NC Half Marathon Expo

March 24, 2012

Walking to garage for packet pick-up at Charlotte Speedway
Charlotte Motor Speedway – packet pick-up was in that garage to the left.

NASCAR seems to be pretty big in these parts. Even at the airport, a good amount of stuff was race themed – restaurants and such.

I came straight from the airport to packet pick up at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. These two adorable little girls, who were volunteering at a table with their mother, gave me my bib and the sweet, sweet t-shirt they have here.

This was a pretty small expo. There was a little Coca-Cola truck. I won a free drink koozie from answering their incredibly tough trivia question – whether hydration is important during the race.

Only two races had booths – Myrtle Beach and the Divas series. And I think those might be put on by the same company doing this race. The Myrtle Beach medals are huge and awesome. Too bad I’ve already signed up for a half marathon that day.

"You win!" pop-up screen in the Coca-Cola exhibit

Speaking of medals, the medals for this race were on display. They look incredible! (The crazy moving, light-up medal was the main reason I chose this race.) But you’ll have to wait until I get mine to see it…

On this trip, I went ahead and sprung for a hotel room for a night instead of couchsurfing. I love meeting new people and saving money and all, but I have pulled three all-nighters in New York this week (mainly since I’m staying so far out of the city sometimes it just happens).

If I wanted a shot at a good race, I desperately needed a full night’s sleep in a bed. I picked one of the hotels from the race website, so I knew a bunch of other people would probably be staying there. I awkwardly stood around toward the exit of the expo. “So, uh…anybody going to the Wingate Hotel?”

I actually only asked 3 people before Megan, Jason, and Anna happened into my life. They weren’t even staying at this hotel, but they’re staying close by and were sweet enough to drive me here!

"Welcome athletes" sign at the hotel
Why, thank you!

When I got to the hotel, there was a big sign in the lobby that said, “Welcome Athletes.” Well, thank you very much! This is the first time I’ve stayed in a host hotel before an event. It’s fun. Almost everyone you run into is doing the event.

There were balloons in the lobby. I used to see hotels around my apartment in Boston gear up for the Boston Marathon, but I didn’t really realize places did it for smaller races (or how welcoming it feels when you’re the one doing the event, instead of the one who happens to live in the area, watching from the outside).

I went in my room and immediately fell asleep for hours. I woke up at night and was a little hungry. I set out to find some food, and ended up at Waffle House. It was a little odd that there were “house rules” plastered everywhere about being polite and wearing shirts and paying for your food. Those are pretty much the rules for going to a public establishment, not just for Waffle House, right?

The workers didn’t seem to like each other all that much. They seemed to be yelling at each other a fair amount. I don’t know what’s going on there…

North Carolina red half marathon shirt
Check out this awesome shirt!

When I got back to the hotel, I searched and searched through my bag for the floss that I knew had to be there. I always have floss. How would it be possible for it to not be there? It was nowhere to be found.

I asked the front desk. No floss. I went to a neighboring hotel that had a little store area. No floss. Walked up the street to a gas station (crossing a crazy intersection twice to get there). No floss! Why? Why is there no floss anywhere in this city?

I came back to the hotel, convinced that all hope was lost. As I was walking in, a group of men from the Army band playing tomorrow was walking in as well. Thankfully, Stan had floss for me! I gave him a hug, and went back to my room. My teeth were so very happy.

I had a quick, 20 minute workout on the elliptical (rock on, fitness center!) to gear up a little for tomorrow. Now it’s time for bed (again)!

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