September 13, 2009

Night Before the Race: Lewis and Clark Marathon

Saturday morning found me up at 4:30 AM, probably too early to even be termed morning. Actually, Boyfriend contemplated staying up all night instead of waking up to see me off, but ultimately decided to sleep. I purposely showered the night before and laid all my clothes out, so I managed to get out the door in 15 minutes – a new record for me. It helped that Boyfriend wasn’t going with me so I felt no need to put makeup on or look pretty 🙂

The subway to the airport was fairly uneventful, other than the fact that it was a really long trip. I used the time to get some reading done for the book club I’m leading on Tuesday. The book is Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, and it’s absolutely phenomenal – makes me want to go to India and check it out for myself! I’d highly recommend it, though I should warn you that it’s a bit of a long read (930-some pages).

I got to the airport with time to spare, which meant that I had time to grab some quick breakfast. I picked up some home fries (yay carbs!) as well as a few bites of scrambled eggs (yay protein!), which I figured was a bit indulgent but not totally unhealthy. Though I realize it’s not a breakfast food at all, I also threw in a scoop of a cold wild-rice-and-cranberry salad, which turned out to be delicious. I think that may be my new go-to pick for breakfast at the airport the morning before a marathon.

I slept most of the way to Charlotte, and arrived to find that while I had been told the day before that the early flight was sold out (meaning I’d have to hang out in the CLT airport for a few hours before the later flight – not a huge deal), there were now a few seats and it was pretty likely that I’d get on. Nice! I settled in to wait, catching up on a few old race reports while I did so, and soon enough I was boarding and on the way to STL.

Longtime readers may remember that I did about a month-long stint in STL for work about a year ago. It seemed like a very short time period, and I didn’t think I’d remember much from it, but as I was walking through the airport terminal, I was talking to my mom and to Boyfriend on the phone… and I found that my feet led me right to the hotel shuttle pickup, without me reading any signs or paying any attention to where I was going. I guess I do know St. Louis a little better than I thought (or at least the airport).

I got to the hotel around 1 PM, giving me a few hours to kill before I got picked up for dinner at 4:30. Though I intended to spend the time reading and going to the hotel gym for some weight lifting, I ended up just lying in bed on my laptop, distracted by the 90% off sale at Has anyone else ever used that site before? It seems like a really great deal, and I bought a ton of $25 gift certificates for only $1 each, so hopefully it will work out.

At 4:30, my cell phone rang – it was one of the other pacers, Todd, letting me know that he was just about to my hotel. I headed to the lobby to meet him for the drive to the pasta dinner, and he and his wife told me about the marathons they’ve done. They want to be 50 staters and Maniacs, and had been to the Maniac site and seen my list of races completed. I’m not going to lie – I felt a little celebrity-ish to have them checking out my stats 🙂

The pasta dinner was being hosted by the head of the Fleet Feet Running Club, Chris, who also happened to be my 4:45 pace buddy. His house was beautiful, and the array of food that he and his wife had put out was nothing short of awesome. Spaghetti, homemade meat sauce, garlic bread, salad with all the fixings, cut veggies and dip… I was psyched. As the other members of the pace team arrived, I found that a lot of them had also brought dishes to contribute: garlic toast with bruschetta, buffalo chicken ranch dip… and a ton of delicious desserts. I couldn’t wait to dig into all the sweet treats, but forced myself to start with the dinner food. Not that I needed much forcing – it was delicious!

Though I was at first uncharacteristically shy (for no real reason), I soon settled into some running discussions. At first, I was a little disappointed because everyone kept making a huge deal about how many marathons I’ve done. I don’t mind that sometimes – it can be nice to feel special – but I’ve gotten so used to Maniac dinners the nights before the race, where everyone is just as crazy as me and the marathons aren’t a big deal. However, halfway through dinner, a latecomer arrived. Kay was going to be running her 98th marathon the next morning, and was on track to have #100 be Chicago. At last, a kindred soul! I really enjoyed talking to Kay and hearing all about the races she had run, and that in turn made me feel more comfortable with everyone else as well.

I excused myself from the table to go sample dessert, and boy, did I pig out! Magic cookie bars, apple crisp, strawberry pie… I tried to take small portions of each, but it was hard to resist, especially when I discovered how delicious they all were. I decided I’d make it a point to e-mail the group for the recipes later, because those are definitely some desserts I’d like to try making healthy. I also had tried a bit of craft beer (a darker one that was some sort of quadruple bock – not usually my cup of tea) that was absolutely delicious, so I wanted to get the name of that.

On the dessert table, there was also a half eaten bowl of what looked like boiled potatoes, cabbage, and a hamburger. I didn’t ask any questions, assuming it was just someone’s special diet, but someone pointed out to me that we had a celebrity in our midst: an elite half-marathoner from Ethiopia was staying with someone in the running club, and that was his pre-race meal. It was interesting to see what the elites eat! Perhaps I’ll try a variant on that meal for my next marathon 🙂

I left the party completely stuffed to the gills, but sated. I returned to the hotel just about the same time as my roommates, Diane and Peggy, and worried that I would have to make excuses about going to bed so early (it was only about 8 PM). Fortunately, they were just as tired as I was, and we all settled in by about 8:30 PM to rest. I tried to read more of Shantaram for a little bit, but my eyes kept closing, so I reluctantly gave Boyfriend a good night call and rolled over to go to sleep. A good day, and hopefully a good night’s rest to prepare me for pacing!


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