The Day Before My First Marathon

Since we flew into Chicago midday on Friday, and the marathon was on Sunday, we had a full day in Chicago before the big race.  Even though I had 26.2 miles to run the next day, we kept quite busy the day before my first marathon, and I wound up walking over 5 miles that day.  I was on my feet way more than I wanted to be, but such is life with an active toddler.

First on my priority list for the day was checking out the finisher merchandise at Niketown.  After seeing on social media the day before that the finisher gear would be available at the Nike store starting Saturday morning, I made it a point to get there as early as I could.  I thought that getting there shortly after opening (8 a.m.) would result in an empty store, but to my surprise there was a shake out run that started at 9 a.m.

Even though I was initially disappointed about the crowd that I found at the store, I was excited to find out that Paula Radcliffe was there for the shakeout run.  Nike coaches did a short interview with her to kick off the run.  It was incredibly motivational to get some last minute marathon advice from a world record holder.

Nike coaches interviewing Paul Padcliffe

Once the shake out run started the store emptied out and it was much easier to browse the finisher merchandise and take advantage of the photo ops available there.  There were three finisher items: a jacket, half zip, and t-shirt.  My favorite of the three was the half zip, though I wish that it had been available in a color other than black.  After purchasing my finisher item, and taking lots of pictures, I headed back to our hotel, which was conveniently right around the corner from Niketown.

Although we had initially planned to take little man to the Chicago Children’s Museum Saturday morning, my mom, sister, and I decided that since the weather was as beautiful as it was (it was sunny and in the 70s) to instead take him to the children’s play garden at Maggie Daley Park.  He had an absolute blast!  During our walk between the L stop at the park we passed by the start line of the race.  Seeing the start line made me that much more excited for the next day.

The race crew assembling the start line less than 24 hours in advance of the start of the race

After leaving the park we met up with my husband and dad, who had stayed behind at the hotel to get some work done, for pizza at Gino’s East, one of the famous Chicago deep dish pizza restaurants.  The pizza did not disappoint, and it was a delicious way to fuel up for the marathon the next day.


After lunch we all headed back to the hotel since it was little man’s nap time.  I also wound up taking a nap, an over two hour nap to be exact.  I cannot remember the last time that I napped for that long, but it was a great way to relax and rest up for the next day.

Since I wanted a lot of protein the night before the race, and one of the things that Chicago is known for is its steakhouses, we decided to head to a steakhouse for dinner.  Little man wasn’t feeling well that evening (it turns out he was in pain from the beginning of yet another double ear infection), so my sister and I took turns entertaining him out in the lobby.

Reading with my little man in the restaurant lobby

After dinner, we walked back to our hotel, and after putting little man to bed I prepared my gear bag for the next morning.  After taking my flat Kathryn picture, I headed to bed, excited and anxious about the next morning.

Flat Kathryn ready to run the streets of Chicago!

QOTD: What do you prefer to eat the day before a goal race?

This entry was posted in Races and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to The Day Before My First Marathon

  1. kookyrunner says:

    You definitely had a very exciting day before the marathon! That’s great that you were so close to Niketown. I didn’t feel like dealing with the crowds so I ordered the finisher jacket online – I really like it!

  2. Wendy says:

    Pizza is my go-to the night before a race! Altho I do thin crust rather than deep dish on those nights. I’m glad you got to enjoy Gino’s East. It’s one of my faves.

  3. Chaitali says:

    Sounds like it was a good day before the race. That’s so cool that you got to hear Paula Radcliffe speak!

  4. SuzLyfe says:

    So glad that you really sought out adventures and soaked up the premarathon atmosphere! Chicago is magical during marathon weekend!

  5. Lesley says:

    My go-to meal before a race is anything easy, and something I know will sit well. That usually means pasta, or pizza, maybe chicken. Nothing adventurous.

  6. AJ says:

    Sounds awesome! I stick with food I’m familiar with as my stomach can be very picky:( Your pizza and steak sound much better!

  7. Looks like you had a great time seeing some of the city! That pizza looks incredible!

  8. Those jackets are awesome! It’s so hard when they are sick and you know – always happens when you don’t expect it. That pizza looks so good!

  9. Cannot run in Chicago without having the deep dish pizza first right?! That jacket is very nice too

  10. agsignor says:

    Fun! Gino’s is good pizza, but next time go for Lou Malnatti’s 😉 Hands down the best pizza in Chicago.

  11. It is always hard to take it easy in a city where you just want to explore and have to be on your feet for awhile. I remember it being very busy at the Nike store when I was there last year. Luckily they had everything I wanted in my size. That pizza looks delicious. Perfect way to carb load before the marathon. That is the one thing I did not even get while I was there. I never got my fill of deep dish Chicago style pizza. Maybe next time!

  12. Rachel says:

    I shovel pasta and more pasta in before a big race. And bagels. Mmm…

  13. I love how you are breaking down your experience into several posts! Always a morning shakeout run for me the day before the race, then some expo shopping and a carb load at one of my favorite Italian restaurants. For Chicago this year we went to Il Porcellino, which was amazing! I am running the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday and we are heading to RPM Italian on Saturday night!

  14. Toni says:

    Sounds like a great day!!! I like to relax as much as I can before a race, but it all depends on the goals!

  15. Karen :0) says:

    Sounds like a great day! So sorry about the lack of finishers merchandise but I do love a good half zip! 🙂 Sorry your little man wasn’t feeling well! Poor thing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s