Saturday, October 27, 2012

Marathon Part 2 : The Weekend

I waited too long to write this, thanks to staying up late watching TV, oversleeping, and being lazy in general.  Now I don't even remember what I wanted to say!  So it's mostly going to be a summary of the weekend in photos :).

Jeff and I went to the expo first thing when it opened on Friday at 3pm.  Jeff had the day off because he had just returned from Malaysia (for work) early Thursday morning, and I was off and awake (I had 5 days off before the race to convert my sleep schedule, as you may recall.)  We parked on the Cobo roof which only had one toll booth open when we got there, and the line of cars was really bad.  By the time we left though, they had two open, so hopefully that improved wait times for the rest of you.  The expo was pretty standard fare.  I hate the ones where they make you weave through every single display booth to get to your bibs.  I get having it at the back, but I don't like when they force you through a maze.  I usually like to stop and look around and shop, and if I didn't, I don't think making me walk angrily through the maze of people is going to change my mind.  Anyway.  Moving on.  I didn't get anything this time, but Jeff did get a good deal on a reflective jacket.  I didn't take any photos of the expo, but Jeff did take this one of me in front of what I can only describe as the "photo op wall".  Apparently there was a countdown clock added to the top of this sometime after we left, judging by other people's photos.  Hazard of getting there early I guess.

I found out Friday that my dad was definitely coming (from PA!) to spectate the marathon.  Because my dad was coming, Jeff decided he should go to the race early too, to help him find his way.  Before that, Jeff was planning on driving separately for his race, which didn't start until 11am.  So I went from zero spectators to two!  I went to bed early Friday night at 7pm (as was usual last week in preparation for the race).  Because my dad would be arriving around 1pm Saturday, I figured I would spend the morning cleaning the house.  Turns out, we got an opportunity for free tickets to the UM/MSU game, and thought it would be cool for my dad to be able to go, so we had to drive an hour (and an hour back) to go pick up the tickets Saturday morning.  I still had music to download and plans to make for the race, and now had housecleaning and a football game to go to, and no time for any of it!  Thankfully, neither my dad nor I were terribly interested in football, we just went for the "spectacle" so when he suggested we leave at halftime, I readily agreed.  Would have been a REALLY late night if we hadn't done that!  It ended up being pretty good though, to keep me from overthinking and stressing out about the race.  And it kept me up a little later (I think it was like 8:15 or 8:30 pm when I finally went to bed), so I was exhausted and had no trouble falling asleep.  Unfortunately Molly wanted to go out at like 1am, and I didn't really sleep too well after that, but that's okay. 
That's me and my dad in the top left.  I have no idea why I look so confused.  Probably has something to do with the fact that I have glasses on my face and on my head.  
My pre-race dinner was Subway, on the way home from the game :)  When we got home I hurriedly packed my pre/post race bag, laid out my clothes, and made a nice little folder of parking maps, course maps, road closures, and directions for Jeff and Dad for where to go to look for me at various points on the course.

The morning of the race I woke up at like 3:45 am, which was barely enough time to shower and get breakfast and get on the road by my planned time of 4:30am.  Pre-race breakfast was two bagels and a coffee from McDonald's.  The first bagel with a touch of peanut butter (I brought my own), and the second dry.  I had experimented with one bagel at 4 am a few days prior, and was starving by the time my 3-mile practice run rolled around at 7:10 am, so I opted for two on race day and hoped it wouldn't backfire.

Pre-race downtown was made infinitely more comfortable thanks to the 501 Running Club and their reservation of Cobo Joe's sports bar (just 2 blocks from the start) just for us.  We had a place to hangout, keep warm inside, and use real bathrooms.  They also had a great spread of food for us to snack on pre-race, plus coffee, juice, and water.  I decided against having any, but Jeff had a muffin and a danish.  I came back after the race too, to change into dry clothes, redeem my free drink, and see how everybody did. 
Running fit 501 members and supporters at Cobo Joes before the race.  My dad is in the foreground (right) in the dark jacket with the gray hair.  Jeff is in the yellow sweatshirt.  All you can see of me is my butt.  Ha. 
For getting there by 5:15am, race time came really quickly.  Or, lineup time came really quickly.  It took a long time after the start for my wave to get through.  I was lined up in the corral for "Wave G", with the 4:30 pacer, but by the time I actually crossed the start line it was "Wave I" I think. 
Photos from the start
And then we were off!  The bridge was congested at usual.  It is so frustrating.  I understand the congestion (and it wasn't as bad as previous years), but I can't stand all the idiots out there.  People would just stop to take pictures without even moving to the side or looking behind them.  I made a point of putting my fat head in the way of their photos whenever possible.  And of course there were the people that decided they were too important to be stuck in the congestion with everybody else, so they dodged and weaved and elbowed their way through.  I yelled "Good luck..." to one of them as she forced her way by.  She replied "Thanks!".  I guess she didn't catch the sarcasm.  One guy realized that either he hadn't started his Garmin, or that it had stopped at some point, and he just kept swearing for like a full 2 minutes straight.  Cheerful fella.  Made me glad I opted out of bringing mine.  Watching the sunrise as you run over the bridge is Jeff's favorite part of the race.  Me...I could do without it.  In fact, the bridge is the main reason I'll be heading to Grand Rapids next year.  (For the half, not the full).  When I was going over the bridge, Jeff and Dad were apparently already set up and waiting for me between mile 8 and 9.   Dad took a great photo of the sunrise over Windsor while he was waiting:
Windsor sunrise from my dad's waiting spot around mile 8-9. 
Eventually, I showed up at their lookout point and my dad got a little video of me running by:
video
Almost didn't share this because it makes me feel slower than I felt while I was running!

I got to see them again at around mile 13, and then my dad at the finish.  (Jeff was running his half by the time I finished).  I had to keep up the pace, because my dad was riding his motorcycle back to PA as soon as I got done, and if I took too long it would make a long day for him!  ;)  Originally, we had planned on him leaving after he saw me at mile 8 or 13, (2+ hrs is a long time to wait for the finish), but he decided to stay at some point.  I guess the marathon isn't the "worst parade ever" after all. I didn't wait in the line for the official finish photos, since my dad was in a rush, so he took my "finish photos" overlooking the finish chute on his way back to his bike.  I also threw in one Jeff took after we got home.  


I may actually end up buying the official photos from the race.  Some of them are decent.  Some of them are pretty terrible too, but I won't show you those.  I saved my bib, so I could do one of those lame plaque things with my bib, finish time, a photo, and the medal, or some subset thereof.  I am nothing if not lame.

<photos removed> 

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