Sunday, October 31, 2010

Part 6: It Begins....early

2:30 am.

That's when I set my alarm. I had to be in the staging area on the first floor at 4am. So when Kris asked what time I set on the alarm, that's what I told him. He started discussing the merits of waking up at 3am instead of 2:30. My thinking was that I would much rather have too much time in the morning than find out I cut it too short and have to scramble. But I was also exhausted and didn't feel like debating for long. So we compromised and set the alarm for 2:45.

I got in bed and expected to toss and turn all night until my alarm went off. Oh well, most people run marathons sleep deprived. I've ridden many key bike rides that way too. No biggie. But to my surprise, the moment my head hit the pillow I was out and stayed out until my alarm went off at 2:45 am!

I had no trouble getting out of bed. The fear had kicked back in. The thought of showing up late and missing the pilgrimage to the start line with the rest of the team gave me great speed.

I had done a 'dry run' of my dressing routine the night before to be sure to not hit the start line missing anything important. I had pinned my bib to my singlet the night before to be sure I didn't forget it. That is racing commandment #5: THOU SHALT NOT FORGET THINE RACE BIB.

Though this is listed as commandment #5, it is the greatest in importance. Do not show up to race without your bib. You'll be able to start the race, but right before the finish line you will be pulled off the course.

It may seem mean to let a 'bandit' run the whole course and then pull them right before they finish. But think about it, if bandits were pulled at mile 2, they'd just jump back on the course at mile 3. So the logical place to pull them is just before the finish so they won't be jumping back on at a later point.

While they get the benefit of all the aid stations, they don't get across the finish line where they can grab up finisher medals and all the other finishers' swag. There's nothing worse than running for hours only to find when you cross the finish line everything has run out because too many bandits made it in before you. Not cool. So don't try to run without your bib and if you do, don't get cranky when you are pulled off the course at the last quarter mile.

I had my bib. I was ready. But before we left the room I shot this quick thank you video: 
video

My intention was to shoot another one after the marathon. But as it turned out, that wasn't going to happen.

I made it to the staging area on time and our group was the first to make it over to the start area a few blocks from the hotel. We had a lot of time to wait around which gave me time to reflect on racing commandment # 6: take as many potty breaks as you can before race start.

The porta potties were a couple blocks back. We passed them on the way to the start line. I knew I wanted to make it through the marathon without taking any potty stops. As it was, I was going to have a hard time keeping the pace I wanted without adding time for stops. I knew I should go. But I was too lazy to walk back the two blocks to the johns and back to the start.

Wait a minute I thought. If I am too lazy to walk four measly blocks, I am too lazy to run a marathon! Get your lazy butt over there. So I did. Let me give a reminder to all who read this; when using porta-potties, latch the door! I walked up to a john and the little sign said "Vacant". So I swung open the door and heard a scream! Then I screamed! A lady was already using it and apparently she didn't know how to work the latch. Trust me, I wasn't any more happy about it than she was. I chose another john and was sure to latch my door! Yikes!

I made it back to the start in plenty of time. By then the race M.C.s had arrived on site and were interviewing people in the crowd. Some were cancer survivors, some were legacy runners who had ran every NWM since it's beginning 7 years ago. And there was one pregnant lady. I was so proud! Look at how far we have come in just 25 years. Not only can women run any distance they want officially today, but women don't have to give it up to have a family. None of us on the course was worried she was going to jiggle her uterus loose or that the baby would fall out.

Even if it did, it'd be no big deal. The lady running behind her would just grab the baby up and say, "Oh honey, you dropped something."

New mommy taking the baby from the woman: "Oh thank you! Oh look! It's a boy!!!"

All the women nearby: "Yeah! Congratulations!!!"

And then we'd all run the new mommy and baby into the finish line together. :)

Needless to say the spirit at the start line was high!

My running partner Cindy and I were right in the front! I was watching the count down clock. I wanted to turn on my tracking devices at the last minute to ensure they wouldn't die out before the end of the race. I knew I was going to be on the course for many hours and I wanted the whole course tracked. I had chosen to use the pod sensor Nike app rather than the GPS Nike app because my main concern was the battery life of the phone. I wanted to be able to use my phone at the end of the race in case I couldn't find Kris. Besides Jeffrey turned off my push notifications the day before. So I should be fine.

My Garmin tracker takes a few seconds to find satellites. It ended up I turned it on a few seconds too late. When the start gun went off, Garmin hadn't secured the satellites yet. So you can see me in the marathon video (to be posted later) messing with my Garmin trying to start it up as soon as the satellites were located. Stupid. 

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