That was one of my Kick friends posted Thursday morning. I was going to just wait and eat the $5, and register on-site. In a panic, I clicked right to the Broad Street site. For some reason I thought online closed April 30 … Nope, it closed at 11:59PM EDT, April 29
I was planning to leave at noon anyway ... I'd just flip-flop my afternoon - Linc first, then pick up Mariel. My cousin wouldn't be here until 4-ish, anyway, so I'd be good.
So, I left at twelve, hit the Fred Fund for registration cash + a little more [one of my lucky shark socks was MIA, I’d need replacements], flew down 295 and over the Walt to The Linc. Eighteen minutes from Moorestown to South Philly – Vicki proved her low-flying aircraft skills, yet again.
It seemed a few others had that same idea … A line reached from the East Gate entrance, around the front to 11th street and halfway back again.
FUCK!!! I’m not getting in!!! Dumbass me!!!
A brief sigh of relief came to me as I saw that many in line were clutching their confirmations – they were already in. I just might make it.
As a premonitional sprinkle fell from the warm, humid, and cloudy-bright grey sky, I started making calls & sending txt’s. Some txt’s to my friend Jenna, who would be running the Flying Pig Half Marathon on Sunday [with an even lower base mileage than me, if that’s at all possible] then some to my cousin, Sharon, who had left CT at about noon also, to come visit D’Jersey Marts and run a 5K of her own at Drexel University on Saturday. She was 5 minutes from New Have at about 12:30.
I called Doe to explain my predicament. He was actually on his way over, confirmations in hand. He was picking up packets for a few others from Campbell’s who would be joining us, although how can you expect to “join someone” when there would be 26,000 others between you and them?
I spent the next 45 minutes over-listening to two girls behind me, and the gay dude accompanying them, spin tales of bad breakups, wedding and baby showers, chick flicks and action movies [guess which one of them hadn’t seen “The 300” but loved “The Holiday?” NTTAWWT]. Fortunately, the line was moving quickly; maybe too quickly. I wondered if I’d be inside before Doe got there; we’d never find each other in there.
Just a few yards from the entrance, I spotted Doe as he dialed me. He had a big dude with him, who I’d never seen before. Cool!!! Company!!! A bigger smack-talk audience!!!
“Yo dude!” he said, “This is Aaron … from ‘Yo, Aaron! I’m talking to a Man!’”
In unison: “a REAL man. A man, who sets a goal, formulates a plan, performs to that plan and achieves his goal. Then this MAN, after his success … does it AGAIN.”
This was awesome! Aaron had taken enough of Doe’s smack, signed up and trained to run with us. Awesome!
“Dude, what’s this?” Doe asked, point at my black Chucks, “Are you coming form work? Things sure must’ve relaxed since I’ve been gone.”
“Thanks for saving the spot, dude” Doe said under his breath, “How much time did you save us?”
“I waited for about forty-five minutes, but the lines a little shorter now and moving quicker”
“Well, the people behind you didn’t bitch so …”
“Fuck ‘em anyway, right? We’re ‘those guys!!!’”
We went in, up the escalator and into the Expo. Doe had his confirmations all ready and just had to find the appropriate lines to correspond for the numbers he had. My first order of business was to find the blank entries and registration table … In other words, look for a line ending at an empty table, with people hunched over it writing frantically.
Scan. Scan. Scan. FOUND IT!!!
I flew through the sheet, filling in the required fields … Now where do I go?
Scan. Scan. Scan. FOUND IT!!!
I handed the sheet to the volunteer. She noticed that I’d neglected to put my birthday information.
“Ten, thirty-one, sixty-one”
“You’re forty eight?”
“Forty seven actually; my birthday’s not till October”
“Oh, yeah, right. Forty-seven. You don’t look it, maybe thirty-seven”
“Honey, I’m sure I could pass for TWENTY-seven, if I tried”
Amazingly, she transcribed my last name over to my race bib perfectly.
I was IN!!! More txt’s!!! This was SWEET!!!
Off to re-connect with Doe and Aaron “The King.” I found them chatting with two women that I took to be from Campbell’s. I joined in the conversation, of course. Nope, not from Campbell’s at all; complete strangers.
“We’re ‘those guys’”
With everyone registered, it was time to pick up our shirts and swag bags and to hit the road. Of course, between Registration and T-Shirt pick-up there was the Vendor Gauntlet to run. We did so with minimal interference, but had to come back through to get out of the Expo. Doe stopped to chat at the Disney Marathon table [dude is too into Disney for a guy, if you ask me] and to up-sell “just some guy” hanging around.
“Disney totally owes me a commission on that one!!!”
I looked around for the “Discount Rack” to pick up “Last Year’s Model” T-shirts, but couldn’t find it. I did manage to get my replacement socks, however!!! Cheaper than online, too!!!
We split and formalized our informal meet-up strategy
“Put your phone in your bag and when you pick it up at the finish …”
“BAG CHECK TAGS!!!!” Doe and I said, again in unison.
We turned around and re-entered The Linc, bypassing the waiting line by virtue of our Modell’s bags showing us as already being registered
“Make a note,” Doe scammed, “Next year, bring a Modell’s bag with a T-Shirt in it. No waiting.”
“Yeah,” I agreed, “And remind me to register early!”
We left and after some trash talking and sandbagging our predications we headed off.
Next stop for me: Back to Jersey to hit the Liquor Store, to pick up D’Kid and to make ready for my cousin.
Somehow I found myself on 95N heading to the Ben. How did I let myself be cut-off like that? Passing through Haddonfield, I received a couple of txts from Sharon
“Exit 8a is Cranberry / Jamesburg”
“Am I going the right way?”
I called back and assured her that yes, she was in fact going the right way [“If you were on the Parkway, the Exit numbers would be much, much higher and you’d have stopped for a toll booth or two by now.”]
A quick stop for me at the liquor store [not the usual case Friday afternoon case, but four local six-packs for her to try: Victory Hop Devil and Golden Monkey; DFH :60, and Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale] and I picked up D’Kid. We walked in the door as another txt came through.
“I’m at Shop Rite / Kohls”
Holy Schmaboly!!! She was right down the street … and we had an hour of prep to do yet!!!
D’Kid and I flew into action we’d have only enough time to complete one task each!!! She took care of changing linens in the guest room, while I gave the bathroom a quick scrub.
Twenty minutes later, the door bell rang. Hugs of welcome flew about the house.
Pizza was ordered and devoured; beer and a little wine was enjoyed [not too much, just the right amount, plus extra water for our racer before bed]. Stories were told and we all got to know each other.
Yeah, I totally fucked the schedule up, but I learned an important lesson:
“Register early; even if you’re feeling completely undertrained.”
Opa-Opa Steakhouse Red Rock
The Texican label first made me think, “This can’t be local to her?” then I read the label more carefully:
Once upon a time, in a land far away, a few Greek fellows had a dream. They left their Grecian homes and headed to the New World seeking fame, fortune and adventure. After days of dusty travel, they arrived in the Pioneer Valley. Taken with its beauty and friendly natives, the fellows decided to settle down. Southampton was their new home. They raised their families and, like any good Greek boys, opened a successful pizza restaurant. Life was good.
Still something was missing. The call of the wild beckoned. A call they could not resist. Over the hill they went, heading West, in search of their new dream. Early one spring morn they arrived. "OPA-OPA!" they exclaimed with joy, "We've found it. This will be the best Steakhouse and Brewery in the land!"
The days were hard and the nights were long. There were many obstacles to overcome. With the help of some good people, family and friends and a handy carpenter named Larry, they persevered. The OPA-OPA Steakhouse and Brewery was born.
Now, folks from all over can enjoy the tender steaks and ice cold brew the has made the OPA-OPA famous. The OPA-OPA continues to be Southampton's legendary Western Steakhouse... where you can find beef, brew and a few Greek fellows too!
Red Rock - A blend of German Vienna malt and English crystal malts create this malty and slightly fruity beer. Sweet caramel flavors give way to a surprisingly soft and smooth finish.
Clear dark amber color with a nice ivory head [well, the first bottle kinda splooshed over the kitchen, as it hadn’t quite settled form the car ride] Maltier than I usually like almost Bass Ale-ish, but super tasty, on a humid, rainy and turning coolish afternoon.
Next: University City 5K