Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chicago RnR Pre-Race and Expo

B and I decided to play it smart as far as timing our drive so we wouldn't  have to do the 8.5 hour trip all in one chunk.
I have family in Indianapolis (4.5-5 hour drive from Nashville), so we decided to leave work early on Friday and stay with my aunt & uncle so we could arrive in Chicago on Saturday with room to spare before the expo closes at 5.
Friday night I decided to meet up with an old friend / co-worker / roommate, Heather, who I haven't seen in 3 years. I LOVE how traveling for runs has allowed me to reconnect with people from my past, who otherwise, I would have never had the opportunity to see / talk to.

B and I met Heather and her hubby up at an Irish pub for drinks, light dinner, and a LOT of catching up on the past few years.
Me, Heather, her husband Matt. 

After a few hours we parted ways and headed to the fam's house for some quality shut eye.

Showered, breakfast ate, packed and on the road by 8:30am CST to make the rest of the 3 hour trip to Chicago!

Pros and Cons of the Expo:

We'll start with Cons so we can end on a positive note:


  • the website didn't give detailed instructions on where to park, so we circled the building, McCormick place, about 3 times before we settled on an overpriced $19 parking garage. For those who may be doing this race, or another Chicago one in the future, park on the street and walk- no one should ever have to pay that much for 1 hour parking! 
  • McCormick place was HUGE, so it was quite a bit of walking before getting to the expo itself, but we finally did see the signs.

Theme of the race. 

  • Only one 'non slip' head band company- normally there are 2 or 3 to give you options. I was looking forward to buying a few, but alas, they were overpriced and decided to just forgo this round. 
  • Pretty standard same companies that are there, nothing too exciting- guess thats a sign you've been to a lot of expos. 

  • Quick packet pick up immediately upon entering the expo. I guess they could tell it wasn't my first rodeo because my guy didn't go through all the shoe tag info and emergency contact bib like normal (yay)
  • Once you got your race shirt, they allowed you to go to another table to exchange it if it was the wrong size... I forgot it was unisex, so mine was way too big and I was able to swap out!
  • not that many strollers! I normally stress out with large crowds little fun fact about me: my biggest pet peeve is slow walkers, however this expo it was well managed. 
  • I didn't let my spending go crazy-  I bought one bottle cap  running magnet, $3.50, from Lift your sole because I adore them and they are handy at work. I really need to learn how to make these so I can go crazy and decorate my whole desk area with them!
  • They had something new that I haven't seen at other RnR expos- the ability to take your photo with props and a green screen. Once they take the photo, you enter in your email address and they are supposed to email it to you. Although I got the email, it was just a link to their facebook page, and unfortunately B and I's combo pic isn't up yet.... instead you get a pic of 2 random girls with similar poses that B and I did - just visualize different faces...

  • Lastly, the amount of free swag was RIDICULOUSLY awesome: you can click on photo for larger view. 

Overall the expo was okay. Its rare I see something new, which isn't the expos fault. B and I had no agenda so we just browsed and stopped by every booth. Afterward we took the scenic route down Michigan Ave to our hotel- an extremely old Red Roof Inn. 

At check in the lady at the front desk asked if we had a preference on being on a lower level or higher level floor ****note for future- always saw LOWER and NOT near an elevator***** We were on the 15th floor and had to use the stairs up the 15 flights after our half mary when the elevators weren't working. As an added bonus our door was right next to the elevators and we could hear people all night long- yaaaaaaay. 

Our first night in Chicago we had our pre race dinner at an Irish Pub, Timothy O'Tooles- forgot how big Chicago portions were and over ordered- thus resulting in not being able to finish my food.
decided to share 'irish nachos' aka fries, melted cheese, bacon, scallions. We didn't realize how huge it was and barely put a dent in it. 

Grilled bbq chicken wrap w/ steamed broccoli- it was delicious 

Walked off my fullness by doing some shopping! Checked out Nike Town

It was absolutely HUGE inside- 3 stories

However it was ridiculously overpriced, so it was more browsing than anything. Afterward we went to TJ Maxx Home Goods and Marshalls- got a nifty glass turquoise lantern @ Marshalls on clearance for $3. NO IDEA what I'm going to do with it, but it was cute and cheap so it was a must. 

Afterward we decided to call it a night and were in bed by 7:30- it just so happened that Life as we Know it came on, and I watched the whole thing. Attempted to sleep by 10 but due to being next to elevator there was so much racket in the hall. I finally turned on our air conditioner, and although I was freezing, it buffered hall noise and I was able to get some shut eye around midnight or so!


  1. Luckily things being overpriced is ALL that saves me from spending too much at expos. Niketown is RIDICULOUSLY expensive.

  2. I LOVE swag!!!! Oh and let me say I also love your new header! I envy your iron stomach to be able to eat that before a race!!!

  3. Fun! I love expos, and the RnR in Seattle was my favorite so far, so I know I would have liked Chicago's!

    Also - slow walking drives me NUTS!! I don't know what is worse - being stuck behind the slow walker, or having one in your group that you constantly have to stop and wait for.