May 3, 2010

Night Before the Race: New Jersey Marathon

Friday night, my flight home from Chicago was canceled, and they had rebooked me on Saturday morning to return home. Yikes! Cutting it too close for comfort for me to get to New Jersey on Saturday, plus I didn’t want to stay in Chicago for another night. Fortunately, I persuaded the gate agent to let me try my best to dash through security to catch the 5pm flight (the only one that hadn’t been canceled), and it worked – I was the last person to board the plane, but I got home safe and sound.

My mom drove down from Albany to meet me, and after a nice brunch at Hampton Chutney, we headed down to New Jersey for the expo and race. I discovered that the town of Long Branch was right near where I had been for (now ex-)Boyfriend’s brother’s wedding. The traffic getting down there on Saturday was horrendous, and we got stuck for a while at a traffic light right across from the Men’s Wearhouse, so I got to recount the story to my mom of how Boyfriend thought it was acceptable to wear khakis and a polo shirt to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner (and I didn’t discover this fact until we started getting ready and he proclaimed he already was ready), and how we dashed off to Men’s Wearhouse just one hour before the rehearsal to get him a new suit, tie, shirt, socks, dress shoes… the works. Too funny!

This time on the Jersey Shore, I was pretty well prepared for my marathon. I got to the expo and met up with a bunch of 50 staters at the club booth, and also met up with some of my co-pacers at the pacing team booth. The expo was pretty decently-sized, and it was in a gorgeous hotel and spa that I later learned was $400/night! Crazy rates for the host hotel, and ones that I couldn’t imagine paying. My mom and I were going to be sharing a room at a cute little B&B a few miles south with my friend and fellow 50 stater, Lois.

At 4pm, we headed to the 50 States Club meeting, and I was thrilled to get to introduce my mom to all my friends about which she’s heard so much. I was particularly psyched for her to meet Tim, who was going to be finishing his 50 states at the race the next day! Tim has done all 50 states in just 18 months… even faster and crazier than me 🙂

After the club meeting, my mom and I headed off to the free dinner for the pacers… which turned out to be some basic pasta fare at Big Al’s. Until then, I had pretty much overlooked the fact that we were essentially on the Jersey shore, but when I saw some of the people walking around the little downtown area where Big Al’s was located, it became too clear. There were so many Snookie and The Situation clones walking around that I wondered if I should go buy a Bump It to wear for the race!

After a quick bite, we headed a bit further south to our B&B, The Majestic. It turned out to be this gorgeous Victorian style beach house that was right on the boardwalk – so pretty! The rooms were beautifully decorated, with well-chosen antiques mixing with modern accoutrements for the perfect quaint but functional setting. As soon as we got there, I got my race stuff laid out and ready to go for the next day.

When I got my packet at the expo, I had pulled out the bib to check the name, and it all seemed fine. However, when I now took the D-tag off to attach it to my sneaker, I realized I had a major problem. Under the D-tag, the top of my bib read “Long Branch Half Marathon.” Double checking Lois’ bib that she had already unpacked, I discovered that hers indeed read “New Jersey Marathon” and was a different color than mine. They had registered me for the half marathon by mistake!

I first called the pacing team lead, who told me that he didn’t think anything could be done at this point. He said just to run the race with the half marathon bib and that hopefully we could get my time adjusted afterward. Um… not good enough for me. What if they couldn’t adjust it? I needed New Jersey to count for one of my fifty states, and I didn’t want to miss it on a technicality. I started flipping out a bit, so Lois suggested that I call Paula Boone (the founder of the 50 states club) to figure out what else could be done. Paula knew the race director, Art, and passed along his cell phone number, telling me that would be the best option. I was a bit apprehensive about calling him the night before the race (since I knew he probably had a million other things to worry about), but I didn’t really have any other options, so I gave him a ring. As it turned out, everything was fine: he said I could just go find “Dave the timing guy” who would be at the start, and that he’d get me all set so it would record my time properly. Art said he thought Dave would also be able to get me another bib, but that in a worst case scenario, they could at least switch the timing chip to count for the full, and that I’d just have to ignore the volunteers screaming at me to stop running after the first loop if they couldn’t switch the bib. I hoped I wouldn’t have to deal with that, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I did, particularly since I knew I’d be with a big group as the pacer.

With that all resolved, I could now turn my attention to the fact that I was absolutely exhausted, so I ended up hitting the hay by 9pm. I guess I’m not used to traveling for business all the time! Hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of things soon.


13 thoughts on “Night Before the Race: New Jersey Marathon”

  1. Off topic for this post, how do you carry your Droid when you run? Do they make an iPod-esque holder?

    Paul – (fellow Droid-er)

  2. Paul, I use a decidedly low-tech method: I put my Droid in a plastic bag and seal it as best as I can, then stick that in my fuel belt. As far as I can tell, there aren’t yet any good sweatproof cases for the Droid (other than some huge ultra-waterproof ones that are meant for scuba diving or something), so this is just how I keep the sweat from ruining it. It definitely is a pain though, and I’m really hoping they come out with a good armband soon.

  3. Wow, I’ve been away from your blog for a bit and I see you’re still going strong with your marathon goals. Congrats on YET another. And hopefully we can run into each other at a race! 🙂

  4. Coming to know Art ! He is capable of doing a million things in one day.
    I cannot wait to read your race report especially with the fact that it was a HOT day. I am so curious how you did.

  5. OK, I gotta stick up for my home state of NJ. Long Branch IS NOT a “Jersey Shore” type of place. It’s a very monied community where people live year round or have a McMansion summer home. (We missed most of the huge homes in South Long Branch because the course changed this year to avoid it.) As to the Snooki and Situation types you saw … you do realize that those two are not from NJ. Snookie’s from just outside Poughkeepsie and The Situation is from YOUR (and city (albeit the borough of SI, but still)? Hell, most of the cast are Guidos/Guidettes and not New Jerseyans. Sure, they can give Italians a bad name but not NJ since only one (Sammi) lives there. Next year they’re not even going to the NJ Shore with that cast.

    – Lauri

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