Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Back home...

The trip to California was a success as Beth did great at the BOUS competition. She finished 4th and you can read all about it in her race report on her blog.

To pick up where I left off on the last blog entry, my flight was delayed in Pittsburgh. It turns out that there was a mechanical problem and they had to change planes. So, the time got pushed back from 5:00 to 5:30 to 5:50 (flight crew also got caught up in the rolling closures on the parkway west) and then we finally were all loaded on the plane around 6:10. We're all seated and ready to back out when I see out the window the little guy with the earmuffs and flashlights put up a big 'x' with his flashlights. Bummer--that can't be good. The pilot comes on and says that President Obama is taking off and all planes are grounded for the next 5 minutes......which turned in to 20 minutes.
So, I get some grading and reading done on the plane and I land in Dallas with about 25 minutes to spare. Unfortunately it was about 9:05 pm local time and all the eateries were closed! Bummer. No hot food. I had to settle for some of the granola bars and power bars I packed. At least the Auntie Anne's pretzel stand still had a few pretzels!

Back in the air a half hour later an the plane had the movie 'The Proposal' with Sandra Bullock. It was pretty funny and made the time go by pretty quick. Next thing you know, Beth and her mom picked me up at the airport and we got back to the hotel and in bed by about midnight (3:00 am eastern) making for a 23-hour day.

We slept in until 7am, had an AWESOME breakfast at the hotel and did the pre-race routine of Beth bike/run/swim. My job during that was to jog the run course and report back since it was mostly on trails and we couldn't drive it. So, I jog up the 2-ish miles from T1 to T2 and start running the course and I'm loving it--a gradual downhill for the first two miles (split sub-7:00's without pushing it). Around 2.5 miles in, the directions (which I had on a map in my pocket and written the highlights of on my hand) said to cut through this park and go up a hill. So, I cut through the park and then find a gate that locked with a padlock and chains. I didn't really know what was on the other side of it, so I didn't want to hop the fence. I figured I'd go around it, but pretty much backtracked 2 of the 2.5 miles and decided at that point to just head straight to the finish so Beth and her mom didn't think I got lost or eaten by a coyote. (We ended up being able to drive a lot of it before dinner anyway, so no big deal).

After the BOUS meeting and dinner at Olive Garden (3 rounds of the Never-Ending Pasta Bowl which I paid for Sunday morning before the race). We went back, watched the PSU-Iowa game (ugh!!) and retired before the 4am wakeup call Sunday morning. I've commented a few times how wakeup calls in time zones west of PA seem to be so much easier, but they really are. And, from what I hear, the converse is equally difficult. I haven't seen data this year, but last year in the NFL teams from the west had some terrible record when they had to play a 1pm game in the Eastern Time Zone. Speaking of terrible records, I read a stat that before today the number of Pirates road wins since the All-Star break: three. Ugh! Thank goodness Jen Harrison's Cubbies were nice enough to let them win this afternoon.

Beth swam (really fast) and left on her bike 8th. I knew I had an hour to kill until she got to T2, so I jogged up there and then continued just past T2 to the Saddleback Church campus. And it truly is a CAMPUS--it took me a good 8 or so minutes to jog the perimeter.
It was a little before 8am and none of the THREE services (traditional, praise, and 'overdrive') started until 9:00am. However, in two of the 'tents' I could hear them warming up and just listened from the outside and even poked my head in for about 5 minutes. It was great music with electric guitars, drums, and a great message. I could have stayed there all morning. However, all the time they were probably thinking, "Who's this weirdo in bright yellow and headphones hanging out in the back of the room while we're warming up?" Oh well.
Said weirdo with bright yellow shirt (a must for a true spectathlete so the triathlete can pick you out)

Senior Pastor Rick Warren's Parking Spot at Saddle Back. If the name sounds familiar, he's the author of "The Purpose Driven Life" and several follow-up books. I heard somewhere that it's been so successful that he and his wife now do 'reverse tithing' which means that they give to the church or ministries 90% of their money and keep the 10%. That's cool! One other thing was that they had a road leading into the church called 'Purpose Drive.' I find humor in wording like that!

So (back to the race) I leave the campus and head back over to T2 and see PA's male representative, Brian Duffy, come out first. I figured this was some good motivation to pass along to Beth since there was a state team title. For the women, out comes the first female who I didn't know (turned out to be a neat person who's a Christian named Bethany from Oklahoma), then Cindi B, Alice H, and Beth (All of which I then posted to Facebook before heading to my next cheering point to keep Marit and others updated)

This is Beth climbing a hill around 4.5 miles in to the run. Kimberly from Washington (a crazy-fast runner) had passed Cindi and Beth, but Beth had passed Alice so she was still 4th. Beth and Brian ended up losing the State title to Cindi and the Wisconsin Cheeseheads by 23 seconds. We were joking afterwards that I should have told Cindi (who had a 2-3 minute lead on Beth), "You've got 3rd wrapped up. Go ahead an slow down and save it for Kona in a few weeks." But, no, my coaching instincts wouldn't allow me to do that as I'm telling her good job and to drive her arms and keep the eyes up and to finish strong. Oh well.

This is Beth under the PA flag after the race. The wind wouldn't cooperate, so you can't see the flag too well.

Finally, big thanks to Jerry MacNeil (and wife Trudy) for putting on such a neat event. I know Beth loves it, I really enjoy the concept and going to it and I hope it continues to grow. I know Beth has made some good friends (and being the groupie that I am, I pick up friends, too!)

On the flight home, we had some crazy people in the row behind us with two cats. They were just weird! Our layover in Chicago was short and we were back in (now chilly!!!) Pittsburgh around 6pm. We picked up the dog, unpacked and went to bed and started the school week.

Training-wise, I snuck in 8 miles on Saturday morning (checking out the course) and estimated 5+ on Sunday during the race, so I'll take it. Back to serious running this week and gearing up for the big marathon in November.

The time from now until Thanksgiving has something going on just about every weekend (including two football games, three competing races, 4 big coaching/spectating races, and a college fair) but that's a whole other post in itself.


Beth said...

You know, until just now I had forgotten about the crazy cat people behind us on the flight from SD to Midway. CRAZINESS! (meow)

Thanks for being the best spectathlete a gal could ever want or need (and yes, the obnoxious yellow shirt is a must - I can always EASILY pick you out!)

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