in which Pooh’s race weekend has arrived

All the training is done.  Race weekend has arrived.  The parents have arrived to watch the kids, the car is packed, and Pooh and Mrs. Pooh are ready to hit the road to Washington, DC.  They are uncharacteristically driving in the daytime so Mrs. Pooh started off behind the wheel and Pooh took the opportunity to get in some work and thus did not take the day as a vacation day.  Well played, Pooh.

The drive was very uneventful and they couldn’t wait to arrive at their friend’s house in Virginia where they would stay for the weekend.  Scott and Deb are pretty awesome folks and Pooh doesn’t get to see them but once per year and so this was a special treat.  It was certainly part of what was going to be a very special weekend.  When they arrived they had a nice dinner with Scott, Deb and their two progeny Jacob and Jenna (crazy J’s) and just had a wonderful time enjoying the company and laughing a lot, as they always do with this family.  After dinner Pooh and Scott headed to the airport to pick up Pooh’s friend Shawna who was also running the race.  They dropped her off at the hotel next to the Metro station and bid her a good night’s sleep and a “see you tomorrow to pick up the race packets and hit the expo” and headed home for some sleep.  At that point it was thought that the only locomotion that would provide any real drama would be the running.  But alas the main drama would be the trains and automobiles that did so… HAH!

Shawna, Megan and Pooh

Shawna, Megan and Pooh at the MCM Expo

Saturday morning arrived and Pooh and the Mrs met up with Shawna and Megan, who had arrived on the red eye, to take the train to the DC Armory/RFK Stadium to pick up the race packets and hit the Expo.  The train ride was fun as Pooh loves trains but the packet pickup would provide some consternation as a long line had formed outside the tent.  The crew discovered as they got closer to the tent that the power had gone out and this was causing the delays.  But the Marines did their best and in the end the group made it through unscathed.  Moving on to the Expo they found high security in place and all had to go through a security check point where bags were being searched and everyone being “wanded” since walk through metal detectors weren’t available.  Security did a reasonably good job and they were able to get into the Expo, grab their race bags and shirts (awesome shirts), and do some shopping.  It was largely a disappointing Expo in that few, if any of the major companies other than Brooks were in evidence and all the Brooks gear at Expos is super expensive.  Pooh bought a race hat for himself and a race logo visor for his friend Bess (she doesn’t wear hats, thank goodness Pooh remembered that and put the hat down).  Mrs. Pooh didn’t really see anything she had to have with race logos on it but did get a cool armband to hold her phone for when she starts back on Couch to 5K.  By this time Shawna and Megan had headed back to their hotel for some much needed rest and Pooh was ready for another exciting high point for the weekend.

Shiwon and Pooh

Shiwon and Pooh

Many months ago Pooh had joined a social, online community for “runners, triathletes, and people who like to work out” called Dailymile (DM).  It’s similar to Facebook and allows one to find motivation and other friends, in many cases all over the world.  Pooh has many friends in real life (IRL) that are also on DM but has made friends from other countries as well.  He has had the great, good fortune to meet some of those he did not know before joining DM like Steve, Brian, and Laura.  But of the 126 friends he has, if he had to create a list of those he would be most likely to meet the one who would come in at #126 would have been Shiwon.  Shiwon and her family are from New Zealand and while it had been commented by Shiwon a few times that she and Pooh must have been twins separated at birth that physical distance would likely mean they’d never meet in person.  But Shiwon and her family made a decision to move to the UK and to do so by taking a “once in a lifetime” migration/trip across the USA.  And as luck would have it they would be in Washington, DC until Sunday, October 27, the same day as the Marine Corps Marathon.  This was an opportunity impossible to pass up and so Pooh and Mrs Pooh jumped on the Metro and headed to meet Shiwon and family.  What a blessing this was.  They are just as amazing as Pooh always thought they would be and for sure he and Shiwon must have been separated at birth.  It was so fun getting to meet her husband David and their kids Clive and Harper.  They all went back the market where Harper and Clive had carved their very first pumpkins and ended up spending a great time together.  Finally it was time to part ways and though Pooh was sad to do so being able to get together made what was already a great weekend even more special.

Pooh and Mrs Pooh had missed lunch so it was time to get something and being in the Eastern Market area of DC they decided to walk around and get something local that looked good.  DC-3, a hot dog spot on 8th St looked good and proved to be just what the doctor ordered.  While sitting and eating two young men walked in and after ordering their food sat down at the table behind Pooh’s.  The young man facing Pooh noticed the Marine hat pin on his hat (given to Pooh by his friend Bess which had been worn by her father, Maj James Hardaway-USMC retired, may he rest in peace) and asked if he was in the service.  Pooh responded that he was not and shared where the hat pin came from.  The young man said that he and his buddy were in the Marines and would be down at the race and wished Pooh luck.  It was another good omen for the race, though Pooh.

At about this time Pooh and Mrs Pooh headed back to Metro and traveled back to the house only to find out that there was more locomotion drama.  Scott and Deb had been in the process of trying to buy a car and were to have the new vehicle upon returning home.  But it was not to be.  The whole weekend would prove extremely frustrating to Scott and especially Deb whose car they were replacing.  In fact they never did get the new car that weekend but finally bought a GMC Acadia which still hasn’t arrived but should do so before they head to Florida.  So Pooh and Mrs Pooh should get to see it when next they meet up with Scott and Deb in Delray Beach!!!

Pooh changed into running clothes and headed out for a short and slow 15 minute run for the last shake out before the actual marathon and upon returning to the house got showered and changed for dinner at Nostos, a wonderful Greek restaurant that is one of Deb’s favorite places.  Pooh and Scott went to pick up Megan and Shawna from the hotel and everyone went to dinner together.  It was everything Pooh could have asked for to wrap up the fantastic day.  Shawna and Megan and Deb and Scott got along famously and the entire dinner was both delicious and lots of fun.  But the evening had to end earlier than anyone would want because the racers had to get some sleep or at least some relaxation.  And thus ended what was a truly incredible day that Pooh got to spend with his wife, two awesome friends from Atlanta, two fantastic friends from Virginia, and his long lost twin sister and her family.

Well done Pooh, you silly old bear!

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