Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hanging with Dathan: Chicago Marathon Kickoff Event

When I got an email to see if I wanted to come to the Chicago Marathon kickoff event and meet Dathan Ritzenhein, it only took me a short amount of time to come to my answer. YESSSSSSS. In case you didn't already know, I'm a huge Dathan fan and was really excited at the chance to meet him!
Watching Dathan fly by as he grabs the 3rd fastest American marathon time
at the Chicago Marathon 2012.

I drove downtown on my day off work to meet up with Maggie at a super awesome $2 lot just about a mile away from the House of Blues, where the event was taking place. We made it just in time to see Shamrock Shuffle and Chicago Marathon race director Carey Pinkowski award Dathan with a ceremonial first registrant and first bib. (Dathan will be running both races in 2013.)

They briefly talked about his proposed strategy before we headed out for our our fun run. We ran into Lindsay as we were trying to get a closer photo and she joined us on our run too. We took it slow and easy as it was icy and windy out on the river path but we had a fun time while doing it! This was actually my first run in about 3 week so I was excited at the chance to run with some friends in the city that I love. I felt great and it was nice to feel the pavement under my feet and the wind in my hair (although, preferably not that much wind in the future). After just less than 3 miles, we were back at the HOB. We grabbed some water, Gatorade chew samples, and headed to the food line.

It was at that point that Lauren found us and introduced herself. She had sent us the invitations so it was nice to get the chance to meet her. When we had originally walked into the HOB, we were tagged as "media" and had to sign a release form. I felt really official and wished I had been wearing a shirt that said "I'm kind of a big deal," Ron Burgundy style. We were awarded a fancy drink token that I didn't end up using because I was driving, but it still felt cool either way.

After being hydrated and fueled, it was time for the main event, to meet Dathan! I could barely control my excitement as we waited in line to get his autograph. He seemed nice and down to earth in the little bit I got to talk to him. I was telling him how I watched him both of his Olympic trials in 2012 and during the Olympics as well. And that I cheered really loudly as he ran past during the 2012 marathon. He said that the cheering from folks really does help. I was a bit star struck so I probably came off like a major dork. That's okay though, I am a major dork so if the shoe fits...

After walking away with our autographs, I realized that we didn't get a picture! I thought I would give Dathan some time to recover from my nerdiness before going back for a photo. In the mean time, I tried to channel my inner Kelsey and took this photo. I'm holding the autographed photo of Dathan with him in the background. (I think he's mid-bite so it is super classy.)

After saying goodbye to Lindsay, Maggie and I continued our mission to get a photo with Dathan. He was ever-so-gracious as we came back, explaining that we didn't get a photo the first time around. I had asked someone standing by to take the photo. As we thanked him and walked away, I reviewed my photos only to see that they turned out suuuper dark.

Turns out the guy taking the photo was not an iPhone user and didn't realize that his finger was blocking the lens and absorbing all the flash. BUT, thanks to the magic of friends with Photoshop, Maggie was able to doctor up the photo, turning it into a true gem.

Thanks Dathan for coming to Chicago to hang out with all of us runnerds as we gawk over your speed and treat you like a celebrity! Thanks to Lauren to inviting me to such a wonderful event. And thanks to Maggie and Lindsay for staying back with me as I gingerly got back into the running ring. :)

Are you registering for the Chicago Marathon this year? I don't plan on it but I know I have another Chicago Marathon up my sleeve... some day...


  1. AHHHHHHH!!!! I love Dathan so much, how exciting to get to meet him!! Maggie has some sweet photoshop skills - i would be so sad if i waited to get a picture and then there was a flash malfunction...

  2. I'm so glad you guys got a picture with Dathan and that photoshop was able to salvage it! That first pick of him is great too, I can't believe it was taken out on the course!

  3. I was really sad when I first saw the photo. When I was able to make it slightly better in Instagram, I had hopes that Maggie could save the day with her photoshop skills!

  4. Haha, thanks! I was really excited to get that photo!

  5. Very cool that you got to meet Ritz!

  6. A. MAZING. Awesome opportunity girl!

  7. Yay! What fun that you got to meet another running celebrity! I love your dorkiness. I had a very dorky moment in the airport on Friday that I am still laughing at ;)

    And yay for the photoshop save! And running with friends ;)

  8. Thanks! I was pretty excited and very star-struck.

  9. I'm interested to hear this moment from the airport! Please email me about it. OR, will there be a blog post?

  10. Awesome opportunity!

  11. Oh gosh. I am not sure if I could tell it as good online! But on Friday night, we met my BIL at the airport and Steven went to the desk to ask if we could be seated together (we all had seats in different rows). The attendant told us yes, but asked if we could assist in the case of an emergency, because the only row that would fit us is the emergency row. Steven and Andrew said yes, and I was like "YES! I just learned CPR today!!!" The flight attendant was totally sarcastic, like "Great - we know who to ask if we have an issue then." It was so funny that she was sarcastic and that I blurted that out. The boys made fun of me for it on the rest of the trip! HA HA HA!

  12. What an awesome event!