethiopians made a mistake by not selecting him to go to London.

The women’s finish was extremely exciting to watch with a very close finish up until the end with Ethiopian Atsede Baysa’s one-second margin of victory over Rita Jeptoo of Kenya in the closest women’s finish in race history with a finish time of 2:22:03.  This was the best race to watch ever. I sensed some tension between the women’s champions during the press conference. Baysa and Jeptoo could not even sit next to each other during the press conference.

The male wheelchair champion was John Cassidy from Toronto, CA with a finish time of 1:32:58. The female wheelchair champion was Tatyana McFadden from Champaign, IL with a finish time of 1:49:52. Both champions had a great race, even though they fought a lot of wind during the 2nd half of the marathon. Tatyana was racing for a fan, Addison, who has spina bifida and dedicated the race to her.

Overall, I thought today was a great race day for everyone. The cooler temps really helped a lot. It probably sucked as a spectator, but as a runner it was awesome! I am looking forward to another race to cover. I truly had a wonderful experience as a member of the press covering the Chicago Marathon.

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