Arriving in Chicago on Friday night I headed straight to the expo. I got a chance to glimpse Deena Kastor and Hal Higdon. I also ran into D, who I will be working the Detroit Marathon expo with. We’ll be at the Women’s Running Magazine booth so swing by.

Saturday was my fun time around the city day with the Cuz. It was phenomenal. I got back to the hotel at about 10:30 PM and hopped in bed. The Cuz and I tried not wake the Redhead but she was awake as most of us are the night before a marathon. We all settled back in to sleep. (I slept, the other two not so much. Must have been the champagne I had at dinner!)

Sunday morning, race day, we woke up to a very excited Redhead getting ready and getting her game face on. (How cute is she?)

After the Redhead headed out, Cuz and I ate some breakfast and loaded up our signs, cameras, Redhead’s post race bag, and we were on our way. I failed to mention in my last post that Gatorate also ran a great race and is now a BQ for 2011. CONGRATS GATORATE!!!! The Cuz showing our support!

As we headed toward the race start the city was teeming with spectators. The majority were holding signs or balloons. Balloons, by the way, are a great way to let your runner see you. Wish I would have thought of that!

The Cuz and I headed to the start and were amazed at the sheer volume of people milling about. I have run the Disney Marathon and it’s a pretty big race, but nothing compares to this. I was a tad worried for the runners I saw still not in their corrals. I am so OCD that I could not do that. But I guess since your race doesn’t really start until that chip hits the line…then again, it pays to be in the right pace group area.
The Redhead wanted some photos of the finish area before everyone got there so we obliged and took a few. It was well worth the walk to see it before the runners got there. Holy bananas!
We then made our way to about the three mile mark. I got some great photos here. We saw the wheelchair racers, the elites, and then our little Redhead. I was so proud of each and every single one of these runners. I am not gonna lie, I wanted to run. You can’t help it. That little red arrow is our Redhead.
A real viking – real naked that is. WTF? Hahahaha. A Blues Brother.

You go, Wonder Woman. Hey! It’s the King! Hey Elvis!
At this point we jumped in a cab and headed to the 10.25 mile marker. We missed all of our runners and decided it would be best to head on to Chinatown where I could jump in with the Redhead. Prior to the race the Redhead decided I should jump in with her to make sure she was going strong. Let me tell you what, I jumped in and you would have thought she was on mile three. It was amazing how pumped up and lively she was. I saw people around her in serious states of suffering and she was not even phased. I am so proud of her! I was really excited to run those four miles. I jumped out at about mile 25 and sprinted to the meet up area. While we jokingly say I was a “bandit” I was really there as a pacer (banditing is frowned upon). Again, she didn’t need it, but was excited to see me. There was a slight snafu at this point because I had no phone and couldn’t find the Cuz. Luckily a friendly Chicago police officer let me use his phone. Thanks 5-0!I know this has been a super long report but I really want to impress upon you all how great the Chicago Marathon is. From the expo to the race course to the spectators, it’s an awesome time.
I am gearing up for my Halloween Half Marathon now and am jazzed about racing again. Even though this is going to be a “fun” run, I am ready to add to my bling.