Monday, March 11, 2013

Race Recap: Princess HM Weekend, The Journey Home this is really just a post race weekend wrap up. You see, while I was enjoying the heat (and not so much the humidity) of Florida back at home in New Mexico they were getting the blizzard of the far. It wasn't as much as back in late 1992, but still it was the worst snow in decades. While I as at Walt Disney World I was following the weather pattern at home and hoping that I wouldn't have flights cancelled or be snowed in in Albuquerque. It was bad enough that my original flight to Orlando was cancelled but it afforded me the opportunity to meet up with one of my Tink HM sisters and have some fun. I really was not wanting to hear that my flights home were canceled or that I wouldn't be able to drive home once I did finally arrive back in Albuquerque.

HM Race Day +1:  Monday, February 25, 2013 (Post-blizzard Travel Day)
Woke up way too early...just after 12:30am. I guess it was a good thing though because after I finally got up, showered and dressed I took a look at my suitcase and decided that it was too full so I pulled the carry on bag out and started stuffing it with stuff just to free up some space in the suitcase. I got down to the lobby to wait for the Magical Express to come at about 3:40am then realized that I had forgotten my handheld bottle in the room so ran back to get it and stopped in the food court to reheat some breakfast. As I waited for the bus to arrive I was stuffing my face while other people around me were talking about how early it was and that they were hungry. Should I have shared?? lol!

On the approx 30 minute ride to the airport I took the opportunity to check the weather in Albuquerque. They were still expecting more snow and when I checked the Department of Transportation's road closure map my heart sank as I noticed that all my normal roads home were closed due to snow and poor driving conditions. The storm was supposed to have hit the whole state, but the lower middle to southern part of the state were pretty much spared.

At the airport I made my way to the ticket counter to check in both  my suitcase and carry on. The suitcase had to be weighed first...and was 2 pounds overweight. I began pulling out stuff and sticking into the carry on bag and re-weighed the case...still 2 pounds over. I was like what the heck?!? Pulled out more stuff...all my race snacks, first aid/taping kit, clothes, etc...whatever I could stick my arm into the suitcase and not have to flop it all the way open. I finally got the suitcase to 47 pounds and a heavy carry on. Thank goodness I had another lock so that I could just go ahead and check the bag without having to drag it around when I changed planes. That is why I was glad that I woke up early and decided to use my carry on instead of just trying to travel with only one bag total. Thanks again to Southwest Airlines for having a free 2 bag check in policy! :D

The flight from Orlando to Dallas Love Field was pretty routine, with no major issues aside from crying kids...ugh! Once we landed in Dallas I only had a few minutes between planes but was able to check the conditions again...all the roads still blocked. It was then that I decided that in order to get home I'd take the southern route which meant a 6-7 hour drive home instead of the usual ~3.5 hour drive.

The flight from Dallas to Albuquerque is pretty short so I began planning my scheme to get home. I'd head south on I-25 to Socorro and then east on a small highway that would take me through the valleys just north of Ruidoso and into Roswell where I would hop onto State Hwy 70 and head home. Now mind you, I had been up since 12:40am EST and by the time I landed in Albuquerque it was around 12noon MST/2pm EST so a 6-7 hour drive on top of that was gonna make for a very long day.

I finally got to my car at the off airport parking lot around 12:30 and decided that I'd head over to Popeye's for some lunch before I hit the road...yes, Popeye's is a big deal because we don't have one where we live! . Luckily I had filled up the gas before I parked so that was one less thing to worry about. After eating I decided that since I was just up the street from Heart and Soles Sports that I would stop and see if they had the Nike Fly Knit Lunar 1+ shoes that I have been lusting over. Unfortunately  they didn't but that didn't stop me from trying on 4 other pairs of shoes none of which would work with my orthotics so (thankfully) I walked out of the shop without buying anything.

I finally got on the road after checking one last time to make sure that my usual route hadn't opened up...a no, it hadn't. I headed down I-25 to Socorro and turned East onto Highay 380 towards Roswell. I was a little worried because I had been thinking that this road would actually take me into the mountains around Ruidoso where they had apparently gotten some decent snow, but luckily it remained in the valleys through the sleepy towns of Capitan (pit stop for gas)  and Lincoln where Billy the Kid had once been imprisoned. Along the way, just before I hit Capitan I thought I saw the white gypsum sands of White Sands National Monument but I knew that I was too far north for that to be true. What I was seeing is a light blanket of snow in the valley that was extending onto the lower portion of the mountains giving the effect of sand dunes. I would've stopped to take a picture, but I was just on a mission to get home because I was getting really tired and was only about half way through the trip once I hit Lincoln.

I finally hit the junction for State Highway 70 and knew that I was pretty much home free. Another 2-3 hours and I would be driving into my driveway. I have to tell you, I was doing everything I could to stay awake. These particular roads are pretty barren and there's not a whole lot to see once you get out of the mountain valleys...basically just brush, brown and blowing tumbleweeds. This is especially true of the drive between Roswell and home for me.

I finally got home around 8:30 or 9pm. My total trip home from Albuquerque had taken about 7 hours...twice the normal time it takes when I can take my usual route home. I was in my PJs and in bed before the husband could say "Hello!" and I even ignored the K9 pack for the most part because I was so tired. That being said I only got about 6 hours sleep by the time I woke up the next morning. I checked the road conditions again and they were still closed. It wasn't until about 11am that they finally opened most of the Interstate and smaller highways that I would normally drive home from Albuquerque. I was just thankful that I was already home, in my PJs and chilling out in bed instead of having to battle what was sure to be slow traffic as the Interstate opened up.

And that friends, is the end of my travelogue for the Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon Weekend! Finally! LOL!

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