Thursday, December 8, 2011

Always Carry On Your Running Clothes aka My First Half Marathon

As most of you already know, I was both nervous and excited for my first half marathon.

For those who don’t run, running is more than going outside and pretending someone is chasing you. Its knowing what to wear, when and what to eat, how to pace yourself and what music to listen to.

Everyone is different and I really took this seriously.
Well, I seriously as I can take anything.

You see, I chose my first half marathon to be in Vegas. Here’s what I told people when they asked me why:
“I figure if I hate it, I can just run right in to a bar!”

I like to have a “Plan B”

It was more than that of course. It was my friends. They were running or had already run this race before. It was at night! How fun to run down the strip with the lights and the signs and the men handing you pictures of naked ladies! It was a weekend in VEGAS! Yeah, maybe I couldn’t really do my normal “Vegas Damage” but I could still have fun….

To quote my own Facebook page, last weekend was, “the craziest, most stressful, most hilarious, most difficult and proudest weekend of my life!”

And it all started Saturday morning!


Saturday morning I went to pick up Ditto (aka the other Heather) and we went to meet Jeff and Cat (aka Staci) to carpool down to the airport.

All we had to do was squeeze in the back seat with their 90 pound yellow lab, Rex, to Pasadena and then Jeff’s brother would graciously drive us to the airport. No taxis, no parking fees, EASY BREEZY!

And it was that easy. However, we learned early on….Don’t listen to Jeff!

Jeff picks the slowest lines so it takes a long time to get anywhere. We managed to get some beer and breakfast! (Carbing up is important and it’s never too early for a beer when you’re on your way to Vegas!)

We got up and went to go to the bathroom and Jeff says, “We have plenty of time, the plane’s not even there yet.”

However, while I’m in the restroom I hear the following, “Okay Southwest flight 1347 to Vegas… Group B line up!”

What?! Group B? Uhhh, what happened to the plane not being there?

We made it on the plane and after one of the bumpiest trips of my life (thus far…I still had to get home!) We landed safely in Vegas.

We got to the baggage carousel and there was so much luggage! I’m not entirely sure why there were 3 empty carousels, yet ours held the luggage of four different flights, but it did.

The carousel went round and round. There was Ditto’s bag. There was Jeff’s bag. There was Cat’s bag.

Where’s my bag?

With my running clothes?

No, seriously, where’s my bag?

Jeff is a gentleman. He takes my baggage ticket and goes to the Southwest booth.

He’s gone for a while and I decide to join him. When I get there I tell the attendant, “Yes, I’m missing a red, Nike duffle bag.” And suddenly Jeff is laughing.

He says, “I just told her it was a black rolling bag!”

Not even close, Garcia!

So I make a report. She assures me this happens often and it will probably be on the next flight and in my hotel in the next couple of hours.

I’m calm, cool and collected. Being a seasoned traveler, this has happened before, in worse places. I’m not concerned. However, Cat and Ditto are worried. Cat says, “What will you do if your stuff doesn’t come.”

I say, “It’s gonna come, I’m not worried.”

I even make a quick “Vegas 1, Heather 0” joke on Facebook and worry our friends that are driving and solicits a comment from an experienced runner, “Rule #1- Always carry on your running gear.”

Really? Information I could have used YESTERDAY!

I decided I was going to think positively. There are about 20 flights a day between Burbank and Las Vegas. My bag would make it on to one of them.

This was at 10am.

Then it was noon.
Then we went to the expo to pick up our bibs and shirts and shop a little! Here’s our first official race photo!

Then it was 2pm.

Then it was 4pm

And I started to freak out!

Luckily, Ditto’s hubby, Cody, had decided at the last minute to join us. He had an 8pm flight that night. I arranged for him to meet my roommate at our house. She packed me a bag of my “B-Team” stuff and he promised to “carry it on”!

I told you I like to have a Plan B. (Plan C was to go buy an entire new outfit at the Nike store on Sunday morning! Thank Goodness it was a night race!)

Meanwhile, I was eating, drinking and being merry while enjoying my awesome friends! I realized I would be wearing the same clothes for the next few days and resigned myself to that. My friend, Cedric, even came out from West Virginia to see me (and his family, but mostly me!). It was a fun night and I got to do what I love the most. Spend time with cool people and make jokes at my own expense.

Front Row seated (left to right): Danielle, Ditto, Joey, ME!
Left side of table standing (front to back): Nicole, Deb, Jeff, Cat
Back row seated (left to right): Johnny, Angela, Jessica, Ryan
Right side of table standing (back to front): Vinson, Bil

Plus, when you’re taking it easy in Vegas, you HEAR the craziest things.

For example, while in the restroom I heard the following conversation in the stall adjacent to mine:

Sober Mom: Come on honey, get up, we’ll help you walk
Drunk Daughter: I can’t (slur, slur)don’t want to walk. I will walk when I don’t need help.
Sober Mom: We’ll help you
Drunk Daughter: If I straightened out my butt right now, I’ll throw up. Just three more throw ups and I’ll be good.
Sober Mom: (stunned silence)
Drunk Daughter: But I really want a Pepsi and some food
Sober Mom: I’m not bringing you a Pepsi and some food to the restroom. If you want food, you’ll have to walk.

I couldn’t stay around to see how it turned out for fear they would hear me laughing and know it was AT them.

Or you see funny things, like:
The poor guy in line in front of me at the convenience shop who’s debit card was declined when he tried to buy…..condoms.
Luckily, he had a credit card.

Cody arrived around 11pm and met up with us around 1am. And he had with him the second string running clothes! The planets were re-aligning!

We managed to stay up until 2am (our goal) and carb up - Pancakes, bacon, eggs, toast, etc – before heading back to our hotel.

Ditto, Cat, Angela and I headed back to our respective hotel rooms. While Cody and his buddies stayed out to play.

When we got in the room, I went to the bathroom and we had a phone in there. Curiously, the message light was blinking.

Now, Southwest assured me they would call me when my luggage got to Las Vegas and was on its way to the hotel, both at the airport when I filed the report and when I called (twice). So, it couldn’t be that it was there! Could it?

I couldn’t make the bathroom phone work, so I rushed out and went to the one in the hotel room. I listened to the message and screeched, “IT’S HERE!!!!”

I ran downstairs and got my bag. In it, my cute going out clothes, my make-up and other toiletries, pajamas and of course THE FIRST STRING RUNNING CLOTHES!!! YEAH!

You should have seen the smile on my face…OH WAIT… here it is!

Part Two…RACE DAY ….coming soon

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