After a successful Thanksgiving dinner (we did not burn the turkey!!! YAY!!), we zoned out rested Friday in order to get up early the next morning and head down to Cocoa Beach. We received amazing news that the rocket launch Friday was to be re-scheduled for 10 am Saturday so we knew we had to start driving at the crack ass of dawn and take it easy and get plenty of sleep.

We overslept. Ok…I overslept. My boyfriend has the remarkable ability to get up the second his alarm goes off. I need multiple rendezvous with my finger and the snooze button to be half way pleasant to people when I wake up early. Because of this, we ended up leaving at 7:15 a.m. and for a second, thought that we may not make it in time for the launch. We had a debate over whether to eat in at the McDonalds or just grab some breakfast through the drive-thru so as not to lose time. He was convinced seeing the launch was a lost cause and wanted to just go inside but I stubbornly kept trying to argue that we could still make it, if and only if, we grabbed our food to go. The map said it would take 3 hours to drive down so I’m not sure where my conviction was coming from. Maybe I was still unpleasant to people around me because I hadn’t slept more than 5 hours (I was too excited to sleep as noted in my previous post). We escalated this debate in the way that only people in love can and bursted out laughing when it finally hit how ridiculous we were being. Ah l’amour.

If it wasn’t for his speedy driving we may not have accomplished what we did. We made it. With 10 minutes to go before the launch, we spotted a ton of cars parked along the highway overlooking the launch pad. I can’t tell you how happy I was to be there to see a launch for the very first time. It was both of our firsts to be exact.

Waiting for the Rocket Launch

Spectators for rocket launch

Lift off

And I think you get the picture 😉 After this, we decided to head to the expo to pick up my runner’s packet at the Kennedy Space Center.

We passed by this sign on the way in. I was so just there 😀

We walked inside and found it very organized. I picked up my packet in less than 30 seconds! and proceeded to go into the expo.

The packet pick-ups stations were un-crowded and nicely set-up.

So this is where all the people were. It was crowded! But then again, there wasn’t much space and there were very few interesting exhibitors. I was hoping to pick up a running skirt for the race and left empty handed because no one was selling any. This is one of the things I hope they focus on as the race becomes more popular in the years to come. Part of the fun of a race is going to the expo and finding the latest running gear and clothing to fuel your all things running obsession passion. Even if more exhibitors had wanted to come, there wouldn’t have been much room for them in that space.

The expo was suffocatingly small 😦

We left and decided to head down to our hotel for an early check-in at 12:30. We had called ahead and the front desk woman we spoke to said it was very possible and that we should go. When we got to the host hotel (Radisson Resort at the Port) we went up to the first front desk person we spotted, a young woman that looked helpful. I quickly asked if we could check in early and explained that we had a reservation. Without looking in the system or checking with anyone she told us that check in was at 3pm and no it was not possible because they had just checked out a bunch of people and all the rooms were uncleaned. She told us we would have to drive around for 3 hours and just wait. This was all said with a condescending tone that was clear to both of us. I was shocked. I mean there are ways to talk to people and this just wasn’t right.

I’m mentioning this because her attitude was rude and snide, something I was not prepared to encounter at a host hotel for the race. We were really taken aback with how some people in customer service positions can act so unprofessional without recourse. Without saying any of the colorful words that were going through our heads, we thanked her and walked outside to cool off. Then we had an idea! it wouldn’t hurt to call the hotel and ask again. Because maybe, just maybe, she was not only rude but completely wrong. Just as we suspected, a lovely woman named Tanya answered the line,checked the system, and told us we were more than welcomed to check in early because many rooms were available and clean. HA!!! So we walked in through the other entrance and spoke to someone else to check in. He was friendly, professional, and checked us in without an issue. At this point we didn’t want to cause a stir to complain because we were tired and really hate making a scene. We’ll leave it up to karma to take care of her faux pas.

Standard room at Radisson Resort Port Canaveral

After relaxing for a couple of hours and playing with the sleep number bed control buttons,  we ate a small lunch,  and came back to relax some more before going to the pre-race dinner. I knew I wanted to get to the expo a little bit before the shuttle buses were scheduled to take us to dinner because Kathrine Switzer was there from 2-5:30 and although she was the guest speaker at dinner, I didn’t want to miss my chance to meet her and get my book signed. We got there just in time as she was packing up to go with her staff. It was kind of hectic and they looked like they were trying to hash out some logistics for her talk that night so I waited patiently to say hello. When she had a moment to breathe, I spoke up and told her I was the girl that she had just done the blog interview for. She was absolutely the sweetest person 🙂 signed my book with some inspiring words and promised we would talk more via e-mail. Her staff snapped our picture and I held up my copy of the book just before the camera flashed (because I almost completely forgot I was holding it like a total goob).  She was a such a down to earth friendly woman and I was really happy to meet her in person, even if it was a short lived because of how much I look up to her. I’ve never had a hero but if I had to choose, she would be it.

Last minute meet up with Kathrine Switzer

I rushed off right after this photo because we still had to catch the shuttle for the dinner at the Saturn Center. We got our  VIP bands, walked through metal detectors, and into Kennedy Space Center to find the shuttles.

I really wanted to take a picture with this space dude but there was a line and I didn’t want to miss the shuttle to dinner because of a photo op.

I love this place. I’ve only been here once as a kid and feel like a trip in the future is warranted, because I can appreciate things now that I’m an adult ya know.

4 shuttle buses filled to the brim and took a 12-15 minute trip to the Saturn Rocket Center where the dinner was being held. Ryan nodded off and I focused on watching the NASA video about the space program’s history.

When we got there the doors weren’t open so we waited outside for about 10 minutes.

Continued in part 2 of this post…