Oatmeal Runner goes to the Twin Cities Marathon Expo

Yesterday, I took a little trip to the Twin Cities Marathon expo which was my third year heading there! The first year Mike and I did the TC 5K, we did day of packet pickup and didn’t bother with the expo. But since then, I’ve taken off the Friday of marathon weekend to go to the expo and pick up our packets. It’s the only expo I’ve ever been to but I just love it.

My favorite thing about the expo is how accessible it is by public transportation. I hate driving in downtown St. Paul (which I had to do when Mike and I started dating) and it’s easy (and cheap) to hop on the light rail than drive and find parking. I was able to get on right outside my gym and it was about a 30 minute ride to downtown and maybe a 10 minute walk to the RiverCenter. It was a gorgeous day to be outside.

I made it to the expo a couple minutes after it opened and made a beeline for the Twin Cities in Motion merchandise. They had done a Facebook Live video on Friday night with this year’s merchandise and I wanted to grab a couple of things. I was expecting it to be a lot more crowded than it was and I had an easy time finding what I wanted. I bought the Twin Cities Marathon hoodie (since the hoodies I have are all XL and huge on me, I bought a small one this time!), a marathon weekend coffee cup (which I’ll drink my race morning coffee out of) and a sticker for my car.

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Next, I wandered through the booth and made my way back to the packet pickup. I’m not a huge shopper so I didn’t look at the booths too much. There was just one I wanted to stop at on my way back out. Of course, packet pickup is all the way at the back of the expo. I was expecting to stand in line for a little bit since I’ve had to do that the last two years to pick up our packets. But luckily, since there’s so many running the marathon, they have those broken out by bib number and I waited maybe a minute to get mine. 

I also got free socks with my bib! Every year, you get a nice freebie when you run a Twin Cities in Motion race. We got socks the first year we ran the 5K, a buff the second year and winters hats last year (I actually got two, one with my 5K/10K packet and a second with my 10 mile packet). I’m excited to get a run in these socks post-marathon (because nothing new on race day) because they are Fitsok socks but thinner than the first pair we got. Plus, they are super cute!

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No race shirt since it’s a marathon finisher's shirt so I’ve got to make my way through 26.2 miles to get it. I’ve also got to keep my bib tag for the race on me since shirts are given out in the finisher’s only area and I won’t be able to re-enter after grabbing it from Mike. I’ll probably stick in my phone case, which will be in a plastic bag to protect it from any rain, so I have it on hand.

On my way out, I stopped at the Another Mother Runner booth because I love that podcast! I didn’t buy any of their swag (although I was tempted) but I did tell them how much I love the podcast and talked with Sarah, one of the hosts, about the marathon for a couple of minutes. It was so great to meet someone who’s literally been in my ears for a couple of years in the flesh. 

It was back on the light rail and home to rest up on Friday. I’ll be heading back to the expo tomorrow since there’s a first time marathoners panel and group photo but I’m not planning on walking around like I did today. I’ve got to rest up my legs for the marathon after I get my shakeout run in!