Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Arizona Distance Classic Recap - Part 1

Pre-race Travel & Prep
This was my first solo flying trip specifically for a race since the husband couldn't come due to school. I spent most of the Friday for the race finishing my packing and going out to get last minute items that I needed. I thought I was all set and tried to get some sleep around 9pm since I had to be up at 3am to get ready for the nearly four hour drive to Albuquerque where I was flying out of. Yes, I could have flown out of Amarillo or Lubbuck, both only about an hour and a half away from home, but flying out of Texas makes the flight about $200 more expensive and about 5-6 longer in travel time. No matter how much I wanted to sleep, it just wasn't happening. I didn't want to take my melatonin because I didn't want any lingering drowsiness having to wake up so early. I tossed and turned, got in and out of bed and finally just as it was getting to be time for the alarm to go off I got tired. I reset the alarm for 30 minutes later and I think dozed off lightly for a catnap only to wake up a couple of minutes before the alarm was to go off. I showered and dressed, said goodbye to the K9s and left the husband alone since he's a hard sleeper. And off I went for the drive to Albuquerque.

I managed to stay awake without any problems for the drive and ended up in Albuquerque about 2 hours and 15 minutes before my flight. I decided to stop for breakfast...initially at Cinnabon in the mall but they were closed, so I headed for the Starbucks at ABQ Uptown. After a tall hot chocolate and a warm cinnamon swirl coffeecake I headed towards the Sunport (what they call the airport). I used to park in the airport parking lot, but have recently began parking in some of the off airport parking. Trying to save some cash I went to a lot that had a specific military discount advertised...I mean really, you can't beat $3/day even if it's in the open parking area rather than covered (the car was filthy anyway so it didn't matter where I parked). However, I must remember to keep some dollar bills in my wallet/pocket 'coz I felt bad when I didn't have any cash for a tip for the shuttle driver. Ooops! Since I had pre-printed my boarding pass, I did the curbside baggage check and headed up to the gate. Now, the Sunport is a small airport and I hardly ever have to wait more than 15 minutes or so to get through security...that's one of the reasons I like flying out of there (Amarillo and Lubbock security lines are even shorter waits). First stop after security was Keva Juice for a Keva Kolada smoothie and then the short walk to the gate. At the gate I had trouble connecting to the free wifi but eventually got it done with about an hour yet to boarding. So my happy technophile self sat there playing on Facebook, of course.

We boarded about 15 minutes prior to departure and thankfully the flight was less than half full. I got my beloved aisle seat (flew on Southwest) and had no one sitting in the middle seat next to me. I tried to catch some sleep but again it wasn't happening and since it was only a 55 minute flight it didn't seem worth trying that hard. I was operating on about 28 hours without sleep at that point. Once we landed, I just love short flights, I picked up the rental car. Initially they were going to give me one of those cute, little Fiat's that J-Lo did a commercial for but they couldn't find the keys...damn! I ended up instead with a Toyota Yaris sedan that had the instrument cluster in the middle of the dash! It took me a full day to get used to that...I will definitely not be buying a Yaris anytime soon!

The first order of business was to go to packet pick-up which was about 45 minutes away. As I drove through the Saturday Tucson traffic I remembered why I was glad not to live in a metropolitan area. Traffic is crazy! Why does it take 45-50 minutes to travel 22 miles??? Ugh!! So, I finally get to the store where pickup is happening and get my bag, ensure that my D-tag is registered since I would be wearing my custom shirt rather than the regular bib, looked around the store a bit and got a new 13.1 shirt and some GU gel then headed out to drive the course. First off, I got lost trying to find the start since my GPS was being a pain but I eventually got to the right place. As I started following the course map, the first thing just out of the start was a...hill. Joy. The further I went along there were some more slight inclines before reaching a piece of flat road that lasted a few miles. Then they started happening again...more hills. Now, let me clarify...where I live there are few areas that I can call hills. I have to drive out about 10 miles to find a stretch of highway or park road that qualify as hills, so it's not wrong to say that my hill training was fairly minimal. Truthfully though, the hills didn't seem quite as daunting as I thought they would be...I forgot that I was looking from the perspective of driving a car. As I completed the out and back course I thought that the race would be doable...not fast...just doable. Meaning that I would finish...period.

I still had some time to kill so I set the navigation on my phone to locate the local Fleet Feet store. It took me another 45 minutes to get back to the right area of Tucson (the race was in the suburb of Oro Valley) and find the store. Once I found it I spent about an hour looking around and ended up coming out with a new Nathan 2 bottle hydration belt, a gel flask, a roll of KT Tape Pro (love it!) and a CEP ankle support. Since I've started in this sport, running stores have become my addiction. There just happened to be an Italian restaurant next door so I ended up eating there to continue my carb loading. Wow, their meatballs were spicy but good! I had hoped to have enough room to go to the gelato store on the other side of Fleet Feet, but I was just too full. Darn! I love gelato and needless to say in rural New Mexico there is no such place.

The time was now well past 3pm so I headed out to Davis-Monthan AFB where I would be staying in the lodging facility. I did see a Joe's Crab Shack that I kept in mind for when the son and his fiance would be visiting me on race day...he is a crab lover. I got on base and found the lodging office and got a nice 1 bedroom suite with kitchenette (minus the stove). Too bad the A/C wasn't on yet even though it was over 80° already (they did provided a tower fan, but the A/C wasn't scheduled to be turned on until mid-April). I got unpacked and headed across the street to the base exchange to get a belt since my jeans were too loose, some jerky and some small scissors to cut the KT Tape Pro. On my way out I stopped at Baskin Robbins for a scoop of ice cream the headed over to the Shoppette for a bottle of chocolate milk (I always bring my own to the races). Then back to the room to get all my gear ready for the race the next morning. After that got done and I caught up a bit on Facebook I ended up skipping dinner (leftover spaghetti & meatball) and ended up going to bed around 7:30pm after a very long 37 hour day.

AZ Distance Classic Pt 2
AZ Distance Classic Pt 3 - Meeting the Future DIL

No comments:

Post a Comment