Sunday, November 11, 2012

Race Report: Richmond Marathon Part 1

I can hardly believe that it's over - a day I had been dreading and looking forward to for more than 2 months.

And what a wonderful experience it was!

Race weekend started for me at the expo on Friday afternoon. I had signed up to hand out bib numbers, and with memories of the Ukrop's Monument Ave 10k expo (which is held in the same building) still in my head, I was expecting it to be a complete zoo in there. What I neglected to remember was that 40,000 people run the 10k and only about 19,000 participate in the marathon, half-marathon, or 8k (only... as if 19,000 runners aren't a lot). Anyhow, it wasn't too terribly busy at all, though there was a steady stream of people.

Bibs with a smile at the expo.
Handing out bibs turned out to be interesting study in people watching. The first thing I noticed was the amazing diversity of the runners: I handed out bibs to 15 year olds and a 75 year old, women, men, girls, boys, Virginias, Marylanders, North and South Carolinians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, Illinoisans (I had to look that one up!), skinny people, not-so-skinny people, women with babies strapped to their chests or in strollers, seasoned runners, and first timers.

It was easy to pick out the first timers - they were either super excited and told me so, or they were visibly nervous and not sure what to do. I loved it when people came up and said, "I'm just so excited to be here!"

Two gentlemen stand out most in my mind: one was the 75 year old man who came to pick up his half-marathon bib. 75 and still running. Wow. I just wanted to hug him and then ask his secret. The other was a middle aged man who came up and seemed stressed. I asked, "How are you doing?" and he just shook his head and said, "Ya know, terrible. Just terrible."

And before I knew it he was telling me his story - he had blown his knee a few weeks ago and was just picking up his bib even though he knew he wouldn't be able to run. I could tell he was extremely upset - I swear he almost cried while standing talking to me. I told him my own story and I told him that he will run again and that I know exactly how he feels. He seemed so grateful but it really broke my heart.

My four hour shift was finished in a flash and it was off to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to meet Teka and check out the Chihuly exhibit. If you haven't been, get thyself there - it's truly fabulous.

After being wowed by Chihuly, we walked to nearby Caliente for dinner and then I haded home to bed to get some shut eye - even though I wasn't running, I still needed to be up at 5:15 a.m.

(to be continued)

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