I woke up before the alarm on Saturday morning. I know Mr PugRunner would have enjoyed sleeping in but I was anxious to be on the road. I wasn’t sure what the crowds at the expo were going to be like, and I knew I would feel better if I could just collect my packet, get checked into the Dolphin, have a leisurely dinner and relax.
Relaxing isn’t really my thing, but I was going to try.
We grabbed bagels and coffee on the road and began our southward trek, rolling into the Wide World of Sports at around 10:30.
Kristin and Mr AMOTR were already there and established and we planned to meet them at the Expo, then go to lunch and return to WWOS to meet up with the rest of our friends.
Packet pickup was remarkably smooth. In fact, the building where runners would collect their bibs and race handbooks was almost empty, probably based on the fact that people had been picking up over the past few days. No complaints, here.
I even managed to get a complimentary souvenir finish line picture.
There were a few vendors set up near the bib pickup, but we had to go across the way to the Josten’s Center for my shirt and to experience some of the shopping.
The whole thing was pretty overwhelming. I was very lucky that Andrea had picked up an official “I Did It!” shirt and 26.2 car magnet for me on Wednesday, because both were sold out in the runDisney merchandise area, and those were pretty much the only things I wanted. I also ordered a photo package from Marathonfoto.
It was fun to wander the booths with everyone, and I scoped out some things I might want to order in the future.
For lunch, we went to House of Blues in Downtown Disney. I usually enjoy a burger as my lunch before a big race, and today was no exception. I wasn’t really that hungry, especially after a piece of their delicious jalepeno cornbread, so I skipped the bun and the fries.
Back at the expo, we met up with A and M, who had just arrived. They decided they wanted to check out Taken 3, but I really wanted to pop back inside and see if I could grab a photo with Sean Astin, who was running the Dopey Challenge. I happened to see him walk into the Expo building, and hoped that I could sneak a quick minute before he started his speech. After all, I had two pieces of music from the Rudy soundtrack on my marathon playlist – if I could meet the man himself, that would be pretty much epic.
I was lucky! He was doing great, after having run a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon in three days, with the marathon to come. He was also extremely gracious and friendly, even though he must have been exhausted.
At that point, I wanted to check in, organize and rest before dinner. We were staying at the Walt Disney World Dolphin, one of my favorite hotels.
We had a nice quiet room and we were able to relax for a bit. I had everything I needed for the next day, so really, all there was to do was eat and sleep.
Dinner was scheduled at Giordano’s. When we arrived, the pizza oven was broken (oh, the horror!) but by the time the rest of our 11-member party was seated and we got our drinks, things were up and running again. Mr PugRunner, A and I split a pepperoni deep dish, and it was quite delicious. Once again, my appetite failed me. I couldn’t really do more than one slice, even though I probably should have tried for some more.
We were out a bit later than I planned (so worth it to spend time laughing and chatting with such great company), so we went back to the hotel to try to get some sleep. The plan was to meet in the lobby at 3:50AM so we could drive over to the marathon staging area in plenty of time to get gear checked and make the trek to our corrals. Absurdly early, but what could we do?
I did a last double check of my stuff and turned in.
Sunday was going to be a big day.