I'm here! San Francisco (AKA Heaven - duh!) has greeted Mike and I with 70 degrees and humidity. Seriously. I lived here my whole life and honestly didn't know what "humid" meant until I moved to the East Coast. Because it is not supposed to be humid here. Until, of course, I return to run a freaking marathon and all of a sudden my hair frizzes up 23 seconds off the plane.
But sticky weather aside, I am so excited!
Mike and I dropped our bags at the hotel and I immediately hit the Nike Women's Expotique. Fancy shmance name for Nike trying to hawk their wares and the sponsors trying to get your info for future marketing opps. (Damn, when did I get so cynical?)
Anyhoo, Union Square is draped in all things NWM and it is absolutely heart-stopping. Okay, maybe that's dramatic for anyone not running but I swear I got chills when I walked up to it.
So as I'm walking up to it, I notice huge crowds of protesters holding signs:
Pissed off about everything from swine flu immunization (it'll kill you!) to Ellen as the new American Idol judge (it'll kill you!). I mean, it's San Francisco so they protest everything, but as I walked up I was like, "Come ON ... you can't really be protesting 20,000 women running a marathon to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Really?"
No Cindy, not really.
That was what Mike would like to refer to as a Cindyism, where I am completely convinced that everything going on at that moment anywhere in the world has to do with whatever I am doing.
So yeah, the President was at the hotel 30 feet from the expo.
Thus the cops, the sharpshooters and the circling choppers:
I had a great time at the expo, due largely in part to hooking up with an old friend. Gina is a high school friend and we hadn't seen each other in over 20 years. We reconnected on Facebook (um, how else?) about a year ago and we stay in pretty good contact. I've been harassing her more lately because she's a runner and a big TNTer, having run the NWM last year and running the half this year.
So while we really wanted to meet at Neiman's at the Rotunda for gin and tonics, we were disciplined and simply met in line at the expo. I hadn't seen this girl in decades but spotted her immediately because she looks exactly the same. I have a word for women like that.
It was "Ladies Night," which translated into a drink ticket we promptly turned in for margaritas, free facial products made from carrots (San Francisco!) and munchies from Safeway (mmm, cookies). But there was that whole hawking your wares thing going on and when we saw a couple of dudes pedaling bikes with blenders on the front of them:
(By the way, this dude? Looooooooved Gina), we knew we had to try it . See, they were making smoothies on the front of them. So ...
Yeah, we remembered at that moment that our friendship was largely based on public humiliation of one another and it was comforting to know that not much had changed. Also something that hadn't changed? Gina is quite the fashionista who really doesn't mind getting on a spin bike wearing $400 flats:
Oh but the smoothies she whipped up while on the bike? Strawberries, yogurt, bananas, some sort of power protein ...
... as Gina put it (after I tossed mine in the garbage), had the consistency of vomit. Yeah, they weren't so good.
But it was great for the newbie I am to excitedly get my bib (my number is 3819 - doesn't that sound lucky?!) and feed off the energy of all those strong women who will be running next to, in front of and (hopefully many of them!) in back of me. I think I had this smile the entire time I walked through the expo:
Of course, we had to make a trip to Niketown, where we were more entranced for whatever reason (oh, I have one: a single margarita after a two-week dry period = Buzzville) with the mannequins:
And being that Nike is the sponsor of this shindig, there are tributes to runners everywhere.
It's so awe-inspiring and seeing all the LLS and TNT references everywhere nearly brought tears to my eyes. I honestly could not imagine doing a better marathon that this.
I left Gina at the expo and met up with Mike and our good friends Ken and Kerry for dinner. This is the only blurry picture I have from that nice get-together since everyone groaned when I took out the camera (Really? Am I that annoying? Suck it up, people) and Kerry immediately announced that she could not be in pictures that night because she had "moist hair." (See? People in San Francisco are ill-equipped to deal with humidity.)
It was a terrific end to an exciting day, just the start of a weekend full of possibility. We got great news today that our friend Walter will also be joining us, so be prepared for the pictures to get wierd. And anyone who knows W will understand what that means.
More from the front lines later ... but for now, I have to check in with my Secret Service detail.