Flight home to cap off the trip

When I finished my half marathon run in the morning, I got back to the hotel to find my ride to the airport already waiting for me. I had not even begun to pack. I asked him to give me 20 minutes so that I could get showered and packed.

I accomplished it all in my time frame. I got back down to the lobby and he said that we were a bit early to leave yet. So we sat there for almost an hour. Enough time for me to have visited the running store down the road to see if they had something that I just could not live without. Since he did not tell me that we would be waiting, I did not get a chance to go. (The Deaf are not known for being the most thoughtful communicators). But, that is the way life goes when you are being served by someone else.

My plane from LA to Mexico City was packed. I sat in the middle of three seats between a grandmother and middle aged lady. They both are US born citizens with Mexican heritage. Neither one speaks English, though they have lived in the US all their lives. I will say nothing more other than, frustrating.

The grandmother had to leave her 2 grandchildren behind (based on her age, they would be adult grandchildren) because they did not have all the proper paperwork to fly. They have applied for passports, but the passport offices are very far behind on filling orders. As a result, she had been crying when I sat down beside her.

I was just being me and tried to be kind to her, just as I would anyone else, and she really latched on to me. She loved the fact that I spoke about God like He was my friend and that I showed a concern about her situation. Needless to say, I was being kissed, like only a grandmother can, before our plane was even off the ground.

I made it to Mexico without too many more kisses.

Then I had to stand in the immigration line. I will forego the details in an effort to not incriminate myself in case I have done something wrong. Needless to say, I need to visit the local immigration office to straighten some stuff out. I may be able to blog about it later. Maybe not.

Immigration took over an hour and a half. By the time I got through, my plane should have already left 20 minutes earlier. I ran to the closest counter for my airline and asked them if the plane had left yet. I really had no hope that it was still there, but it was worth asking. It was!

He told me I needed to run down to the other end of the concourse to see if the plane had boarded yet. Remember that 13.27 mile run I did earlier in the day? I was feeling it by 9:00 that night. Plus I was then carrying a 25 pound backpack. I ran, but I probably did not set any records.

As soon as I got there and told them my name the lady behind the counter yelled out, “He’s here! Let’s go!” They had not even started boarding everyone else while they were waiting for me. I guess since my flight from LA to Merida was a direct flight with just a stop in Mexico to do Immigration, they held the plan until the last person made it through.

We arrived just over an hour late.

Beautiful ending to a wonderful week of running

Yesterday (Saturday) I jumped out of bed at 6:00 ready to hit the trails running. I wanted to get an early start, not because it was hot, but because I wanted to maximize the time I could be on the road. I needed to eat a pretty full breakfast. I was planning at least a 2 hour run. While letting breakfast settle (I have to do that) I chatted with some friends and read my Bible.Bluff Park

I finally got laced up and ready to go about 7:00. It was 66 degrees and 84% humidity at that point. That may not sound too cool to many of you, but for me it was glorious. For comparison, back home it was 75 with 100% humidity. During my run in California the temp got up to 71/68%. In Merida, according to the weather RSS feed I read, it would have been 82/100%.

I started out by running down to the beach which is just over 2 miles from the hotel. When I got down to Bluff Park I ran east along the top of the bluff to the end of the park. I then went down the steps to the beach where I met a group of 4 runners who looked like they were running together.

I ended up running with them and talking for about 30 minutes. They are with the Los Angeles division of the Aids Marathon training team. The lady I spent most of my time talking with is running the Florence, Italy marathon.

They were 11 minute pace group on a 9 mile training run and I jumped in just after they hit the 3 mile mark. They were doing a run/walk program with 5 minutes running and 1 minute walking.

My running partner told me about a running store a couple of miles away that might have something that I was looking for. I broke off from them and headed to the store. Since it is a running store and Saturday is a good day to run long in the mornings, they did not open until 10:00. I was too early.

Ship near the beachI then ran back to the beach and to the area where the group was training. I fell into the 15 minute per mile pace group. They were doing 2 minute runs and 2 minute walks. I floated between them just talking and enjoying the run for a while. But, that was too slow for my taste.

I ran a bit further down the beach back towards the Queen Mary. I knew if I got down there I would be at least 45 minutes from my hotel and I was already pushing 2 hours. I decided to run up into town and start making my way back to Bluff Park.

I broke all the hydration rules. I had been running for 2 hours without any water (you should not go more than 1 hour). I felt fine though and really never felt in distress. But, I was actively on the search for something to drink. I thought about getting personal with a sprinkler system, but after drinking bottled water for 3 years down here, the thought of drinking water out of a pipe just sounds disgusting.

I did finally find some water an Albertson’s. In the 5 minutes, or so, that I stood in line, I ended up downing a 1 liter bottle of water and 1 liter of Propel. The cashier was a little shocked to ring up 2 empty bottles.Beach and pier

I then finished off the run with a trip up the hill to the hotel. All said and done it was 13.27 miles in 2 hours 36 minutes and 14 seconds for a pace of 11:46. That is really a great run for me on several levels.

First, I have never run that far. Secondly, if you take out the time I spent standing in line at Albertson’s, the time taking pictures and videos along with the breaks I had to make as I transitioned from bluff to beach (in a couple of places I had to walk across a good bit of sand and did not want sand in my shoes), it was a really great time. Thirdly, I have not run more than 8 miles in a very long time. Months. This was a breakout run for me. Finally, it was a great run in that I just had a blast. I could have run further but was getting pushed for time.

This week I logged just over 30 miles from Tuesday to Saturday. That is a record week for me. Again, I broke a lot of rules (10%, hydration, etc.) to get there, but I never felt stressed and outside of my work responsibilities for the week, my plan was just to have a bunch of fun running.

Mission Accomplished!

Friday’s Walkabout

Friday after the morning sessions at the conference were over and the conference ended, most people headed right out. Within a short time the church was quite abandoned. I had thought to bring some casual clothes in my backpack so that I could change before heading out for some last day shopping. I asked a friend to take my dress clothes back to the hotel. I was still wearing my dress shoes though. I have probably logged many more miles on my dress shoes than I ever will on any pair of running shoes. These shoes have served me well for 7 years. I get them re-soled every 6 to 12 months. They get a lot of use.

On my way to the big used bookstore that I was planning to visit, I saw a Taco Bell. Besides Krispy Kreme, that was the only other food place I was planning to hit. I had my standard soft taco and bean burrito meal. Though it tasted good, I realized something from that meal. One of the podcasters I listen to, Scott Smith, always says to ask the question “How do I want to feel?” before sticking something questionable in your mouth. I have eaten so well for so long here in Mexico that I did not remember the yucky food choices in the US made me feel awful. I just thought that I felt good because I lost weight. Now I know I feel good, at least in part, based on what I eat too. All that to say, I did not feel good after eating at Taco Bell. Though the flavor was just as good as I remembered, the gastro intestinal stress I was in for the rest of the day just was not fun.

On my way to the bookstore I realized that, in my desire to clean out my backpack to make maximum room for my shopping purchases, I left out my list of books I needed to look for. My wife had given me a full typewritten sheet of books to try and find. I also had hand scribbled my Amazon Wish-List on the back of the paper. Now I did not have that as a guide.

I got to the book store with just a vague idea of what I needed. Obviously I would remember the books that I wanted if I saw them on the shelf. I did find one (Running & Being: The Total Experience, George Sheehan). I also found a few in the right genre for my son. Nothing for my wife since I certainly would not remember even a small handful of titles she wanted.

Then off to the sporting goods store just to look. I had nothing else on my list that I specifically needed from there. I just wanted to browse. Nothing caught my eye.

Wal-Mart provided a new set of headphones that I like. I can get them here pretty easily. Wal-Mart had them for about $3 less. I am hard on headphones and have to replace them every 6 months or so. I just pull the wires too often or get them hung on something. I am sure the 6 gallons of sweat I pour on them every time I run does nothing good for them too.

I then headed on down to the Queen Mary just to get a closer look. Not sure why I did not snap a picture of her. Just do a google search for images and you will see what she looks like. I am talking about the ship, not the person she was named after.

Back to Borders where I picked up Duel in the Sun.

Finally back to my hotel. This was all a 6 hour walk. Some of it was covered on train and bus.

I was then all blahed out. I talked with my wife over IM for a bit before she headed to bed. All my hotel friends were still out (those who had not left yet). It was only about 8:30 and I had nothing to do. So…I changed shoes and went out for a walk.

I walked up a road I had not ventured up yet this week. I found the very top of the hill that my hotel was on. I walked around in the dark until 10:00 and then got back to the hotel and into bed quickly. I wanted to get a fresh start early the next morning for a nice long run I had planned.