June 27, 2009

Drinking and Dreaming: The Night Before the Race

With this weekend’s marathon being just outside of Vegas, I thought it would be fun for Boyfriend to come along. Though we opted not to stay in a hotel on the Strip (we decided to stay at the host hotel out by Lake Mead), the host hotel had its own casino, so the idea was that we’d arrive around 9:30 PM, grab dinner, and then he could hang out at the casino while I rested up for the flight.

Unfortunately, our plans got derailed a bit due to the popularity of the Vegas flights, which sold out. Now, I’ve learned not to get too stressed out when a flight sells out – chances are high that even with a sold out flight, some standbys will still get seats. Heck, when I was going to Chicago for Sunburst, two flights had been canceled that day, meaning there were several dozen standby passengers for my flight (and a lot of them were revenue standbys, meaning they got priority over me)… yet I still made it on. You just never know, and while it’s good to have a backup plan, there’s no need to stress until your name actually doesn’t get called at the gate.

With this in mind, we arrived for the 6:45 flight without too many worries… until the gate agent called just my name. She told me that I could have a jumpseat, at which point I realized that I could take the flight, but Boyfriend could not. I knew that it would be okay for me to take jumpseat and go without him (he knew the marathon was important, probably more important than staying together), but I decided that I’d prefer to just wait for the next (and last) flight at 9:45. There would definitely be three jumpseats available on that, and since we were being rolled over from an earlier flight, I would be absolute first on the list for those. With no risk of not getting a jumpseat at all, I figured it was worth the three hours to see if a) Boyfriend could get on, and b) I could get a regular seat.

In the meantime, we headed off to the various airport bars, where I proceeded to undo all my healthy pre-race eating and hydrating by having a few beers. Definitely NOT the right thing to do before going out to run a marathon in the desert! I enjoyed them immensely though, and just hope I don’t pay for it too much tomorrow. I did follow them up with a ton of water, so maybe they’re just the carb loading I need.

Though the 9:45 flight was delayed (ugh, this meant we wouldn’t get to Vegas until 1 AM… thank goodness it’s a 10:00 AM start!), I was rewarded for my wait when Boyfriend and I both got on and got seats. We didn’t have seats together (he was 5E and I was 4F), but we hoped to maybe offer a seat switch with someone. Now, I am very much against “seat poaching” (sitting in someone else’s seat and THEN offering the trade when they show up), and I think it’s horrible when people try to guilt others into moving. But for the record, I think it’s perfectly fine to ask someone once, very nicely, if they would mind a switch – particularly if you’re offering an equal or better seat in trade (meaning don’t offer to switch your back of the plane middle seat for their front of the plane window or aisle). So we tried it, asking 5F if she would be interested in switching to 4F. She declined, seemingly indicated that she just didn’t want to have to get up and move her stuff, and we accepted that and took our assigned seats with no complaints. I saw that Boyfriend’s row at least had a hot girl in it, so I knew he wouldn’t suffer too much! 🙂

As we taxied out to the runway for takeoff, I popped my eye mask and iPod on (cue: Sleepy playlist), and prepared to just sleep the whole way. In that respect, I was very glad I had had the beers – they knocked me out pretty quickly. Though I couldn’t quite get comfortable because I was confined to my own seat and didn’t have the ability to cuddle up with Boyfriend like usual, I still fell asleep fairly quickly, and though I woke up frequently, I was doing pretty well… until my nightmare.

I started having a very realistic dream about the plane I was on. I dreamed that the circumstances were the same as they actually were – we were headed to Vegas for the marathon, and Boyfriend was sitting one row in front of me in a middle seat. I was sleeping peacefully, but woke up for some reason, glanced at the TV monitor (set to some news channel), and saw throngs of police cars and policemen running around the streets of New York. The camera was in Times Square, and the commentary was about how they didn’t know exactly where touchdown would be, but that they were trying to prepare. I looked out the window, and discovered that instead of being somewhere over Nevada, the plane was actually over Manhattan – in the no fly zone, flying dangerously low. Like the ill-fated US Airways flight that landed on the Hudson, we were about to divert to an unauthorized “runway,” only ours was not even as smooth as the Hudson: we were going to try to land on a cleared out avenue in Manhattan.

Oddly enough, most of the people on the plane didn’t seem to realize what was going on, but I was glued to the monitor. It was crazy to watch live the preparations being made for my own plane crash. I realized with a start that I ought to call my mom and tell her I loved her (regulations be damned – this plane was going down, and having a cell phone on would in all likelihood not hurt my chances of survival), but then simultaneously realized that it was too late – we were seconds from landing. I saw the ground coming closer and closer, and some sort of big bullhorn was outside the plane yelling “approach! Approach! Rescue vehicles ready for approach!” (yes, I know in real life I would never be able to hear that). I reached forward to Boyfriend’s seat to grab his hand, and we whispered “I love you” to each other, and then there was a huge whistling noise… and then I woke up.

It took me a few seconds to realize that I was not, in fact, dead – it had all been just a dream, and Boyfriend and I were still safe and sound flying somewhere over Utah. My breathing slowed and my pulse stopped racing, and I felt the beads of perspiration on my back where I had been sweating in panic. I wanted very badly to give Boyfriend a hug and kiss and have him reassure me that everything was okay, but he was sleeping so peacefully that I didn’t want to reach through the seats and wake him.

I have no idea why I had that dream though. We’ve had more than our share of diversions recently, mostly due to medical emergencies, but they were always to alternate airports – never anything so dramatic as landing on something that’s not a real runway. There have been instances in the past where people have been able to watch their own plane’s imminent crash landings on the seatback news, something that’s creeped me out for a while, but nothing recently has brought that up. In short, I have no idea what scared me so much to dream up that horrific nightmare.

On the plus side, I’ve been absolutely terrified about this race and how unprepared I am, so it took my mind off that for a little while. Am I ready for the race? Not at all. I found out through some research this week that last year, only a third of the runners who started actually managed to finish. Despite not doing heat training, despite drinking the night before, despite it all… I will be in that third.

I’ll let you know how it goes!


8 thoughts on “Drinking and Dreaming: The Night Before the Race”

  1. I was thinking to myself. Did I see that on CNN recently? Just kidding. Wow, what a DREAM you had. I would very much hate to have that if I was on the airplane. I would probably have gone ballistic.

    How did the race go?

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