Monday, June 04, 2007

Marathon Weekend: Pre-Race Stuff

Backtracking a bit. Here are several pre-race things that will always be memorable to me.

Picking up the button with my uncles photo - This marathon thing started as a way to raise money for blood cancers. My uncle was such an athletic man, I know that it would have tickled him to be in a marathon. The photo is one where he's smiling broadly and obviously happy and healthy. Just seeing that button made me teary.

Getting my race number and timing chip - At that point it's the real deal. I've done a few 5ks and a bike race. Once you've got the number, the event goes from idea to actual.

Running 8 million errands the day before the race - I spent Saturday scrambling to find my favorite nutrition bars, getting my name on my jersey, etc. Note to self: next time rest before the race. Don't be such a perfectionist-dumbass.
Pre-Race Prep - Race Bag
Putting together my gear - Preparation is my skill/obsession. I laid out my outfit, race pack and after race bag. I took photos of my gear, mostly so I'd have a list for the next marathon. (Click on the photo and go to flickr to see the entire list.) The funny thing is that all that stuff fit very precisely into my carry belt. Years ago, I decided that I will only travel with 1 carry-on bag. My packing skills are unbeatable.

Entering the pre-race TNT pasta party - About 150 TNT volunteers lined the hallway all with noisemakers and costumes. As the participants entered, it was to a deafening cacophony of cheers and enthusiasm. It was so overwhelming, that it sort of scared me and I ducked off to the side. Finally, one of the mentors pushed me to go through the tunnel of cheering volunteers because that was the only way to the dinner.

Listening to the TNT party speakers - The cancer survivor and family stories were inspirational as always. The keynote speaker was John "the Penguin" Bingham; having him there was awesome. I've read Bingham's monthly column in Runners World since he started writing it. Even when I was completely unhealthy, I enjoyed his take on running. Over the years, he's made marathons accessible to tons of slow runners and walkers or penguins. He's known for saying, “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” That's true of most things, starting is the hardest part.

Next time, I'll post about the actual marathon.