November 6, 2008 / 12:03 AM / 12 years ago

CORRECTED: After two-year marathon, Obama heads back to gym

Corrects spelling of Obama’s daughter’s name to Sasha from Sashsa in paragraph 5.

By Deborah Charles

CHICAGO (Reuters) - What do you do after a two-year long-shot presidential run finally ends in victory?

For Barack Obama the answer is: you head for the gym.

Obama, who hit the gym regularly on the campaign trail, could have been forgiven for skipping his regular exercise routine on Wednesday, less than 12 hours after winning a hard-fought U.S. presidential battle against Republican John McCain.

Despite getting little sleep after returning home at nearly 2 a.m. after a historical and emotional night in Chicago’s Grant Park, the well-disciplined Obama opted to head to the gym around mid-morning.

But Obama first spent a little quality time at home, enjoying something he said he missed most while out on the campaign trail: breakfast with his wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha.

Wearing a dark baseball cap and sunglasses, Obama then sped away in his motorcade for a few blocks to the gym near his house where the first-term senator from Illinois often retreated for exercise and time away from the media during the 21-month presidential campaign.

The new president-elect, who played his traditional election-day game of basketball on Tuesday with some friends and staff members before the polls closed, stayed inside the gym for about an hour.

He made a quick departure, though a steadily growing group of a few dozen people had gathered across the street from the apartment complex that houses the gym.

The crowd cheered as Obama got into his car and headed off in his motorcade.

Obama had no plans to hold a news conference or any public meetings on Wednesday, preferring to set about the business of transitioning to the White House in private.

But before entering a downtown office building for some meetings and conference calls to thank campaign staff across the country, Obama offered up a few words to the media.

But he gave no clue about his future Cabinet appointments or plans for the transition. He talked only about sleep, or lack thereof.

“Hey guys, how’s it going? You get any sleep last night?” he shouted to the media gathered to watch him enter the building.

Some photographers complained about getting little sleep, after covering Obama’s acceptance speech and waiting for him to attend victory celebrations with supporters until late into the night.

When the question of sleep was thrown back at him, Obama replied: “Not as much as I’d like.”

Then the man who will be president on January 20 turned and walked into an office building and set about putting the wheels in motion on his new administration.

With 11 weeks to go before he takes office, Obama is expected to quickly name some key Cabinet officials including his economic team.

Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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