Hey guys, welcome back! Thanks for sticking with me as I recap my 2018 Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon experience in a multi-part blog series. Today’s blog is about the expo, night before the race, and morning of!
After working at the information booth with my fellow race ambassadors, Christine and I took off to pick up Paula and grab lunch. We packed up the car and headed over to Ram’s Horn to continue the pre-race carb-loading! It was like a walk back in time going to Ram’s Horn for me… I hadn’t been there in years. I had a yummy chicken sub with fries and an orange pop. My lunch experience was night and day from my first marathon back in 2016. That year I could hardly even eat, my nerves were so high. I had no expectations for myself other than I hoped to finish, but at the same time I had no idea what to expect. This year was different – I had no problem eating, I wasn’t feeling nervous, I knew what the race was like, and I was ready.
We headed back to the expo to pick up Paula’s bib and swag after we finished lunch. Although Christine and I had perused the expo a little bit before leaving earlier, we saved the fun stuff for when Paula was there. We stopped at a few different booths – I got 5 more Hippie Runner headbands, even though I have a shelf full of them already at home, I found a 2016 marathon shirt in a smaller size that fits me so much better, and I got a New Balance long sleeve running shirt for 70% off! Paula had some taping done and picked up some tips about choosing shoes. We stopped at all of the photo ops and got some adorable pictures.
When we were finished with the expo and headed outside, we were greeted with some lovely weather. It had gone from sunny and a bit brisk, to downright dark, cold, rainy, and even a little snowy! And of course we hadn’t brought our umbrellas with us, and it did not feel like as short of a walk from the expo as it had felt going to it. We did have an awesome parking lot attendant who joked with us and made the whole ordeal lighthearted. I just was not so fond of the fact that I had to wipe a nice layer of slush off my windshield before we could head out.
We pulled up to the hotel and grabbed all of our bags out of the car so that valet could park it for us. We headed up to our room and promptly ordered some cheese pizza to be delivered. I started unpacking my bags and re-organizing everything, trying to make things as easy for myself as possible. We discussed race morning plans – what time we would get up, who needed to shower, what we were going to eat, when we were going to head out to the race. Paula and I put together our flat runners. We spent the entire night smiling and laughing with each other about so many things: Christine and I looked like twins when we took off our shirts and were both wearing white tank tops and dark wash jeans, Paula commented that all she had to do to get to the race was walk outside and apparently I thought that was super funny, I thought that the gummy sour bats we got in our swag bags smelled a little bit like feet, and when I randomly blurted out “I’m running a freakin’ marathon tomorrow,” without skipping a beat Paula followed it up with, “Yup, and you’re over there eating your foot bat.” I laughed so many times that night and so hard that I cried. I don’t know what I would do without those girls!
Of course I didn’t sleep well that night. I kept waking up wondering what time it was – the clock in our room was wrong, and my phone and watch were both charging. I finally got up to check the time and use the bathroom and it was 4:50am – our alarm was set for 4:55am. I got up and got ready. I drank my Propel and ate my breakfast of Frosted Flakes and hard boiled eggs. We got dressed in our running gear. Our friends met us and hung out with us in our room to stay warm. At about 6:20 we headed downstairs to check our bags and then walk to the race. Like Paula joked the night before, we were so close to the race start – only a street away. We made our last minute porta-potty stops, got everyone to their corrals, and hugged each other offering words of encouragement and “I love you’s”. Christine and I left Paula and jogged to my corral.
As always, it was crowded. Everyone was a mix of excitement and nerves. “Lose Yourself” was playing as they started announcing the race start. I snuck into my corral as soon as I could and Christine followed me as we inched our way forward. With each corral being sent off, my excitement was building. I wasn’t nervous. I did think about the fact that I was “alone” – I mean when you run with 20,000+ people you are never really alone, but this was the first marathon that I was running entirely without any training partners. This didn’t make me anxious, but in a way it made me excited. I was going to see what I was capable of on my own. I was going to run Megan’s race.
The suspense is building, right? Stay tuned… the actual RACE recap is coming up next!