Thursday, April 28, 2011

Country Music Half Marathon, Part I: The Expo

I took the day off to attend the first day of the Country Music Marathon Expo.

We *all* have to go to the expo either Thursday or Friday, because there is no packet pickup on Saturday morning. Rather than rush in and rush out, I decided to make a day of it (I also remembered having to park really far away when I went to the expo pregnant last year. Although I didn't end up doing the race, I did get the swag :-))

I wrote a post recently about why I run, and I cited races as one of the big reasons. Well, that was reinforced today. Even though I knew no one, I felt at home there.

Here's what it looked (and sounded) like when I arrived:

I had a very easy time picking up my packet, then headed over to pick up my t-shirt and swag bag.

I looked through some of the merchandise and noticed they had a mirror there just for me..
Seriously. I need this mirror at home.
After you get out of the mandatory merchandise section, the place opens up and the expo is open to the general public.

I picked up a new hydration system and a tunebelt for my Iphone. So, sadly, I will no longer be wearing my super cool fanny back (I know, you're weeping)...

One of the highlights for me was that I wanted to hear John Bingham speak. One of my heroes, he is also known as "The Penguin". He makes running accessible to "normal people".  He also (and I didn't know this until today) used to work where I work, and held the position now held by my boss. So, that made for interesting conversation.

Anyway, his talk was really more interactive and informal. It was definitely worth the price of admission.
He saw me about to take a picture and stopped talking to pose.

Basically, he would look at each of us and say, "Okay, what are you concerned about?"

Since I was Front Row Joe, I got to start.

I told him my main concern: That I barely made it through 10 miles, so how on earth can I make it through 13.1?

His response:
"Were the roads blocked off for you?" (No..)
"Were there 40,000 people cheering for you?" (Well, no, even though I tried to pretend there were).

But, he really reassured me that I would be fine. He said I would be having so much fun, I would look up and realize I had run 5 miles!

Other things I learned:
- Keep your *effort* constant, not your pace. (Which means you might have to walk up the hills. Oh, did I mention there are hills?)
- Do not over-hydrate. If you pass a water station and you're not thirsty, don't drink!
- He said a lot about ignoring your watch. People have PR'd when they didn't look at their watch the whole time...
- The worst thing you can do after a race is get in a hot tub. Darn it.
- One full marathoner said he was nervous because he felt like he hadn't trained enough.  Mr. Bingham said "If you can't be well-trained, be well rested." This made me feel a bit better...

He also introduced me to his ex-wife, who used to work where I work, and can tell me lots of local running routes.
Girlfriend needs to get her roots done..
 After that I headed back to the car and went to get my kids.

After I got them settled, I checked out my swag:
Eh. Not much swag..

A good day. I'm inspired to run a good race.

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