Gefilte Fish Out of Water

GO !!! (Tel-Aviv Marathon Dispatch # 1)
April 25, 2009, 8:13 am
Filed under: Cool Things, Exploits



I am now a twelve-time marathoner.

Wow, never thought I’d do one again.  (At least not so soon; I’d talked about doing European ones when I have the means to travel in my 50s).  So, let’s get to it.  There’s a lot in my brain from yesterday to download.

Lay in bed long time Thursday night unable to sleep.  Got up and made some granola.  Finally managed to sleep from 1-4:30am.  Had pre-packed the night before, so had a pretty easy time getting out of the house.  Shall we say, “evacuated” my body, showered, vaselined up my toes, nips, thighs and pits.  Lotioned up my legs in order to minimize an OCD habit that comes upon me during long distance running of having to scratch a nomadic itch on them.  Had some breakfast.  Double-checked bag w/ change of clothes after race/camera/some other shit.  OK, damnit, I was ready to go!

The race started not too far from where I am living, so I set out on foot….until I realized, yeah, it was just too far.  So, I hailed a cab.  Only it wasn’t a cabbie who picked me up, but another runner.  A nice guy named Neil, who was running his very first marathon.  We had a nice chat during our ride, and then he dopped me off at the staging area and went to park.  (I would see Neil a few times during the course.  There were four parts of the course that doubled-back, so the faster runners would be coming back from the oppositte direction while I was still running out to the turn-around point.  Twice, Neil spotted me and called out.  Cool.)

img_1813Port-a-potty trip # 1 (no line yet).  Asked some random peeps to snap pics of my front and back in my shirt.  Went to baggage area and checked in luggage.  Port-a-potty trip # 2  (20-minute wait).  Good, glad the stomach dramz is over with!

S    t    r    e    t    c    h    e    d  .

OK, 20 minutes to start, so time to head to start of the course.  Looked, down and decided to double-tie my laces to prevent them coming undone during the race.  Feeling good that the stomach dramz is over with, everything else is all set, I’m done with preparations, and race time is finally here.  Then, as I’m tying my shoes, it hits me:

Wait, oh my God you’re kidding me, ack of course!, dur me, oh fuck how could I have been so stupid, there’s no time now, oh crap – NO !!!!!!

All races today give you an electronic chip to tie onto your shoelaces.  Your official time (as well as split-times throughout the course) get recorded when the chip runs over electronic mats at strategic points of the race.  This is also how they make sure you don’t cheat and take a taxi to the end.  And what do you think I’m going to say next?  Even though I had packed up my whole post-race bag and laid out my entire running outfit on the sofa the night before for easy dressing in the morning, I left the frigging chip in the bag I got from when I picked up my race number and never tied it onto my shoelaces.  Extremely major thing to forget.  D’oh !!!!!!

This was 10 minutes before start time.  Thought fast.  Looked for anybody looking “official” to tell my emergency story to.  Not really finding anybody.  Plus, totally handicapped by the fact that most people I’m approaching don’t speak English.  Go back to the staging/expo area.  Ask some peeps at the Red Bull kiosk.  They send me over in the direction of the Addidas store.  I see people in lines still getting their race numbers.  These must be peeps doing the 5 & 10 K races.  If ever there was a time to unleash my inner pushy Israeli, it is now.  But actually I’m not even pushy, I’ve just got a clear emergency and I state that fact.  Literally.  “I have an emergency!” I say.  I explain myself to a woman, who img_1814gets it and interrupts a woman registering people on a laptop.  She gets it too and says, “Ah, but you have to have a new number now.”  So, I take off # 871 and put on # 610, which they give me.  (Meanwhile, one more measly 5K Israeli chick manages to steal away my Angel’s attention to get registered for her race.  “Move away, bitch!” I say to her (in my head).  “Eh, but you have to return the old chip,” says my Angel.  I tell her I have a phone number for the marathon organizers, and I promise I will afterwards.  I thank her 1.5 billion times.

Anyway 610 is a better number (for me).  Because it is one of the area codes for suburban Philadelphia, where I grew up.  Cool.  Meanwhile, I’m hearing a cool dance remix coming over the speakers as I’m pinning on my new number.  Could it be?  Yes, it turns around it is a remix for Madonna’s….(wait for it)…..”Four Minutes” single.  Ha ha, God.  Good one.

I rush back to the start of the course, and tie on my new chip as there literally ARE four minutes left before the start.  Just enough time to tell 1-2 peeps what I just went through and get some supportive words back.  Wow, I cannot img_1827believe how quickly I handled that catastrophe and how much help the Universe gave me to make it happen.  Actually, catastrophe is may an exaggeration.  I still would’ve been able to run, b/c I had a number pinned to my shirt.  My race just wouldn’t have been recorded.  In the NYC Marathon, that would’ve meant that my name & time wouldn’t appear in the NY Times the next day.  But here, I dunno if they even do that.  And it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I weren’t given an official time.  But I suffer enough perfectionism that it’s just better for my mental state if I had everything the way it’s supposed to be.  And I did.  Thanks to God.  And the chick at the Red Bull kiosk.  And my Angel at the registering tent.

Now, I was ready to start!


2 Comments so far
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Congratulations Scott! I’ve been keeping up with your blog since you moved, it’s been fun reading about your adventures. Way to go on your latest marathon, and have a blast in Israel!

Comment by Meredith

OMG, you have not, really? I’m always so surprised when someone tells me they’ve really been reading this. Thanks so much, especially for the well wishes. “What the Heart Wants” is in bubble wrap in my mom’s basement for the time being, until I bring it back from a trip to visit the U.S. or splurge and have it shipped here. I miss it and all my other artwork! 😦 But I really am loving it here, and please know you have one more friend in Israel when you come to visit, if you do.

Comment by skatp

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