October 3, 2008

Race Report: Akron Marathon Part 1

On Thursday night, I ran a case workshop up at Cornell (we do case interviews instead of normal interviews, so this was to teach potential candidates the format and how to prepare for them). It lasted until 9 PM, and then I had annoying student questions until about 10 PM. Most of them didn’t even want to hear the answers to the questions – they just wanted to ask something to impress me. Frustrating! We then went out to dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in Ithaca, at which I totally abandoned any ideas I may have had of eating healthy. First, I filled up on the bread basket, because I was “carb loading” and there weren’t any pasta dishes on the menu. Next, I picked at the fried calamari appetizers that had been ordered for the table that I swore I wouldn’t touch. And finally, I finished off with a huge piece of salmon. At least I didn’t have wine or dessert, but I didn’t get to bed until 1 AM and I felt disgustingly sick to my stomach when I did.

I woke up at 4:30 AM to head to the airport – so much for getting the right nutrition and the right sleep two nights before. I decided to go for a non-traditional race strategy: binge two days before, eat lightly the day before. I got off the little turboprop plane and found myself in a torrential downpour – there was a solid inch of water on the ground when I disembarked, and it wasn’t even a pool; that was just how deep it was from the rain pounding down. I headed inside and grabbed a bowl of fruit for breakfast, then headed off to my gate, thinking I’d have about 30 minutes to eat before my flight – but I was wrong.

There was an 8:30 flight to Cleveland, but since my flight from Ithaca didn’t get in until 8, I had booked the 10 AM flight to Akron so that I wouldn’t miss my connection. Unfortunately, while the 8:30 flight got out right on time, the 10 AM flight was delayed. And delayed. And delayed more. By 11:30 AM, I was starting to get nervous. Up on the board, flights were being cancelled right and left – Cleveland was one of the few flights still scheduled (albeit 2.5 hours late). I worried what I would do if the flight was cancelled. Could I drive to Akron? Probably not in time. Would the race director make an exception and let me pick up my packet in the morning if I arrived in the middle of the night? Would he refund my fee or apply it to next year’s entry instead? Fortunately, none of these scenarios came to pass, and I found myself in air only a few hours later than expected.

Upon landing, the skies were sunny and it was a beautiful day in Cleveland. I got my rental car and headed off to Akron, taking a few conference calls along the way. Is it legal to talk on the phone and drive in Ohio? Who knows. If any police are reading this, please don’t give me a ticket πŸ™‚ I found the hotel pretty easily, and stopped in to do a few hours of work before heading off to the expo. Unfortunately, this “few hours of work” turned into a ton of work that I had to do that night. I didn’t think it was going to be that bad though… famous last words.

When I got to the expo, I found that it was kind of a cool setup – there was a blue line of tape on the ground that you could follow to get through packet pickup that then looped around to all the vendors. It reminded me of the expo at Calgary, which was set up in a similar fashion with one path of vendors, but Akron was nicer in that while most people followed the line, you could go out of order and veer off the path. Handy! I did this shortly after getting my race number, when I saw my Marathon Maniac friend Cowboy Jeff almost immediately after entering. He was standing near Dane Rauschenberg’s booth, where he was giving an impromptu third inspirational speech. I was so excited to meet Dane – Jeff had been telling me about him for a while, and then I started reading his blog after discovering that we had both done Run With the Horses this year. My first RBF meetup! Cool. I hoped I would find Viper the next day to make it two in a race.

After briefly wandering through the expo, Jeff and I headed off to the pasta party, which was held only a few blocks away. The buffet was set up exactly the way I like it: each of the pasta components was separate, meaning I could skip the cheese and add as much or as little sauce as I wanted! I opted for a good amount of sauce and then a TON of garlic bread. In doing so, I definitely broke my “eat lightly today to make up for yesterday” plan, but hey, it’s fueling me up, right? Dane gave another awesome speech that was really inspiring. If any of you have a chance to hear him speak at an event, I’d highly recommend it, and if you’re a race director, GET HIM TO COME! Basically, Dane’s crazy feat is he ran 52 marathons – one on each consecutive weekend – for a year, all while holding down a regular job. My coworkers think I’m crazy, so I can’t imagine how his got used to him doing a different race each weekend! At the end of the dinner, they had door prizes, and I won a backpack for being the youngest full marathoner there. Cool! I was very surprised that I was the youngest, though I suppose I’m trying to set a world record for being the youngest 50 stater, so I’d better get used to it.

After dinner, I headed back to the hotel to sleep work. I got stuck staying up till 1 AM to finish! With a 7 AM start, that wasn’t good for my rest. Stay tuned to see if it affected me!


7 thoughts on “Race Report: Akron Marathon Part 1”

  1. I’m trying to guess the restaurant…from the calamari and salmon I want to guess Boatyard? I miss Ithaca. πŸ™‚
    Good luck this weekend!

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