My flight to Burlington was a bit delayed, so I got to spend a bit longer at JFK than I planned. This was fine with me, since I wanted to grab lunch at the airport anyway. Despite my problems in the past with finding appropriate pre-marathon carbs at the airport (finding carbs without dairy or tons of oil can be tough), I was pleased to discover that my airline’s terminal had a TON of options! A pasta bar, a pizza bar (which included one pie without cheese), a sushi bar, and a buffet that had what I ultimately chose: Spanish rice and baked pork chops. Yum!
When I eventually flew out, I made it into town by 4:30 PM. My mom met me at the gate and it was so good to see her! My mom and I are extremely close, usually talking on the phone multiple times a day, so I was psyched that she had been able to come for this trip. To make my mood even better, she was shocked at my appearance when she saw me. I told her I had lost weight, but she gushed on and on about how “incredible” I looked. Pretty flattering 🙂
We stopped at our hotel long enough to check in, drop our bags off, and meet our roommates. The Albany Running Exchange plans an annual trip to Burlington for the marathon, so my mom and I were rooming with two other women from the club, who were great. After chatting them up and telling the whole sordid story of Boyfriend disappearing and me not going to bed Thursday night, I hilariously found out that almost the same thing had happened to one of my roommates at her last marathon: her boyfriend left in the middle of the night, taking all his stuff with him, and she had no idea what happened! Apparently it’s a common theme.
At the expo, I picked up my packet and chip, as well as my special pacer vest. It was one of those neon yellow safety vests like road workers wear at night – not the most attractive running gear 🙂 We briefly browsed the expo, and I was excited to see the New Balance booth advertising their fall line – I felt like such an insider to already know all about the 81 points of fit on their sneakers! I looked for Bill Rodgers, who was supposed to be at the expo to sign autographs, but he must have already left. Too bad – he was at the Providence Half and last year’s Vermont expo, and I was looking forward to seeing him again and telling him how far I’d come in the last year!
Next up was the pasta dinner, which as a pacer I was entitled to attend for free. That was a great deal, as tickets were priced at $25 for adults, which I think is way too high for a pasta dinner. Heck, I balk at $20! I think pasta dinners should be in the $5-10 range; if they’re going to charge $25, it should be a model where runners get in for free and guests are the only ones who have to pay. Apparently other people felt the same as me, because the dinner only had half the attendance as the year before. Disappointing! My mom and I ended up at a great table though, with several other multi-marathoners and one Maniac. I had heard a lot about him: his nickname was “Dead Guy” because in the middle of some crazy streak of marathoning, he had a heart attack, died in the hospital, and came back to life when they were able to jump start his heart or something. Two weeks later, he ran another marathon to uphold the streak! Incredible.
Speaking of incredible, after the dinner, there was a speaker who was absolutely fantastic. Sarah Reinertson was born with a congenital defect that forced her to get an above-the-knee leg amputation at the age of 7. While at first she couldn’t even walk, she once attended a 5K to watch her dad compete, and saw an athlete with an artificial leg who was running the 5K and had even competed in marathons! Sarah was inspired to start running marathons, and, even more amazingly, become the first woman with an artificial leg to finish Ironman Kona! Sarah was a really dynamic speaker and I was really happy I got to hear her.
Now, time for bed…big responsibilities tomorrow!