Thursday, November 14, 2013

#Goofyinaday: Michael and Eddie's Epic Adventure, Part One

Team Tizzel is proud to present a series of guest posts by our friend Michael Miller chronicling his adventure with Eddie McCoy to tackle 39.3 miles of racing in one day; and in two different states. Today's post will give some background on the goal and cover the travel day to Savannah, GA.

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Part One: Where Mistakes Are Made and Miles Are Walked

We've all heard them, the humorous cautionary tales that begin with "it seemed like a good idea at the time." Heck, The Hangover movie franchise was built upon this idea. This isn't one of those stories. Our story is a combination of mistakes and stupidity. The mistake was Eddie's, who inadvertently signed up to run The Rock and Roll Savannah Marathon and Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon in the same day. My stupidity was to agree to keep him company when he asked me "as the only person I know who would agree to do this with me." And while I agreed to partake in this 39.3 mile adventure, I can honestly say, from the get-go -- it seemed like a BAD idea at the time.
Due to the high cost of flying directly to Savannah from DC, the plan was I would meet up with Eddie in his hometown of Atlanta on Friday where we'd pick up a rental car for the 3 hour drive between these cities. Since Eddie had run Savannah before, he'd navigate us through finding a hotel and hitting the expo, after which we'd call it an early night. Meanwhile, his wife Anna would fly to Disney to pick up all of our Race Packets for W&D. Then on Saturday we would begin our "#GoofyInADay" as Eddie dubbed it in honor or Disney's Goofy Race and a Half Challenge. However, unlike the Goofy Challenge which entails running 39.3 miles over two days, we were running a marathon at 7:00 am, followed by a 280 mile drive to Orlando to meet up with Anna to get our bibs, after which we had to catch Disney race transportation to be in our corrals in time for Wine & Dine's 10:00 pm start. Even as I type still seems like a BAD idea.

Upon landing in Atlanta, I texted Eddie who was waiting for me in the main terminal I would be there shortly. For those familiar with Atlanta's Airport, it is a sequential series of terminals that are fairly spread out from one another. For those of us who were unfamiliar with the airport it is still a sequential series of terminals. Not knowing this, I decided to walk to bag check versus getting on the extremely packed transport train. At the first of what would be three more terminals I contemplated getting on the trains that kept passing by but I stubbornly trudged on. After 20 or so minutes not getting on the train at each successive terminal became a matter of warped pride as I was certain bag check and freedom from my trek was just ahead. Finally, as I started to contemplate how doing this much walking may not be the best prep for tomorrow's challenge, I hit the next to the last terminal. This was where a helpful employee told me I had to get on the train to go the final stop to bag check. As I trudged off the train, Eddie greater me with a "man, what took you so long."

Leaving the airport we hopped on another train to the rental car center where we headed to the Dollar counter. Things didn't look good as we walked the 50 or so feet to the counter because no one was manning the desk. Just as we arrived at the counter, a man with a scraggly pony tail and "stoner" vibe slowly rose from behind the counter. When I say slowly, think old vaudeville skit where someone pretends to rise up on an elevator for dramatic effect. At this point, it got really started to get weird. First there were questions about what we were doing, which were met with responses like "how long is your marathon, like 5 miles." My favorite exchange was when he asked us if it would take us an hour to run the marathon right after he said that he regularly ran 10 miles on the trails. Eddie's first thought was "how fast does this dude run 10 miles if he thinks 26.2 could be done in an hour. My first thought was the only way this guy ran 10 miles in the woods was to get away from DEA agents. Once the paperwork and psychedelic conversation was over we mistakenly took the man's directions on how to get to our car....which took us to the impassable four lane divided road right beneath the walkway that would have taken us to our car. But, hey, that was ok, as all we had to do was retrace the 10 minutes of walking it took us to find this out. At this point we didn't care as we were getting off our feet to begin our drive to Savannah.

The first change in our plans occurred a week prior to race day. As I mentioned earlier and much to the
chagrin of many of our "planning oriented" friends, we didn't book a room in advance. This was more of a sense of frugality than recklessness. As a Historical City hosting a large Marathon, Savannah hoteliers across the board established a 2 night minimum for the weekend. So our plan was to hit hotels the night before the race to find someone willing to take us for one night vs. having an empty room. Much to the relief of those "planning oriented" friends who were more concerned about our room situation than we were, Eddie made some calls and not only got us a room for 1 night, he also negotiated a late check out so we could shower before getting in the car for over 5 hours. So we were feeling pretty satisfied as we checked into the hotel and got ready for the expo.

Getting to the Savannah expo was a bit of a challenge. It entailed a long walk to the waterfront to stand in a line with marathoners taking the ferry to the convention center. While we did find out that unlike the prior year where people couldn't drive over to the expo we could have taken our car, overall the process went seamlessly. The expo itself was larger in size, well organized with a multitude of vendors and even included being able to test drive the latest line of Mazdas. At the expo, Eddie did decide to pick up some new compression socks and the new Garmin 620 to wear for the race. You know the saying "you shouldn't wear anything new for a race." Well apparently Eddie doesn't. The only wrinkle occurred when we hopped on one of the historic old town trolleys we had seen earlier near our hotel to take us back across the river. The ride itself would have been more enjoyable if it weren't for the fact that we were on a round trip loop to a remote parking lot for those that got the news that you could drive to this years expo. So after adding our impromptu 20 minute tour of the expo parking lots we headed back to the ferry.

After a quick ferry ride we walked to the far end of the historic water front for some pizza at Spanky's, a local pizzeria and bar. The food was good however the service was great as the waitresses loaned us a personal phone charger when they learned my phone had died. After dinner we took the long walk back past our hotel to find a store to get granola bars and sports drink. Follow this with another walk back to our hotel and we were putting in some serious mileage on the uneven cobblestone roads of Historic Savannah. Now one of the legends of Savannah is that in his march to the sea during the civil war, Sherman spared Savannah due to its beauty. I can tell you with certainty, it had more to do with not wanting to ride his horse on these uneven roads as it would have literally been a pain in his... you get the point. The bright side at least was knowing we were going to run some of these roads the next day.

So as we called it a night, we both went to bed with tired legs. Since it was a relatively early 9ish, this gave the added benefit of having more time to lay in bed and think about how tired our legs felt from racking up miles that didn't count towards our 39.3 mile total. And as with all BAD ideas, I am sure we both started to question what we had gotten ourselves into.

Part 2: Where We Freak Each Other Out While Running A Marathon

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