Saturday, November 1, 2008
27b Pounding Pavement - Getting to the Start Line
The Saturday morning before the race came quickly and I drove and picked Breanne up at home and we headed to Detroit. We first went to the race expo at Cobo Hall and started weaving our way to the race kit area. Bre tried to not ask any silly questions with so many runners around, but she did slip one. “What does 26.2 mean?” Perhaps that does not me anything to most people, but that is the distance of a marathon in miles. Something all runners know. I quickly shushed hers and whispered the answer as not to be heard! ☺
About a minute later came one of the most exciting parts of the whole weekend. I turned around and there was Brian Sell signing autographs. My heart went through my chest! Note: A week before I was telling someone how, at my age, I wouldn’t get star struck if I saw someone famous…well I was wrong. Who is Brian Sell you might be asking? He is only one of my top two favourite male runners, right behind Ryan Hall. He was third in the US Olympic Trials and ran in Beijing at the Olympics finishing 22nd in a field of almost 100. He runs with the Hanson Brooks Distance Project, a group that trains and lives together in Rochester Hills, MI. He is one of my heroes and an even paced runner…just like me. Of course I didn’t know what to say but I had to get a picture with him. I built up the nerve and walked up to the table. “Uhhh hello. Can I get a picture with you?” (Yes, lame I know, but I didn’t know what else to say.) It was wonderful and he was really friendly. What surprised me the most, but shouldn’t have, is how skinny he is, I think he is about 120lbs. I did manage to tell him that he really inspires me, but later, laying in bed, I realized I should have asked him if his feet had recovered from Beijing. Brian doesn’t wear socks when he runs and with the humidity in Beijing he blistered so bad that his shoes were a bloody mess afterwards. But he finished.
I was pumped the rest of the day, even when I picked up my race T-shirt which was an XS but was still a couple sizes to big…I don’t understand why they think people running a marathon need such large sizes. Anyway. Bre and I loaded up on carb-onara at a great trattoria called Spago’s in Windsor and relaxed at Chapters for a bit before meeting up with mom, dad, Shane and Abby at the hotel.
I had a terrible sleep that night (and the entire week before), waking up almost every hour. We woke up at 5am and got ready to go. We were out the door by 6am and crossed the border easily…however, we got seriously lost after that. Thank goodness for GPS on my iPhone or we would have been in Florida before we realized where we were. At one point we went the wrong way on a one way street (which even after we realized it we kept going down…much to mom’s delight). It was ridiculously stressful and tense. We finally managed to get pretty close to the start with only 15mins before the gun went off. I was dropped on the side of the road and did a warm up sprint to the start line. Of course, being tense and nervous, I had to go to the bathroom really bad and ended up scaling a 5’ fence to get into the Port-A-John area. I did my business in record time and managed to be in line to start with about 5 minutes to spare.