Thursday, May 4, 2017

illinois marathon expo + pasta feed

Disclaimer: I received an entry for Illinois Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

2 tanks, 1 long sleeve, 1 t-shirt, 2 BUFF®, 2 Sparkle Athletic Skirts,
1 rain coat, 2 Oiselle Shorts, 2 Moving Comfort Sports Bras, 2 Feetures Socks,
3 color options for KT Tape, 2 Oiselle Rundies, 1 Zensah Sleeves, 1 Headsweats visor,
2 BibRave hats, 1 Orange Mud Endurance Pack, 3 packs of Clif Shot Bloks,
2 Sparkly Soul headbands, 1 Road ID.... is that everything?! Plus 2 pairs of
shoes - it all fit in my Orange Mud bag!

Friday, April 21 was upon us before my eyes. My spring marathon weekend, in which I had been training extremely hard, was here. To say I was nervous, anxious, and excited... that's an understatement. Luckily, it seemed like there wasn't a lot of time for nerves, so that was good.

Friday morning around 9:45 my mom came over to my house, we packed up the car (amazing how much stuff you can have for just a one night stay... I had my Orange Mud Gym Bag (which holds a TON of stuff) filled with all of my running gear, another bag filled with toiletries, PJs, clothing to change into post-race Saturday, a re-usable grocery bag filled with snacks, morning fuel, and bottled water, and a cooler with chocolate milk and almond milk for my protein shakes), and headed to our first stop: Naperville Women's Half Marathon packet pickup (for our race Sunday). That was quick and easy, my mom grabbed some Body Glide and I bought some Run Gum, we stopped next door for some Subway for lunch, and then the road trip officially began.

Not much happened on the drive there, we chatted and made one stop at a rest area about half an hour outside of Champaign. I had been drinking all the water and am surprised I only had to stop once.

Event Guides at the hotel. Nice touch.

We were staying at the Comfort Suites Urbana Champaign and arrived there around 2. Luckily, we were able to check-in early and get our room. In the lobby they had the Illinois Marathon event guide, so I grabbed one to do some research while we waited to go to the expo. We did some unpacking, I got my race gear ready for that night's 5k, ate a Superhero Muffin, and around 3:30 we headed to the expo.

Less than 24 hours until the Illinois Marathon start!
Time for all of that hard work training to pay off.

Traffic was a little heavy closer to the expo, mainly due to pedestrian traffic, but we were able to park easy enough and walked over to ARC where everything was at. We headed to the first gym area to grab our bibs. This was very easy – they just scanned my QR code that I had received via email earlier that week. They had signs for all of the different races and challenges, so easy to know where you needed to go to get your bibs.

Bib pickup area. Notice all the signage.

Next we headed to the other gym to grab our shirts. Again, this was set up very well. I headed to the sign that said Full I-Challenge and was able to get both drawstring backpacks (5k and the nicer one for the marathon that had a front zipper) along with my shirts. I didn't love that the 5k was unisex – they always fit funny, but really liked the colors. I wish I could do the half too because it was a bright yellow shirt. 5k was dark blue and the marathon was a lighter blue. Nice designs and both tech materials, which is what I prefer.

We then walked around the expo, I grabbed a few items at the official merchandise area (a Brooks quarter zip up, water bottle, and a beer stein). Then we met up with BRF and fellow BibRave Pro Angie, took some photos, wandered the expo, and went to grab our pasta party tickets (we received these complimentary from the RD). My first name was listed as my last name on the sheet, but the volunteers found me quickly enough. My mom and I also purchased a day pass from the front desk for the next day (so we could shower before going home). They were $5 a piece. Definitely worth it for me.

Best buds! I'd say we are the coolest runners ever ;)

It had been 2 months since we last saw each other... had to take a ton of photos!

The pasta feed had plenty of food — House Salad, Bread (two kinds - tasty), Choice of Meat Lasagna or Penne Marinara (could request gluten free beforehand), Iced Tea, Lemonade, White Chocolate Bread Pudding and Chocolate Chip Banana Bread — and we ate around 5. The cost was $16 for adults, $7 for kids. My only issue with this was trying to time out the expo, eating, going back to the hotel, and getting ready for the 5k. 

Plenty of seating.

Since we didn't finish up with the 5k and didn't get back to the hotel until 9 or so, I was glad that we had gotten dinner out of the way early. I think for next year, I would get to the expo a bit earlier and probably eat sooner so there wasn't so much rushing (but also... I already booked the hotel that's a block or two from the expo/starting area, so this won't be an issue next year haha).

Plate 1. I went back for more bread and dessert (the chocolate chip banana bread)

During the pasta feed, we also met up briefly with BibRave Pro Andrey. After a quick chat and photo, my mom and I had to say goodbye so we could get back to the hotel to change and come back for the 5k.

BibRave Pro: Me, Angie, Andrey.

Next up will be my review of the 5k. I figured since I am a bit long winded sometimes (or you know, just type a lot and ramble on), it would be best to break everything up a little bit so you wouldn't be stuck reading for 20 minutes. You're welcome.

Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I love seeing all the BibRave orange. Good stuff! I'm looking forward to reading about the races too!


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