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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This is a story 'bout Cyndi Lou runnin' Stu's-Part Two

Two days before Stu's, my husband and I decided to go up to North Conway, NH to hang out with some friends. They own a condo and were spending the weekend up there. The race wasn't until 11 a.m. on Sunday, so I figured, why the heck not? We could go up Friday, stay over and come back sometime late Saturday afternoon. So, we packed an overnight bag and drove the 100+ miles up north.

If you have never visited this part of the state, you might want to consider taking a little trip. There is just something about it. Maybe it's because you are in the mountain region and the air is cleaner. I'm not sure, but I do know this: everyone just seems, well, nicer. Really. And, when you're around nice people, you just FEEL better.

We got there early evening on Friday, had dinner and drinks with our friends and just enjoyed ourselves. The next day, I had a 5-6 mile run on my schedule, so I decided I would run from their place to The Scarecrow for lunch. My husband was kind enough to bring a change of clothes along so I didn't have to sit in my own filth. (Truth be told, I think he was just trying to protect our friends and the restaurant public from my sweaty, smelly self.)

And, that's when it started.

That's when "what" started, you ask?

My friends.
My well-meaning friends.
My fun friends.
My "friends who weren't registered for Stu's 30K the next day" friends.

"Are you sure you don't want to stay over tonight too?"

"After all, your race isn't until 11."

"You could just leave at 7 a.m. tomorrow and still get there in plenty of time."

Those kinds of friends.

I was having fun. My husband was having fun. He wasn't registered for Stu's either.


Marathon training requires a certain level of commitment, dedication and focus. Basically, you live like a nun on the weekends. I love to eat, drink and be merry as much as the next guy, but I know what it'll get me.


Stressed out.

And probably a little hungover.

So, I dug in my heels, gritted my teeth and reluctantly declined their offer. We packed up the car and headed back home.


I could have been swayed. Really, I could have. I even briefly contemplated SKIPPING the race altogether. First, the Bradford conundrum and now this. Who WAS I????

But, the larger part of me won (yay, me) and I slept in my own bed the night before the race. I even managed to retire at a respectable hour so as to be well-rested. My inner nun applauded.

The next morning, I got up early and started preparing. Breakfast: check. Dress like a runner: check. Pack the Garmin and iPod: check. Google map the directions: check, double check and triple check. I looked at my watch. 8:15 a.m. The race was about 50 miles from my house and traffic is usually pretty light on Sunday mornings. I probably could have left at 9 and been there in plenty of time, but I had already wasted enough time on facebook (I can be a world class procrastinator). It's now or never, baby.

Hit the road, Jack.

So, off I went.

Cruising down 495 in the red car was a breeze. As predicted, there weren't many other cars on the road so, before I knew it, I was exiting the highway (I can also be a fast driver). I checked the time and it wasn't even 9:30 yet. I was only about 8 miles from my destination. Plenty of time! I was going to arrive super early. Whoo hoo! This was going to be a breeze.



Apparently, there was a bridge or something under construction and I could not get to where I wanted to go using the directions courtesy of google maps.

No, no, no, no, no, NO!

I don't do well under these kinds of circumstances, can you tell?

So, I'm driving around, and around, and around. I'd like to say that I remained calm, cool, and collected and chose not to make a big deal out of this.

But, I'd be a liar.

A big, fat liar who was in the middle of a raging panic attack.

I call John to let him know that I'm lost and I might not make it to the race in time. Now, remember what time it was when I got off the highway.


And then, scroll up to find out what time the race actually started.

Yup, 11:00.

That gave me 90 minutes. At this point, I was only a few miles away from the middle school, where the race started. 90 minutes. What the hell is the MATTER with me???

John was very good and indulged my little tantrum (this is not the first time I have gotten lost driving to a race either and he knew that). He sympathetically acknowledged the detour and told me which way he went. He did his best to try and find out where I was and point me in the right direction. At this point, I was only half-listening because I saw people walking their dog.



They must know where the school is!!!

I did what most females do: pulled over and asked for directions (sorry, guys). These nice people did the best they could to redirect me to where I needed to go. After a little more driving around, it was clear that I wasn't the only lost soul trying to find their way. There was a little caravan of cars with 26.2 stickers that kept trying this road...that road...turning around...going back. At least I wasn't alone anymore.

Finally, I got behind this guy who seemed to know where he was going. Lo and behold, in the distance was the middle school. The heavens opened up, the angels began to sing and I drove into the parking lot, relieved and STILL early for the race. Now, I just had to find my friends, get my number and run 30K. I got out of my car and profusely thanked this kind young man who I had been following. He was like my guardian angel and new best friend. I thought about giving him a big hug, but didn't want to scare him. He just kind of laughed at my obvious display of relief. I would have too if I was him.

Finding the registration area was much easier, I am happy to say. There was a big posterboard hanging up on the wall of the gymnasium with all pre-registered entrants and their race #'s. i walk over to get a closer look and realize that I just stepped in front of someone. I turned around to apologize to the man who's view I just obstructed. He just smiled and said, "no problem. I'm just looking for someone to run with." So, I smile back, extend my hand and say, "I'm Cyndi. You can run with me!" He took my hand and said, "I'm Curtis. Nice to meet you." We laugh. I wish him a good run and walk over to the registration table, not really expecting to see him again.

Or would I???

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