As I mentioned in Saturday's blog, one of the things I really enjoy about big races are the pre-race festivities. I was really excited to be ambling down the freeway Saturday afternoon. I opened the windows and sunroof and soaked in the sun on my 30 minute drive to Long Beach. I was hoping that the weather was an indication of things to come.
The expo was really well organized. I showed up at 4:15 expecting a crowd (the expo closed at 6:00) It literally took me longer to park and walk to the Convention Center than it did to pick up my race packet and bib. But, since I had to pay $10 for parking, I decided I'd at least wander the expo.
It was a sizeable expo with a lot of exhibitors. The normal folks you see at all of these events were there with the requisite samples (Clif, Myoplex, Odwalla, etc.). But I was here with a purpose. I had one problem to solve - eight gel packets and a camera were not going to fit in my Nathan fuel belt. My bloggy buddy B.o.B. once again came to the rescue with her suggestion to pick up a Spibelt. This is quite a nifty contraption. As you can see from the picture below, the compartment is made of a stretchable fabric. When nothing is in it, the compartment is no larger than the belt. But, start stuffing away and voila! Six gel packets comfortably. I clipped it above my fuet belt and I was ready to go! Another lifesaver B.o.B!
I made one last circle through the expo. I guess I'm an official runner now. I can't go anywhere without meeting other folks I know. Ingrid (Travelmama in the California RWOL forums), Lori (Spandex in the same forums), and Sam dutifully manning his booth were also at the expo. Check out Sam's website at Operation Jack to benefit the fight against Autism!
With all that out of the way, it was time to drive the mile or so to the next event. Tweetup! I made it over to La Parolaccia for an evening of good food and good friends. Here's the obligatory group shot:
Right to left: Paul (@paulboth, Run for Liberty), Shelly (@smellycents, It's All About the Miles), Cindy (@262runr), yours truly, then standing - Danica (@chicrunner, The Chic Runner), Nina (@ncjack, Swim, Bike, Run and Tri), Ron (@punkrockrunner, Punk Rock Tri Guy), Rich (@richbella, http://www.richbella.com/), Jennifer (@anotorias, http://notorias.com/), Sheila (@sheilamking), Zach (@zachearl, Zach's Space) and Chrissy (@sonata31).
And just for you B.o.B - chicrunner and me:
I was supposed to make it to a Runner's World Forum Encounter, but after having a great time at the Tweetup, figured I better make it home to finish up preparations for the morning. I couldn't leave anything to chance - it wasn't like I was staying just down the street in a hotel or could call someone in a panic in the morning to bring my Garmin down. I had to be self sufficient. So I spent the next couple of hours going through my stuff. Are you ready?
Bib got pinned to my shirt. Shorts were out of the drawer and placed next to the shirt. DTag placed properly on my right shoe. Nine gel packets with taped Endurolytes (8 for the race and one extra) were taken out of the bag they were in. Six in the Psibelt. Three in the Fuelbelt. Water bottles were found and filled. Socks were put in the shoes.
Now that the clothing and footwear were taken care of, I got dressed and just made sure that it all fit right. No little kinks in the belts. Make sure my bib was on straight (sorry - I'm funny that way) and *below* the nipple line (one of my mistakes in San Diego). Make sure there were no little creases in the socks or pennies in my shoe (Nope! Never happened to me before!).
Next was the gear. Garmin charged and in the bag. HRM strap in the bag. iPod charged and in the bag. iPod armband in the bag. Headphones there. Bodyglide found. Camera charged and in the fuel belt. Check, check, check and check. Marathon shirt for after race and a beach towel in the bag. Fnally, I grabbed a runner's raincoat (30 gallon trashbag - sorry Billy - no empty Gatorade bottle) and stuffed it in my bag. Then, just in cast you thought I was kidding in my last post, I dumped my bag on the floor an checked everything again. (I found 50 cents for my trouble).
Only then did I feel like it was time for bed. I got the coffee maker set up and the timer set to go off at 4 AM. Finally, I set my alarms (yup - two of them) - one for 4AM and the second for 4:15, and drifted off to sleep.
Maybe next time if I spend less time getting prepared I'll have more energy to run with! And think about this - you *could* be my wife and have to put up with this all the time!
Tomorrow - the first half.