Almost Home

I’m still in Houston, everyone is panicky because of the Swine Flu, one of the girls in the office brought her kid to work, that’s worrisome and bothersome all at the same time!

Can’t wait to get home tomorrow!!  I’m so ready to be home for a while, 4 whole weeks, woohoo!  Wish it was for the rest of the year, but I’ll take what I can get.

Tomorrow Kim, Tammy and I are running a 5K in McArthur Park at 7pm, no not ready.  I’ve run on the treadmill at the Hotel, Tuesday, Wednesday and today, but as I learned from the relay last weekend it’s just not the same as running outside in the warmer weather.  I’m just hoping to complete it without passing out and I’ll take what I can get for finishing time, but I would love to be under 30 minutes.  Apparently Tammy is now the speed demon of our trio, running a 27:XX at the Rocket 5K last weekend, where did that come from Tambo??

Big weekend, lots of folks moving, Stephanie is moving in with Aaron, I heard Tammy was moving some of her stuff into her new pad, Kim is moving her stuff out of her house in Jax and into my spare bedroom for the yard sale in May.  My yard looks like a jungle or really looks like no one lives at my house, I’m sure my neighbors are hating me, but I promise to get it all prettied up this weekend, I hate it as much as they do.  Oh, and need to work on my lawn mower, I think it needs a spark plug, or maybe new gas?  Does gas go bad over the winter?  I had a tough time starting it the last time I mowed.

Running with the Little Rock Marathon Training group on Saturday morning, I think Kim and Tammy both are going, but I have no idea where we are meeting this week I keep forgetting to sign up so I get the weekly reminders.  I can’t believe that 2 whole months of spring have gone by, it seems as though I have missed them completely, hate it.  Or maybe it hasn’t been 2 months, seems that way.

Supposed to be working now, so I guess I better get to it.  BTW, working on the Relay Race Report, started it last night, it will probably be this weekend before I can complete it, very long, but it was 36 hours!!

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After – American Odyssey Relay

This is not my official race report of the relay, just an update. We finished the relay in about 36 hours, I was in Van #2 which got a total of about 2 hours sleep in those 36 hours.  We had a lot of fun, we got a little grouchy with the lack of sleep and I’m still sleepy even though I’ve had two good nights of sleep since the end of the relay.

I still find I’m a little off kilter, it was very tiring and I think I had a touch of heat exhaustion on Saturday when the temperatures reached the mid 90’s!!  I did not perform like I wanted to, I had great expectations for myself and I let myself down, but I’m pretty much over beating myself up and I know that running on a treadmill just won’t cut it for training for any sort of race.

I’ve got lots of pictures to post and lots of great memories once I get back home on the weekend, right now I’m back in Houston, working and running on the treadmill starting tomorrow, I’m going to try intervals and see if that helps, I’ve got a 5K this weekend and I would like to do at least “okay”.

More to come later!

Relay Countdown

After months and months of waiting for the American Odyssey Relay to start it’s only a few days away, but after this mornings run I’m not sure what my team will get out of my runs.

The relay starts on Friday morning in Gettysburg, PA at 7:00 am, I’m in van 2 which means our van will not start our legs until around noon, this is my first relay, and the inaugural for this relay.   We have lots of instructions, lots of people who have never met, but I have no doubt we will have a ton of fun.

I had a horrible run this morning, I know everyone had bad days, but I just haven’t had one in quite a while and it really has me worried about the relay.  I’ve had to run on treadmills instead of getting outside while I’ve been traveling and it’s just not the same.  Last year in October I was beginning to be a strong runner and now, not so sure.

Tammy came over around 5:30 am and we headed to Little Rock for our run with Kim and the Little Rock Marathon Training Group, this weeks run was at Rahling Road, Kim’s favorite because it’s hilly, not mine because it is SO hilly, but it was only 8 miles today and it would be good training for the relay.

The first mile I was breathing hard and Kim noticed, I was having a hard time and wondered how I was going to make it.  We trudged along, I spotted a port-a-potty and took advantage, thank goodness too!  I needed it more than I knew I needed it.

It was just tough, the whole 8.5 miles, every hill, and there were plenty, it is the most hilly of all our runs, I’m not sure I had a bad day because I didn’t get enough runs in this week or the runs I did get in weren’t quality runs or maybe it was just an off day, I’m hoping it was just an off day and relay will go great.

Tomorrow I’m off to Houston, TX, home on Wednesday night, off to Baltimore on Thursday morning.  I’m in charge of picking up one of the vans and then I will be picking up Nat and Jeff and heading to Gettysburg.  Relay first thing Friday morning.  Not taking my laptop, but I will take my camera so I can get lots of pictures to share when I get back on Sunday, but I head back out to Houston on Monday morning, so it may be a few days before I get my race report done.

Delayed = Delta

OMG – I got up early, but not too early, left my house promptly at 6:30am, headed to the Little Rock Airport for my flight to Harrisburg, PA with a connection in Cincinnati, everything looked good, until right when we were ready to board, maintenance problem, update in 15 minutes.  When they updated us, delayed for 3 hours, everyone rushed the ticket counter for re-booking, me included and then I decided what was the point and called Delta direct.  They booked me on a noon flight through Atlanta arriving in Harrisburg at 7:30pm when I was originally scheduled for 12:45pm.

The agent finally said everyone needed to go downstairs to the main ticket agent, everyone headed downstairs past security check-in to stand in line for almost an hour.  While I was in line I was able to call Delta’s 800 number and get re-booked, but I wasn’t happy with the re-booking, leave LR at noon arrive Atlanta 2:45, leave Atlanta 5:45 arrive in Harrisburg 2 hours later.  I decided to stay in line and talk to the agent, everyone in line had horror stories about Friday, at least I wasn’t alone.

The ticket agent was only able to book me on an earlier flight through Atlanta which I did not want to do, I wanted to avoid Atlanta if I could after Friday’s experience.  I knew there were storms in Atlanta and just hoped it would pass by the time I got out of Little Rock, I was wrong.

Back upstairs and through security again, it was still early, 10:00 or so and I was starving, grabbed a Quizno’s sandwich and ate half of it for breakfast.  Once in the gate area we kept getting updates that there were severe storms and winds of 50 mph and no one was landing or taking off from Atlanta, oh joy, joy.

Flight delayed, we left LR at 12:40pm, originally scheduled 7:50am.

Once in Atlanta it was a madhouse, people everywhere and none look too happy.  Lines were long at the help centers and I knew that was not a good sign.  Found the monitor for my flight, oh great it has been delayed, did I expect something different?  Scheduled to leave at 5:45, now 7:30, OMG, the whole day has been wasted, my feet are killing me and my head is starting to hurt, off to my gate.

Once I get to the gate I look at the monitor again and the flight isn’t even on the monitor, but I decided to try and sit down and read my book, but can’t.  I get up and go to the help center I find a short line and get up to the ticket counter and there is an earlier flight to Harrisburg, I asked to please be put on stand by, the guy tells me its no use, there are about 2o people already and it’s full.  I’m disappointed.  I walked away and then turned around when I saw that my flight was delayed yet again, 8:28, this never ends.

I asked the guy to put me on stand-by anyway, who knows, so off I went to the flight that was leaving at around 6 or something like that I can’t even remember anymore.  I stopped and got a Blimpie wrap and some sliced apples, eating like crazy with the stress.

Stand-by didn’t work out, about 7 people on the stand-by list got on the flight so I was off to my C46 gate to wait until 8:28, this time, just sit and be patient, I’m reading my book, only down there about 15 minutes and there was an announcement from the ticket agent – flight 5456 to Harrisburg has been canceled, please see the ticket agent.  SHIT, I actually said it out loud and got up and headed toward the person who made the announcement.  Stood in line for 10 minutes and when I get to the podium I handed her my boarding pass and she was very short – NO – your flight was canceled you need to see the ticket agent down the hall.  Well, that’s not what she announced, and luckily I have traveled more than once in my life and at that point knew I probably needed to go to the help center, but someone who doesn’t travel much wouldn’t have a clue.

Once at the help center I scanned my boarding pass and while I was doing so there were several people who started talking to me who were also headed to Harrisburg and said there pop up paper said see the ticket agent.  When I scanned mine it gave me the same flight number, same time, same date, this is insane!

There was this Delta person who was walking around screaming at people to use the bank of phones instead of standing in line or scan their boarding pass to get their new flight info.  I promptly explained the info that we were getting seemed to be wrong, but she said well it’s not always accurate.  But, she’s telling us to use it instead of seeing the ticket agent?  Holy Cow!  I used the phone, it took about 10 minutes to get a person, she said there was one more flight to Harrisburg and grabbed the last seat, thank goodness, I’m booked.

Once I got off the phone one of the girls that was also on the same 5456 flight asked what had happened and I told her, she said the person she was talking to on the phone is saying the flight is not canceled, you’ve got to be kidding.  She got the departing gate from the Delta agent on the phone C55, which was right down the hall, I ran down there and asked the ticket agent if flight 5456 was departing out of that gate, she looked it up and confirmed.  I explained that the whole plane was down at the help center trying to get re-booked because of an announcement that it was canceled, it was not canceled.

I think we left Atlanta around 8:30 arrived in Harrisburg around 10:20, oh it only gets better.  Down to baggage claim, It was almost 1 hour before I got my luggage, at least I got it right?  Flight 5456 was the first flight on the board to land, 4 more flights after that landed, but their luggage started coming off first.  People were pissed!

I arrived at my hotel at 12:02 am EST, 17 hours after I had left my house, I think I could have driven with less stress.  My new name for Delta – Delayed

Back to Lancaster, PA

I can’t believe it’s been 8 days since my last blog, this traveling has got to stop, please.  I’m so done with it you can’t imagine, I don’t know what day it is, what month it is or what city I’m in.  I hate it, hate it, hate it.

I am getting some running in between working, which is all I do it seems.  I’m treadmilling it because I’m too damned lazy to research running locations and I’m a big chicken too.  With luck I’m getting in 3 treadmill runs all at least 4 miles, but the hills are lacking for sure, this week I plan on adding those back in since the American Odyssey Relay is almost here!  April 24-25.

I do have a bit of fun planned for this week, heading to a city a little north of Baltimore to Charm City Running where the director of the AOR is having a Relay 101 class, free and the Mizuno Run with Us tour will also be there, that is on Tuesday night and it’s about an hour or so drive from Lancaster.  One of the girls from our relay team, Katie, is meeting me there, it should be fun.

Next week it’s off to Houston for 3 days, come home Wednesday night then head to Gettysburg, PA for the Relay, so excited and anxious all at the same time, new people, new experience, new adventure.  Can’t wait.

I finally completed both my federal and state taxes just a few minutes ago, I don’t know why I put it off so long, just a pain in the ass really, I am taking the First Time Home buyer Credit for 2008, this will help me put in new windows, update my kitchen and bath, only downfall, I have to repay it, now if I would have bought my house this year, no repay, that sucks and I really don’t get why I have to repay it and people who bought their houses 5 months after I did don’t have to repay it….oh well, it’s a tax free loan in my eyes, maybe I can hire Susan from Benton to help with my Kitchen and Bath design.

Let me tell you about my wonderful travel experience on Friday, I was so looking forward to getting home around 5:30 on 6pm, oh I should never get excited about getting home early, never.  I left the Lancaster office around noon and headed to the Harrisburg airport, my flight to Atlanta was a little delayed and they had already changed my flight to Little Rock from Atlanta, gee thanks.  When I got  to Atlanta my flight was delayed to 5:45, then delayed for maintenance until 6:30, then until 9:00 for weather, then canceled, CANCELED?  OH SHIT!  But, they put me on another flight scheduled for 9:30, that one was delayed until 10:30, then 11:30, then 11:45.  We left Atlanta at midnight on Friday night EST, I got home at 1:30am, I hate this traveling crap have I told you that?  Hate it.

Tammy called Saturday morning at 5:00 am, you running?  oh but of course, drag my lazy butt out of bed and we ran with the Little Rock Marathon Group in maumelle for 7 miles, in the wind and coolish temps, my stomach acted up a few times from all the junk food I ate at the airport the night before, what can I say, I was bored.

Off and Running

Got home last night with enough time to fill out my expense reports and wash a couple loads of clothes, but that’s about it.

Tammy had already signed up to run the Capital City Classic 10K which was today and I finally signed up on Thursday night after I found out the Little Rock Marathon Group were running the Murray Park route, I just couldn’t do Murray Park today and the weather looked good for a race and considering race fees these days I thought the price was cheap, $18.00.

Tammy came over right at 7:00am and we were out the door by 7:10am headed to Two Rivers Park for our first 10K of the year, we talked about pace and goals a bit on the way over, but I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  My last 10K I set a PR at 59:05, since I haven’t been doing speed work or any track workouts I had doubts so I thought I would just run around 10 minute miles.

Once we got to the park there were LOTS of people/cars and had to park a pretty good distance from the registration area, thank goodness we got there early, the check in was easy and we got great Tech Tee’s instead of usual cotton ones!  and they are cute too!  By the time we took our shirts back to my car, pin our bibs on, got our drinks, it was time for the start.  I’m guessing there were around 300 people, we made a small loop where you could see all the people passing us, HA!

We were keeping about a 10:15 pace for the first mile according to the guy who was at the first mile marker, but our Garmins were showing us a little faster than that.  Not long after that we ran into Michele and her son Alex (8), they passed us and I tried to get Tammy to push it just a little, but she said for me to just go on, she would be fine, so I started picking it up some, I felt good, surprisingly.

I looked down at my Garmin and was running about 9:40, still feeling good and knew I could keep this pace for awhile.  Around mile 3 some guy’s hat flew off and he didn’t even know it, I slowed and picked it up for him, another girl hollered at him and he turned around and came back toward me to get his hat, it was sweaty and nasty anyway, gross, but a nice Nike Dri-Fit hat in a color I didn’t have :).  The guy starts talking to me and slows me down a bit because the next time I looked down I was back to about a 10:00 pace.  I had already decided I couldn’t beat my previous PR so I would just try and keep the 9:40 pace to help train for the Relay in 3 weeks.

Around mile 4.5 this girl in a pink shirt just zooms past me, WTF?  Where the heck did she come from?  Oh, we can’t have this, so I speed up some, now I’m running about 9:30, I finally catch up with her around mile 5, still running faster than I wanted to, but then I hear the guy calling out our time for 5 miles 49:XX, that means I might be able to get in under 1 hour and that’s what I told the girl in pink so we made it a real race and started pacing off each other.  She would pull ahead just a bit and then I would and we just stayed side by side until we were about 1/2 mile out and she said she had stomach cramps and for me to go on, but she stayed right with me.  There were also some other girls right with us and I just said come on girls let’s get in under an hour and we were all huffing and puffing trying to push it to get in under an hour, we had 4 minutes left, I really had my doubts.

Mile 6 and we still had .2 to go, that was the worse part, my heart rate alarm was going off like crazy, I just ignored it and pumped my arms and pushed it, I don’t know what happened to the girl in pink or the other girls because I beat them all!  But woe is me I didn’t beat the 1 hour mark, when I crossed the finish line it said 1:00:21, but the official website said 1:00:38.  Close, but no cigar, I finished 10th in my age group.

Not long after I finished her came the girl in pink, in just a minute or two her comes Tammy, just smiling like crazy, not sure if she was happy she was done or happy with her time, I think both!  We grabbed Diet Mountain Dew’s, snacks and headed back to my vehicle to stretch and head home.

I had a great race, I really wasn’t feeling it in the beginning, but after the first mile it felt good, like I said earlier, surprisingly.  Here are my splits, which I’m pleased with –

  • 10:00
  • 10:02
  • 9:43
  • 9:52
  • 9:35
  • 9:11
  • 8:18

We made our customary Buck’s stop for coffee and Tammy actually needed a second cup when we got back to NLR.

I’m off to mow the yard now, it’s pretty nice outside and then I have to get packed for my work week which starts tomorrow. 😦  Anyone looking for help?  I’m sick of all this traveling.

Macon = Treadmill

I wanted to start really increasing my running this week considering my American Odyssey Relay is a short 3 weeks away.  Feeling good about it, just want to be ‘ready’ and not slower than I predicted each leg of my relay.  I had planned on running outside each day around the Mercer University campus who knew that it would rain EVERY day, I certainly did not come prepared to run in the rain, so you know what that means the dreaded Treadmill, oh my god! how I hate that machine!

I had already decided I would run after I left the office, so that meant leaving by 6pm, do my run, grab dinner and then work, no working all night and then getting up an hour early to run that was really wearing me out and I was not doing as many miles as I needed to last week.  So every night out by 6, back to the Hotel, change and down to the fitness room and on to the treadmill, 4 miles Tuesday, 4.25 Wednesday and 4 tonight.  Every night I would think to myself “how did you run 4 miles on that thing”  I hate it that much.  When I think back to the run I think 4 miles is nothing when you’re running outside and running with someone, but on that damned piece of equipment, I just can’t stand it!!  I guess I need to get my iPod loaded or something.

Next week it’s off to Lancaster, PA, Amish country, been there once before, but it’s been about 6 years, Eric (my counterpart at work) will be in Harrisburg and I think we are going to try and meet up in Hershey, PA, just to commiserate, oh and maybe eat Chocolate at the same time!

Running a 10K with Tammy on Saturday morning, last minute for me, just signed up tonight, not planning on “racing”, but the competition sometimes takes over when I’m at the start line, we’ll just have to wait and see how I feel on Saturday morning, the weather should be better than the 5K last week.

If you know any good running trails in Lancaster, drop me a line!