Saturday, June 25, 2011

Seattle Marathon

Having grown up in the Seattle suburb Puyallup and going to college at University of Washington, it was time to run a marathon in the city closest to my heart. I hadn't been back since July 2006, so it was time to pay a visit to the Emerald City.

I got into Seattle at 2am on Thursday night due to delays. Then there was a huge line at the car 2am...what? So by the time I got my car it was 2:30 and I booked a hotel nearby the airport to avoid waking up friends I was going to stay with. I want to charge Southwest with it. They are a terrible. I don't enjoy them anymore. I don't care to entertained. I don't need singers. I don't need the humor or cheerleader flight attendants. I just want an airline that can get me somewhere for the time I paid for. I understand weather delays and things out of their control. But how do they manage to have three-hour delays with every single flight? I just flew from Seattle to San Jose (on a delayed flight, of course) and the flight attendant kept making jokes and adding "just sayin" at the end of everything. "You can store your young child in the overhead bin. Just sayin." "You can't form a line in the front bathroom. If you gotta go, you gotta go to the back. Just sayin." Well, if they can't fly me on-time anywhere, I will switch airlines. Just sayin. The other flight attendant on this flight bedazzled her apron...Why? So she could be sparkly and shiny.

Now I am sitting in an airport in San Jose with another near three-hour delay. I was supposed to land in San Diego at 11:20pm. I have been up since 2am and now will be up for 24 hours straight. Thank you Southwest. You suck. Just sayin.

Anyway, I got in and was walking toward my rental and saw one car in the parking lot...a beetle. I thought, please, please do not let that be my car. Oh yes, it was. It was the smallest car in the world after a Smart Car. I even once drove a Geo Metro and it had more space than this thing. My six-foot body and carry-on luggage was all the car could handle. Plus, I started driving, and maybe I've gotten used to driving an SUV, but I was seriously worried about road rash on my butt. I felt like I was sitting on the road. This car was so low to the ground I couldn't even see anything out of the rear view mirrors other than tires. I felt like an old lady driving this thing.

But walking out to my car, my foot started to hurt immensely. My plantar fasciitis had returned in full force, just 1.5 days before a marathon. No! Boo!

I stayed the night in the hotel and the next day went to the expo to get my racing stuff for a race in which I wasn't sure I would even do. I then walked around Pike's Place Market and watched the ferries come in and ate lunch at Westlake Center and then took the Monorail to Seattle Center to see the Space Needle and buy some of my favorite grasshopper fudge--one of my favorite foods in the entire world. One bite and I was so happy. It was even better than I remember and worth every single penny. My foot started to hurt worse and worse, so I had to get off of it. So I said good-bye to Seattle and drove to Puyallup. Seattle had beautiful sunny skies and was even more cosmopolitan than I remembered. It has "chocolate bars" where you can sit and eat pieces of chocolate and cute restaurants and cafes. All I could think walking around is that I am so lucky to have grown up in the most beautiful city in the world. So I started my long drive to Puyallup with crazy, crazy traffic. It took 1.5 hours to drive not too far south. Then it started to rain and I couldn't see anything. Oh yes, that is the Washington I remember. I got to my friends' house and iced my foot. I wasn't feeling well in my stomach since Thursday night, so they gave me some medicine. I went to bed and didn't sleep more than 3 hours because of stomach, I was running a marathon in a few hours so stomach pains are about the worst thing that can happen, aside from foot pain. So I was not set up for a successful race.

The alarm went off at 3am, but I was already awake since 2. My stomach was cramping so badly I didn't drive straight to the parking garage for the marathon. Rather, I drove from grocery store to grocery store looking for Imodium. But nothing was open. I finally just figured I'd try a gas station and see if I would have luck. Success! Gas stations carry Imodium. So I took one...and it didn't work. I was standing in the starting chute so sick to my stomach. And wearing three socks and feet taped up hoping for the best for my other pain. Well, within 90 seconds of running, my foot was killing me, but magically it only lasted 1 mile. I think it is because my foot became numb from the concrete, so it worked (although now I am paying the price). But my stomach pain did not go away. By mile 11.5, I was hurting. I really was regretting not switching to the half. It was going to be a long, long race and I contemplated dropping out. But by mile 15-20, I felt a lot better. But at mile 22, I was so tired and my stomach pain was back and it was a tough few miles at at the end. But the course was beautiful. I got to run in the tunnels, on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, on Lake Washington Bridge! They shut down the bridge and I ran right out onto the water. One of my favorite parts of the marathon course were these signs of soldiers whose lives were taken in war--pictures of young men with their children who no longer have a father. Standing just past those signs were people holding American flags for everyone of those soliders. It was really emotional and I started to cry, but that made it hard to breathe, so I tried to think happy thoughts to be able to keep running.

It was really, really special to be running in Seattle. I love that city. But my body did NOT! It was very hilly and probably the hardest city marathon I've done, excluding the adventurous ones of China and Antarctica. But I managed to finish, crying from mile 25 on. It GPS'd at 26.5 miles and I literally collapsed at the finish line. I've seen that happen on TV at races, but never in real life, until it happened to me. I crossed the finish line, staggered and collapsed. There was a line of medics right at the finish to grab me. They brought me to the medical tent and a doctor came over to see me. I told him about the stomach pain and medicine I was buying at 3am. He had me elevate my legs, but they didn't have anything for me to keep them elevated, so they built a little stand made of water bottles and I lied down and brought my feet up. The doctor had me take sips of a drink and eat pretzels. He then had me sit up and then eventually stand up. I've never gone to a medical tent for medical reasons. I did go after my Ironman, but that was just to get a free massage. The medical people asked who was with me to watch over me in case I got faint and sick again. I said, "I'm by myself." They were worried for me. I am always by myself at races, so I watch over me and I know myself better than anybody anyway.

So I found out that my car was parked 2 miles from the finish line in the parking garage and walking after a marathon isn't exactly an easy thing to do. So it took me about 40 minutes to hobble back to my car and was freezing. I was wrapped up tight in two mylar blankets.

My plan was to go to LA Fitness to shower and then go to Bellevue Square (this cool shopping mall) to shop before my flight at 5pm. But the race had a lot of wave starts, so I didn't cross the start line until about 30 minutes after the first people did and then the race took me longer than I expected it to, then I spent over 20 minutes at the medical tent, then a 40 minute walk back to my car, so was already running behind my planned schedule. Then I got out onto the freeway and there was soooo much traffic. I thought, "What is going on? Why is there so much traffic?" Um, hello stupid. There's this thing called a marathon in which all the streets are shut down. Hence, traffic. So Bellevue Square was out. So I found an LA Fitness near the airport and hobbled my way in with plenty of stares. Yes, I just ran a marathon and I have salt crystalized to my face and my eyelashes are now white and I can't walk and I'm bleeding from chafing in areas I didn't use anti-chafe cream. But there's no need to stare.

I then went to the airport and my bag got flagged by security. Naturally. It always does. But for the first time, the security agent dumped all the contents of my purse and coin purse out. All my coins went all over the bin. All my papers were everywhere. He just turned it upside down and shook everything out. And he didn't put it back. My bag always gets flagged, so I am not surprised when it does. But I've never had an agent do that.

I had to fly from Seattle to San Jose and then San Jose to San Diego. Both flights were delayed. I will now be up for 24 hours straight. Got up at 2am, will return to San Diego at 2am.

It will take me 10 hours to get from Seattle to San Diego this evening. A flight that can be done in 3.5.

I hate Southwest.

Just sayin.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Phoenix, Arizona

I am stuck at Phoenix airport waiting out long flight delays--as usual. I am not the luckiest of souls when it comes to on-time flights. I spent the weekend in Phoenix and surprised that the heat didn't bother me. I actually kind of liked it. I did spend 8 miles on a treadmill, trying to run inside rather than out. But my foot is not healed and spent the better part of Sunday night putting ice on it and stretching it. I hope to run again soon, actually really soon--I have a long race out of town this weekend.

I did get to see my dad for Father's Day, had my hair dyed even darker brown (although I miss being blonde) and am back in Invisalign. Those were all the major happenings of my time in the Valley of the Sun.