Our flight to Florida arrived 40 minutes early.
Yes. Forty minutes. Early.
That had to be a good omen.
Friday's arrival of our Miami Marathon posse was smooth. Flight -- breeze. Transportation -- breeze. Hotel check-in -- breeze. And for someone like me who sweats travel logistics like it's her job, that is no small footnote.
After finding something light for lunch we headed over to Miami Beach for registration and the expo.
And I was all about the expo.
This is my first "major" race and I was looking forward to the atmosphere. While our friend Paula registered for Saturday's 5K, Sue, and I checked in and picked up our registration bags and collected our participant tshirt.
Then came expo time with a convention center floor filled with vendors and businesses either trying to sell you race goods, health and fitness goods or promote their races. And I found that journalists and runners have something in common -- we gravitate toward the freebies. Companies handed out bags with their logos, key chains, shoelaces and lip balm. Then I played my own person game of seeing how many free Lara bars I could scam from the sample booth. (It helped that we wandered through the expo for three hours, giving us plenty time to "discover" the booth yet again. I know, I lose some karma points for that. I'm OK with it.)
I had the opportunity to chat with New York Times reporter Liz Robbins who recently published the book A Race Like No Other detailing the New York City Marathon. We talked about the book, about running and frankly felt like old friends as two female sports reporters.
On to the pasta dinner. We decided to carbo load two nights before the big event and took part in the pasta dinner at the Miami Hard Rock Cafe. It was the "official" pasta party of the marathon event and after our fill of pasta, salad and breadsticks, we strolled around Bayside, getting a glimpse of both the cruise ships in the harbor and the setup for Sunday's finish line.
Back at the hotel, it was time to sort through the bags collected at the expo filled with magazines and brochures for future races. But the most precious thing to me in the bag, the thing I kept checking to make sure I didn't lose while making some souvenir purchases and hording free Lara bars, was my race number.
There it was. With my name printed on it. I know it's routine to many runners. To me, I felt big time.
Let the games begin.