LA Marathon Expo (or, the one where I kicked it with Ryan Hall).

12 Mar

I had such a great time at the LA Marathon Expo, I went to it twice…so obviously my experience merited its own blog post!

I went to the expo on Saturday, the day before the marathon, and met my friend Katherine there.  It was nice to catch up in real life for a little bit and talk all things marathon.  We perused the Asics store and bought shirts (everything LA Marathon-branded was 50% off!), picked up our bibs, and perused the expo itself.

We took standard pre-race pics…


…and found our names on the giant wall



holy massive shoulders…

We bopped around a little to the booths, got some snacks, but made relatively quick work of the expo.  We wished each other good luck in the race the next day.  It’s weird, but for some reason race expos calm my nerves a little bit.  I think it’s something about the energy of other people who “get it” is oddly comforting. This is the most nervous I had been for any race, ever and I’m not sure why.  I really enjoyed being at the expo, though.

Before I met up with Katherine, I participated in the Asics Treadmill Challenge.  This was a treadmill set to LA Marathon course record pace (4:45 minute miles, or 12.4 mph).  The challenge is to run on the treadmill for as long as possible, while strapped to a harness in case you fall off.  While this is a cool idea regardless, it made even cooler for me because for every minute people spent on the treadmill, Asics was donating $5 to Back on My Feet!  So cool.


My goal was to spend one minute on the treadmill.  I ended up lasting 2:31, which happened to be the longest any woman lasted on it the whole day!


That was a huge surprise, and I also won a pair of Asics as a result!  I was shocked — I am NOT fast and just figured all of the actual fast people were too busy being smart pre-race and not sprinting for kicks.

And I also realized this equates to a PR in the 800 m distance (my fastest time in HS track was 2:32).  Weird.

I left the expo for awhile to grab food (pizza was necessary) and then came back to meet up with my best friend Whitney, who happens to do PR for Asics.  She was meeting with a reporter for KNX and scurrying around the expo with the members of the LA Marathon Blogger Challenge.  It was so cool seeing her in her element.  I chatted with her a little and then watched as the Asics athletes talked to the Legacy Runners – the individuals who have run the LA Marathon all 29 years of its existence.  Pretty cool stuff.  I spotted Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor, two legends in distance running, and Whitney helped me snag a picture with Ryan.

I figured this was a good omen for the race…



I decided to leave the expo shortly after and get off my feet.  I laid out Flat Gillian and met my parents for dinner at a local italian place that had abysmal service and almost caused me to implode due to nervousness and anxiety, but eventually the hangriness subsided and I calmed down.


I loved the expo even though it wasn’t really anything THAT unusual.  I think I love Expos because they are the Christmas Eve to the race day’s Christmas morning — the excitement is in the anticipation.

What are your pre-race rituals?

2 Responses to “LA Marathon Expo (or, the one where I kicked it with Ryan Hall).”

  1. Pavement Runner (@PavementRunner) March 13, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    I didn’t know you were running it! I would have totally tried to meet up with you. Did Ryan mention me? Cuz we are like besties now. 🙂

    Kudos for jumping on the treadmill, I so wanted to give it a try.

    • gillian March 13, 2014 at 11:17 am #

      I meant to reach out and try and meet up but I was a bundle of nerves for this race for some reason. Maybe one day we can both go sub 3:30 together!

      The treadmill as awesome but I realized all of the really fast people know better than to do something like that the day before a marathon!

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