Monday, September 26, 2011

The Marathon: Pre-Race Activities

What an amazing weekend at the Quad Cities Marathon!  On Friday night, I packed and had a relaxing evening with the family... in bed by 9pm.  I've always heard that good rest is important the whole week before a race, not just the night before.  For me, I try to make the week before a big race as relaxing and stress-free as possible.

Race poster
Saturday morning, we hit the road about 8:30am,  With only one turnaround trip (we forgot the girls' swimsuits!), we made it to the Quad Cities shortly after 10:00 am.  We went straight to the Race Expo. I've learned in the past that the best stuff is available early... by late in the day, they've sold out and the freebies are gone.  I got stopped first by the Quad Cities Marathon (QCM) official merchandise.  With this being my first marathon, I wanted to get a nice jacket of some sort.  I was a little nervous to buy, thinking it would jinx me... What if I don't finish or get injured?  But I knew they'd be gone (they were by the afternoon!)  So the Asics long-sleeve black pullover with the QCM logo on the back was mine!  Perfect fit, plus I got a free license plate frame with the purchase.

Next we headed upstairs.  I was dying to find out my race number!!  I'm kinda stereotypical about my race numbers... I like them to be ODD numbers, so I literally jumped for joy when I saw #175 by my name.  Yes, people look at me weird...

Women's race shirt... Men's were burgundy with gray.
The goody bag was your typical race bag with lots of flyers... but the shirts were great! No uni-sex shirts here, we got a nice semi-fit women's tech shirt that was super soft material and a cool design in burgundy and pink.  We also received a neat QCM poster, which when framed has earned a spot on the wall next to my treadmill.

We wandered around the expo a bit.  It was pretty busy and the kids weren't having it, so I picked up a pair of compression leg sleeves and we were out the door.  Thankfully, we were able to check into the Radisson hotel early.  Just as we got everything up to the room, my parents arrived from Wisconsin.  Together we enjoyed a nice lunch at the River House (Yum!) and then headed back for the Kids Micro-Marathon.

We've taken the kids to quite a few "kids races" and let me tell you... this one was EXCELLENT!  We arrived a half hour before race time.  They had several bouncy houses going, a DJ, and a couple dancers who put on a rockin' show for the kids.  There were several mascots from area businesses who mingled, played, and danced with the kids.  They even put on their own mascot race.  My girls were in heaven.

As they prepared for the race, I really liked it how they explained race etiquette to the kids.  "If someone falls down in front of you, you don't run them over.  Instead, you stop and offer a hand to help them up."  They went on to talk about how it's not a race against other kids, but instead a run to see how good YOU can do.

So both my Big Girl and Little Girl lined up to do the 1/4 mile race.  Big Girl took off and I stayed back and ran along with Little Girl.   Grandma and Grandpa were waiting with cheering signs down the riverpath, while Daddy waited at the finish line.

Big Girl continued on to do the second race, the 1/2 mile.  By time she was done with that, she was pretty tuckered out... but both girls proud of their medals.

Hubby landed the job of handing out the race medals to the kids!
(Yes, he's wearing Happy Joe's dog ears... Isn't he fun?!)
Afterward, they had all kinds of snacks for the kids, including yummy pizza from Happy Joe's, who sponsored the Kids Micro-Marathon.  The bouncy houses stayed up until the last person left... and the DJ, dancers and mascots had a Dance Party in the lawn for the kids.  My girls didn't want to leave...

After an afternoon of fun like that, my girls were tuckered out.  While they took a short nap, my parents and I found coffee and discussed "the plan" for race day... our time schedule, reviewed the course map and ventured outside to watch the crew setting up the start/finish line.

The finish line is ready for me!

In the evening, my parents entertained the kids with swimming and card games while hubby and I headed back to the Race Expo for the Pasta Dinner & Speakers.  The pasta was okay, as expected in a large banquet setting.  I went with the Penne style that had a marinara sauce with mushrooms and tomatoes in it.  We also got flatbread, cookie and drinks.  I thought the table centerpieces were kinda cool...

The speakers was TOP-NOTCH!!  First, we were introduced to all the elites in the room.  Then two-time Olympian Arturio Barrios gave an entertaining recount of his first road race in America.  Barrios has set five world records, including the first to run a half marathon in less than an hour.  Yeah, he's pretty amazing stuff!  

Next up was none other than Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer of Runner's World.  His talk was not only entertaining, but down right inspirational!  He's a true legend in the running world, and I highly recommend hearing him speak if you ever get the opportunity.  I had a chance earlier that morning to talk with Bart at the expo, where he signed my copy of his book, My Life on the Run.

Anxious for race day to arrive, I went to bed before 9:00pm.  Between my anxious nerves and six people trying to snore sleep in one room, it was a rough night of sleep... 

Race Day recap to come soon!


  1. Loving this! Can't wait to read more.

    What a cool kids' race! It's so nice when they're made to feel part of it all...

  2. CONGRATS ON YOUR FINISH. You got some might good runners there. Love the pic's of the girls running.

  3. New follower here. Can't wait to read your recap, my first marathon is in 12 days. Gulp! Love your energy and enthusiasm and wayyy jealous of the Bart Yasso autograph. he rocks.

  4. Me = totally jealous of your signed copy of My Life on the Run. :)

  5. love this! the shirts look good...and a special note from Bart! woo hoo! can't wait to read more :)


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