Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The 2012 Chicago Marathon Expo

I told you how my first marathon went last week, but the expo for the Chicago Marathon is too awesome to not blog about.  Last year when I volunteered at the race I decided to check out the expo and was totally amazed how big it was.  This year was no different, except Mom and Andy were able to see how cool it was as well.  Things are always better when there is someone there to share in the experience.  
Friday, after a tasty meal at my favorite breakfast place Over Easy Cafe, we made our way to McCormick Place where the expo was being held.  

The first thing I did was to pick up my race bib, tech shirt, and goodie bag.  

We made a plan to go up and down every aisle of the expo.  We probably spent three hours checking out all the awesome booths and mini stores set up.  There were samples of Clif shots and bars, Nuun drinks, Larabars, chocolate bars which we all sampled.  I knew it was going to be chilly on race day and was looking for a long sleeve half zip so we explored every clothing booth.  As I've mentioned before I'm not great at making decisions and I'm pretty picky about clothes, but I finally found something at the New Balance exhibit.  I know your not supposed to try new things before a race, but it had flat seams and fit well.  It ended up being perfect for the race and thankfully I didn't have any issues with it.  
I also ended up purchasing a super cute Chicago Marathon shirt from Saucony.  I debated one that was at Nike, but I am happy with my choice.  I love the graphic on the front and the map with all the neighborhoods on the back!  
Nike, one of the big sponsors of the race had a giant setup in the middle of the room.  There was a wall with every runners name on it.  I think it was in alphabetical order, but I could not find my name, and I looked for a while.  A few of the people next to me said they didn't see their name either.  Maybe I was looking in the wrong spot?  Nike also had a neat area where you could scan your bib number and your name would appear on a screen in one of three or four phrases. 
So cool, right?!
Brooks had a stand out exhibit for the expo.  It was a giant pasta bowl with a fork sticking out of the top.  

Inside the bowl you could have your picture taken of a meatball chasing after you and a gait analysis.  I decided to wait in line for the gait analysis and I'm glad I did.  I ran on treadmill barefoot while a small camera recorded my stride.  From there the guy who helped me used some cool technology on his iPad to analyze how I run and the recommend the best Brooks shoe for me.  I am an overpronater and he suggested the Ravennas or Ghost with inserts depending on which felt best.  After the analysis everyone got a small scratch off card to win one of three prizes: a CD of accordion music, a bag of running shoe shaped pasta, or a free pair of Brooks running shoes.  The guy asked me to choose a card from the large stack and after choosing it he looked through the cards again and said I probably wanted another one instead and handed me a different card.  I scratched off the first circle to see a small running shoe and the other two showed the same thing.  He mentioned that he just realized that under a certain light he could see what the prize was, so essentially he gave me a free pair of Brooks Running shoes!  How awesome is that?!?!?  I was incredibly grateful and thanked him profusely.  I didn't get the shoes that day, I have to mail in a card with my size and style first, but it was so neat to win!  I can't wait until they arrive in the mail!

Mom and Andy ended up purchasing quite a few things for themselves as well.  The expo had anything and everything a runner might want and some things you didn't even know you wanted.  Those vendors definitely made a lot of money over the two day expo!  

It was a long afternoon, but we all had a good time at the Chicago Marathon Expo!

Do you like to explore race expos?  What are some of your favorite things to see at a race expo?