Wow! I am really behind in my blog posts. I never finished blogging about our mini-break to Yosemite or the last part of marathon training or the 20 mile training run.
Oh well, at the tail end of marathon training the priority is the taper and the mental as well as physical recovery/recharging for the big race. So if I have to slide on the blog, I have to slide on the blog.
But now, not only is the marathon over, my vacation that I attach to my marathons is over, and..... I’ve started training again. For a marathon in April. Ok. maybe it’ll be a half. But I’ll have to explain all that in another post.
For now, I wanted to talk about this year’s marathon. I had a great time and am so happy to do it again, but..... it was much harder than last year. On a few levels.
First, our friend Robb was not going to be in town this year. Twenty years after college (Ugh, like I have to let people know how old I am!!!) I found out he was living in San Francisco and went to see him. He was just as fun and sweet as I remembered him in college! So I was excited at the prospect of seeing him each year when I went up to run the marathon.
Kris really enjoyed hanging out with him too. So we were both looking forward to seeing him. But alas, he decided to run off to Palm Springs with his buddies instead. Can’t imagine why he’d choose that over staying at home! Oh well.
I think that was an omen as few things didn’t go right this trip...
I take the team bus up to San Francisco and Kris follows in his car. He parks at the BART station in Melbrae and “BARTs” it in from there and meets me at the hotel.
So I made it to the hotel well before Kris. The hotel clerk asked if I’d like to upgrade to one of the tower rooms. It has an ocean view and is higher up so it is quiet. I knew Kris and I would really appreciate the quiet and the price difference was reasonable. I thought it’d be a nice surprise for Kris. You know, make him happy.
But he was not happy when I saw him.
Apparently, things did not go that well at the BART station. We thought you could buy the long term pass at the station. You could not. So Kris couldn’t leave the car there. So he had to drive into the city and put the car in Valet for the night.
We already had a packed schedule for the rest of the day and the next day at that. So it was going to be tricky as it was to get everything done and make it back in time for the pre-marathon dinner.
The BART fiasco would haunt us further later.
So off we went on the first order of business, getting my race packet.
I went up to the bank of registrars, a girl waved me over to her and I gave her my name.
“Oh, you’re with Team in Training.”
“Oh, then you have a special place to check in at.”
“Oh, where’s that?” It was the first I had heard of a special check in.
“Uh, over there I think,” she said, as she vaguely waved to her left.
Kris and I walked to the left. Didn’t see anywhere for TNT registration. So we were standing there looking ill-informed. A volunteered walked up to us and asked, “Can I help you find something?” Which roughly translated means, “It’s crowded in here and my job is to make sure people don’t stand in one place to long and jam up the traffic ways.”
I explained what we were told and the guy just looked confused. Then brightened up and said, “Here, they can help you at the ‘Solutions Desk’”.
So the gal at the solutions desk was stuffing swag bags. I told her the deal.
“Oh, I can check you in right here. Name please?”
I told her my name and I noticed she didn’t say specifically that she was the person to check the TNT participants in. Also, there was no computer screen for me to see that all my information was correct and that the timing chip was entered. At the original registrar I went to, they all had a computer screen facing out so the people registering could see the information that was assigned to the bib # they are given and that their timing chip was entered and activated.
This is very important as you want to be sure your name is spelled right so you can find it when the results post after the race and that your gender and age is correct so that you are placed in the correct division, again for accurate race results. And most importantly, you want to see that your timing chip is entered and assigned to you so you have an official time.
This went wrong for Kris one race. His timing chip didn’t register properly. So he ran the full race (kicked but as usual) but there were no results for him nor evidence that he even ran the thing!
So when she grabbed the next bib from the top of the pile, scanned it and said, “Here you are.” I was nervous since I couldn’t verify my info or that the timing chip was entered correctly.
I’m a little hard wired for anxiety. I get a little antsy about certain things. So before I left the table I said, “So, the timing chip is all activated and everything?”
Which by that I meant, the timing chip is assigned to me and is activated properly.
She responded, “Oh, those chips just stay on the whole time. They’re never turned off.”
Because she didn’t respond to me in the exact verbiage I wanted, I remained unsure of the status of my registration. I didn’t want to ask her again and seem like I was arguing with her. One, because I didn’t think she’d understand what I am getting at and two, she was super nice and I didn’t want her to feel like she was being hassled.
So I smiled, said, “Thank you so much” and walked away.
As I was walking toward the exit, I couldn’t shake my unease. I mean what if my timing chip doesn’t work, what if it’s assigned to someone else or no one at all? I think I was muttering out loud my concerns. I saw another volunteer and I walked up to her to plead my case:
I tried again a little slower this time and less frantic sounding, “I went to register and was told to go someplace else. But she didn’t know where. So I went to the solutions desk. But she didn’t have the computer monitors that face me. So I couldn’t verify my information. So I’m not sure my chip is activated. I was hoping I can still check it somehow?”
Just as I finished, another volunteer was walking by and the lady said, “Hey, Mark, can you take this crazy lady to a computer and let her verify the info on her bib?”
“Oh yeah, no problem. Come over here.”
Actually I don’t think she said “Crazy lady”. But as I followed the volunteer to a computer I did hear Kris tell her simply, “Six months of marathon training.” She replied, “I understand completely.”
The guy scanned my bid and the timing chip was there and all my info was correct. (Except it showed I was from Santa Monica. But oh well. I couldn’t care less about that!)
Mission accomplished! On to the next bit of fun.