... was so exhausting, I should have just run the marathon myself!
On Friday, the 9th, I left my house at 7am to work at McCormick Place for the Expo. I was selling iFitness Mini Sport Belts, which are great, Blackberry-sized pockets that you strap onto your hips. They are guaranteed not to bounce or shift while you're running, which I can attest to. I got my first one in August and have used it for every run since. I keep my keys, phone, and ipod in for a training run, and throw in a couple gel packs for longer runs and races. Anyway, I worked there from 8am to 8pm - standing the entire time. It wasn't as busy as we were expecting, but it was still a lot of talking, selling, conversing, and jumping up and down to show that it didn't bounce. I noticed WAY more foreigners on Friday than on Saturday, so it was fun to talk to people from other countries. I met people from Ireland, Australia, Mexico, Italy, Spain, and a couple American women who are stationed in Iraq right now and used their R&R time to come over and do this marathon. They did a half marathon in Iraq! I couldn't believe it. It was nice to show some appreciation for runners who are serving our country.
I went home and went straight to sleep to do it all again the next day. On my way out of the Expo Friday night, I heard someone say that only 35% of the registrants had picked up their packets, so we knew we were going to be busy on Saturday.
I got a good nights sleep and got back to McCormick at 8:30am. This day was slam packed with people, and we were busy all the way up to about 5pm. I had to take off at 5:45 to go to the Chicago Athlete Magazine Event Director and Running Industry mixer. I worked the check-in table, giving name tags to the coordinators of the Komen Foundation, The New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon, and tons of other huge events and brands. It was amazing! I felt so comfortable mingling with other regular people who also happen to be amazing athletes. I met a woman from Mexico who has run in 33 marathons. When I asked her favorite, she rattled off a list - Paris, San Fran, Austin, Chicago, NYC. I met a guy (Mark) who has run in three decades of Boston Marathons. Keep in mind, that's one of the ones you have to qualify for. I imagine they make some exceptions, but still, he must be an amazing runner. He was with a training company called "The Road to Boston" (http://roadtoboston.weebly.com/about.html), so I asked what his number one training tip is. Not surprisingly, he said SHOES! He also said that since I have such bad knees, I'll need to replace my shoes more often than most, which I didn't actually know.
I had a fabulous time at the Chicago Athlete party and I really, really hope I am invited to be a part of their team (hopes and prayers for me, please!).
On Sunday morning, I got up at 7am to go Wrigley and watch the winners fly by around 8:10. The first 10 guys were all 6'4" Africans with legs 3 miles long. They looked amazing, like creatures from another planet. I couldn't believe the way their legs moved.
I stayed to look for Kelli Palm in the 4 hour group, but when I didn't see her, I went home to meet up with Katy and Andrea. We got in the car and drove down to Pilsen to see Christa at mile 19 like we promised. I didn't see Kelli AGAIN, but we did see Christa in the 5:00 hour pace group. She knocked 40 minutes off her last marathon time. Yay!
All in all it was an amazing weekend that reinforced my subconscious ideas that this is the right industry for me. I thrive around healthy people! and I love the competition of it all. It was incredible, and I have a great feeling about my future :)