the new yorkers invaded phoenix relatively on time, right around 11. after gathering everyone’s luggage (for once, i had probably under-packed and had only a carry-on), we were herded onto shuttle busses and taken to the hyatt, which would be our home for the next few days.
charlotte and drew were coming in later, so it was only demps and i in our little crew. we each chilled out in our rooms for a little bit and then headed out to get food, pick up our numbers and hit the expo. expo is just what you would imagine it to be - vendors of all sorts, mostly running-oriented, selling and pushing everything from marathon kitsch and disposable pants/shirts to wear pre-race to other marathons and timeshares.
everything was a little bit surreal. the stress and anxiousness had died down and were replaced with the beginnings of excitement and wanting to run already! we grabbed baja fresh mostly because we were lazy and it was surprisingly tasty. then it was over to the convention center to get our numbers. haven’t yet shaken off my flakiness of the past few days, i had left my license - which you need to get your race number because of, if you can believe it, marathon-id-fraud - in my room. doh. so there was a little extra walking and then there it was - my marathon number. 11040. attached to the number was a bag check tag and a ticket for a free tee-shirt - whoo hoo!
i was on the hunt for goo, because i hadn’t had time for shopping before i left. i also was thinking of breaking the “nothing new on race day” rule because i thought it was going to be far too cold for just my singlet but too hot to wear my long-sleeved under it. i was nervous they weren’t going to have my kind of goo - power gels, preferably the double latte & pure energy varieties - because another brand was the sponsor, but there they were. one less thing to worry about. after a while it was too hot and crowded, so demps and i headed back to the hyatt to swap goo flavors (wow - i’m officially a running nerd) and take a nap.
after demps left for his room i intended to sleep but heard people in the hot tub which was right out my window. my mentor, kelly, and some other gals were down there so i decided to nap later and went down to be social. friday was the last time we were allowed to use the hot tub until 4 hours after the race because you a) don’t want to raise your body temperature or b) get extra dehydrated. speaking of hydration, up until 2 hours before the race you can imagine a water bottle permanently attached to my right hand, and schedule in pee-breaks every 1/2 hour or so. anyway - the hot tub got rid of the last few lingering jitters, and then i headed up to my room for a nap. it was one of the best naps ever.
i woke up at 6 and shortly after, demps came over. he laughed when he saw i was in full pajama mode for my nap (why not!) and we waited for kelly and some others to get back to the grocery store so we could all go to dinner.
right near the hotel there was a cute little outdoor mall, where we ended up eating at “my big fat greek restaurant”. not the sort of place i might typically go to, but i’m such a nyc food-snob that i didn’t really care. plus, it had the funny factor and flaming cheese, which makes up for what i figured would be less-than-great greek.
as soon as we sat down, drew called to say he had arrived, so i had him come over and meet us. it was fun crew. in our company we had a teacher, a lawyer-soon-going-back-to-school-to-become-a-doctor, a marketing guru (me, ha), a hbo production manager, an oncologist and a freelance film production/director/writer. i think one of the coolest things about tnt (aside from the amazing impact the organization has had on blood cancers of course) is how it brings all sorts of people together. i think in ny (and maybe elsewhere too) you tend to flock to the same kinds of people that you are, and while that is somewhat inevitable, its refreshing to get out of that too.
after dinner, demps and drew came over and we had a good catch up. demps’ girlfriend & my sister were on the same flight in from ny, and charlotte was on a flight that got in right around the same time. demps had to leave to get his girl, and drew and i continued chatting about what we were going to visit after the race, films and global warming. the girls got in around midnight, had snacks and then we all passed out. charlotte and i had to get up early...we had a group run at 8 am.