Thursday, June 10, 2010

on the road again...

Nathan took a Greyhound bus from Knoxville to Richmond to come visit me. :) I took him with me to Baltimore to watch the A's play the Orioles. It was his first major league baseball game, which I was glad I was the one to take him to it. Camden Yards is a nice park to go to for your first game ever. Hopefully he won't be too disappointed if I ever take him to the coliseum! We don't focus on the frills in Oakland, we just play baseball! We drove back to Richmond that night looking forward to a good night's sleep, especially since Nathan had been on the Greyhound and hardly slept and then I took him straight up to Maryland and back! We arrived at the apartment and no one was home. We couldn't get in and after deliberating for a bit, we headed to a hotel to shower and sleep. It had been sticky in Baltimore due to the humidity and we were tired. It was the first time I've ever paid for a hotel in my life. I always couch surf and my parents have the time share condos with World Mark so we don't go to hotels. I screamed when I saw a roach on the bed. I killed it and threw away the body, but wow. Gross. I was paranoid something was going to bite me. I don't think I'll be checking into a hotel again any time soon. I definitely appreciate my dad spending money on the time share stuff a lot more now. It's always super clean with a full kitchen and master bedroom.

I was hoping to take him down to the river and hang out, but since we were so tired we slept in and checked out of the hotel at 11AM. I baked a yummy pizza for lunch and we just hung out at the apartment and watched a movie. I packed up my stuff to leave Friday after work.

Unfortunately after I packed my stuff up... I brought my keys with me to work, which defeated the purpose of getting a ride to work, but Nathan was able to open the door and get my spare key so he could come visit me at work and have lunch with my co-workers and myself. :) After lunch we headed out, stopping at the house I lived at in Harbor Point to pick up any mail and drop off my key. Then we hit the road, stopping in Roanoke to have dinner with his uncle and two cousins who live there. It was a fun birthday dinner. I never have many birthday celebrations so it was nice to have a gathering on my birthday even if it wasn't specifically for my birthday. Last year I sat on the couch at the Richardson's watching the Cavs vs. Magic game by myself while doing homework. Super exciting, I know.

We continued to Knoxville, stopping to get gas along the way and were very tired and a little cranky by the time we got there. Tennessee was fun, we mostly chilled, hung out by the pool, watched movies and ate food of course! Brittany, Denise, and Jenna had gotten me a gift certificate to Olive Garden and I took Nathan there where we had a long and interesting conversation with our waitress about her life, kid, and gym memberships. I felt bad for her and tipped generously when it was time to pay for the check, especially since most of the meal was covered by my birthday present. Sunday night I cooked dinner, we need to get more spices, but I tried to make do with pepper... I liked my fish and potatoes, but my asparagus was lacking. I usually like to cook my asparagus with garlic, so next time I'll spring for the garlic when I go shopping. I was going to leave on Monday but I ended up staying until Tuesday morning.

After Tennessee I drove up to Dayton to hang out with Jecca and Dan. Jecca was done with school and just passed the NCLEX so we hung out, watched movies, and rode bikes. When I got there her friend was there and we all watched 'Dear John' which was one of the worst movies I've seen this year, if not the worst. I thought people said it was a good movie... or a good book, but it was horrendous! The girl promised to wait for John when he went overseas in the army and then wrote him a letter TWO MONTHS later saying that she was engaged... what the heck??? What is commitment to these people? How is that a good movie? I thought perhaps it'd get better or something, but it didn't. He ended up going back and they alluded to them getting back together after she was a widow because her husband died. She could have taken care of the dude without marrying him. That's ridiculous. If you really love someone, you shouldn't marry someone else. I felt like I had wasted two hours of my life that I couldn't get back. Ugh.

We did run the first morning I was there at a local walking/running park near where she lives, walked over to Graeter's Ice Cream (ice cream made in Cincinnati) and hung out by the pool until the clouds rolled up. We rode her scooter around a bit and I was left wanting my motorcycle (daddy said I'd hurt myself, which is probably true, so I sold it since it wasn't vital for my livelihood). It was awesome to just chill out. I think I could get used to this life! I stayed for about two days there and headed out to Wheaton... fighting off the Chicago traffic (it ended up taking 8 hours because of the last 30 miles, I had made good time through Indiana!). Jill and Catherine came out to meet me, Catherine had made me a sign that said "Welcome Jill" and we had pizza and salad for dinner. It was good to see them! Catherine and Connor have gotten so big! Patrick came home later and we had some ice cream and caught up.

In the morning I went with Jill to drop off the kids at school and back for Connor's 2nd grade poetry reading. Afterward I headed out to Wisconsin to hang out with the Richardson kids after they got off school. We just sat around, watched television and I regulated their chip consumption. ha, ha. Then they were picked up by the woman they were staying with for the weekend and I hung out alone in their house... which turned out to be very creepy because the lights were flickering in the dining room, the door shook and there were growling noises coming from in the basement. It didn't help that Kelly told me her tales of when she grew up in the house and there were demons in it. I was quite afraid alone and turned up the Jesus music and went back into one of the bedrooms, shut the door, put some stuff in front of it and prayed.

In the morning I gathered all my stuff, shut out the lights and headed out as soon as I woke up. I was on my way to St. Paul, Minnesota. I had a marathon to run and a baseball game to watch! I made it the 5 hours of driving without stopping for gas or the bathroom. I had filled up before I left Wheaton and made it to St. Paul with Lazarus' tank near empty. I pulled up to a gas station on Como Street where they were having an art fair in the drizzling rain and napped in the parking lot across from the apartments while I waited for Abby to finish at work. When she got there I brought some of my stuff up and we went downtown to go to the expo... which was the more pathetic excuse for an expo. There was nothing there, not even to buy if I wanted. The shirt was pretty cool and I like the color, but the jacket they were raving about was waffle material and funny cut. The sleeves are too short and there's a weird slit in the bottom of them. I just watched a movie on Saturday when they went out and then went to bed.

Sunday I got up and drove down to the Lake Street light rail station since the bus didn't start running Sunday morning until after the race had already started. I caught the light rail to Government Plaza, followed people to the bag check, turned in my bag (I brought a bag so I could have other clothes to change into because I was supposed to meet Kat that afternoon), and waited in line for the restroom (okay, so port-a-potties).

The run began. I took my time and walked up to the starting line. I ended up finding my way to the 4:45 pace group and chatted a bit with the pacer and another guy named Al who was running his first marathon. After mile 8 I sped up a bit with a girl from North Dakota who was there with her grand father running her second marathon. She was only a sophomore in high school who ran cross country in the fall and did a marathon in the spring instead of doing track. I thought that was interesting. We ran together for about 10 miles before she decided she needed to walk and I trudged along ahead until Fort Snelling when I walked up the hill because it was huge! They definitely did not give you enough water or Powerade (of course I thought of Nathan and how he would be pleased there was Powerade and not Gatorade). It was probably a centimeter of liquid in the bottom of a small cup which is barely a sip! I took three Powerade cups and two water at almost every station to attempt to wet my throat even a little!

I found myself with the 4:45 pace group again as I ran through miles 19-22. After awhile I just needed to hit 10s and couldn't run at the 10:53 pace they were at so I went on ahead. I was passing people and trying to encourage them to keep going to the finish and one guy took it to heart. His name was Kent. He was from Iowa and he ran with me from around mile 22-24.5 before he started walking a bit. I walked up the hill around mile 25 and he caught up with me again telling me I was close! and that I could do it. It was good to have a little push at the end and when we finished he hugged me and thanked me for the encouragement and said he wouldn't have been able to run those last few miles without me. His kids were there at the finish waiting for him. It always makes me feel like I've accomplished something when people say stuff like that. I feel like I've done something. Helping people achieve their goals is a great feeling.

Afterward I tottered on over to the bag check, picked up my stuff and wobbled over to the food where I picked up everything. I was appalled they didn't have water bottles for people who had just finished a marathon... I mean for crying out loud, why wouldn't they have water bottles? I drank 3 cups of water, but they weren't even full and I couldn't carry it with me. I laid around on the cement near the stone bridge while waiting for Kat to finish up at work. Unfortunately after I had text her a second time... (I text her right when I finished and then again 3 hours later) she told me she wasn't going to get done until 9-10pm... um, I wish I had known that 3 and a half hours before so I could have just gone back to St. Paul instead of lying around downtown Minneapolis! It's not like I could have done anything cool or knew where to go when I was super tired after running a marathon. And I was hungry! Boo. I headed back to the light rail, got back to the apartment, took a shower and chilled out. (I watched Step Up 2 for the millionth time.)

When Ab and Eric got back they were going to Eric's best friend's house for a birthday dinner, so I tagged along. They had 4 kinds of pie! It was awesome. I of course tried them all. :) His grand parents were there, they were super cute showing off their great grand child. :) We chatted as I tried not to fall asleep. The next morning Ab and I laid out on the front lawn of the apartment... I fell asleep while trying to read Born to Run and got a little toastier than I would have liked. Then we hung out, made pizza for dinner, and watched some of the Blind Side when Eric got back. We headed to 331 with one of their friends for some free live blue grass music and hung out for a bit afterward for some strawberries in chocolate sauce. Al and Andy had gotten engaged on the west coast so I took a break from the blue grass music to hear the story. :)

After that, more sleep and when I woke up, it was Tuesday. Game day! I was a little worried because it was raining all morning. I took a nice long nap in the after noon and then packed up my stuff to head to Target Field. Luckily it stopped raining and although they canceled batting practice because of the rain, I was able to wander around and take pictures around the entire outside of the stadium and inside. I posted myself near the foul pole in left field and talked with some Australians who were there on holiday. They borrowed my glove for pictures and bought me a bottle of water in return for explaining some of our American baseball practices. I met another pair who lived in St. Paul and I didn't end up having to wait for the bus because they gave me a ride back to the apartment.

I fell asleep soon after talking to Nathan and was woken up in the morning when Abby knocked on the door and said she had to go to work. While I was packing and folding everything up, I watched the Proposal again and moved everything to Lazarus and hit the road. I had horrid reception on the way down interstate 90 toward South Dakota. Luckily I have reception here in Vermillion, but apparently South Dakota's best carrier is Verizon so everyone out here has it. When I arrived in South Dakota I had dinner with Lura and her husband Jordan, we hung out, chatted and had some ice cream afterward.

And this morning... all I've done so far is type up this blog, talk to Nathan and eat food. Not a bad morning for an unemployed master's program graduate huh?

- run for life