We were supposed to leave Nashville on Thursday, October 27 fly to Philadelphia, catch a connecting flight to Dublin and arrive in Dublin Friday morning. However, our flight to Philly was delayed - officially due to fog in Philly, but we aren't convinced that was the real reason. After much talking and negotiating the reps for US Airways on the phone told us to get on the plane when it finally boarded. However, the people boarding the plane told us not to that we'd miss our connecting flight. To keep the story short, we got on the plane and missed our connecting flight, which left us stuck for the night. The next flight we could make would be the same time Friday night.
Team in Training was awesome and got us hotel rooms for the night. The airline said we could have our luggage but was never able to produce it. Which was a little concerning, but several people had told us to pack our race gear in a carry on. So we at least had some clothes.
The most disappointing thing to me was potentially losing a day in Ireland. I've never been to Philadelphia and was happy to spend a day there, but not at the expense of a day in Ireland. While we were still at the airport, I asked Mark what he thought about asking the airline to extend our trip a day. He called, worked his magic and they agreed to change our return flight to Friday instead of Thursday. Awesome!! Now we could enjoy our bonus time in Philadelphia. We really had a great day there.
Our flight to Dublin was problem free (thank goodness!). We got to Dublin on Saturday morning and went straight to our hotel. The staff at our hotel were great and the hotel itself was awesome! After taking a little nap, it was time to go to the expo. It was a lot smaller than I'd hoped for, but it was still a good experience.
On Sunday morning we participated in the international breakfast run, which is open to all runners from other countries. It was a really cool experience. They started the run with flags from all the countries who had runners. It was a short 2.5 mile run. At the end of it, I felt crappy and was seriously questioning the race the next day. But I had a few minutes of positive self talk and reminded myself that I'm not even warmed up at the end of 2.5 miles, so I can't make a good judgement of how I feel. I also told myself that this run was just to get loosened up for the marathon (oh my word, a marathon!!!) the next day.
Sunday night was our inspiration dinner with Team in Training. Our teammate, Jim Asker, was the speaker. He told his story of being diagnosed with a blood cancer and fighting through it. He did a great job speaking and it was moving to hear his very honest story. One thing he said really stuck with me during the race. I don't remember it word for word, but basically it was this - when he was going through treatment and his body was so weakened, he would have given anything to be able to run or smash a tennis ball. He said he can't imagine having a healthy body and not using it. Wow! There were very few dry eyes in the room at the end of his speech. He made us proud! It was also a great reminder of the reason we were there. And that all of our hard work in training and fundraising is making a difference.
We were careful to go to bed early the two nights before the race (even though it was so tempting to stay out and explore and enjoy the city). We also ate lots of carbs and tried to be as ready as possible for the race. After the dinner, we went back to our rooms and got all of our stuff ready for the race the next morning.