Marathon weekend thought-dump edition!
1. I was kind of underwhelmed by the expo this year. Then again, this was the fourth year in a row I’ve gone to the expo (WHOA. Time flies!), so maybe that contributed to my sense of being underwhelmed, since it’s the same thing every year.
2. I was SEVERELY underwhelmed by the race shirt.
COME ON, Bank of America. I KNOW you can do better than that. I’ve seen you do better than that on many occasions. It was one thing to give us terrible shirts for the Shamrock Shuffle, because that’s an 8K, but this is a MARATHON. People don’t give up their entire summers to train for an 8K, but they sure as hell do to train for a marathon. The LEAST you could do for a $185 race is muster up something resembling creativity, or, at the very very least, thought, when it comes to your shirt design. I’m not ignorant — I’m sure you do this because you’re a slave to Nike, who inevitably has you make terrible shirts in order to sell more of their sinfully overpriced, made-in-China-by-underpaid-overworked-children gear, BUT STILL. Nike’s clothes were pretty lackluster in 2013 and I bought them anyway. I can’t imagine that there’s such a direct correlation between event shirt awesomeness and Nike’s profit that it’s worth insulting 45,000 people with this poor excuse for design. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
3. That being said, I spent nearly $100 on Nike gear because it was so darn cute this year. Or rather, so darn Chicago-y.
I mean really. How AWESOME is that shirt? And the underside of the bill of this hat:
Dead. I love it. Thank goodness for birthday money.
4. The hands-down biggest disappointment of the participant bag this year, however, was not the shirt, but rather that instead of a coupon for free gelato, Mariano’s gave us a coupon for a free reusable grocery bag. WHAT?! This is a tragedy of epic proportions. I already HAVE reusable grocery bags! I have more reusable grocery bags than I can use! I do not, however, have gelato, and now I’m not going to get any gelato :( Everything is bad.
5. Or maybe the fact that for the first time since at least 2011, when I attended my first Chicago Marathon expo, Nike didn’t do a display with all the participants’ names.
SUPER SAD FACE :'( I kid you not: when I saw the display with everyone’s names in 2011, my first thought was, “Wow, it’d be so cool to see my name on there.” Then they effed everything up in 2013 by printing the 2012 roster on the 2013 #ownchicago, so I didn’t see my name last year, and this year they didn’t do it at all. NIKE, YOU SLAY ME.
6. While I do absolutely loathe how the marathon has to kiss the behinds of all of its stupid, stupid sponsors (who, yes, finance a substantial portion of the race, help make the race the event it is, tra la la), I hate it much less when I get perks out of it. Like, say, a free trip to the Art Institute.
Heyo! ALL marathon runners (plus a guest) could go to the Art Institute from last Thursday through this past Monday, and you better believe I took advantage of that. I’m a marketer’s dream and will swiftly fall for any good ad campaign, so I’ve wanted to see the Magritte exhibit at the Art Institute pretty much since they started advertising it, despite the fact the I know nothing about Magritte (including how to pronounce his name, never mind anything about his art). I didn’t have a whole lot of time at the Art Institute, so I spent all of it at the Magritte exhibit, and I found it to be quite impactful. It’s been 12 years since I last took any visual art class in any capacity, so I know absolutely nothing about surrealism (or, you know, art in general), but a fair number of Magritte’s paintings challenged conventional word/object associations (an image of a leaf labeled “the table” for example), and this was something we talked about in one of my literature classes in college–how the word itself is not the object, but rather just an combination of sounds we have come to associate with an object–so I really appreciated that (and the exhibit just overall).
7. I carb loaded way differently this time around than usual, and I think it went quite well.
Instead of my usual pasta 4 dayz method of carb loading, I put a big emphasis on adding a lot of fruit to my diet (per the suggestion of Deena Kastor, who probably knows a thing or two about fueling, at Breaking Through the Wall a couple weeks ago), having fresh fruit with every meal until Saturday, when I switched over to applesauce, snacking on dried fruit on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and eating a fair amount of rice on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday as well. I had pasta Thursday night, an enormous potato Friday at lunch, pasta Friday night, white bread Saturday for lunch, and my usual pre-run pasta with a small handful of frozen peas Saturday night. I think it worked! At the very least, I didn’t have any digestive issues during the marathon, and my stomach didn’t hurt by the end of the week like it has in the past with my pasta-heavy carb loading method, so I think I’ll keep this sort of routine up in the future.
8. I chafed during the marathon! I’ve never chafed before on a run, so this is a new and miserable experience. Note to self: apply more Body Glide under your arms in the future.
9. I did not, however, get horrifying blisters during the marathon like I did last year, which is a major win as far as I’m concerned, because those suckers HURT.
10. Speaking of disgusting body things, let’s talk about my toenails! Or, rather, one of my toenails. Several weeks ago, my nail polish began chipping off my toenails, and I noticed that the nail on my second toe on my left foot didn’t seem to be its usual color. I figured this meant it had turned black and I was going to lose it, thus earning my street cred as a runner (I was actually much more distressed about the prospect of losing a toenail than I’m letting on, but we’ll pretend like this didn’t bother me.). But as time went on, my toenail didn’t go anywhere. When I clipped it the other day, the part I clipped off was white, not black, and I’m starting to think that instead of a black toenail, I may just have a blood blister under my toenail? This discoloration seems to be on my skin rather than on my toenail. The weird thing about this whole situation is that it doesn’t hurt at all (not that I’m complaining!). I’ve done extensive Googling and seen things I can’t unsee, but every website (and my CARA friends who have lost toenails) seems to suggest that if I had a blood blister or a dead toenail, that it would hurt…but it doesn’t. I don’t know what it meeeeaaaaaaannnnnnssssssss. I mean, I’m not worried about it (shocking, I know), it’s just weird, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about it. Therefore, I’m doing nothing about it.
11. According to my Polar Loop, I took 60,447 steps on marathon day. It also says I walked 32.12 miles that day, which, I suppose, given that I usually log somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-5 miles just going about my day-to-day life, might actually be true. Does this mean I can call myself an ultramarathoner? (No. No it does not.)
12. Because I didn’t feel sick after the marathon this year like I did last year, my family and I got food after the race. We went to…Potbelly.
Admittedly not as exciting as it could have been, I suppose. BUT I was going out with my CARA group a couple of hours after the marathon as well, so I didn’t want to have *too* much to eat. Plus Potbelly is delicious and provided me with an excellent way to put some salt back into my system via a turkey bacon cheddar flatbread sandwich (OMGSOGOOD). So did the bacon + peanut butter burger I had at the Bad Apple with my CARA group later (I promise it’s not as weird as it sounds). And the bacon grilled cheese I had when my boss took my coworkers and I out for lunch on Monday. And the leftover burger I finished Monday night. So. Much. Bacon. I don’t even really like bacon…
13. Speaking of food, I kicked Graham Elliot’s (of Masterchef fame) butt at the marathon. When I discovered this, I tweeted about it, because you know how I do. (Mind you, I didn’t tweet at Graham Elliot, because I thought that would be rude…r than just pointing out the fact that I beat him in the first place).
WELL. Imagine my surprise/utter elation when:
My work here is done. *mic drop*
14. I really want to thank every single person who’s supported me throughout this marathon cycle, whether it was through donating to my OAR fundraising, reading, commenting, and/or providing insight on my training posts, or just generally putting up with me. I know I’ve been a bit of an insufferable head case for the past four and a half months, and I very much appreciate those of you who stuck with me through it. I truly believe it takes a village to raise a marathoner, so thank you for being part of my village :)
15. 10/11/15. Let’s do this again, hm?