Thursday, June 24, 2010

Newport Marathon (the days before)

Where to begin, where to begin?

When I last posted during pre-marathon week, I was sitting in the Maui airport waiting for my delayed flight to finally depart. (Obviously, I got back, as my post-marathon posts would establish!)

After the first few hours delay the airport staff distributed $15 food vouchers, so we went to the restaurant and ordered dinner. I had a kalua pork sandwich with fries. Normally I don't eat fries but who knew when we would eat again?* Earlier I had spent quite a bit of time on my BlackBerry reading about Hawaiian Airlines' Rule 240. So I had an idea of what they would have to do for us. The first requirement was providing a meal after a delay of four hours. Check. If the delay was more than four hours and extended past 10 p.m., they would have to provide us lodging for the night or, alternatively, travel credit compensation. That seemed unlikely to occur, at first...but then it got later and later.

When they announced that our expected departure time was ten-something, they also announced that they would be distributing $200 travel vouchers. My first reaction to that was, "that means we have to fly on this airline again?" But eventually we came around and started "planning" our next trip.

We finally got on a plane about eight hours late (the pilot had gone to Honolulu and brought back a replacement plane), which meant we were leaving at around 11 p.m. Hawaii time and would arrive in Seattle around 7 a.m. Pacific time. Yup. We left Kona on Tuesday afternoon and would get home on Wednesday. Talk about a red-eye flight.

When we boarded the plane my body was so achy from already being up late and all the standing and sitting around. The airplane seat was as comfortable as plane seats usually are (that is, not), and I despaired at the thought of sitting in it for another five-plus hours. I hoped to sleep some, but I am not usually able to sleep on airplanes. I felt so crappy that I actually thought to myself, "there is no way that I am going to be able to run a marathon in less than four days!"

Surprisingly I did sleep sporadically (waking up whenever food was offered), and somehow the endless hours passed by. When we had first heard about an extended delay I had emailed Luke to ask him to cover my 9 a.m. hearings (at that time I had no idea that I wouldn't even be home until 9 a.m.), and later that night I sent an email to the office that I wouldn't be in until late afternoon.

My parents picked us up at the airport, drove us home, and eventually I took a nap in my own bed. I didn't want to sleep so much that I got groggy, so after a couple hours I got up, did some shopping for Rod's birthday and groceries, and then went into work for a couple of hours to get ready for Thursday (my only real day at work that week).

I decided on Thursday morning to do a short run just to warm up my legs. That was my last run before Newport, and while I ideally would have taken two days off before the marathon, I didn't like the idea of five days off (my last run had been on Monday). I felt good about that run, so I was in a good place heading to Newport.

The trip to Newport is a long drive. We left around 10 a.m., and finally arrived sometime in the late afternoon. My mom did most of the driving. I did take over for a while, driving through Portland and as far as Corvallis, but I had to give it up because I was having difficulty staying awake! Not good to be on winding roads (or any roads) when you are struggling to maintain consciousness.

We were staying at the Embarcadero Resort Hotel, which was also race headquarters. After checking in, I was able to pick up my number and packet without delay. I also bought a nice Newport Marathon running cap and a souvenir shirt (finishers' shirts would be handed out after the run).

We had a very nice suite, two large rooms that connected by stairs. Actually the downstairs was a suite in itself, with a separate bedroom, a sitting and dining room that overlooked the harbor, and a small full kitchen. In my upstairs studio I could look out at the view while lying in bed, and I also had a kitchenette.

I had made a dinner reservation at a restaurant called Quimby's, which was a mile or two away in the Nye Beach area (not sure if it was actually in or out of that neighborhood). It proved to be a good choice. I ordered the fried oyster cocktail for us to share, just to taste because we all love fried oysters! For dinner I had a spinach salad starter ("organic baby spinach, hard egg, candied hazelnuts, red onion, mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and bacon, tossed with house made raspberry vinaigrette") and I'm pretty sure I had Rosemary Chicken and Shrimp Linguini ("tender chicken pieces sautéed in olive oil with white wine, fresh rosemary, shallots, garlic, tomatoes, and mushrooms, then tossed with linguini, local pink shrimp, and shredded Parmesan"). I didn't eat it all, but luckily we had two refrigerators back at the hotel!

Later that evening all I had left to do was lay out my clothes and gear and make sure everything was ready for morning (including alarms set). Even though the weather on Friday had been volatile, clear skies and sunshine were promised for I put out a sleeveless top and sunscreen. Then I tucked myself into bed and hoped for a good night's rest!

I will have to write about the race itself in a separate post; I have worn myself out with this one!

*Although I did have a secret food stash in my bag, in case of emergency. Plus a bunch of macadamia nuts that I had bought for gifts.

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