Sally did get here on Thursday (after some serious competition/foot racing at the airport in Chicago... her original flight was cancelled... thank goodness she's been doing speed work! Her sprint to a airline rep allowed her to get 1 of 2 spots on another flight). Unfortunately, her bags did not get here... nor was anyone at my house to sign for her bike upon delivery. Well, searching for the luggage and bike gave her something to do on Thursday and Friday. She's always enjoyed a good scavenger hunt.
Although her luggage was still MIA on Friday morning... I outfitted mini-Sally in a swimsuit and goggles. There's no excuse for skipping a swim workout ;) So: Sally, Noel, and I formed a little swim team and held a private practice at the outdoor pool. Even though we'd probably get our butts kicked in an 8 & under heat, we had a blast splashing around in the morning fog.
So, not much real work got done on Friday... Sara & I were most unproductive at MDA. Don't think Noel was any more on top of her game at the clinic. I used my lunch break to go grocery shopping with Mom. We stocked up on camping food: wiener shaped meats to cook on a stick (turkey, beef, brat), trail mix, marshmallows, fruit, beer, chips, etc... And then, while I wasn't getting work done at the office... Sally located her missing bags/bike.
Along with Sally's Stuff... we found Sister Sarah on Friday!!! Not that she was lost, but it did add to the excitement. She drove up from Auburn, AL for our girl's weekend. Sarah would like to report that she still hasn't learned to avoid Atlanta traffic in her journey from AL to SC &.... she's in the process of moving into a new place... so, her "packing" for the weekend consisted of shoving any bags which might contain appropriate gear/clothes into her car (which is why she looked like a long-lost relative of the Clampett's).
After everyone got their possessions in order... Friday night was fun! Peter, Sally, Sarah, and I went to Barley's for dinner. Mmmm mmm good pizza. Good stories too: Peter recounting hilarious happenings from his trip to Switzerland; Sarah filling us in on college life and a recent trip to Florida to go scalloping (hey, I told you her boyfriend is a serious fisherman!); Sally told us about Nationals in Oregon. That night, we all went to bed anticipating the camping trip....
In my last report... the Saturday plan was to forge deep into the jungles of South Carolina and roar "Woman Power." yeah, uh.... so it was raining on Saturday morning.... and, you probably know where this story is going....
Well, it was early in the morning when I rolled out of bed to discover the rain. Noel and I had made plans to drive over to Furman University to do our long run together. Not afraid to run in the rain, we got in the car and headed to F.U. (appropriately named, which you'll learn about here in a minute).
Still in a sleepy haze as we started the run... I let Noel dictate the route. (She is very familiar with the campus and surrounding area, while I am NOT). We began our warm up by locating the start for their campus 5K... and following the markings on the pavement. From there, we did out and backs, made turns, went off campus, passed by the same spot a few times... and... sorry for writing about this Noel, but details are crucial to my story... she was having some GI "issues." Therefore, we made some bathroom stops.
So, with about 10 min left in the run... she asked to stop again. I really just wanted to finish, so told her I'd meet her at the car. She gave me an inquisitive look, "do you know how to get to the car?!"
"uh, not really," I responded
"well, just go that way... go around the round-about, then straight, you'll get to another round-about, take a left... and you should get to the parking lot," said Noel.
why, oh why... did I just assume I'd be able to find the car. Normally, I'm decent with directions / finding my way. However, I had no idea where I was going, I did not know the name of the building I'd parked by, it was still raining, I had no water, and I was beginning to get hungry. Off I went.
Yup, you got it. I got SO LOST. I began running by buildings/structures we'd passed, I saw familiar roads... then, 15 minutes later... I was RIGHT BACK where Noel and I had split. WHAT?!
So I tried to go a different way. Suddenly, I was at the 5K FINISH. Well, at least I knew the car was near the START. I kept running... doing the route backwards. REALLY not wanting to do another 3 miles, I began searching for someone to point me in the right direction. Wouldn't you know it... everyone I asked was there for flipping Band Camp. Yeah, they were NO help. Then, hallelujah, a person with a Furman shirt on.
Completely soaked from rain/sweat, I begged this lady for help. "Do you know where the start of the 5K is?!"
"Oh, my... huh, I really don't. Let me radio Public Safety. Maybe they can tell you," she pulled out her walkie talkie. "yes, hi... I have a runner here. She's looking for the start of the 5K race. I didn't know there was a race today. Can you tell us where to find the start?"
Oh no. Now I was spreading rumors that there was a 5K race on campus!
I tried to clear things up. She pointed me toward the Athletic Center. Here's what I thought about while running there:
- I don't want to be running any longer
- Walking is nice, but it is much slower than running
- Why won't the rain STOP?
- If I don't find a water fountain soon, I'll be forced to take off a sock and wring it over my mouth for hydration
- Noel, why did you leave me (yes, at this point it was most definitely HER FAULT)
- Lost, really, who gets lost on a college campus that is approximately 3 square miles?!
- I miss my car
- If I stay put, will she find me... answer: NO, she's waiting for you at the central location... your car, stupid!
- Furman University... that makes them FU. Darn right, FU Furman!
- And, as an added bonus... I remembered Kate telling me that the original FU mascot was the Christian Knights. ha ha ha. The F.urman U.niversity C.hristian K.nights ;)
- NOEL, where are you?!
- ok, I'll admit it... my eyes filled with tears. I was wet, tired, and SO DONE with the run
- finally, finally... I saw Noel off in the distance.
"WHERE have you been?!" She called to me.
"I was lost!" I yelled back.
I wanted to run to her, and hug her, and hit her for letting me run off on my own. And, being a true athlete... she made me run with her for another 60 seconds to get to an even stopping time!!!!!
It was a traumatic run.... one which resulted in about 25 extra minutes of run time. Ouch. Sorry Noel. ps. don't EVER leave me again. The answer is NO, I don't know where the car is. And, NO I won't be able to find it on my own.
To smooth things over, I got us Starbucks. It helped a little.
Once back at my house, I quickly showered. Sarah and I jumped into the car and drove to my grandma's assisted living facility to meet Mom. It was great to catch up with family. But, the rain didn't let up. While in my grandma's little "dorm room," the text messaging began. As ring leader of the camping trip, people were contacting me... wondering what we were going to do.
Day of the trip - it was raining - and we called it off. Even if we were to go, everything would have been soaking. To salvage the night, I told everyone to come over to my house.
Saturday night ended up being a lot of fun. We went to see "No Reservations" (good movie, predictable, but... ah, Aaron Eckhart is yummy). And, it wasn't as cool as sitting around a campfire at Jones Gap... but, grilling on a miniature Weber on my front porch is a good time! We did still grill up the dogs and roast the marshmallows. To simulate real camping, I made Caroline pee in the bushes... ha ha, just kidding.
Saturday morning, we said bye bye to Sarah Bear. Mom and I got things ready for a bike ride. I was excited about showing her the best of Moore, SC ;) (those of you who are familiar with Moore know the joke). We had a good ride! She took it easy during my intervals... and when she tried to bail and ride back to Peter's by herself, I suddenly had flashbacks to the FU run. Oh no, no no... there will be no splitting up.
I made her circle my TT loop and wait on the steps of a nearby church while I finished the hard efforts.
We wrapped up the weekend with a nice dinner & wine on Peter's back porch: Great food prepared by Chef Peter himself. I think I've found his calling for post IM racing employment. Funny point in conversation... while telling Peter about getting lost on FU campus, he stopped me when I told him about getting to the finish of the 5K. Evidently, the FINISH and START are at the same complex... just on opposite sides. Duh, I'd retraced my steps... even though I was literally 50 yards from the parking lot where my car was located. Nice.
Even thought the weekend didn't unfold the way I'd expected... I had so much fun. And, you know why... because my friends are Amazing! Rain, shine, plans, no plans, changed plans, lost, found, hungry, thirsty, tired.... we made it work. Thanks everyone!