I wanted to get as much sleep as possible but didn’t go to bed early enough the night before; I think I’m fine, though. (I don’t normally let myself carry too much sleep debt, since reading the fantastic The Promise of Sleep by William Dement, the guy who discovered REM sleep). It’s Artist’s Open House Weekend and I wanted to catch some studios on my way down to Forest City. I got a late start, partly because I had to dig through the piles to find my Steamtown map (grrr….). I toted water (of course) and a PBJ sandwich.
My first stop was at the library to use the bathroom(!), then Joe Welden’s studio. His art is amazing–playful, strange, very accessible–and also incredibly cheap (huge canvases top out under $200, and there are lots of little sketches for $2-$25). The canvases are usually all red-dotted within the first 10 minutes of the 3-day sale, which is wonderful and exciting in itself. I usually buy a bunch of sketches, but even those were mostly cleaned out by the time I got there. Off to Forest City High School, where the “information booth” turned out to be a red SUV manned by my old buddy Donald Teague (ran the marathon for the first time at 72–he’s a character and a half!) and Fran Graytock, running coach at the school and who must be related to Carly Graytock (her father, maybe?) He was really nice and told me I could leave my car at his house! Also at the information booth was a nice old female beagle, so that made me happy.
I drove along the course, getting lost at least once (the street names weren’t marked), but then realized at a certain point that it was getting very close to 1pm, start time of the “Running Changed My Life” talk at the Expo. I ditched the course and headed for Scranton High School, but I wasn’t sure exactly where I was and traffic was painfully slow. By the time I got to the Expo I had to use the bathroom again but the talk was still going, so I ducked into the auditorium, which had a scattering of people. The speaker was Jay Sochoka, who was a 306-lb couch potato who’s now 185 and will be running his 6th marathon tomorrow. He was very enthusiastic, but not very well organized or practised, and the technical end was terrible. He was on the stage, which was dark; he wore a headset mike which was turned up too loud, feeding into a crappy sound system with a really loud hum; he had transparencies which weren’t centered on the screen, weren’t clear, & which he seemed to randomly flip up and down. He seemed like somebody who could be a really inspiring speaker someday, but maybe this was his first speech ever. He was clearly nervous, used a lot of “you know”s & other phatic tics, & didn’t have the audience with him. It was ironic that he was warning us not to go out too fast when that’s exactly what he was doing! But nonetheless, when he spoke about the rush of the marathon, it was great. He said “To finish is to win,” and I’ve added that to my pace card.
Next stop was to pick up my T-shirt and number–270! I though it would be a 4-digit for sure. Then the chip, which I had been imagining as a cylinder; instead it’s a button with arms. Here’s a photo of my shoes:
Then the talk about the course, given by race director Bill King and famous runner Jon Sinclair (I didn’t know who he was; he looked like an ordinary skinny 30s-ish guy with a shaved head, but when Bill started telling us who he was, we were duly impressed). Lots of nerdy detail and stories; I loved it. I bought a sky-blue Steamtown narrow T at the souvenir booth, & some winter gear at the National Running Center tables.
And now I have to cut this short because I have to go to bed! Self-discipline! But here I am all dressed in my gear. I’m ready!