The last time I wrote, I was in the Atlanta airport trying to waste time until my flight to Charlotte, oblivious to the adventure I was about to have. I decided to head to the gate and hang out, thankfully finding the bathroom and gift shop right next to the gate. Bonus. I wouldn’t have to leave until I was on the plane. Those little things, you know.
I was so tired from not sleeping much, and as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t doze. I’ve never been able to do that, but I sure wanted to. I read some from my magazines, made a few lists, and mostly played games on my phone. I listened to a family several gates down have THE BEST time playing charades or gestures as loud as they possibly could (I had a gesture for them that I kept to myself). Time quickly passed (mostly after The Charade Family got on their flight), and soon, it was time to board. But the plane wasn’t there yet. I only had an hour in Charlotte until my next flight and since it was the last flight into Wilmington, I REALLY needed to get to Charlotte. Finally, the plane got in and started unloading. A hundred years later, it was time for all of us to board. The pilot said it would only take us 40 minutes to get to Charlotte, so it looked like I would have time to make my connection, barring any other issues.
Then the other issues started. As we were going down the tarmac, it sounded like someone was taking a hacksaw to the plane’s legs. I figured if this was an issue, the flight attendants would say something, right? No one said anything, and all I imagined was us landing in Charlotte only to have the legs collapse and we would all die a fiery death. Remember, I did say I was afraid to fly. And when I face fear, I normally exaggerate things. Especially when tired. The plane was just fine.
Then it stopped stopped and the dingy dongy thing came on and the pilot said, “Well, folks….”, which is never a good sign. Ever. Turns out, those storms I was watching were now over Charlotte, and the airport was shut down. We would have to wait 45 minutes for the next update.
I figured that if my plane was delayed, my connector plane would be delayed, plus, what the hell am I gonna do from there, so I just relaxed and closed my eyes. I was too tired to read and was bored of my games. About 30 minutes after that, Mr. Pilot came back on and said we were still delayed and would have to wait an additional 20 minutes for the update. They started serving drinks (water and juice only) and people went about their business. I imagined us being stuck there for hours and hours like those horror stories, toilets overflowing, screaming children, people going insane…..
Soon, Pilot Guy came back, said we were to leave, and we were on our way. I texted hubby the good news, and was just hoping to make my connection. We were soon in Charlotte. Thank GOD, because it was one of the most annoying flights I’ve been on. One guy smelled like moth balls, one guy had his game so loud, all I could hear was what I figured was Call of Duty (who wants to hear war-like action when flying??? I sure do NOT.), one lady was on her laptop and it looked like all she was doing was highlighting things over and over and then not actually doing anything with them, the people behind me kept grabbing the top of my seat so it was shaking me. I was annoyed the guy next to me never said one word to me. It felt like we went into a holding pattern above Charlotte, so I figured we would get in late. Finally, after I about drove myself insane, I put my earphones in and listened to some good old Dave Matthews Band to calm the heck down. Breathe.
We finally made it to the gate in Charlotte after what felt like the pilot, upon landing, was doing what Nascar drivers do before the race, you know, taking the wheel back and forth to “warm up” the tires. THAT’S what it felt like once we hit the ground. Breathe.
I found the gate for my departing flight and saw it was delayed enough to where I could run the hundred billion miles there to make the connection. At least I got in some cardio, right? I made it to the gate, had time to pee, and then it was time to board. Whew!
THE BAD SITUATION PART
We all boarded and headed out. “Ding Dong”. “Uh, folks, Wilmington is under severe storms…blah blah…can’t handle the weather AND planes… flight is cancelled.” Um, what?
We are all in the plane, and you cancel the flight? Can’t you just wait 15 minutes for it to blow over and we can be on our way? Holy hell, what am I going to do now? DELTA got their flights in that were coming in at the same time, why can’t YOU, stupid USAirways????? *&$^%&*
THE ADVENTURE PART
We all de-boarded, which is a first for me, and walked towards the customer service line, which was long when I ran past it on the way to my now-cancelled flight. The line was looooonnnng, even after they added more agents.
We were all given vouchers for a discounted rate for a hotel, and sent on our merry way. This cancelling a flight thing was new to me, and I honestly didn’t realize that when they cancel a flight, there is no “make-up” flight. You just have to absorb into the other flights that were overbooked. As the people around me muttered to each other, we were realizing that the few seats available in the morning were quickly being taken by the people in front of us and on the phone. In just a few minutes since the flight was cancelled, the earliest available flight out of Charlotte was mid/late afternoon. REALLY? (Within an hour, it was 6:30 pm) It was close to 11:45 pm at this point. We were all tired. One guy looked like his head was going to explode. I don’t remember exactly how this came about, but the lady standing next to me in line, Barbara, and I decided to rent a car and drive to Charlotte. It was a 4 hour drive, and we didn’t want to wait another day to see if we could get home. Barbara had talked to another girl, Sachi, and we three took off to the rental car area.
We ended up getting a one-way car rental (can you say RIPOFF?!) and decided to go ahead and drive home without spending the money on a hotel. $320 later, we found ourselves in the Avis lot getting into a nice Ford Mustang.
We made one stop to get some
sugar energy and of course, had to get a picture. What a crew.
I drove for a while, even after being so exhausted, and when the speed limit turned to 70 about 90 minutes later, I didn’t feel like I could actually drive at 70 without putting us at risk. I pulled off at an exit, peed in the grass, and Barbara took over until we got to Wilmington.
What do you do when you’re driving with strangers and need to keep each other awake? You talk. You get to know one another. So that’s what we did. Sachi is from California visiting her parents who just moved from the Midwest. Barbara lives basically across the road from me and was on her way home from a conference. She has a very interesting career so we talked a lot about that. Check out her website here, especially if you like diving. Or history. Or fish. Or travel vacations. Very cool. We talked and gabbed and I found it very interesting how you can turn from strangers to almost friends. We are all so different and came together with one goal: getting to Wilmington. We all have very different lives, but I found the two ladies very interesting, have cool jobs, very friendly, and I felt lucky in chance to be standing in line by them. Those small chances made the night different than had I been standing in line next to grumpy mad guy or anyone else.
Drop offs were linear, thank goodness, and since the car was rented in my name, I pulled it into my driveway close to 4:45 am. The same time I’d be getting up for my track workout. I hugged my husband, went in to kiss and hug my kids, and I fell into a fast sleep until my son scared the SHIT out of me giving me a hug before he went to school. I woke up around 9:30, went about my business, returned the car (which is when I realized that I had ZERO patience and needed to just not do anything for the rest of the day), and sat on the couch until my kids got home from school. My mind was mush, for the most part. I texted Barbara and we decided to get together some Sunday for NFL. You just never know where a friendship can begin, can you? Sachi has a busy weekend with family but I figured I’d touch base with her next week.
THE CLARITY PART
During all of this, I’ve had a LOT of time to think. I have been pushing myself to make it to the Houston Marathon. My goal is to re-qualify for Boston so I can have my re-do. My leg hasn’t healed and from the little bit of walking I did between classes and the run I had Friday, it wasn’t healing well enough for me to do speed work and REALLY make the efforts to crush the race, which is something I know I can do. I’ve been getting physical therapy and we haven’t 100% nailed down why my leg keeps getting hurt. Why is it always the left side? Every time it feels better, I attack training without truly considering the repercussions or if it’s actually healed or just rested.
I remember sitting on the plane, thinking about making myself run 14 miles the next day, and I said, “Why am I doing this?” Why am I being so stupid? It IS pretty stupid. Why would I short-change my physical health to half-ass train for a marathon? Because I have a ticket? Because I want to see my friends? Because I’ve signed up twice and not done the race? Because I want to prove it to myself that I CAN but I really CAN’T train right so just do it anyway? Because I WANT it so badly? Yes, I think that’s what it is. I want this so badly, I need it for myself, and I love doing it. But at what expense?
Suddenly, as I sat on one of those planes, I realized that I needed to stop. I realized that I wasn’t doing the right thing, that my leg wasn’t getting better, and I needed to fix it before I could move on and train the RIGHT way. And as hard as this is for me, I know that it’s what I should do. I know that I tried, it didn’t work, so I need to re-group, fix it, and then go. I have HUGE goals for 2015. HUGE. And I must go into the year healthy, happy, and ready to train. Not 2 for 3, but all 3 for 3. So that’s what I’m going to do. And by the way, this doesn’t mean I don’t have other goals in mind. Oh, we are all like that, right? Can’t do one goal, so what’s the next? Yup, it’s there, but I need to get through this injury thing before I can go full force ahead.
Clarity. It’s a good thing to have.