I decided to fly to South Carolina on Wednesday. I walked out of the Rec after a heavy lifting session only to have our club president, Luise, tell me she could get me a deal for the Long Course National Championships. My travel addiction endorphins started flowing.
With sore legs and an IT band that wasn’t 100 percent (can’t imagine why, with all this racing), I headed south for a
whirlwind hurricane weekend. Here’s a timeline:
Friday, 10:50 a.m. — Stagger out of magazine editing after two hours of verb study. Not sure which way is up.
12:30 p.m. Leave CoMo. Theme for the weekend: one problem at a time. My friend Michelle gives me ride to the airport and solves the first of many minor hiccups.
4:10 Flight leaves from STL. Airport still boarded up from the tornado. Meet a guy whose wife was a nurse at NASA during the Mercury missions. A guy in first-class gives his seat to a National Guard member.
11:26 Go to bed after watching the Cardinals
eat dirt win.
Saturday, 1:17 a.m. Wake up to someone snoring.
1:23 Leave bedroom for a couch that wouldn’t fit any normal person, let alone someone my height.
1:28 Luise walks in and finds me on the couch. She takes the floor as Snoring Victim No. 2.
5:24 I’m cold. Find my long-sleeve T-shirt in my bag.
5:31 Alarm goes off.
5:47 Look at the stars on the walk to the transition area. Explain to Luise the difference between “lay” and “lie.”
5:51 Register for the race.
6:17 Head back to the room after body marking and transition set-up. Eat breakfast.
6:53 Lie down on the floor for a bit. Never fall asleep.
8:12 Zip up the wetsuit and head to the boat dock.
8:37 Jump into water so brown I’m convinced I cannon-balled into a giant glass of iced tea.
8:37:01 Decide not to taste-test that theory.
8:38 Air horn for my wave start. I’d have better underwater visibility with my eyes closed.
10:35ish Post-race fun. Food tent. Cookie, granola bar, banana, orange wedges, beer. In that order.
11:59 Realize that it’s 11:59. In Missouri. My flight leaves at 2:30, and the shortest route to the airport is still closed for the bike course.
12:01 / 1:01 Shower.
1:03 Exit shower. Pack.
1:15 Run to the hotel lobby. Laugh at the sight of athletes in Spandex and Lycra wandering the marble hallways and chandeliered ceilings of said hotel. Ask random hotel guests for a ride to the airport. Settle for a $35 taxi fare.
2:30 to 11:30: Sprint from Gate B6 to E25 to catch connector in Charlotte, NC. Sunset in Atlanta. Wander STL Airport. Drive back to CoMo with Luise.