Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Marathon, Part 1: Sometimes getting to the starting line is the toughest part

Hey! So, here goes, my marathon recap. Naomi and David already have theirs up, so be sure to check them out! This may take me a few days to totally finish, and I promise I'll get around to personal thank yous on all your blogs! I'm a little scared right now to even open up my Google Reader account! I bet it's going to explode!!!

So, Thursday night we kept packing and felt pretty confident we'd gotten everything covered. In my carry-on backpack I had a ton of bottled water, 2 bottles of Gatorade, my Fuel Belt and empty bottles, my pre-race oatmeal (5 packets), 4 bananas and my sneakers. I am so incredibly neurotic - my prerace meal is 2 packets of oatmeal and 1 banana. There's just something about having a TON of extra that is so strangely reassuring! In Brent's carry-on I had my full race outfit - including socks and underwear. Who knows what airport security would have thought about his strange assortment of electronic gadgets and a full woman's workout outfit!

I had already decided to skip my Friday morning walk with Pippin to get a little extra sleep, hoping that every little bit would help leading into race day. So, when I woke up and noticed a glimmer of sunlight through the windows I knew something was wrong. I rolled over to check the alarm clock and it was flashing some crazy time. Oh crap, the power had gone off. I bolted out of bed and ran into the living room and it was......6.45. We leave at 7.20 and I normally get in the shower at 6.15 and am running fast and furious to get out the door on time every day. I start hysterically yelling for Brent to get up, we're running late, etc, etc. I took a fast shower, did a quick hair and make-up job and we actually made it on time. But it was not my best hair day ever. Friday went by so incredibly slowly.......every minute was excrutiating. All I could think about was Miami!! Lunch finally came and we dropped Pippin off at the kennel. He gets SO excited about going to the kennel! It's the strangest thing. He's wound up as soon as we pull in and loses his mind in excitement once we get out of the car. I doubt I got a single productive thing all day! FINALLY, it was time to go! We raced out of work (with a few good luck wishes from coworkers) and headed to the airport.

Our plane was SUPPOSED to leave at 6.42. We were perfectly on time...We pulled into the airport lot at 5.05, waited for the shuttle buses and checked in at American. (All of Nashville air traffic revolves around Southwest so none of the other airline carriers are ever busy or have any sort of line. I HATE Southwest and will never, ever fly them again. But that's another story for another day.) Everything was going smoothly until I went to print the boarding pass and noticed our boarding time said 7.26 pm. Hmmm??? Our plane was delayed.....ugh. By the time we got through security and to the gate the plane was delayed even more....8.14 pm, more than an hour and a half late. $15 bought us two BBQ sandwiches, one small bag of chips and a beverage. Ha! We settled down, battled for a plug in (have you ever noticed how everyone crowds around the plugs in airports now!! Between our ipods, laptop, etc you gotta have some juice!) and got comfortable. I was close to finishing the book Marley & Me, a nonfiction book about a couple who gets a puppy, their life with the puppy as they have children and so on, and then ultimately at a ripe old age the death of the dog. I was in the "ripe old age" part and as a total softie it sent me into a flood of tears. Even though Pippin is two years old I already stress about him not being with us forever. Brent just laughed at me and reassured me we would be 40 before we have to deal with that. As much as I tried NOT to cry I just couldn't. No doubt I was the person everyone picks out of the airport waiting crowd as the one most likely to go postal on the plane.

FINALLY, the plane arrived and we left - pretty close to the time we should have been landing in Miami. As I was settling into my seat (with a copy of Running Times in my lap) a guy heading to the back asked if I was headed to Miami for the marathon. Sweet!! He said this was his second marathon and we wished each other well. He wasn't overly friendly, but I DID notice him trying to check out my legs at baggage claim in Miami - obviously trying to scope out the size of my leg muscles as a sign of how "serious" a runner I might be. One uneventful flight later we were in Miami!! Instantly it was warm (another item I'd been stressing about all week). We maneuvered through baggage claim, caught the rental car bus and got an upgraded car - a Chevy TrailBlazer. They were totally out of cars and only had minivans and sport utilities left. Can you EVEN imagine cruising South Beach in a MINIVAN? YIKES!!! =) We found our hotel near the airport and settled in for the night. By this time it was 12.30 EST. One thing I never even thought about (until about a week before we left) was the fact that Miami was on EST. Not being a morning person it probably would have been smarter for me to do a west coast marathon and work the time change to my advantage! I immediately went to bed to get a good night's sleep. I guess all the travel & stress had me a bit jumpy. As tired as I was, it took me a while to get to sleep. First my knee started itching, and as Brent points out to me I don't scratch very often. (That was a very strange conversation we had that day.......) So I instantly started worrying about bed bugs, and what if I got eaten up with bed bugs and couldn't run the marathon??? Then my eye started itching and I started worrying about pink eye, and could I run with pink eye? And if I did would my pictures be hideous? Those are the random thoughts swirling through my head while I drifted off to sleep.

I set the alarm for 8 hours of sleep and woke up to a bright, sunny day. I peeked out the windows to see palm trees and outdoor pools! CRAZY! We got dressed, pilfered some peanut butter from the continental breakfast and headed to the expo. We left around 10.30, the same time I hoped to be finishing the marathon the following day. It was WARM and HUMID, which had me worried. We have plenty of warm and humid here in the summer, but all my recent running memories involve cold. If you ever visit Miami you need to realize all the streets are numbers (vs names) and involve directions. You'll have a NW 2nd, then a few streets over a SE 2nd, and the numbers seem to randomly repeat themselves with no real rhythm. We eventually stumbled upon the correct 2nd Avenue and found the expo. ING definitely knows how to put on an expo! Big inflatables welcomed you, and the Hyatt was full of orange balloons and marathon banners. Cute orange feet led you to the registration area. We picked up my number (which filled my eyes with tears of pride!), got my shirt and started loading up on tons of freebies! They had a great booth with a flat screen showing a moving video of the race course. I could instantly tell it was FLAT! Yeah! They had great orange sunglasses, signs, bang sticks, tons of great goodies! I bought a Marathoner license plate and a few bumper stickers.








From there we headed to our next hotel, the downtown Raddison. It was less than a mile from the start/finish and a recommended hotel. Too bad they were total jerks. At 1 pm they informed us we could not check in until 3. I said "Do all your rooms magically clean themselves at 2.59?" He said, "No, housekeeping brings down a list of clean rooms at 2.45". Whatever, in an age where we can blog from our cell phones that is totally unacceptable. We ate some lunch and then headed out to lounge by the pool, in full jeans and tank tops. We weren't alone. The pool was overflowing with people fully dressed, waiting for 3 pm. In the bathroom I met a leader of a girl's charity running group and they had been waiting since 11 am. All any of us wanted to do was have a prerace nap! I was so stressed, but Brent was great. He made sure I was comfy and relaxed at the pool at all times. Promptly at 3 we checked in and had a GREAT nap in a super comfy room. The view was awesome, I feel asleep enjoying the sights of downtown Miami.

When the alarm went off it was time to meet David for dinner! The 4 mile drive took us nearly 45 minutes when you throw in long lines getting out of the parking garage, drawbridges and busy parking garages. He had the table waiting and we had a great pasta dinner! It's so much fun to meet fellow bloggers. We talked about everything and shared all our excitement for the following day! After dinner (and a fantastic dessert of tiramisu - my fave) we walked around and enjoyed some of the South Beach sights and shops. We bid our farewells and planned to meet the following morning - race day!!









We headed back and got everything ready for the following morning. As I plugged my cell phone into the charger I noticed I had a new text message - from Shore Turtle and RedHead Fangirl. They wanted to wish me lots of luck in the M. How sweet is that? The bloggers I have met are such fantastic people. I actually slept GREAT. When the alarm went off at 4.20 (3.20, MY time) I was excited. And nervous. I got up and started to fix my breakfast. Hmmmm. What was I going to eat this oatmeal WITH? I made hot water through the in room coffee pot, but we had no spoon. Brilliant!! I ended up using a coffee stirrer to scoop small bits of oatmeal at a time. We used a credit card to chop bananas. It wasn't pretty but I slowly got my banana and 2 packets of oatmeal down. I had meant to leave the hotel at 5.20, but it took longer than expected to eat so of course (as always) we were running behind We headed out the door at 5.30 and walked down with a crowd of other runners. In the elevator I was unspeakably proud of the fact that I had a MARaTHON bib on, versus all the other runners in the elevator with a Half bib on. I wondered if they were looking at me the same way I've looked at so many others in a reversed situation - thinking "wow - she's going the WHOLE way - twice as far as me. crazy!!" or "better her than me - 13 miles and I'm DONE and headed to the beach".

Just as we were approaching the start line they told us to clear the road "This marathon is starting ON TIME" Oopps!! I've never missed a start yet and I didn't want this to be the first! The whole way down I was obsessing about my shoes. Were they too tight? Not tight enough? I stopped and retied one of them and Brent hurried me into my corral with a quick good luck kiss. It all happened too fast for me to be emotional - always a good thing! I told him I'd be on the right for picture taking purposes and he told me he'd see me at Mile 16. It was a plan. And off I stepped into the corral for Marathon Bibs 4001-5000.

16 Comments:

At 7:52 PM, Blogger Noames said...

you had a busy morning. and now I want oatmeal. Is that weird?

 
At 8:22 PM, Blogger Just12Finish said...

Can't wait for the next report - what a great post! My favorite part was the tiramisu - I'm a sucker for it too!

 
At 8:28 PM, Blogger jeanne said...

wow, edge of seat! can't wait for part two!

 
At 8:39 PM, Blogger Cory said...

Oatmeal with tons o' butter and Aunt Jemima. Maybe some chocolate, too.

Yumyummmmmmmeatemup.


Dang, I want hash browns now.

 
At 8:54 PM, Blogger Dallen said...

Now you really have us in suspense

 
At 3:04 AM, Blogger PLANET3RRY said...

All that craziness before hand and the time change! Can make a marathoner get a little looney.

Great McGyvering with the coffee stirrer and credit card... good stuff!

Looking forward to the next entry

 
At 4:12 AM, Blogger BuckeyeRunner said...

Great recap!! Can't wait for the rest!!

(There was a woman on my bus coming home from work yesterday reading Marley and Me, and she was crying, too. It sounds like a good read.)

 
At 4:15 AM, Blogger boiledpnut said...

This is great!

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger Running Jayhawk said...

What happens next?!? Don't leave us hanging!!!!! :)

 
At 7:55 AM, Blogger Hilda said...

They way you write is so emotional, I almost cried when read about the moment when you received your number... sigh.

 
At 9:04 AM, Blogger E-Speed said...

chopping bannanas with credit cards! Sounds like my style. Had the same problem with my bagels before boston. Nothing to spread the cream cheese with!

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger plods said...

ah... suspense!

 
At 11:38 AM, Blogger Liz said...

I have chills...I can't wait to read the rest!!!

 
At 12:23 PM, Blogger Kim said...

I can't wait to hear the rest.....don't keep us in suspense too long...

 
At 6:04 PM, Blogger David said...

You sure have a good memory for details. I do too but rushed to post an executive summary. I love reading yours. It's thorough and enchanting.

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger angie's pink fuzzy said...

Oh, this is so much fun!

I forgot to mention my pre-race dinner in my post - I had to take it back to the hotel room and had no silverware. I ended up slurping pasta from a cup...

 

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