I cannot wait until one day I am writing a marathon recap post for myself but until then this is my recap of the Chicago Marathon 2013 from a SPECTATOR’s point of view. Until then I am so excited to share with you about our weekend in Chicago!



Our trip began on Friday. We dropped our pup off to be watched by a friend and headed out a little earlier than expected.

I drove most of the way so that Wes could get some good studying in. The drive was really enjoyable. We broke out some old CD’s we made in college.

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It was fun to reminisce a little while driving. We also saw some beautiful scenery and a perfect sunset.

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We finally saw the Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge around 8:00-9:00 pm. I let Wes finish out the drive because driving in big cities makes me nervous. I figured it was an even trade off.

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We didn’t have hotel reservations for Friday night, so we took a chance and Wes found an app on his iPhone called “Hotels Tonight.” We had stopped at a Starbucks to rest and let me catch up on a few things, and he was able to get us a room for the night for about $60. I’d say that’s not bad for Chicago!



Saturday start off pretty early because my in-laws were flying into O’Hare Airport at 8:00 am. We got up around 6:00, tried out the free continental breakfast at the hotel and then made our way to the airport.

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Of course I had to start the morning off with some coffee!

As soon as we picked up Wes’ parents from the airport we headed straight to the expo.

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I pretty much sat back and played photographer and let the men enjoy the expo.

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The expo was HUGE, but thankfully we got there right when it opened so we didn’t have any problems.

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Wes picked up his packet first before we headed to look around.

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We shopped around, tried way too many samples, and stopped by just about every booth in the expo.

It was a lot of fun. We even got Wes to write on the “memory wall” they had for all the runners to write on.

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I am pretty sure his writing on the wall was, “Please don’t let me die.”  BUT at least he participated! 🙂

I did find one nice shirt from US Track and Field, but let Wes do most all the shopping.

After the expo we headed to the hotel (located right next door) and checked in. We all took naps because it had been a long trip before heading out to dinner.

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One of the few perks of not running this year was I got to enjoy a nice glass of wine with my dinner. 

I got a small pizza and Wes got his typical pasta with marinara sauce.  We think this may have been what messed his stomach up during the race because the pasta sauce was very spicy. We will never be sure, but it’s our best guess.

The rest of the night was pretty laid back and of course we were in bed by 9:00 pm to be up at 4:00 am the next morning.



Race day was finally here! This was the most nervous I have seen my husband before a race. I could tell all weekend he was putting a lot of pressure on himself.

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I sat back and snapped some pictures and let him get ready.

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We took the free shuttle from the hotel to the drop off point. We let him go first and then his mom and I followed about 15 minutes behind on the next shuttle.

My mother-in-law has spectated this in years past, and knew a great bridge right near the start we could walk to. It was a pretty long walk so I was somewhat nervous on how my leg would do.

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It was so peaceful in Chicago so early in the morning.

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I even got to catch the sun coming up from the bridge we were standing on. Unfortunatly, we didn’t think this through enough and should have known that they would close off the bridge to spectators with the higher security.

We ended up having to rethink our plan and found a spot between the 2 and 3 mile markers to try to find Wes.

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We didn’t have to wait long before we saw the elite men come through.

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I think they were going so fast I couldn’t even get a good picture of them!

I knew Wes would be about 3 or so minutes behind them. I kept waiting and waiting. As I was about to get worried, I spotted the back of his head in a pack of runners. He went by so fast I wasn’t able to get a picture or get his attention. I was a little bummed.

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We waited around a little while longer to see some of the other runners come through.

We had contemplated trying to go to the halfway point and seeing him which was the next road over. After we reviewed the map we realized if we did that we most likely would get stuck and wouldn’t be able to get back in time to see him at the finish.

We opted to just head to the finish which we knew was quite the walk.

My alert came through for Wes and it said he had come through the halfway point in 1:13:49. Yikes! His goal was to split the marathon in 1:15:00 so I knew he was going pretty fast!

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He said after the fact that he felt really good at 13 and was still with his pack of runners.  He didn’t really start having issues with his stomach until miles 15-16.

Just as we had before we got to Michigan Ave, the street right before the finish line, just before the elite men came through.

Fun and embarrassing story – I was trying to find a spot at the finish line.  My mother-in-law went further down the way and called me to tell me she found somewhere better and to come down. Just as I was turning to head down there I ran smack into a police officer, tripped over his dog, and landed on the ground. YES that happened. Don’t worry, the dog was perfectly fine – me on the other hand well that’s another story.

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The male winner came flying through about 10 minutes after we got there. He ended up finishing in 2:03:45. That is crazy! It was a new course record.

We watched the next few come through and then saw Dathan Ritzenhein come by as the first American male!

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I was standing a ways a way, sorry the picture is so hard to see! Wes follows him a lot so I wanted to try and get a picture.

Finally as I was standing there I saw Wes coming from a distance.  One of the great things about Wes being as speedy as he is, is that he is easy to pick out because there aren’t a lot of people around him.

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I screamed his name as loud as I could and thankfully he did see me. I could tell though he was really having a hard time. I knew he had given it 110% the entire time based on his paces.

He ended up finishing in 2:32:59 (which is 45 seconds off his pervious PR)! I knew that his first goal was to break 2:30 and his second to PR.

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I am so proud. He had some terrible stomach issues and is STILL dealing with them today but still managed to PR by 45 seconds. I see how hard he works day in and day out, and I was so happy to see him achieve one of his goals!

It took us a bit to get to the finishers area to find Wes. They had definitely increased security, but it wasn’t crazy out of control and we were able to find him pretty easily.

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This was the only picture he would allow me to take after. He wasn’t feeling very good.

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He ended up laying down and resting for about 30 minutes before we headed back to the hotel.

This is where I stopped taking pictures for the day. Wes still didn’t feel well most of the night, but we did end up going out and enjoying some of Chicago.



We headed back to PA on Monday morning after dropping his parents back off at the airport.

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I took one last picture of Chicago on our way out. Goodbye Chicago! I hope to see you next year as a runner!

I drove most of the way home as well and let Wes study.

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He was pretty worn out from dealing with his stomach and from being up so early.

We did stop in Cleveland for dinner a quick candy stop (he wasn’t able to enjoy his celebratory candy the night before).

Now the process begins of doing his best to recover before he runs the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. on October 27th.  He is used to running these two in the same month, but usually he has 3 weeks in between. This time it is only 2 weeks so he really has to focus on his recovery.

If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me! Hope the post wasn’t too long winded.  It was an amazing weekend and I enjoyed so much watching my husband succeed! I won’t say it wasn’t hard for me at times because I so badly wanted to be running, but it sure made me more determined to come back a stronger and better runner! 

What is your favorite marathon?

Do you enjoy running or spectating races more?

Anyone have any races coming up?

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