I decided that my countdown is wrong, so we're skipping the third day. Think of it as day savings time.
I made my way to downtown LA in the late afternoon to pick up my bib and what other goodies the organizers have thrown inside the goody bag.
I've had great luck with bib numbers in my races. One time my bib was number 123. Usually my bib numbers have a nice ring to them rendering them easy to remember. My number for this year's race, though, is unmemorably large. I've forgotten it a few times already. 21680 doesn't have the same ring as 2280 (Pacific Shoreline) but it's my number and I will love it. As with the previous two times, I didn't request a special name that I wanted printed on my bib, so folks will have to cheer me on using my real name. I'm sure I'll get a lot of RAH-OOOOOOOOOLs as I run by and other Mondesi references. After all, he is the only Raul who ever lived.
As I was walking towards the Convention Center, a young kid approached me asking if I had seen a big group pass by. The jaded Angeleno that I was I was wary of the kid and was anticipating a pack of thugs to jump me from behind, knock me over, steal my camera and wallet and leave me on the sidewalk with blunt force trauma to the head.
The kid then explained that he got separated from his Student Run LA group. He was slightly panicked but also remarkably composed. Tears were welling up in his eyes and I could see the nervousness creeping in. I told him he should call his mother and offered my phone. I was still suspicious and expected the kid to run off with my phone. I figured, though, that I was fast enough to catch him and gave him my phone.
He was able to reach his mother and I spoke to her and told her I would take her son back inside the Convention Center and leave him with the officials at the Expo where she could pick him up. We stayed on the line as I walked back inside. As I walked inside the convention hall where the Expo was taking place a guy, who I'm guessing is a teacher, called out to the kid. Considering that according to the kid they were supposed to meet at 3PM and it was past 4 when he approached me, the teacher didn't look panicked at all. I'd be worried about getting my ass sued for losing someone's kid.
So, yes, I was a hero for fifteen minutes. I should confess, though, that the whole time I was dealing with the kid I kept on hoping that this whole ordeal won't cause me to stay for more than an hour. I parked at a meter and only had an hour to take care of the Expo stuff. The last thing I needed was to sit with a kid while we waited for his mother to pick him up. I would've done it, though, so I guess I'm still a hero, but I would have obsessed about the possibility of a parking ticket.
I didn't linger long, though. I picked up my bib, got my goody bag, took a couple of posters and walked around for a bit looking for the same hat I bought last year for $8. It was a Brooks hat and it was the best cap I'd ever worn during a race. Unfortunately I lost it at the finish area. I was holding too many things and must have dropped it. I didn't find it, so I guess I'm stuck wearing my black Nike cap, which isn't so bad, but that other one was so much better.
Walking back to my car I took the following picture:
This mile marker is in front of the Staples Center on Figueroa. This will annoy a lot of people. From here runners can glimpse the finish line and see the runners (way) ahead of them crossing the finish. It's a bit enervating to see the finish and then realize you still have 7.2 miles left before you can cross it. It may only be four blocks away but you still have to run away from it before you can cross it. Faraway, so close!
I ate lunch today at Canada Cafe. Here is a picture of the Poutine fries, grilled cheese sandwich, and egg salad that I ate: