If yesterday was TK versus the volcano (TK 1; volcano O), today was TK versus jet lag. So far, it’s a draw. I did catch myself nodding off at the laptop just a moment ago, but I have not succumbed to a nap, not even to lying prostrate on the comfy looking bed. Lunchtime was spent with TS, dining al fresco on the opposite side of the Thames in South Bank, at a casual place called Giraffe. It was a five-minute walk over a charming footbridge which afforded views of the London Eye (from one side) and St. Paul’s Cathedral (from the other). I am delighted to be so close to this neighborhood as it means I can run Saturday’s two miles along the route I loved so much when I was here several years ago, from Borough Market to the London Eye. TS and I caught up, sharing news of heartaches of both the romantic and running kind, and pumped each other up for Sunday’s race (she will be taking photographs and cheering from the halfway mark). Then, she walked me back across the bridge and sent me on my
way to the marathon expo for packet pickup. (I bought an Oyster card, which is like a MetroCard, soI can travel easily through the Underground. I like the name of this pass; it implies that with this card, I can go anywhere–the city becomes my oyster. Quite poetic.)
It took about half an hour to get to the Expo, so I continued to plow through a manuscript on my Sony Ereader. The desire to read has possessed me once again (thank god, because I am months behind in my work reading), and I plan to take full advantage of it this trip. Finally we arrived, and as I walked into the convention center, I could feel my emotions welling up inside me. I am really here! I’m going to actually run the London Marathon! Don’t cry, don’t cry! It seemed unbelievable, yet also a tremendous relief, to be in that expo. Since it was the middle of the day on Thursday, the crowds were pretty light, and I marched right up to my window and got my bib, shoe ag, and official bag check bag. I was smiling at everyone like I’d just won the lottery, and took an awful lot of time selecting what official marathon-branded gear I would purchase. I ended up with a pair of very short shorts, and a red V-neck tech tee. I wanted the tank but it had these fancy criss-cross straps and a built-in shelf bra–sorry, but this woman wears her own sports bra to avoid making a scene, thank you very much.
I stopped by the Parkinson’s Foundation booth to say hi, since they have invited all the Team Fox runners to their Saturday evening pasta party. They have nearly 220 runners, who have raised over £200,000!! I was so gratified to hear that. I considered getting a massage at the special Asics booth, but I’d have had to lay on a massage table right out nin the open — no way was I about to let someone rub my glutes and hammies where everyone could see! Even though nothing else really caught my interest, I was reluctant to leave the expo; it was nice to be in the company of other runners, it was comforting to be among like-minded creatures. Eventually exhaustion started to settle heavily upon my and I decided it was best I leave before I started to get confused or anxious (these things happen if I get tired enough). On the way out, I grabbed a goody bag, which included a can of Fuller’s “London Pride–Outstanding Premium Ale.” Oh this is amazing, this is my kind of marathon! (If only it had been red wine, but I think I need to race in France for that.) Then, I ran into a woman who was wearing a 2007 Boston Marathon jacket, and I asked her if this was her first time running London (yes). Turns out, she is running the New York City Marathon in November, and has already run Chicago–her goal is to run the five World Marathon Majors, just like me. But guess how she got into the New York City Marathon? She time-qualified! I was impressed.
Now, after a relaxing hour in my room checking emails and blogging, I am about to head out to dinner with a dear old family friend. He calls me TAKo Belle, a nod to my initials and to my beauty wrapped up in a corny pun. He’s just that kind of guy. And then, I will tumble asleep, knowing that London awaits me in the morning.