I got to the hotel, and it is beautiful, so that is good. I frequently get to hotel rooms and find myself very disappointed, sometimes to the point of anger that I have to sit and pray my way through. They let me check in at 10 a.m., and that was an even better bonus. The room is lovely, the view is pretty, the bedding is divine, and the hygiene products are high quality. (The internet access is $9.95 a day, and the restaurant is overpriced, but that is life.)
I went to the expo and it was full of what I tend to call "mutants," even though I know that isn't nice. The super fit and healthy. Serious Athletes. Some anorexic gals and guys. One time I had a conversation with Scott W. loosely about this, and we agreed that in the world of alcoholics I am a runner, but in the world of runners, I am an alcoholic. At a marathon expo I am likely to be 30 years older and at least 30 lbs. heavier than the average person. Oh well. The race t-shirt fits and that is happy. But I came with a credit card and was prepared to spend some money to commemorate what will likely be my only marathon. As I frequently find, all the larges and extra-larges were sold out of the pretty things. I bought a couple of things, but nothing I am excited about. There were none of the do-dads you can get at the big "rock 'n roll" races, like magnets, luggage tags, etc. I really wanted to buy that crap. Oh well.
I came back to my room and reflected on how out of place I feel in this place. How much I am attached to feeling that sense of belonging I have in the place where I live. I travel a lot for someone who likes to be at home as much as I do. I have never been to this place before. I have been to California before, but I think the last time was over 20 years ago, and even then, I spent very little time here.
I took a nap, which I desperately needed then hailed a cab to go to church. I really didn't want to, but I am so glad I did. The lector had a marathon t-shirt under his suit! The Priest gave a blessing of the marathon runners! I talked to him after mass and he said he has three sisters who will be running it tomorrow.
It struck me how much life has changed when I get that feeling of belonging in a church. That certainly did not used to be my story.
I first got it in a bar. Then in AA. Now I have it in many places. Today it was in church. And I am grateful for that.
Tomorrow is the day I have been planning for a year. I was pretty torqued this morning - but that probably had more to do with flying than anything. All my training is done, I will go out and reap whatever I have done, and try to enjoy myself to the best of my ability.
The best race I ever had was my first half marathon. Someone told me the night before - "it is YOUR race, make it a good one." I did. I smiled and thanked every volunteer. I smiled and thanked every policeman directing traffic. I smiled and smiled and smiled and tried to think more of others than myself. That is always a recipe for a better anything. I will attempt to do that tomorrow.
Because no matter what I do tomorrow, it will be my personal best for a marathon.
Thank you God.