Getting to Disney and the Expo Changes

24 01 2009

I’m so thankful for friends …

The fleet footed Scott K (aka: the Eagle) arrived to drag my sorry self to the airport at around 6 a.m. Scott was the only person in Colorado to know most of the extent of my injuries and being that he’s an Athlete, Best Bud, and owner of a Massage Envy … he is one of the handful of people I’ll listen to. He also seems to “get” my personality and that’s pretty cool.

Scott and I met at the running club and he was the reason why I decided to give up running … HA … blaming it on you in public!!! The story goes as thus: I showed up to help out at the Labor Day race that the Rocky Mountain Road Runners was doing the finish line of. I didn’t know anyone, but an older gal named Betsy L. befriended me nearly immediately along with Rosalie. Turned out Betsy’s John was an extremely tall and slim gentleman (and there are few people I can use that term for) who was going to be racewalking (what the heck is racewalking?) the event.

Betsy took me under her wing as we walked John to the start line. Lovely folks, probably the age of my parents. Beautiful day, new friends … maybe this running club thing wasn’t too bad. Off the runners went … then Off the walkers went … then Off Betsy and I went, trundling back to the finish line. She was asking the overweight me what I was wanting to do with the club and I said I was thinking about running again, but concerned with my being very competitive and years not being kind. She smiled.

We got to the finish just as the first folks were flying in. I was completely in shock! I think I moved that fast in high school. This extremely skinny guy in the same singlet as John came flying in … and I mean flying … I swore I wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen wings folding backward under his shirt!

Betsy: “Oh Lizzy – that’s one of the Road Runners. That’s Scott K. He’s our fastest male!”

Me: “Um … I think I’ll never run again!!!”

John later said to me “Oh you don’t have to run … you can racewalk…” and I smiled saying “Yeah … maybe …”

A couple of years later, that same fleet footed guy is one of my closest friends and a Chief (giggle – inside joke). He’s been able to explain timing and courses etc … and it’s been great. His quiet “um … I suppose so …” shows up when I ask if I’m doing something insane … Of course, I get to point out people I want him to blow right past and tease him that his 17 minute 5K’s are just too slow! 

When Scott came to get me, there was no way I could get my food bag down the stairs. I had a feeling it was a smidge over weight. I had a pang of guilt when he was standing at my door in a nice pair of khakis about ready to move my food bag … which I swore weighed more than he does. I could have sworn his eyes popped slightly out of his head before he adjusted to the weight and lugged my bag down the 2 flights of stairs … with me limping after him.

Chatting merrily to the airport, I realized how nice it was that he was as competitive as me. Concerned comments about not killing myself, reminders that I’m doing a half marathon followed directly by a full one, and use the med-tent if you need it peppered the conversation. (We’re both pretty adverse to med tents.) The checklist: Garmin, Shoes, Socks, Race Clothes, Phone, Stitch Ears, Hat … CHARGERS for BOTH the phone and Garmin … (giggle – another inside joke) Great tunes, guesses at how many pounds over the limit my food bag was, comments about how wretched the blue horse with red eyes at the Denver International Airport is and suddenly I was there …

I think Scott’s shocks were happy to have my 53 pound food bag leave the trunk. “Looking forward to seeing all the medals!!!” and I was off.

A fairly decent flight to Orlando marred only by the fact that when the plane landed, it landed left side -> right side -> middle. Ok … no problem … we were early. The cool thing was so was the rest of the Rocky Mountain Team in Training team, so I got to go on the Magical Mystery Bus with them and not wait in the insane line. I also saw Coach Rick – a great guy with amazing energy – and I leveled with him and the team about my injury load.

The Magical Mystery Bus is a “service” of Disney which allows for your luggage to be brought to your room (poor soul who had to move that 53 pound food bag — I’m sure there was some “speculation” about what was in there!) while the bus brings you to the resort. The bags, however, can take several hours from the time you land to get there – so it’s always advisable to pack snacks in the carry on race bag. This year’s carry on race bag was double. I had double the clothes and one set of slicks in there. Not a lot of room for snacks, but I ate well before I left.

The bus ride was not really remarkable. I was tired, sore and didn’t like having my legs cramped up in the seat. I just wanted to get to the resort and figure out the Goofy. I had a lot on my mind. We turned into the first resort stop: The Pop Culture … and this Pop Culture Historian was in heaven … I immediately called Kristin H. (my Boulder co-hort) to say “I’m staying at this funky place next year! Hands down! Unless it costs serious bank!”

By the time we got to the Coronado, however, I was in race mode. I am a fairly social hermit. When I go to races out of town, for the most part I might hook up with friends, but I’ve been told I’m strangely self reliant. I like getting myself squared away and comfortable. Comfortable means I know where my chip is, it’s been checked and my number is in my bag ready to be affixed to my clothes. I got checked in, found out our rooms were on the far side of the resort (the one place I *didn’t* check out before I’d left) and I was off.

This being the third year I’ve done this event representing Team in Training-Rocky Mountain, I’ve come to recognize people. There were Courtney and Michelle from Boulder and, at the Coronado Resort, I ran into one of the coaches of Team Puerto Rico (GO PUERTO RICO!!!!!) who helped me out the previous year! This event is getting familiar – so when we got to the Expo … I was really surprised!

We hooked up as a bit of a team and it was a trip to actually see how tiny a team Rocky Mountain was. That’s OK. Once we got to the Sports Arena area … well … as I say … ch-ch-cha-cha-changes:

The area which was the expo floor was completely given over to Number & Chip … and unlike previous years it was nearly empty! It still reminded me of Redwood High School self-scheduling with lining up under race and number class, but it was really wide open. The downer, however, was that unlike before where we were funneled through an area where the chips were checked (creating the obvious bottleneck situation), if I’d not run in to Coach Rick, I wouldn’t have had my chips checked!

The Goofy participants were in our own separate section. I met a terrific guy … of course forgot his name … who explained the change for the Goofy. Instead of our putting the wrist bands on, they were taking care of that. I left with two race numbers (orange for the 1/2 and blue for the full) and sporting an orange wrist band proving I was a “Goofy”.

We exited the number pick up area and continued over to Josten’s Arena — yeah – the high school ring people. HUGE!!! OMG! Ok – priority one is to get the tech shirts. They put the shirt pick up at the back and Goofy had their own section. It was then that I found out we were only getting one gear check bag. Um … ok … I asked for a second as they tend to rip and the gal in charge said “Oh don’t worry … they’ll have a few spare bags on race day …” I smiled and thought of Scott “Mr. Gear Check” who always has to check clothes because he’s so thin. His blue eyes would be turning red at this!

Note to self: Carry spare “gear check” bag to Disney World in 2010.

"My Sport is Your Sport's Punishment

Pre Race: "My Sport is Your Sport's Punishment

The expo was actually pretty nice. This was the first year I went ahead and bought myself a short sleeved tech shirt – really pretty dark blue and a few other things. Let’s face facts – I wasn’t sure if I’d ever make it through the event … then I saw a guy that I’d seen in several expos … The past couple of years, I’d stared at the framed finisher’s things. Last year, I looked at him and said “You know, I’m going to do it next year.” Little did I realize that he would actually remember me and said “So … I see you’re in.” pointing to my tell-tale (or tattle tale?) orange wristband. I bit the bullet – I ordered the artwork which will have duplicates of my medals in it … You only get First Times once per event!

I wandered about and took care of some business. I talked with the Polar rep about how to deal with my new heart rate monitor strap and, more importantly, to The Stick people about how to roll out my very painful calf. I found a shirt in sky blue … and a coaster saying “Some girls chase boys, I pass them” which made me think of my “twin sister” Linda. I was floating about solo and finished the expo in a couple of hours. It was time to go.

It was cool for Flordia … I hoped I’d remembered a pair of gloves. I also hoped I could actually find my hotel room because I really wanted a snack.

 I also wanted some time to myself … the enormity of just what I was doing … with a body that felt like it was maybe at 50% was really starting to hit me … hard.




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