Thursday, December 1, 2011

Re-Recap of Philly2011

I set out from home early the friday before the race. I was to be driving solo, but I had set up my experimental copilot, and was ready to hit the road. I planned to take video every now and then, and at some point in time make one of those fancy schmancy sped up movies of my trip, like the
kids do over there on the ewe tube. I have no idea why sheep are involved, but whatever.

As I headed south by southwest, I came across this sign. I decided right then and there to take a picture of this sign ever time i came across a new one. As I would be travelling in 6 states, it might be a fun little project to occupy my time. This one, however, was the ONLY one that I got. The others are in areas that were waaaay to busy for me to stop in, so i changed my plan to photograph each one of the "welcome to" signs. I have none. Same reason. That, and I kept forgetting........
After a few hours of boredom interspersed with moments of shear terror (both for me and the driver of the semi who i cut off JUST IN TIME not to be smeared along a bridge railing) and moments of WTF? (garmin: "continue on this route for the next 16 miles." so i moved into the passing lane. 30 seconds later, Teri said, "take exit ### in 200 yards. Turn RIGHT NOW!" WHAAAAT? i swear it was 'mayhem' from those insurance commercials......). I took the next exit (300 feet later) and parked on a side street to compose my self, check my shorts, and recalculate. The next 15 miles were spent driving along some two lane roads that wove through some very nice neighbourhoods. I ended up getting back onto the highway somewhere near Princeton. At any rate, I was ahead of schedule, Pandora was playing some fun tunes, and life was good. If not lonely...
Later Friday evening I met up with Colleen (@tryn2bfit), Damian (@running2fitness), and Nicole (@nicolebshapinup) and we headed into town for the expo. Packet pickup was a breeze, mostly due to the fact that it took us 5 times around the block to find a parking spot. We managed, and spent some time looking at logo items and such. I should have made my purchases then, instead of on Saturday, as there were no lines at all at 8:30 friday night. (pro-tip:go to the expo LATE).
I must admit that I got a little....choked up when I got back to the hotel and took my bib out. I've never had one with my name on it, nor have I ever had one that included the word "marathon". Today, I had both.
I was to be helping out at the ArcticEase Kid's Fun Run on Saturday morning, so once back at the hotel I walked to the nearby grocery store, got some food, and tried to get some sleep. I woke up early and cruised back into Philly, only to be redirected because of the Rothman's 8k course. No worries. I just followed my instincts and ended up finding a parking spot about half a mile from the Start/Finish.
I'll put up pictures from the ArtcicEase Kid's Race in a future posting. Suffice to say the kids had a blast, the medals and shirts were top notch, and the parents had to be told more than once (more like 9 times) to back away from the kids and let them participate in the warm up. And the race. Sheesh. Check your helicopters at the door, folks! It is just a fun run. Something that kids do ALL THE TIME, without us asking them to. Relax....
After that was done I wandered around the city a bit, taking in some of the historic (and hysteric) sites that Philadelphia has to offer. Back at the expo, I managed to talk for a few minutes with this gentleman. It was weird, as I know he has no recollection of the event, but I thanked him for autographing and personalizing 2 books for me last December.

Mr. Hal Higdon

To his right I spied another running legend and chatted with him, too. He congratulated me on my first marathon, and said that one of the best things about a first time race is that you are "guaranteed a PR!"
Mr. Bart Yasso

Later that evening, after an hour of  getting turned around and frustrated, I joined some of the other members of our ArcticEase group for a mini-tour of their offices. All I can say about it is...wait. There's a knock at the door. (Spy hole reveals some big, burly dude wrapped in black ArcticEase wraps and carrying a shovel. Nevermind. I'm not going to tell you anything.) OKOK, not really. They aren't like that. Let's just say that I was honored to have a tour, and am very happy for Carol and her company. They have done great things, and will soon be exploding onto the world scene. Mark my words.
Back at the hotel I layed out my "flat Gene" (sorry, duh. no pics), and got ready to sleep. I had to be up at 3:45, so i didn't want to waste a nano-second. I got up in time, ate, calmly got dressed, packed my bags, and went down to warm up the car. I was to be bringing Colleen to the start with me, and little did I know it at the time, Nicole and Damian. Anyway, I was warming up the car and resetting my garmin when Colleen called to say she was ready. I got in the car, drove to the portico, picked her up, and headed out into the darkness. About 100 yards after turning onto the main road (S. Trooper Rd.), we heard some thumping. She said, "what was THAT?" I said, "MY GARMIN WAS ON THE ROOF!!!!"
I pulled into a restaurant parking lot and we both got out to go look for it. Then Colleen said, "My garmin is back at the hotel!!!" Things happen for a reason, i guess, and we were unable to find Teri. As Colleen headed cross lots to meet me at the hotel, I walked back to the car, scouring the side of the road for any sign of Teri. Nothing. BUT! There she was, resting on the trunk! WAHOOO~. I yelled to Colleen, she came back, we went to the hotel, she got her garmin, and we were off again.
Quick swing by the airport to get the others, and we headed downtown. I parked in the garage at the Franklin Institute, and although it cost me $20, it was still cheaper than the $36 parking ticket i earned on Saturday. (RATS! I gotta pay that sucker!!!)

The job isn't finished until the paperwork is done.

There were mobs of people everywhere, and it was only about 545 in the morning. Chilly, but not too bad. The "disposable" sweats that I bought were doing just fine. Quick stops along the way to take care of some last minute paperwork, and we were all but ready to run!
Nicole was kind enough to take a picture of the group of us and even tolerated my craziness. Gotta appreciate that in a near stranger, especially at 615 in the morning.....

Colleen, Damian, Me
 The race nearly started a bit late, due to some mysterious delay, but "thanks to the hard working city workers", we started on time. It took me nearly 20 minutes to cross the start line. A massive wave of humanity headed down the street and spilled into the city. I would have liked to have seen it from above: a multi-colored river flowing through the streets, bobbing up and down.
After a while I managed to take a few pictures, but nothing really spectacular. Lots of legs and butts, crushed paper cups, and a few signs. I wish I had snapped pictures of the signs, as some were quite creative. See my other report for how i felt during the race. I don't want to rehash it here for ya.....I know time is precious, and you've already squandered away plenty reading this post.
All in all, it was a fun experience! At the end of the race, I felt like the guy in the black shirt, pictured here:

c'mon, dude. seriously. GET YOUR ARMS UP!
 I can't wait for the next race, though I don't know if it will be a destination race or not. I would REALLY like to have as many of my family members with me as possible, next time, even though I know it is tough to be a spectator at some of these longer events. But their great, and I couldn't really ask for a better support crew. Love you guys! (+1, me)

Thanks for stopping by.

NOTE: due to being interrupted several times while writing this (seriously. can't people see i'm working here? oh, wait...i was actually AT work when i did this....anyway...) I managed to leave out 3 other people. John and Josh, a father and son team, and EvaT, a lawyer from NYC, were also part of our group. John is a former Marine, he blogs here, and tweets via @dbltimeitmarine. Eva, as aforementioned, works in NYC. She's run several marathons, and has a dog who loves to chase bunnies when Eva takes the dog for runs. Eva blogs here.
Great people. Josh ran the half marathon, which was his first one ever! Congrats, Josh, and welcome to the 'family'.....

1 comment:

  1. Gene I didn't realize (or just plain wasn't paying attention) that this was your first marathon. Congratulations!!! You did awesome!!