That was an exhausting couple of days, but overall really successful! I am so glad to be on my way home though… to bed for lots of sleep.
On Friday afternoon, I headed for the airport to catch a flight to Atlanta. I learned a few weeks ago that I would need to be there for training on Friday morning, and I noticed that the day corresponded nicely with the Montgomery Marathon in Alabama – just a two hour drive away. I decided to book my work flights to take advantage of this proximity, delaying my departure by 24 hours so that I could run the marathon and also visit my cousins in Auburn, Alabama, whom I hadn’t seen in a few years.
My flight on Thursday was very turbulent, but arrived on time. However, while I had dinner at 8pm and planned to go to bed shortly thereafter to catch up on the sleep debt that was already pretty big, I ended up staying up until 2am talking on the phone… even though I needed to be up at 6am the next morning. Oops – so much for getting a really good night’s sleep two nights before the race. At that point, I kissed any hope of running fast in the marathon goodbye, and figured I would just be in it for the experience.
Training on Friday morning went really well – I wasn’t a learner, but rather, brought in to roleplay various scenarios to demonstrate key concepts and help the students practice. It was so much fun, especially when I got to play the “very difficult client” instead of the boring “consultant showing how to handle it.” I liked getting to be the problem instead of the solution, for a change 😉 After training, I had a few conference calls (and got great news on one of them!), and then I hit the road out of Atlanta bound for Alabama, stopping to pick up a sandwich on the way.
Although I was staying in Auburn, Alabama with my family on Friday night, I actually needed to drive all the way (an extra hour each way) to Montgomery first, since the race stated very clearly on the website that it did not allow day-of packet pickup, with absolutely no exceptions. The expo was pretty small, with about a dozen vendors, and I was in and out of there in about fifteen minutes. Kind of frustrating to have to go all that way for such a non-event, but them’s the rules! (Stay tuned for more on that in my race report.) Then I headed back on highway 85 to Auburn, arriving just in time for dinner.
It was great to see my cousin Jill and her husband and two kids – I think the last time I saw them was all the way back in 2009, when I spent Thanksgiving with them (and my cousin Michael, who lives outside Atlanta). I loved getting to know her kids better, especially since I had a lot in common hobby-wise with Caroline, who loves ballet/dance. We went to a really yummy dinner place in Auburn, The Amsterdam, that had an amazing replica of Van Gogh’s Starry Night painted on its brick walls, and the pappardelle I got for dinner was basically exactly what I had been craving the night before, but hadn’t been able to get, at the pretentious Italian restaurant I went to in Atlanta. (Seriously – one of the servers accidentally filled my water glass a few millimeters from the top, which really wasn’t a big deal, but he then apologized profusely for filling it so full and insisted on swapping it out for a fresh glass so I wouldn’t have to use the offending glass any more. I mean, God forbid, right??)
After dinner, we drove around the town and I got to see Auburn University, where both of my cousins work, with Caroline narrating the sites all the way. So fun! We got back to the house around 8:30pm, but again, instead of going to bed right away, I chose the social option – and thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Cousin Jill as she took me on a tour of her house and explained her decorating choices. Jill has always had fantastic taste and style, and is Martha Stewart-like in her class and attention to detail… but like me, she also loves getting a good deal on things and won’t buy stuff that’s overpriced. I have never paid much attention to home décor before, but now I was eager to hear everything she could teach me. I close on my house on Tuesday, and since it’s about 2000 square feet bigger than my apartment, I have a lot of shopping and decorating ahead of me! As I told Jill, I am definitely going to be sending all kinds of pictures and questions her way to help me get it all figured out.
After getting all packed up with my stuff laid out for the race, reading a bit, and making a quick phone call to the guy I’m dating, I finally headed to bed around 11:30pm. Oops – so much for making up for lost sleep! (Even though I know it’s not really possible to do so anyway – two nights before the race is what matters.) I fell asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow… I’d now just have to see if 9.5 hours total of sleep for two nights combined would be enough to get me through a marathon.