We got up early and headed to Virginia Beach on Saturday for the Shamrock Sports & Fitness Expo. Along the way, we stopped at a scenic overlook for this view:
After visiting with my parents in Williamsburg for a bit, we drove to the Virginia Beach Convention Center for packet pickup and Expo. I always love parking at the convention center because they have designated hybrid vehicle parking!
Packet pickup was easy enough – no lines or crowds. Our first stop was the Shamrock Store, which houses the official event merchandise. I bought a sticker and last year’s half marathon shirt because it was on clearance. I have the 2013 shirt from running it last year, but it was always too big to wear, so my husband found an extra-small buried in one of the clearance bins. I like having event tech shirts, and it was only $5. I also bought a 26.2 Shamrock Marathon sticker.
Then we headed into the main part of the Expo! There were a ton of excellent race vendors, from nutritionists, to race vendors, to running merchandise and a speaker series; Bart Yasso, CRO of Runner’s World spoke while we were there. There are lots of freebies and coupons to be had and lots of food samples! We made a pre-dinner snack of McCafe smoothie samples, Post cereal samples, and more! We shopped around and found a good deal on GU, so we tried a few flavors we’ve been wanting to try: Peanut Butter and Salted Caramel. For it being gel, they were yummy on race day!
There were a few vendors I had planned to visit. At SPIbelt, I proved that I liked them on Facebook for a discount on a double-belt that I needed for the next day’s marathon (my current belt only had one pocket, and I needed two).
My husband and I each signed up for 2 local races that we’ve done several times before: Run for the Dream 8k this summer and the ChristmasTown Dash 8k in December, both in Williamsburg. We were able to get discounted Expo rates for each event.
I also browsed the SweatyBands booth, One More Mile, and was disappointed to see that Raw Threads was not there. But there were so many other great vendors! We entered a few contests and spun a few wheels for freebie prizes.
After Expo, we headed back to Williamsburg quickly to meet my parents, brother, and his fiancee for a pre-race dinner at Olive Garden – yum! Then it was (relatively) early to bed for our 3:50 AM wakeup call!
Next up: Race recaps! For the local newspaper’s coverage of the event, click here!