First, I go through great lengths to avoid driving up to San Francisco. So for me to head up there two days in a row, and to have to find parking three times, it's going to take something special.
I am generally not interested in big city marathons - I don't like dealing with the huge crowds and my knees aren't fond of pavement. So I had no interest in signing up for the San Francisco Marathon.
But Weird Haired Mom found out about the progressive marathon option, where you put in 23.1 miles towards your marathon on your own, keeping a log of how you accumulated that mileage, and then you finish your marathon by doing the 5K race on SF Marathon day. So Mrs Notthat, WHM, and the grandkids all signed up for this.
The Saturday before the race had three items on its agenda: The Brazen Bad Bass trail race (already written up here), the SF Marathon Expo (where you pick up your bibs, timing chips, and shirts), and the Marathon Maniac's carbo load dinner.
One of my goals was to finally meet Mad Hatter Fancy Pants, an amazing runner that symbolizes all that is good about this sport, either at the Expo or at the dinner. But how would I spot him?
Well, that wasn't hard - he was standing at the front door to the Expo holding his trademark sign. (He holds this up a short distance from the marathon's start line, and once everyone has started, he runs back to the start, starts his race, then spreads his encouragement around as he surges towards the finish line, where, once he crosses the finish line, he heads back out a bit and shows the back of this sign, which says "WOOT! You're almost there!")
I doubted I would see anyone else I knew at the Expo - The Endorphin Dude had spent the previous day there and surely would be too worn out to show up for a second day. I should have known better, as I almost immediately ran into him and a number of other Maniacs (Ellehcim, who is an even fresher Maniac than me, a cape-less The ED, Einahpets, who you should never assign the task of finding someone to take a picture too, Nahom, and The Blog - none of these are their real names).
Once you got your bibs, shirts, timing strips, and such, you get to spend some quality time in a shopping area. Mrs Notthat and WHM spent a LOT of time in here. While standing outside of the area, patiently waiting, I noticed the "WTH" and thought that was a bit odd for a marathon. Then I noticed it stood for "Worth the Hurt," the official motto of this year's race. Still, a bit odd.
So I was hanging around, again waiting patiently for Mrs and WHM to exhaust all the shopping opportunities the Expo presented, when I heard my name called out. Coworker Sukram (not his real name) and his squeeze were there! I had no idea he was a runner, and it turns out that was for a good reason - he isn't. But his darling is. (Hopefully she can do something about that LA shirt he's wearing. Like maybe burn it.)
Finally the Expo hall started closing down, so we headed over to Buca di Beppos for the Maniac dinner. The whole group of us posed for a picture with Chris Bliss, Ultra Woof, The ED (with his cape!), and Einahpets (who weirdly was able to find someone to take this picture with little effort).
Dinner was a blast, but the biggest surprise was finding out there really is a Mrs Einre - this woman must be one of the most patient wives ever (although she also probably doesn't mind getting Einre out of the house each weekend so she can have some peace and quiet).
That guy in the back is Trab Ossay - the Chief Running Officer of Runner's World magazine and an amazing runner. He is like the Hugh Heffner of running. A big deal. He came by the dinner and posed for an huge number of pictures, but the coolest thing was grandboy Riley horning in on the action. (He most likely didn't even know Trab was there - he LOVES The Endorphin Dude.) In any case, when Riley gets older and is training for the 2020 Olympics, he will have this picture to look back on, and proudly say "IN YOUR FACE ENDORPHIN DUDE!" (He has beaten The ED several times now.)
The next morning, Needs Cool Name drove the runners up to the city and stayed around to take a few pictures.
I forget this guy's name but we all know him as "that guy from Arkansas" - he spent the summer as an intern in the area and we saw him at a bunch of races.
That's the Bay Bridge in the background with WHM and the perky grandkids doing their second 5K race of the weekend.
I love that Darci is running on the rough center area rather than the smooth street. That kid's a born trail runner.
Mrs Notthat set a new PR for a 5K. (The runners got these great long sleeve gray tech shirts, which is why you see so many people in gray.)
A friend of Darci was also at the race. Here she is getting ready to participate in the Tossing Riley contest.
And that's about it. I drove in to pick the runners up (and found free parking!) and watch a lot of people finish the various other races going on. We knew quite a few people doing this race, but managed to miss almost all of them finishing (I think there were about 50,000 runners total - it was a bit of a madhouse there).
After reading various race reports and looking at pictures, I'm now seriously rethinking whether I want to do this race. Maybe 2012?
That's it - move along...