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American Odyssey (AOR) - Chapter 1 - In the Beginning

Posted Apr 30 2009 1:05pm
It would be hard for me to post the AOR report in just one post, given my tendency toward verbosity, so I'll break it down into a few easily digestible chunks.

Without recreating too much history, this whole thing started about this time last year. A couple of bloggers, Karen, aka Pokie, from Arizona, and Michelene, from Reno, decided to try to put together a relay team to run the American Odyssey Relay. Since the event was going to be so close to home, I jumped in quickly. We sent in our dough and registered last July. Over the course of the next six months or so, more than half of our original team turned over -- babies, job situations, and travel costs all led some to change their plans. We replaced all those that couldn't hang and, after much planning, the event was finally upon us.

Of my 11 teammates, I had met just three. The other 8 were relative strangers, other than some whose blogs I follow. I was hoping this wouldn't be the beginning of some kind of horror movie!

In preparing to go, the first order of business was the packing. We would be in ordinary mini vans with 6 passengers each. Along with that, we'd need all of our running clothes as well as support. Unlike normal running events where there are water and first aid stations at regular intervals, this event was essentially unsupported. We were responsible for our own water, Gatorade, food, first aid, etc. There were a couple of stops with services, but we'd need to be prepared for everything. Katie filled the shopping list, met at my house on Thursday and we were off.

Back of my CRV -- how's all this gonna fit in the van?

BWI was the best option for us all to meet, with so many different inbound locations. Deb dropped Katie and I off to pick up the rental van and then we waited. Karen and Taryn were due in from Phoenix at 4:15, but were delayed until about 5. When they arrived, we met them at the airport loaded their luggage and headed towards Gettysburg, about 90 minutes away, not including traffic. En route, we stopped for dinner at Ledo Pizza and a quick stop in the grocery store in Westminster and got back on the road.

Arriving at the host hotel just after 8, we quickly found the three members of our team already there and soon after, van 2 arrived. It was kinda weird to meet all of these people that we had been emailing back and forth. In my mind, I started to play through the horror movie scenario and quickly determined that most of the team could be trusted. (Not saying who I thought might be able to do it!)

The lobby was packed with runners. At 8:30, we headed into the open Team Captains meeting. Bob, the organizer, handed out a list of concerns. Mostly related to safety. Since we'd all be running on strange roads, he wanted to be sure we knew what was going on where. Also, he announced the winner of the best team name. That would be the team called "Four Score and Seven Blisters". That would be OUR team. Yeay! Amazingly, this team name was supplied by Nat, one of our Canadian runners. We won a case of iced tea. Woo hoo!

Our leader accepting the tea award.

Following the meeting, we had our own team meeting on the floor at the host hotel. After that, finally, it was off to our hotels to get some real sleep, sometime after 11. By the time I fell asleep, it was close to one, I'm sure. Just four hours until the alarm goes off. . .

Floor meeting.

L'Chaim!

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