Tuesday, January 18, 2005

2005 HP Houston Marathon

My results!

Wow, what a fun trip. Of course, I am paying for it today with legs in prime pain condition. Thankfully, liberal amounts of ibuprofen and cold & sinus medication have been applied (I managed to get a headcold on one of the flights) and I am already on the mend.

Friday after work, two of the interns here at Ametek took me to Logan where I started my journey to Dallas/Ft. Worth. After a pretty uneventful flight to Atlanta (although there was some chop which got everyone out of their seats *whee!*), I had to run like crazy to get to my next flight and didn't get to eat anything other than pretzels... yum. Once out of Atlanta, I was seated with a phys. ed. student from Atlanta, and a Texan dude who writes children's books. The student was squeamish about flying, so the children's author and I decided to regale her with stories of our flying past. As it turns out, the guy had actually been in a crash before. We pretty much stopped telling those kinds of stories after that.

I arrived at DFW (Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport) at about 10:30 local time, and was met by my friend Mike and his wife Sherry. Mike went to college with me at RIT, and I was a guest at his wedding (which was lovely). It was nice to get to see them in their new place. Mike is an engineer with Lockheed-Martin and works on skin research (the surface of the wings) for the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (click for a picture). They had just moved into a new place, which was really nice, and they have a cute little dog named 'Toby' who I became quickly acquainted with.

Saturday morning we set out for Houston. It's about a four-hour drive from Ft. Worth to Houston and in between the two metro areas is about two hundred and fourty miles of... nothing. There are fields, gas stations, cows, and that's about it. There really isn't much to see between them, and so the drive was pretty boring. I got to play with Mike's GPS Sytem (Magellan 500) which was really cool. They have a habit of calling the GPS voice a crack whore when she gets them all screwed up, but I think after my presence, they're just going to call her a slut now. A dirty, dirty GPS tramp. That's what she was.

Anywho after the drive we checked into our hotel (conveniently located about a block from the starting line) we headed over to the Expo, I got my registration packet and some free swag from some of the vendors. Oh, and some really nice socks.

Since we were in Houston, and two out of the three travellers were aerospace dorks back in college (and let's face it, still are) we decided to head to the Johnson Space Center for a tour of the facilities. We got to the see a lot of the buildings up close and personal, and got a tour of several of the astronaut training facilities as well as the historical mission control center, where the Apollo and Gemini missions were controlled from (complete with rotary phones). That was a blast. One of those places I always wanted to visit, but was never sure if I'd get the chance. I can scratch that one off the list now.

Before we went back to the hotel to rest for the evening, we went to 'Cavatore's' restaurant in Houston. Best. Italian. Food. Ever. Complete with an authentic Italian dude singing and playing the piano for everyone! It was amazing. Olive Garden can just shut itself down, because thos place was the best. I mean it. If you're ever in the area, make sure you head over there. Even Mike (whose real name is Michele... he's just that Italian) was impressed. He said it was just like his mom used to make, and that's saying something.

Sunday was the morning of the race. At 7AM, two F-18 fighter jets flew over the start line, and 17, 206 runners started on their way to the finish line (at a temperature of about 38-degrees). I decided that in order to help push myself along, I would need some crowd support so the evening before, I bought some vinyl letters from Office Depot and stuck them onto my running shirt. All throughout the course of the race, people were shouting my name! It was fantastic! "Go Ethan! You're doing great!" For 26 miles, people knew who I was. Other runners were pushing me to run faster, to do better... it was the best feeling in the world. Everyone deserves to be a star, just for a couple of hours. I think I got that sensation on Sunday.

By mile 20, I had started to slow down, and was considering walking for a little bit. But then, my personal savior came through for me. As I got my water at the water station, this dude ran up next to me and said, "C'mon Ethan, we've got a good thing going, let's not break it up!", and it was on. He and I ran the last 6 miles side by side, all the while people calling out, "Go Ethan! Go UPS!" (he was wearing a UPS shirt). It was fantastic. I was honored to have run with him, and we shook hands before we parted. His name was Nacho, and he was the best.

After the race was through, I went inside, collected my finishers goods, and sat down for a nice carb-filled meal of eggs, biscuits, hash browns, and ice cream. Man, that first meal hits the spot. I met up with Sherry and Mike, and retired back to the hotel where I sat in the hot tub for a little while, took a quick nap, a shower, and then we got on our way!

The trip back was quick and easy; we stopped at 'Sonic' (which we need up here!) and I got a fruit smoothie that was great and then ordered in some Chinese food for dinner while I watched the Patriots mop up the Indianapolis Colts for the second year in a row. After that it was bedtime, and we all settled in for a nice sleep. The next morning I flew back to Boston where I was picked up by my friend Jenny Lin (an amazing ultimate player) at the airport. I should have some pictures to post on Thursday from the race, so I'll post more then!


Blogger Shyla said...

Congratulations! I just ran my first marathon in October. It is an awesome experience.

3:45 PM, January 18, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

congrats on finishin' the marathon! you're insane. and again, can't thank you enough for the 100 ft cord. i'll give you a ride whenever you need one! my computer has LIFE again. yay. -jenny

5:36 PM, January 18, 2005  

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