Monday, November 2, 2009

NYC Marathon Recap: Pre-Race

Hey Folks!

For the sake of time, and also giving myself a break once in awhile, I have decided to do this race report in three different segments: 1) the weekend travel, including Saturday pre-race stuff; 2) the race itself; and 3) everything afterwards.  So if you don't wanna read about what happened before or after the actual race, you can skip the first and last post and just read the race report itself. :)

So I'll begin with Friday. We took a 7:20 pm flight from Cleveland to New York and...I'm delays, no problems...we even boarded early!  I took it as a good sign.  I had obsessively packed my bags, including packing all my racing gear in a carry-on (of course), just in case.  I even anally packed my duplicate pair of sneakers in case something happened to the ones I was supposed to wear on race day.

Got to NY without a hitch, and Mom and Jack picked us up at LaGuardia.  It was great to see them, as well as their new addition...a soft-coated Wheaton Terrier named Cody!!!

Isn't he frickin' adorable?  I mean, come on.

Derek and I were pretty hungry when we got in, so we had some bagels and just hung out with my folks for a while before going to bed.  (By the way, I was still working on the "dedications" page at that point, which I STILL have not finished, and I'll have to post it post-marathon now. Oh well, the sentiment is still there.)

Slept really well Friday night (I always do at my parents' know how it is) and then Saturday morning woke up to a peaceful pitter-patter of rain.  This, to me, was both good and bad.  It was bad because a) I was supposed to do a 2-mile jog that day to loosen my legs and clear my head, and b) we were supposed to head into the city to get to the expo and lug all my crap around, and I hate walking around in the rain.  However, this rain turned out to be a good thing, because a) it forced me to wear my "backup" shoes around the city, thus not wearing out my newer pair or getting them soggy for Sunday; b) I didn't do my jog that day which I think was good because it forced to me to rest a bit more, which I needed; and c) the rain came and went on Saturday....which meant the weather forecast changed: no rain on Sunday!  YAY!  Whatever rain was predicted for race day came early.  Good job weather.

And, in fact, the rain even stopped by mid-morning, which is when Derek and I got out of the house and went to the train station at Croton.

Now, I should mention that traveling, and crowds, and having to schlep stuff anywhere for extended periods of time on a time-crunch situation, gives me anxiety.  Not just normal-level stress, but close to panic sometimes.  It's weird.  So anyway, I wanted to make sure it was as painless as possible.  Not really likely, considering I had to carry ALL my race-day gear with me all day, including my extra pair of sneakers, plus my purse, plus we were getting into Grand Central and the Expo was wayyy the eff out at the Javits Center, yet Louise's is on the East side.  So, you ask, why didn't I just drop off my huge bag at Louise's first?  Well, because then I'd have to go ALL the way back to the west side, and THEN back to her place because that stupid pasta party wasn't letting us get in with bags larger than a purse.  

That being said: all was painless, starting with the free shuttle from Grand Central to the expo (nice!), where we spent more than half the time waiting on a dumb line.  I got my bib, my bag & shirt, my pasta party tickets and got the heck outta there!!

This "quick & dirty" ordeal was followed by lunch at 'wichcraft in West Chelsea a short walk away from the expo (27th and 11th) where we met up with Andrew, Kristin, Kelly, and her boyfriend Bill.  Great sandwiches, soups, and cookies.  Yum!  Then Derek and I parted--he went to stay with Matt & Sarah in Brooklyn, while I took the train to the east side to Louise's!  I finally made it after two transfers!  Ugh, the convenient and yet inconvenient you are.
Louise and her hubby Britt were such great hosts, and gave me my own little room.  Louise had even set aside little marathon souvenirs for me (pace tattoo, postcard, poster) in anticipation of my arrival.   We hung out for a bit and then walked over to the pasta party to meet Maria!

I can sum up the pasta party (er.. pardon me, the "Barilla Marathon Eve Pasta Dinner at Tavern on the Green") in two words: it sucked.  Will never do that again!  Waited in line forever, then were shuffled through
the entrance and food lines like cattle, the music was so loud that we couldn't hear each other, and it was like a bunch of dance music.  The lighting was dark, and there were even go-go dancers making a fool out of themselves onstage.  I felt like this was more of  a victory party but without the dance floor.  After experiencing the TNT pasta party, I was expecting something more inspiring, maybe with a speaker or a video or at least some peace and quiet.  No, not at all.  At least we got a picture:

Even though the pasta itself was good, we were all still a bit hungry after we finished, but we really did not want to go back through the entire line again.  So we grabbed our freebies (weird juice with fruit bits in it, 100 calorie packs of some sort, apples which I will be sure NOT to eat until they are properly washed, and Italian Ices) and booked it outta there!

We got back to Louise's place (cabbed it this time), and the three of us girls got started setting up our race-day stuff.  We put stick-on letters on our TNT singlets, pinned on our bibs, and attached our D-tags to our shoes while listening to our favorite "running songs" on Louise's computer.  It was so fun being with them again!

We tried to get to bed early, and remembered to set all the clocks back one hour - extra sleep - not that we'd be getting much sleep tonight!!!  All ready for the morning!

Stay tuned for...the race report itself!

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