Unexpected Half Marathon Training

I told the story of my weekend family “vacation” to Mama D and she said I had to post about it.  I thought, what does my weekend relocation (not vacation) have to do with running?  Well, as the story unfolded, it turns out that the weekend had everything to do with endurance.

My middle child turned 8 last Thursday.  Instead of a birthday party, he chose a weekend trip to Washington DC with the family.  I thought “Great! This should be so much easier than the whole party thing.”  So, excitedly we prepared for the trip. We talked about it, planned out the places we wanted to go, we reminisced about the last time we were three 3 years ago, we were ready.  Then, Friday started…

7am – Woke up. BEST DAY EVER – we got to sleep in!

7:15am – Making coffee, getting breakfast together.  “Guys, we have to clean up the house a bit before we leave. If we all work together we can get out of here faster.”

7:30am – Eating and cleaning up.

8:00am – More eating and cleaning up.

8:30am-  Cleaning up again. Vacuum. Load dishwasher.

9:00am – “GUYS! Stop watching TV, HELP ME! We want to get on the road, don’t we?!”

9:30am – Fumbling around to find sippy cups, pack milk, find snacks for the car.  Find the stroller, find the pack ‘n play, find the sling, find the diaper bag, find an extra back pack for gift shop goodies, wipe down bathroom, make sure we have enough overnight diapers. Does the hotel have a pool? Toothbrushes! Did everyone pack toothbrushes?! Sneakers, we are going to be walking. Everyone wearing sneakers?! Snacks, we need more snacks. WATER! We don’t want to pay $3 for a bottle of water.

10am – On the road, FINALLY! What happened next was the ultimate test of endurance and mental toughness…What should’ve taken us 2.5 – 3 hours now extended into an entire workday of events.

11am – Stopped on I-95 south because of an accident. Shut the car off. The ONE hot day out of the year, we start getting antsy.  Granola bar wrappers with smeared chocolate are everywhere. Baby woke up from his 45 minute nap, angry at the world because he hates the car seat.  Trapped, we’re all trapped.

12pm – Moving again.

12:30pm – Stop for lunch at most crowded Maryland rest stop.  Baby’s pants and shirt are soaked from an upside down sippy cup for the last hour.

1:30pm – Back in the car, more toddler screaming due to the blinding rage that car seat sends him into. I start rocking in the front seat and declare loudly “I’M NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN!”  We are now singing, dancing, and doing everything we can to calm the storm that is Wyatt “No one straps me to anything” Knox.

3:00pm – Finally! We arrive at the hotel, park in the underground garage, lug ALL of our bags upstairs to the lobby, meet up with family who is already checked in.  “WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE DON’T HAVE A RESERVATION?!”

Shaking his head from behind a lovely countertop, “I’m sorry ma’am, you don’t have a reservation here. Are you sure you made a reservation here?”

“Is this this the closest Holiday Inn to the Air & Space Museum?”

“Yes.”

Frantically trying to find my confirmation email on a phone because of course I forgot that at home on my desk, “Well then we should have a reservation here.”
“No, I”m sorry, you don’t have a reservation here. Let me check one of the others in the city…..Hmmm, yes, you are over in the Holiday Inn Central, not the Holiday Inn Capital.”

Disbelief.  I looked over at the kids already starting to run around the lobby. I looked the baby trying to get out of the stroller and at the nearly 40 bags (slight exaggeration) we carried up.  I looked back at the gentleman behind the desk, “Do you have any rooms available here?”

“No, ma’am. I’m sorry, we’re booked.”

4:00pm – Repack the car and start driving over to the correct hotel.

4:30pm – Arrive at the correct hotel that is about 3 miles away. Yes, it took 30 minutes in traffic.  Find parking.  Lug everything inside to the lobby again.  Attempt to check in:

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Knox, your room isn’t ready yet.”

“What, why?!  Check-in is at 3 right?!”

“Yes, ma’am, it is. But we were completely booked last night and housekeeping is short-staffed.”

4:40pm – Waiting in the lobby.

4:45pm – “Okay, Mrs. Knox. Your room is ready.” We head up to the room, housekeeping isn’t finished yet.  We wait outside for a few minutes and awkwardly exchange “I’m sorry, it’s okays”.

4:50pm – We’re here! We finally made it! Room smells like poop. I question whether the bathroom was really cleaned and decide to not think about it every again.

5:30pm – 8 block walk to the White House, dinner, and lots of fun walking around fun. It was the most gorgeous day ever and DC is just beautiful. Life is good again!

8:00pm – Back to the hotel room, whew, it’s a little warm in here.  81 degrees warm.  Call the front desk to find out if I’m trying to control the air conditioner incorrectly.  Oh, I use the wall unit, okay….

8:30pm – Still warm…attempt to get the baby to sleep. Not happening with everyone else awake.

9:00pm – Sweating in our pajamas. Call the front desk again, they send up a maintenance man.  Tools and tinkering.  Awkwardly, we try to stay out of his way.

9:30pm – Very lovely maintenance man stands up, sweaty and says “I’m sorry it’s broken.”

Not surprised, but trying to stay calm. “Okay, so should we go ask for another room, what should we do?”

“I don’t think we have any rooms available. I’ll be back.”

9:45pm – Maintenance man is back, “There are no rooms. I will change your air conditioner.”

“Oh. Umm, okay.” Are there really air conditioners lying around?

More tinkering. He takes the GIANT until out from the wall underneath the window. There is now a gaping hole in the wall with just a thin screen to keep the city out.  We don’t even care, the fresh air feels glorious. He mightily pushes the giant unit out of the room.

10pm – Maintenance man is back and pushes in a new giant wall unit and settles it into the wall.

10:30pm – IT WORKS! Cool air, thank you, Maintenance man!

10:45pm – Lights out…Lights. Freaking. Out.

I’ve never been so ready for a half marathon in my life. I physically probably couldn’t do it tomorrow or next week even, but to me, this past Friday was the ultimate test of pushing past the pain, discomfort, and the fatigue to get to the finish line. Friday also reminded me to expect the unexpected. Or maybe Friday was trying to tell me to have no expectations at all.  I need to learn how to relax and enjoy whatever it is the day has in store, a lesson that I’m going to try to take with me during my runs too.  Relax and enjoy.  *Deep breath*  Relax…and…enjoy.

Easier said than done!

-Mama K

P.S. The rest of the weekend was a slam dunk!

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2 Comments

  1. Diana Fongheiser

    What a great attitude you have. I probably woulda packed us all back in the car and hit 95N!

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    • Well, now that I reflected on the experience I could extract the little lesson…but in the moment, there was crying and yelling, bargaining with God, and plenty of declarations like “DONT ASK TO EVER DOING THIS AGAIN!” *sigh* I hope the kids don’t remember those parts when they are grown ups.

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