May 16, 2009

I’m not running a marathon today

I could have been struggling to find non-cheesy carbs at the Chicago airport last night… but I was drinking beers on Stone Street with Boyfriend and his coworkers.

I could have been at the starting line in South Dakota with my adrenaline flowing… but I was in my bed in New York, sound asleep with the melatonin flowing.

I could have been sucking down a vanilla orange Gu Roctane at a water stop… but I was eating french toast bites infused with apricot brandy tea and topped with vanilla creme anglaise at Alice’s Tea Cup.

I could have been racing to the finish line so I would make my return flight… but I was strolling through Central Park with Boyfriend with no plans until Sunday morning.

So what happened?

Surprisingly, this wasn’t a non-rev flight; this was a confirmed ticket on United, going from LGA to ORD to FSD (Sioux City, SD). Because it was confirmed, it never even occurred to me that I might not make it. Unfortunately, weather in Chicago created ATC delays that meant my flight was going to be 2.5 hours late, which meant I would almost defniitely miss my 1.5 hour connection. The guy at the ticket counter told me that there was a chance that my connecting flight might also be delayed, but that if I canceled the trip now, they’d refund the ticket, whereas once I got on the flight to Chicago, there would be no refund if I missed my connection. If I missed it, the best they could do would be to put me on the next connecting flight, which would get me to South Dakota at noon on Saturday… 5 hours after the marathon started and only 1 hour before my return flight was supposed to depart.

I debated gambling on the connecting flight being delayed too, but in the end, I opted to cancel my trip and take the flight refund. I lost out on my marathon entry fee, but the race director was nice enough to offer free registration next year. I was pretty bummed, especially when I looked at the race results and found that I would have taken second place in my age group.

On the bright side, I got to spend some quality time with Boyfriend. Also on the bright side, I didn’t have to kill myself trying to get to the finish with enough time to catch my return flight that I had scheduled way too early. This also means I’ll have fresh legs for Vermont next weekend, so I don’t need to stress as much about being a pacer. On fresh legs, I know I can do it.

I felt that I handled the situation well, trying to look on the sunny side of a disappointing experience. While I really wasn’t expecting anything to go wrong with this particular trip, I’ve been starting to prepare myself for the fact that flying non-rev/standby means there’s a chance I won’t get to my destination, and that I need to be flexible. I may lose an entry fee here or there, but I think it’s a small price to pay for free flights to marathons.

Maybe I’m on my way back to being the eternal optimist I used to be? That would be nice πŸ™‚


8 thoughts on “I’m not running a marathon today”

  1. Bummer you weren’t able to run it. Cool you got to spend some quality time with BF. Nothing wrong with that at all!

    Sounds like you handled the changeing situation with much more grace than I would have.

  2. Sorry you weren’t able to squeeze in South Dakota! Air travel can be a pain sometimes.

    I’m excited to hear about your pacing experience since I might want to do it in the future!

  3. Oh no, sorry to hear that you couldn’t make your marathon. I think you’re right though, a lost entry fee here and there is worth it to get free flights!

    That’s exciting that you will be pacing next weekend! Can’t wait to hear about it!

  4. No Rushmore State for you. I’m sad. πŸ™ Next year though, maybe I’ll run it next year. Naw a full in SD isn’t as appealing for sodaker’s or non-maniacs. πŸ™‚

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