Saturday, October 23, 2010

Marathon Weekend Re-Cap (Or more accurately: The Blow-By-Blow) Part 2

Nike and the Expotique

The first order of business was to get to the expotique to pick up our race packets. You may have noticed I didn’t say “Expo”. No, Nike does an Expotique. Which means in addition to the regular booths you’d see pre-race they include back massage, foot massage, and of course running bra fittings. I was pretty excited.

As I was processed the check-in volunteer said, “Oh, you’re a Nike+ member.”
Nike + is a device Kris got me a few years ago that tracks my running (through my i-phone) and can be uploaded to the Nike website. It’s super cool because all the other Nike+ users load their runs on the site too. So you can see each other’s progress and join virtual races where you try to run faster or longer than the others in the ‘race’.

I loved it so much that I got one for my friend Kim when she decided to run her first marathon this year too. So Kim and I were poised to rack up the mileage on our Nike+‘es. Then Apple came out with OS 4 for the i-phone and totally ruined my plans.

OS 4 does not play well with Nike+. I knew my pod was old. So I bought a new one just in case that was the issue. Nope. So I started the high mileage portion of my  marathon training with no way to brag to my virtual friends on the Nike site. That bent my nose bad since I am an unlikely runner and until then, never was the runner running longer than everyone else. My ego was slouching and sad.

I also have a Garmin. So the good news was I could track every marathon training mile on that. However, the Garmin site lacks the virtual community and therefore brag potential. Which is sad, because good-natured bragging among friends (even virtual ones) is fun and motivating. But at least I could track.

So I was told since I have a Nike+ I get special treatment and should talk to the kind ladies at the concierge desk about all the cool stuff I get. So I did and was told I get:

Private bag check in the Nike tent. Which means I’d get my checked bag faster than the other non-Nike schmucks at the end of the race.

I could start the race in the Nike+ corral rather than the regular pace corrals the other rabble would have to use. (This didn’t matter to me as I was already slated for the early start with the TNT team. Which means I didn’t have to contend with corrals period).:)

Private shopping the next morning at Niketown (Nike’s retail store). Which means I can shop for event gear without having to fight the massive crowds.

I have access to the Nike tent at the finish line where they would have free food, massages, stretching, Nike professional athletes (including my hero Joan Benoit-Samuelson)

I could also have my finisher’s necklace engraved at the tent. Super Cool!!!!

And if I talk to the concierge at the back of the expo in the Nike area, I’d get another gift.  Sweet!

I wanted to talk to the Nike people anyway about my missing mileage. So Kris and I made our way to the back of the expo to the Nike area. But we stopped on the way to blend some smoothies at the Safeway booth.
Safeway had these bikes set up that had blenders rigged to the front. They fill the blenders with smoothie ingredients and people would get on the bikes and pedal to blend the smoothies. So of course I had to do that. I had sandals on, so the nice lady had to help me get my feet into the straps. But once I was ready I blended a mean smoothie. :)

At the Nike area, I was referred to Geoffrey who was the Nike+/i-phone expert to help me with my tracking problems. I explained to Mr. G that my pod wouldn’t work after the i-phone OS upgrade and described the symptoms.

“Sounds like your pod is dying. You should try getting a new one.”

“Already tried that Geoffrey. No dice.”

Then I told him how I switched to the GPS app as soon as that came out. (Nike came out with a GPS app for the i-phone that also tracks your runs but it does it by satellite location rather than the sensor pod.) So I started using that which was ok except the GPS drains the phone’s battery. And by that time I was doing long runs for training. So my phone would die before I was done with my runs. @#!*?//!

So Geoffrey changed some settings on the phone to use less battery and also turned off my push notifications because it’s believed push notifications sometimes will knock out the sensor mid-run.

So now I just had to decide if I wanted to use the GPS app on the marathon and risk the battery dying or use the sensor app and risk it getting knocked out some how. More on that later.

Next it was off to get a foot massage. There was an hour and half wait! So they were taking people’s cell phone numbers and would text me when my turn was coming up. Cool. The expo was really busy by this point. So we thought we’d go to Niketown  to see the name wall and to see if it was too crowded to do a little shopping.

The name wall is super cool! It’s a big wall with every runner’s name on it.  Everyone makes a pilgrimage to the wall to find and take a picture of their name.

It was too crowded! There was a no room in front of the name wall to attempt to find my  name. People were spilling into the street as there was not an inch of space left on the side walk. I told Kris, let’s come back tomorrow morning during private shopping to do the name wall. He agreed!

So the plan was to got get dinner and come back tomorrow when the private shopping opened. Then we’d hit the expo again and catch everything we skipped. So off we went to dinner and to break racing commandment #2.


Kris said...

I really thought you would mention the multiple choice quiz girl. "Can I pick two answers? 'C' and 'All of the Above'." Classic. But you are a nicer person than me, and that's probably why you didn't mention that. ;) Plus, there was so much to blog about!

Jill said...

That WAS funny! The MC did a good job of managing that. "C" and "All of the above!" I'm sorry to say she was blonde. (But so was the MC).

MC: How about we choose "All of the above. That'll include "C""

OMG!!! Cute.

Ron Harton said...

Great blog! Thanks for sharing the experience with us. It sounds like you had a wild, crazy, and wonderful time. I'm looking forward to part 3.