In case you were living under a rock for the past few months and missed all of my posts about it, let me fill you in. I signed up to run the Phoenix Marathon in August of last year. I ended up starting to train in September, but that was mostly because I had a ton of races on the calendar so I needed to get everything on the schedule to work towards my goals. Little by little ALL THE COOL KIDS started signing up for the race (whether it was the half marathon or full marathon distance). Before we knew it, the Phoenix Marathon turned into the PLACE (and RACE) to be!
Obviously with soooooooo many amazing folks (both as runners and as human beings in general) in one place at the same time, you know we had to take advantage of it! The races were Saturday morning, but it quickly turned into a whole weekend of activities.
I am hoping to get my race recap up tomorrow (as long as I can wrap my head around everything that took place during those 3 HOURS AND 46 MINUTES), but for now I've gotta post about all of the pre-race festivities!
Ryan and I decided we would drive to Phoenix. First, we weren't sure what his work schedule would look like, so just in case he was going to be out of town on a photo shoot, we figured we would rather not have to deal with refundable tickets or canceling/ changing reservations. Also, it is only about a 5.5 hour drive from Oceanside to Phoenix so it is totally doable. If you factor in the time it takes to get to the airport (an hour), the time you waste getting from the parking to the terminal itself (an hour), the time in advance you need to get there (an hour plus), the flight length (an hour), the time for de-boarding, to get a rental car and over to the hotel (an hour plus), it's pretty much a wash (not to mention it's a bit cheaper driving and I'm all about saving money to spend on more race registrations ;)).
If you know Ryan then you know he HAS TO find some random stops along the way. We ended up leaving Friday morning around 5am, so for the first 3 or so hours of the trip he was sleeping while I drove, but once he woke up he put a destination into his phone - The Statue of Hobo Joe. Yup, it is exactly what it sounds like... a statue of a hobo named Joe... And yes, we did drive about 20 miles out of the way to go see it... But if the hubby is coming along to support me and my crazy running adventures, I will humor him with a couple strange stops.
|Hobo Joe in all his glory... In a random industrial park in Buckeye, AZ|
(which smelled of manure... but don't most "buckeye" things stink?!)
We ended up getting into Phoenix around noon (remember, we lost an hour with the time change, so we made pretty decent time with our detour, gas stop and potty breaks!). Ryan told me he wanted to go to some thrift shops, so we checked into the hotel (where we saw Erica and Susie), grabbed some sandwiches at Z-Cafe, and then hit up a couple thrift stores before heading over to the Expo. (I was even able to grab a throw-away hoodie from one of them to keep me warm at the starting line of the race.)
|Sure, sure, the main focus is the race, but the PEOPLE are what MAKE IT GREAT!|
There was a bit of a meet-up going down at the Pro Compression booth at the Expo, so OBVIOUSLY I had to stop on by! It was more of a pop in and pop out sort of thang, so I am sorry if I missed seeing folks that weren't there from 2-3ish. It was great getting to chat it up and hang out with such awesome people - some I had met IRL (in real life) before and others this was our first time (but even with your Instagram "friends" it sort of seems like you "know" each other already anyway, doesn't it?!).
|Photo taken from Jeremy|
|Andrea, Michael and I|
(Guess I missed the All Black Everything Run All Day Memo)
|The speedster, Pavement Runner!|
|The creator of the #RunAllDay shirts cheesing it up with me!|
|Shane and Suzanne holding down the Pro Compression booth like PROS!|
|Photo taken from @SuzanneEllard's Instagram|
While I was hanging out, Ryan decided to go over to the BMO table and draw up a quick sign to hold while out on the course... Oh yeah, if you don't know my hubby (which you should - DUH - since he is DA BOMB DIGGITY!), he is a pretty awesome artist... And he was even featured on the Phoenix Marathon Instagram and Twitter pages!
|Photo from @PhoenixMarathon's Twitter Feed|
In case you don't get the llama reference, you must not have seen the news on Thursday... Ryan likes to keep his signs as current as possible ;)
After we all hung out at the Pro Compression booth, we all started making our way through the Expo and ended up congregating in Sports Authority (they may have kicked us out of the area we were in originally because we had so many people hanging out that we were blocking their entrances - OOPS!). Obviously we grabbed a few more pictures while we socialized.
|Christina and I|
|I don't know what I did to get so lucky to meet these folks, but they are AMAZING!|
Michael, Christina, me, Emz, Brian and Andrea
|Photo taken from Smitha|
By the time we were getting ready to leave we only had about an hour before we were supposed to head over to La Grande Orange for our dinner meet-up (if you couldn't guess by now, when folks from social media get together, they get SOCIAL :) #AllTheHangOuts #AllThePictures #AllTheFun). Ryan and I quickly made our way back to the hotel to change, freshen up a bit, and then head right back out the door.
|Photo taken from @RunEMZ's Instagram|
We hung out, shared lots of laughs, enjoyed delicious pizza, and chatted the evening away about our goals and plans for the following morning's race.
|LOOK - It's my DAD (or at least Jeff Galloway asked Joe if he was my dad ;))|
Photo reposted from @Run8va's Instagram
|Photo taken from @PavementRunner's Instagram|
|Gregg told me that a hug from me would make his whole trip worth it, so|
obviously we had to capture a hug with my phone!
|Photo taken from @RunEMZ's Instagram|
|Photo taken from @VK_Davies' Instagram|
Before I knew it, it was time to head back to the hotel, get out my Flat Carlee, and set my alarm for 3am (uh... yeah... so the race didn't start till 6:30am, but we had to take buses to the start and the last one left at 5am, so we left the hotel by 4ish... but it's not like I can sleep before a race anyway).
|Flat Carlee included my Brooks Ghosts 6, Sparkle Athletic Rainbow Checkerboard skirt, Pro Compression Neon Orange and Neon Green Socks (#TwoPairDontCare), Garmin Forerunner 110, SPIbelt, Sparkly Soul Silver Headband, and Clif ShotBloks.|
ONWARD TO THE RACE!
Have you ever met someone IRL that you first "knew" online?