Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Air Force Marathon: Pre-Race and Expo

The weeks leading up to my first marathon didn't go as I had hoped.

Life sorta happened, and training sorta didn't.

Over the last 6 weeks or so, I only managed to fit in about one run a week. And instead of a nice little 3 week taper like my plan called for, I ended up stretching mine to about 5.

So when it was finally time to hit the road and head up north to Dayton for the weekend last Friday, I was more nervous than excited.

Well, I guess nervous isn't really the right word; I wasn't worried about the race -- I knew I could finish it, and I knew I would probably even surprise myself at how well it would go -- but something just felt off.

I tried not to let it get to me, though, and for the most part I was able to enjoy our little mini vacation.

For lunch on the way up, we met some friends at Mellow Mushroom in West Chester, Ohio. One just opened up in Louisville and it's been getting a lot of hype, so we were excited to try it (actually, this one had just opened up, too). It was amazing! It definitely lived up to our expectations.

From there it was only about a 40 minute drive to our hotel, which was right across the street from the Wright State University Nutter Center where the packet pickup was. After getting checked in, we headed to the expo.

The expo was pretty typical; nothing really special or exciting (although we were just a little too late to hear Dean Karnazes speak... that would have been cool!).


(For those of you who don't know about him, he's an ultramarathoner who has accomplished some really incredible things, including running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days, and running for 350 miles without stopping!!!, among many other things.)

We had to make our way through all the vendors before we could head down to the arena floor to pick up our bibs. Along the way I picked up a fuel belt (since I forgot to grab Jennifer's) and some more GUs.


And of course, a new sticker for the car.


Before we headed downstairs, B wrote us a little note of encouragement.



Not sure who Moug is (I'm pretty sure that's what that says above B's note), but I hope they did get the motivation to finish whichever race they were doing.

We headed downstairs where mom and I picked up our bibs.


I really like how they printed our names on our bibs so that people could cheer for us by name.


And look at that cute little pregnant girl!


The shirts we got were awesome, too. I LOVE the colors and style!


I was hoping to find something with long sleeves to wear in the morning since I forgot to pack a jacket, but it seemed like the only thing I could find were either tech shirts or really nice jackets (the expensive kind). I lucked out, though -- as we were leaving we passed by a booth that was selling old AF Marathon shirts, so I picked up a regular cotton shirt from 2008 for $8. Score!

I'll be wearing that shirt a lot this fall for sure!

Here's everything I ended up coming back with:


After the expo we went out and drove around the base to get an idea of where things were (since it would be dark in the morning when we would be heading to the race), and then grabbed some dinner at Texas Roadhouse. I'm not sure if it was a sign or what, but our number while waiting for a table was 262.

262... 26.2... coincidence???

After dinner I ran through my mental checklist a few times to make sure I had everything I needed, and I laid everything out so I wouldn't have to think when I woke up in the morning.


And I made sure I had my victory beer chilling away in the fridge so that it would be nice and cold.


Then I set my alarm and tried to get some sleep. The big day was now just hours away.


Check back soon for the full race report!

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