April 3, 2011

This is not a recap for the Cherry Blossom 10-Mile

Today I was supposed to run the Cherry Blossom 10-miler.

Had I run the race, I would have woken up around 5:30 or 6, eaten my ritual race day breakfast of Quaker Instant Oatmeal and a banana and made my way to the start with four of my friends.

Instead, I woke up at 5:30 groggy, tired and tear-streaked in a hotel room in Chicago and made my way to the airport so that I could board a flight that would land at roughly the same time I would have crossed the finish line.

Here's how it all went down:
My conference at Notre Dame ended at 5:30 on Saturday evening. My flight was at 7:12pm. Perfect timing to get to the airport. I cabbed it to the airport, went through security and found myself with ample time to relax, read on my Kindle and chat with the friend I was traveling with before we started boarding. We boarded what was meant to be a short 25 minute flight to Chicago that would have landed an hour and change before my flight to DC was to take off. Then they announced that they were having difficulty shutting the door to where they keep the luggage. After 15 minutes, they deplaned us saying that we would all be more comfortable in the airport...the airport that was already closed. Because it had already closed, it would take Maintenance about 45 minutes to get there. It took them an hour. The Maintenance guy stood outside with 2 other guys talking for 20 minutes before he finally walked up to the plane. It took him about 5 minutes to fix the plane. It took them about 45 minutes to board us again. When we finally took off, they assured us that though our connections would be tight, we would be able to make them if we ran because the pilots were alerting the airline that everybody on the flight had connections to make and they would hold our flights for us.

When we landed, I grabbed my bag and ran to the front of the plane. Then we sat there. Our gate was occupied so we couldn't get off. It was 8:45. My flight was leaving in 15 minutes. I checked my Blackberry and saw that there was another flight to Dulles at 9:15. Fine, it'll be tight but I'll at least be able to get on that one. I kept hitting refresh on my Blackberry. At 8:54, my flight left. 6 minutes early. Thanks for holding the flight like you said you would, United.

We finally deplaned at 9:06. Ok, 10 minutes to get to the next plane. It was 10 gates away. Luckily, I had my sneakers on and I ran. Had I been clocking my time on my Garmin, I could tell you that suitcase and all, I was easily running a 5 minute mile. I got to the gate at 9:08. There was no one there. The plane had left 15 minutes early.

I frantically used the wonderful tool that is my Blackberry to call every single airline that flies out of Chicago O'Hare to find a flight that would get me to DC in time to get to the race. Apparently, red eyes are a thing of the 90's...or maybe just weekdays because not a single airline had a flight leaving the airport. I was stuck. I sat down on my suitcase and cried bawled. Everything that has been bothering me and slightly stressing me out for the last 2 weeks just came out. I came so close to a meltdown on Thursday night but a 5 mile prep run for the Cherry Blossom cured that. Not running the Cherry Blossom and being stranded in Chicago brought about the meltdown. I honestly don't remember the last time I cried that hard.

A woman on my flight tried to cheer me up by me about a friend who missed an ultra for the same reason. That didn't help. My mom said "These things happen," that didn't help at all. I went to the kiosk to deal with the people at United who were just abysmally unhelpful from the moment we first deplaned at South Bend. They put me in a hotel for the night and gave me a $15 voucher for food. I got to the hotel. The cheapest thing on the menu was $15. Great...now I have to dish out another $10 for a drink and tip because United is cheap. I called the Front Desk to find out if the fitness center was open 24 hours. I needed to run so badly. It wasn't. So I texted my friend Steph and told her I wasn't going to make it. She tried to make me feel better by joking around. That didn't work. She got that real fast and then she wrote this:

"I'm sad that you won't be with me in the am. But you just ran your heart out at your recent half. Got a new PR. And you have more races to come. And next year, you're coming in on Thursday. I wish I could hug you from here. I'll think of you at the finish so I finish hard. If it wasn't for you I would never have made it to the start. I won't forget that."

With that, I slowly got dressed for bed and went to sleep. I got to DC this morning at 9:30. I took the Metro to Steph's apartment and watched what felt like everyone in the building coming in from the race while I waited for her. It took everything in me to not start bawling again in the middle of the lobby. I spent the early part of the day with some friends and then I laced up and went for a run. I didn't know how far I wanted to run but I just needed to go. Around Mile 3 I started crying again. But I kept running. When I hit 8 miles, I thought about going the full 10. Then I decided not to because my heart just wasn't in it. Then I asked myself what the hell kind of runner I was and I went the extra 2 miles. Almost the entire time I was running, there were Cherry Blossoms on either side of me. I may not have run the Cherry Blossom 10-mile but I ran my own Cherry Blossom 10-mile.

It's been a really rough 2 weeks. I don't think I would have been nearly as much of a mess under any other circumstances but I just felt like this was the culmination of 2 weeks of nothing but stress.

I feel better having still run the 10 miles but it stings not having that post-race glow. But like Steph said, I have other races and that's what I need to focus on. In the mean time, I'm going to take the next 3 days that I'm in DC to relax. I'll go to the meetings I have to go to but other than that, I'm just going to relax and take the time to de-stress.

Thanks for listening.


  1. oh no.... that's horrible! I'm soo glad you made the best out of it and still ran your Cherry Blossom 10 miles! Good for you!! :)

  2. That sucks that it didn't work out!

    I like how you said you ran your own 'Cherry Blossom 10-mile'. Good way of thinking :)

    I hope the other things you have been stressing about work out for you soon.

  3. Wow, I am sooo sorry twinny that is awful!! Airplanes can def. be the worst ever and I am sorry you had to go through that. I hope things are going better and we are always here to listen!

  4. Wow... Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story. I am very sorry to hear about the plane chaos and that you missed the scheduled race but I think it was awesome you went out and ran your own 10-miles. Way to go!

  5. aww sorry about that girl :( no worries though you'll be able to do another one because you're that awesome! have a wonderful monday! xo

  6. Christy, I'm so sorry that the airlines messed up your ability to do the Cherry Blossom. Chicago is the pits for flying through :( Im glad that you were able to get to the positive point of everything, though and you're right--there ARE tons more races for you. And next year doing the Cherry Blossom will be that much more meaningful! :)

  7. Oh honey... I'm so sorry! I can't even imagine how frustrated you must have been at the airport, that is every person's worst nightmare but I do understand how you felt about missing the race. It's the worst feeling in the world when you know you should and could have been there running. You feel cheated and betrayed. I love that you went for your own Cherry Blossom 10 miler!

  8. Oh, Christy. :( This post made me so sad for you! Not only to have to go through the stress of a horrific evening being delayed by the airlines, but the deep disappointment of missing the Cherry Blossom Race. I think it is awesome that you ran your own Cherry Blossom Race the next day AND that you have grateful friends like Steph to remind you of YOUR role in their own running career.

    I'm so sorry for your disappointment...and I look forward to the recap of your NEXT race (coming up soon, yes?). Hugs to you!

  9. You poor thing! What a night! I can completely sympathize with feeling just so utterly frustrated when it comes to missing races AND flights! Just focus on your amazing half PR! There are so many more races in your future!

  10. UGHHH That really stinks I am SO sorry!! I have been there and felt that disappointment :(

    I'm so excited you are coming to our blogger meet up! It should be great :) I can't believe you ran the HBH half! I HATED it last year and I can't believe I signed up for it again...I am looking forward to improving on last year's performance and getting some good hill racing experience in :)

  11. I'm sorry, friend. I TOTALLY get that disappointment. It's hard when you feel out of control and let down by a situation unfolding around you. I'm glad you got out for a run, and I hope that you're feeling a little better about it today. :-)

  12. Stopping by from Mingle Monday...so sorry to hear about your trouble getting to DC. I swear, United is the absolute worst...I have problems with them EVERY time! It is beyond frustrating not getting to do something you have been looking forward to, but I love your positive spin on it. There will be so many more races in your future:)
    PS: If you want to be cheered up, I'm having a Target give away over at my blog: www.vabeachhousewife.blogspot.com

  13. I am so so so sorry you didn't get to run this race. I hope you sign up next year!! Enjoy DC.


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