Half Marathon #17/50
Weather - Cloudy, 33 degrees
I booked the Thunder Road Amica Insurance Half Marathon as the first race of a double header weekend. There are not a lot of races in the winter, and getting some of these more "mild" weathered states out of the way in cooler temps seemed ideal.
Wednesday night I finally have a chance to check my email. Remember, I've been out of town, and actually being swamped at work, I've really had no chance to be on top of things. I open the email from Orbitz "Plan for your trip" and notice something... our flight leaving Charlotte on Saturday is at 10:30 am. Um.... HUH??? I pulled up what I actually booked and paid for. A 3:30 flight. I never EVER would have booked a flight for 10:30. The race didn't even start until 7:45, and there was NO way I could make a flight that early.
I do NOT do well in high stress situations. When we saw this at a drug store in Vegas, I absolutely HAD to have it.
I asked L to pretend to be me and she called, spent an hour on the phone, and got our flight switched. She thought I had said the race started at 7, and had selected a flight for just before noon. Still not a comfortable time window, so she called AGAIN and after another 45 minutes got us on a 1:10 flight.
Now I was going to be able to relax and enjoy the weekend. Got up on Friday morning, dropped the kids off with our parents, and then headed to the airport. Go to check in at the kiosk (my printer at home was out of ink) and the machine tells me I need to pick up the phone and call the operator. I really think nothing of it and spend just a few minutes on the phone, answer some redundant questions, and then out print boarding passes. Off we go through security.
For those of you that have never been to Denver International Airport... there is only ONE Starbucks in the whole airport. And it is a good ten minute walk from center court in the middle concourse. We had some time, so we walked over, got our coffee, and boarded the plane. No problems. Flight to Kansas City was short, we watched two episodes of "Two and a Half Men." Land in Kansas City, and we have to exit the secured area to get to our gate. Seems annoying, but we have over an hour until our next flight. Also, all the food is on the wrong side of security. There were only two options, and we selected Quiznos. It was FABULOUS.
We walk over to the area where our gate is. Security is shut down. Nothing is happening. There is no one at the TSA desk checking tickets. Everyone is standing around. Ten or so minutes later, the line starts moving, and we find out that there was some sort of security breach. Lovely.
For whatever reason, Orbitz had not booked our seats together. I told L that I was going to go to the counter to ask if the flight was not full if we could sit next to each other. The lady said only two adjoining seats were in the last row. Fine.
She was having trouble pulling up our tickets. She asked the other lady at the counter to come over. We are informed that we have only a paper ticket and we need to go back out through security and get a ticket or we will not be able to board the plane.
Uh. What? I've never heard of a paper ticket. I've never had one issued. Why on earth is this one not electronic? How do I have a boarding pass? How did I get this far without anyone saying I need a ticket? All good questions.
40 minutes until boarding.
We are told to go to the United desk and they will be able to print it no problem. Only they claim that they have no record of our tickets and it is a US Airways flight so we need to talk to them. I'm getting stressed. My stress doll is NOT working.
36 minutes until boarding.
I rapidly and urgently express the situation to the lady at the US Airways counter. She says she can't help me because I'm "not very nice." As calmly as I can I say "can you and the guy at the United desk please communicate because I'm not understanding what is going on with our tickets."
30 minutes until boarding.
US Airways lady is certain we will not be on this flight. Finally I tell her to just sell me a ticket and I'll get a refund later from Orbitz. She tells me it will be $542. Each. I nearly black out with rage. WTH?! Then she says she doesn't think she can even sell me a ticket because we are within the 30 minute window of take off. My head is literally going to explode.
At this point I tell her and the United guy to just do whatever they can. I'm stressed because there is NO race day pick up, and I didn't take the time off from work and spend the money to get stranded in Kansas City.
Guy from United insists we were on the wrong flight. He claims our connection was in Cincinnati and that we were supposed to be on a much later flight to Charlotte and we never should have been in Kansas City in the first place. WHAT?? I show him a copy of all my boarding passes, my itinerary from Orbitz. He does not care. He prints out what HE claims my itinerary is - and it is TOTALLY different. On the verge of crying. This makes NO sense.
20 minutes until boarding.
We still have no tickets. US Airways lady "thinks" she has it figured out, tells us we have to go back through security with our old tickets and "hopefully" there will be a REAL e-ticket for us at the gate. As we are walking, I realize that I never gave her my credit card. This can't be good.
Long LONG story short. Somehow, and no one can figure out who or what caused it, but something went terribly wrong with our itinerary. We get to the counter, they are able to print out our e-tickets. Coincidentally in the same seats on our other boarding passes. We boarded late, but they held the plane for us. I didn't feel comfortable that we were going to make it to Charlotte until the plane was in the air.
Land in Charlotte. On time. Walk outside, hail a cab, and head into the city for the Expo, which is being held at the Convention Center.
Like any decent sized race, the Expo is completely packed. There were some cool running skirts, but by the time we got there all the small sizes had been picked over. We were totally exhausted by now and just wanted to check into our hotel and get some dinner.
|Hilarious - Saw this on the way out|
|L and Me|
We hadn't seen anywhere acceptable to eat on the walk to the hotel, and a flyer in the lobby claimed the restaurant in the hotel was having a pasta special.
|Spaghetti with Chicken|
We risked ordering dessert, sharing a piece of red velvet cake (which took more than 15 minutes to get).
The manager came by again, and we asked her for a bill for the dessert and she refused to bring us one. I left money for a tip.
Headed upstairs, and I'm still feeling stressed and anxious. Now I'm worried about tomorrow's flights. We hadn't even changed anything with the first leg, and look at the problems we had. So I decide to check in for our flights and then we can just print our boarding passes when we get to the airport. I go to delta.com, log in, and my itinerary pulls up.
There are no flights listed for Saturday. A random flight for 6:00 from Kansas City to Charlotte and some flights for Sunday. You have GOT to be kidding me. So on the phone with Orbitz. Again. He assures me it is a confirmed flight. Yes. I *KNOW* it is a confirmed flight. The problem is that Delta doesn't seem to think I'm ON it. An hour long phone conversation later, I'm still not able to check in, but I have an email from Delta with my itinerary. I guess I'll take what I can get.
L thinks I need a beer. I had wanted to be in bed early, but I'm angry and agree beer is a better choice.
L is not a beer drinker, but with the specials, she decides to join me and orders a Pomegranate Margarita. What could go wrong??
|M is for Margarita|
Got back to the room, laid out my gear and tried to get some sleep.
We got up around 6:20. Actually, I woke up ten minutes before the alarm went off. Had breakfast, got dressed and ready to go. I checked the weather as we were leaving. Just as I suspected. Cold.
We had a general idea of where the start was, but again we were planning on relying on herd mentality to get us where we needed to go. We decided to hang out in the lobby of the hotel as long as possible. It was cold.
Got our pre-race pictures out of the way. I'm sporting a new Christmas headband from Razzy Roo - I love it!!
Then of course, I need a full outfit shot... in front of the GIGANTIC Christmas tree in the lobby.
|Me and L|
|Random fish statue on the way to the start line|
I had mapped out the elevation the night before, and knew that there was going to be tough hills between miles 1 and 2, 4 and 5, and pretty much the whole last mile. The plan was to start out slow and coast through the first half.
I didn't, however, know where the course was running. I assumed that it would be like every other big city race I've done, where you weave up and down boring areas of downtown, pass the occasional park or pond, see a cool statue or two and end up where you started.
This course was NOT like that. Only maybe the first mile was in the city, the rest of the course weaved through some really nice (and elite looking) neighborhoods. It was surprisingly scenic. I kept watching my splits and was a bit nervous at my pace.
|Around mile 1|
|Eat pasta, run fasta - around mile 4|
I hit the 10K split ridiculously fast. I knew that if I could somehow keep up this place that I could PR. But not on a flat course?? Did not seem possible. But I felt like I had to push. I was definitely getting tired. I willed myself not to walk.
I hit the ten mile marker just after 1:30, and I knew as long as I could run 3 more 9 minute miles that I would have it. So much pressure!!!
I kept going, kept going, and was pleasantly surprised at the last mile not being nearly as terrible as I imagined.
I crossed the line (without sprinting really, I had NOTHING left) and yes!!! A new PR by almost a minute, and on a long course!!
Official Time - 1:58:54
10K Split - 55:22
Overall - 1195/3229
Divison - 73/346
Garmin Time - 1:58:55
Garmin Distance - 13.23 miles
Overall Pace - 8:59!!!!!
Mile 1 - 8:19 (Way too fast!!)
Mile 2 - 9:13
Mile 3 - 8:27
Mile 4 - 8:45
Mile 5 - 9:11
Mile 6 - 8:52
Mile 7 - 9:18
Mile 8 - 9:25
Mile 9 - 9:04
Mile 10 - 9:03
Mile 11 - 9:06
Mile 12 - 9:19
Mile 13 - 8:49
Mile 13.1 - 8:47
|NASCAR Hall of Fame|
|I'm a winner! :D|
L looks excited :D
And so... our trip to North Carolina was... memorable.
At least I don't have to come back. Now. On to Virginia!
**As a funny little story. I got this message from one of my friends on Dailymile.com:
"so I had to tell you that you have a twin out there. on Saturday as i was approaching mile 1 I saw a girl who looked just like you and was wearing the green plaid running skirt from runningskirts.com w/ a red tank top and knee high socks. I caught up to her but she stopped to get a drink at first station so I passed her. We played cat and mouse w/ each other throughout the race and at one point we were running side by side. I wanted to be like "I'm Lisa from Daily Mile" but I was trying to conserve my breath. so at mile 12 she picked up the pace and broke away... beating me by 45 sec or so. I told my gf Becca that I saw you but I was too exhausted to talk. Later that night when I checked the results I realized it wasn't you- crazy. Your 'twin' motivated me, so semi thank you haha. Also congrats on breaking 2 hours and then some!"
I thought that was the coolest message! And funny... because my "twin" was of course really L, and so many people think we are twins anyway.
I just LOVE the running world :) :) :)