The goodies and gear that we got were incredible! We received a striped Foot Locker singlet (running tank), running shorts, warm-up pants, a windbreaker, a running hat, and a pair of New Balance running shoes! Score!
On top of that we also received a VIP package which included an invite to a VIP dinner tonight (I passed, I had a massage scheduled), access to the VIP lounge during the expo today and tomorrow, access to a VIP area at the start line, VIP gear check, access to a VIP finish area, a VIP parking spot at the finish line (BEST PART), and access to the VIP area at the after party concert. Hmm.. could I have squeezed VIP into that paragraph one more time? Basically exclusive areas and less lines. I'm all about that!
We then went over logistics for race day. The only piece of gear we have to wear is the singlet. Everything else is optional. I have a feeling each of us will probably only wear that. The shorts were really on the skimpy side and it didn't seem like any of us wanted to be a team of cheeky zebras. We meet at the VIP area by 6:15am (race starts at 6:30am) on Sunday and meet our bike escort. (SO COOL! You probably don't appreciate that unless you're a runner too. Usually only special participants get an escort. Leaders in the male, female elite category, leader in the local category, wheelchair participants, etc.) The bike escort will stay with us for the first 13.1 miles where we stick together, and will then follow me - I mean the leader from that point forward.
Soon after discussing all of this, the press and elite athletes started to arrive. Oh yeah, and then randomly - some members of the kitchen staff wheeled a cart of like 50 turkeys by. WTH?
So the press conference started and the director of PR welcomed everyone, went over some general information for the race, and then introduced us, the 2009 Foot Locker Challenge team! Whoo hoo!
Originally there were six of us selected but somehow we seemed to have lost a member. When we were all emailing each other to set up a training run time, one of the guys that lived far north stopped replying and the final guy was traveling, so only four of us ran together. The guy who was out of town was here today, but the other was mysteriously gone! I wonder if he dropped out? It seems unfair if he did since his spot could have gone to someone else who would have really enjoyed being a part of this.
After each of us was introduced they then started introducing the elite athletes. OMG they were all so tiny! The two women had to be around 5'0" 80 lbs? (Far right.) The men weren't much bigger. I'd say 5'5" - 5'10" weighing between 110-140 lbs? Suddenly I felt like an ogre!
Each of the elite runners had some type of impressive win or record behind them. There were a few previous race winners and a few record holders. The most notable being the course (not world.. sorry David for the mistext, I was too excited!) record holder. His record is 2:08:33. Just to do the math for you that is an average of a 4:54 pace. Yes, he ran a sub 5 minute mile for 26.2 miles. WOW. After the press conference we got to take a publicity photo with him. Who knows, maybe we'll make the event brochure next year? :o) Notice how he is shorter than me. I'm wearing heels so he is probably actually my height. I'm 5'5". And from the looks of him I probably have 30 pounds on him. Depressing.
But back to the press conference. The next person up after the elite athletes was Tom Bedford. He is the reason that elite runners Josh HOT, I mean Josh Cox and Ryan Hall will be running the race. They are pacing him, a mere mortal, to a 2:25 finish in order to raise money for a charity.
His quest for this finish time started in a pub bet, as all heroic athletic endeavors should of course. Information about his charity and efforts can be found here http://entoto.org/, quite a neat story. Just to do the math for you once again, a 2:25 finish is a 5:32 mile. For 26.2 miles. Sheesh. In his last race he came close finishing in 2:33. That is really not too shabby. Lance Armstrong (an amazing, amazing athlete) recently finished in 2:46:43. In his first attempt he finished in 2:59. So this guy Tom Bedford has already beat Lance Armstrong in his first marathon, and is on track to beat him by another TWENTY minutes in his second marathon.
Please, a moment of silence for this amazing man!
Anyways, after the press conference we all went down and got our race numbers and race shirt and the rest minus me went into the expo to check out all of the booths. Sadly, I had to rush back to work for a meeting and couldn't look around. Not to worry though, I'll be back tomorrow to check things out with David.
So it is now the night before, the night before the marathon. I'm excited about the race after today's event, I'm nice and loose thanks to tonight's deep tissue massage, and I'm ready for a somewhat big day tomorrow (Allen brothers arriving and going the marathon expo) and then the real big day on Sunday!