Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Virginia trip, part 1

My running pal/relay teammate/New Balance benefactor Pete and I were the two people embarking on the Shamrock trip. Pete lives in Lexington (about an hour away), but we were flying out of Louisville. Early. He picked me up at 5 a.m. Friday, which gave us plenty of time to catch our 6:50 a.m. flight.

Usually Louisville's quaint airport (technically two terminals, but really just two hallways) is pretty desolate that early in the morning, but there were spring breakers clogging up everything. In fact, our plane contained both elementary AND high school groups. Yippee!

Anyway, it made the tiny security checkpoint slower than a three-legged dog in the snow. And it really confused them why my boarding pass only had my last names on it, no first name. Now, listen, that is not my fault. I didn't design the damn ticket. You want me to have more names on it, talk to the kiosk. Or whatever.

Pete's prototype 759s (due out in May -- check them out!) were pulled for a check at security, although mine were not. Who knows. I remarked maybe nitroglycerin wasn't the best cushioning choice after all.

Our flight was a short trip over to BWI, during which I fired up Cassidy (my gfr 405) so we could see how fast and how far we were going. It kept dropping the signal, which I didn't understand ... since I was closer to the satellite than I usually am. We had virtually no layover at BWI; they were beginning to board as we got to the gate.

I left my book on the first plane (hopefully the next person in that seat loves chick-lit), so I ended up wasting a lot of time complaining about breakfast (well, the lack thereof) and looking at SkyMall. I weighed the relative merits of purchasing a group of garden meercats versus purchasing a garden Yeti. Tough decision — and since they live in very different natural environments, you really can't have both. That would just be unrealistic.

We landed in Norfolk at 9:30 or so, picked up the rental car — a Mazda R3 with about 50 miles on it — and headed to a breakfast place called Citrus, recommended by a local on the flight. Delish. Pete had eggs benedict, a nice normal-person sized breakfast. I couldn't make up my mind ... so I ordered everything. Enter The Lynnhaven: hash browns or grits, pancakes or french toast, sausage or bacon, and two eggs however you want 'em. For $7.

To kill time, we attempted to find the touristy part of Virginia Beach, but no dice.

N(touristy) + N^2 = e(pic)^fail

We drifted around for a bit, found the expo but had to wait for it to open. People were actually lining up to get in. We sat at a table and waited; the full only had a thousand people so the odds of us needing to rush in were nil. Packet pickup was easy enough, although oddly organized. At one table you got your bib, once you figured out the right spot, and you had to remember to actually get your own safety pins. You had to have a signed waiver and identification with you. Which was sort of funny, because I gave the volunteer my waiver and my ID, and then she asked my name to verify I was getting the right bib. Clearly we both know my name, assumed or otherwise, at this juncture.

Then off to a different room to figure out which area is the marathon shirts. I got an XS tech long sleeve ... made by Brooks, a company who notoriously vanity sizes apparel. So really it fits like a medium. Why are there never shirts that fit? In the land of marathoning females, I am not that small!

Our hotel, the lovely Sheraton Norfolk Waterside (great all-around, definitely recommend), got us checked in before lunch. Lovely rooms; Sheraton currently has my vote for best blankets. I thought the duvet might suffocate me, but in a nice expensive duvet way. There was no scratchy comforter, which I always throw immediately onto the floor, and the pillows were excellent. Only complaint was that there was free wi-fi in the lobby, but not in the rooms. Apparently that is standard in nice hotels, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

We roamed downtown Norfolk for a bit, got lunch at Schlotzky's Deli, and went back for naps. We threw in an easy four miler in the afternoon, then hit the Outback Steakhouse next door for dinner. Then I proceeded to sleep for 11 hours — hey, they say two nights before is the important night for sleeping and I was happy to comply.

Saturday we visited Running Etc. in Norfolk, a nice store with lots of stuff and a cool layout. We had lunch at The Green Onion — definitely a trip highlight. It was sunny and 70, so we read outside for a while and generally acted like bums. We found a Cheesecake Factory for dinner, and that was pretty much the end of the non-race portion of the trip.

Race report to follow.