Thursday, I spent most of the day packing and stressing about what to pack. I ended up bringing 5 different race outfits, but better safe then sorry, right?
Friday morning we started our drive to Philadelphia. I started to calm down as there was nothing more I could do. I just wanted to be there.
Barb and her husband Randy were also driving in from Ohio. We got there first and checked in. With about an hour before Barb would be there, we decided to go to the expo and get the kids' and my numbers. George and Gracie were racing on Saturday.
As soon as we walked into the expo, I was just amazed. It was big and I wanted to see everything, but didn't have time. Plus, Saturday was going to be my expo day with Barb and my friend Diane.
I went to get my number first. I got in line and was handed my bib and to my surprise, my name was on it! I was shocked and cried. This was the first time I have had my name on my bib and I loved it!
From there, I got my shirt and bag. Really great shirt and nice bag. Not too much in it, but I was happy none the less.
The kids numbers were in a different spot. We headed in that direction and again, to my surprise, their names were on their bibs too! Well done Philly, well done!
They got really cool shirts too and some fun stuff in their race bag. Yes, they got swag to!
Back to the hotel and we were soon reunited with Barb and Randy. It has been about two years since we saw each other. Big hugs all around.
We stopped in our room before heading to dinner and again, to my surprise, there was champagne and flowers on the table in our room. Shocked once again, I opened the card.
It was from my TNT team, Haley's Sweet 16. Shawna and the gang got together and sent this to my room with a beautiful note. More tears. I have the most amazing support.
From there we met my parents for dinner. When I saw my mom, she gave me a huge hug and told me it was from Shawna. They had been talking back and forth setting up the flower and champagne delivery. Thank you Haley's Sweet 16, you were a huge part of my weekend. I love everyone of you!
We ended up in China Town and had a fabulous meal. Conversation was good and it was just so nice to be with everyone.
I was tired by the time we got back to the room, but the kids were wired. Took a while to calm them down. We laid out their race outfits for the morning and finally they were asleep. I think we all slept well.
George and Gracie woke up excited. They got dressed, we found breakfast and then we met my parents, Barb and Randy at the start of the kids race.
George was doing the mile and Gracie, the half mile.
The start was great. They even had a real clock. The start and finish was the same that the half and full runners were going to use the next day. They had a fun warm up and then the half mile runners were off! Gracie was one of the last runners in but she was smiling the whole time. I love that she had fun and wore her medal for two days.
George was up next. He seemed more nervous for some reason. We cheered him on and I was surprised to see him coming into the finish when he did. The clock above his head read 8:34! That was a fast mile for my little guy and I am so very proud of him.
|That is the look of a little man who just ran his heart out!|
Before heading to the expo, Barb wanted to see the Rocky statue and run up the steps. We got some great pictures and it was fun to see the statue again. Barb ran up all 70 steps and back down. Woohoo my friend!
The kids, my parents, Randy and Mr. RWM headed to lunch and the Franklin Institute. And finally, Barb and I were on our way to the expo. I was very excited to get there and I was also going to meet my friend Diane in person!
BTW, the weather was really nice. I got warm in my jacket. I started rethinking my race outfit for the hundredth time.
|Barb snapped this when we were walking to the expo. I think I look like a lion.|
Once at the expo, my heart was racing. There were so many people and the excitement was contagious. I was in heaven!
We found Diane and hugged. It was so nice meeting one of my virtual friends in person. She was running the half and it was going to be her first. We spent two hours shopping and looking around. We also listened to the speaker who talked about the course. I think it was good for us to hear.
Believe it or not, I did not get crazy with shopping. I got exactly what I wanted. I did want the Philadelphia Marathon Finishers jacket but they were out of my size. It will be a nice Christmas gift though and you can order it online Mr. RWM and kids. Hint, hint.
By the time we were finished shopping, Barb and I were starving! Not good. So far I had fueled poorly and walked too much. I actually felt terrible by the time we got to the hotel. We headed to the hotel bar and ordered some food and a beer. As soon as I started to eat, I felt better. Lesson learned.
Soon after that, the family got back from the museum. My parents were taking the kids for the night and I am so very thankful for that. We said our goodbyes and for some reason, I couldn't help but cry. I was sad to see my kids go, but knew it was for the best. I also knew as the night went on, that this was it. When I see my kids and parents again, it will be at the finish line. It scared me a little.
We had a little down time before our dinner reservation. I put my feet up and just relaxed. It felt good.
Our reservations were at the Marathon Grill. They had a special menu for the runners, plus their normal menu. Our food was fantastic and I would definitely go back.
We left stuffed and happy, but on the walk back, my hands started to shake. This was it. Once I got back to the hotel, I would lay out my race outfit and everything I needed and go to bed. I was freaked out. Really freaked out!
We walked slow. I think on purpose. Barb and I had the same feeling. Even though this was her fifth marathon, she was still nervous too.
We planned our meeting time, hugged and said goodnight.
I laid every thing out, took a pic and got in bed. I watched a little TV but felt very tired. Believe it or not, I slept great.
Part two tomorrow.
Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole