Get (non) revved

Date: April 28, 2012

Distance: 13.1

Time: 3:19:20

Because my husband flies for the airlines, we are lucky to have employee flight benefits. That means if space is available on a flight, we get to fly for free on select airlines. Wonderful perk—and a big reason I’m able to afford my quest to run races in all fifty states. It’s not such a great deal, though, when travel plans don’t work out due to lack of seat availability.

Plenty of race trips have been nearly thwarted due to my plans to fly non-rev. I wasn’t able to fly home from Fargo because non-revenue seats were not available on my planned flight, for example, and my decision to not go to Santa Barbara last November was due, in part, to less-than-encouraging airplane loads.

This weekend’s plans were altered a great deal for this very reason.

Friday morning’s check of non-revenue seats showed that our planned flight to Nashville (via Memphis) was not looking promising at all. I’m guessing that weather may have played havoc on some mid-west flights–tornadoes and other severe storms were forecast throughout many parts of the country this weekend. When we looked at our planned flights, they showed that our chances to getting to Nashville were slim to non-existent.

Like all well-trained pilots, we were willing to deviate from our initial itinerary and select an alternate destination.

The internet has made these last-minute changes so easy!

I simply went to the “running in the USA” website and searched for all half marathon races taking place this weekend.  I took note which states were hosting races, and clicked on those race links to find out which ones were still accepting registrations. I combined that knowledge with my airline website access to find out which of these cities also had open flights, and within about twenty minutes, decided that a race in Sacramento would probably be our best bet. Another few keystrokes on my computer keyboard and clicks of the mouse canceled my hotel room in Tennessee and confirmed a room reservation and car rental arrangements in California. Done!

I’m disappointed that our Nashville plans feel through. My husband and I had been registered for that race for months and were really looking forward to it. Plus, we are now out the two race registration fees, darn it. Rock and Roll (in this case, country music) races are always fun but always huge. Tens of thousands of people participate, there is huge crowd support, and the race expo is usually attended by dozens and dozens of vendors—making packet pick up day an enjoyable shopping/sampling/browsing event. The swag at these types of races is usually bountiful—a race bag filled with food samples, coupons, stickers, temporary tattoos, and sometimes other cool running-related gadgets. I invariably end up purchasing Gu, and running gear such as socks, a hat, a headband, earphones, or the like.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are races like the Sacramento race we ended up running. Today’s race was a fundraiser for the local parks and recreation department, included fewer than three thousand people, and took place along the American River bike path. Packet pickup consisted of going to the local running store, walking to the back, paying the race fee, and getting a race shirt–no bag and no frills. I did purchase a handful of Gu packs while there, but that was it.

Perhaps this race ended up saving me money even with the additional race fees!

Race Report

Today’s weather in Sacramento was perfect for a race—no winds, clear skies, and cool morning temperatures that gradually climbed to a mild 70-degrees by mid-day.

This was my husband’s second half marathon ever–the first one being three years ago in Salt Lake. He had wanted to run another half and I had convinced him to join me in an out-of-state race so that I could cross another state off of my list. He was happy to oblige. It’s been fun to be able to complete some of our training runs together over the past several weeks, and I think after today he feels like he accomplished a lot (which he did).

We agreed to take things slowly. I have a pretty busy race schedule ahead of me this summer and I really didn’t want to re-injure my foot, nor did I want him to be miserable after the race so we decided on a fairly conservative race strategy. We walked the first .2 of each mile, followed by an easy, relaxed run for the remaining .8. That seemed to work well overall.

Towards the end, Orlando was feeling some of his recurring aches in the normal troublesome spots–including an unexplained pain in his right middle toe and then he faced pretty severe cramping in his calves during the last two miles of the race. Argh. He powered through it, though, and we crossed the finish line together. Can’t wait to see that race photo.

We were unable to bask in our triumph for very long since we had to hurry back to the hotel, take quick showers, pack up, and catch an early afternoon flight.

The non-rev gods were smiling on us and both of our flights were wide-open. We ran a race three states away this morning and are home, able to sleep in our own bed by evening.

Now, where are the bags of frozen peas and the bottle of Alieve?

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