After snaking my way through the Ukrop's Monument Av 10K Race Expo at the Arthur Ashe Center to pick up my race packet, I was greeted by the VCU Massey Cancer Center Wall full of wishes and dedications.
It took me awhile to find a spot for mine. I was humbled by all the names and tributes. This is, after all, why I am running this race: to kick cancer in the ass.
|Yup. Only in my dreams will I ever be a Kenyan.|
Funny thing though, I ended up buying neither, opting instead to buy "Run Like A Mother" and "13.1," Bondi Bands, the latter for inspiration.
|(OMG OMG OMG!!)|
Then we stumbled into the SUNTRUST Richmond Marathon booth, and I knew it was a sign. I had been thinking and talking about doing my first half marathon this year (as part of my "Before the Hill List") and when I saw the booth, I felt like I couldn't escape it, it was totally meant to be. So my sister and I signed up!!!! :O) (We are still freaking out over this).
I knew from the Runner's World Magazine Facebook page that Amby Burfoot and Bart Yasso would be at the Expo. I think I was more excited about meeting them and getting my books autographed. So imagine my complete and utter embarrassment when I asked this guy below where I could find Amby Burfoot.
|Amby Burfoot and me after signing my book!|
I was totally star-struck by Amby Burfoot and very happy I got to meet him. While I waited for my sister to return, he shared how these days, he only trains for 10Ks and half marathons, no more full marathons. He was excited about running the 10K race the next day and felt very energized by Richmond's spirit and running community. He was planning to hang out after the 10K race to check out all the buzz over the Richmond Rams, VCU's men's basketball team, who made it to the Final Four. Amby seems to be the kind of guy who lives for the experience of not just the race, but of the town the race is in. He runs for the pure joy of running and I love that about him.
I wish I wasn't so starry-eyed when I met him. I forgot to ask him about his Athens Marathon, but he did give me a big boost of encouragement when he recommended the Richmond Half Marathon for first-timers. He ran the Richmond Full Marathon years ago, and he told me that the timing of the race (mid-November), the relatively flat course, and the energy of the crowd offered a great combination for a first-time half marathoner. Now if only I was a faster runner, I could have had the pleasure to run in the same wave start line as Amby. From his own race recap of the Ukrop's Monument Av 10K, looks like he ran the 10K course twice. Once towards the finish line and the second time going back towards the start line, meeting lots of other runners along the way. Again, how could I have missed him?!!!
|Bart Yasso signing my book!|
|Bart Yasso and me!|
After being at the Expo for 2 hours, I was ready to go to my sister's house to carbo-load with spaghetti for dinner. YUM! My sister cooks a mean spaghetti! It was such an exciting day, and I haven't even run the race yet at that point! More about race day on Race Recap Part 2.