I stayed at a fancy hotel in Salt Lake City. I’ve only stayed at such a fancy hotel once before. My dad was stationed in Saudi Arabia and we went to visit him and my mom at Christmastime. We stayed in a place with a harpist in the lobby and a crew of workers that raked away our footprints in the sand. (Military discount.)
I was told I was staying at the Little America Hotel initially. It sounded kind of side-of-the-highway, but it turned out to be like this:
I walked up to the desk to check in feeling entirely underdressed and rumpled. They didn’t have a reservation. Nothing. I tried a bunch of different names. Nope. I sat down in the fancy lobby and waited for someone from New Balance to call and rescue me before they kicked me out. It turned out I didn’t have a reservation at the Little America because I was in the Grand America next door.
Here’s the bathroom.
I walked around on the marble in my bare feet as much as possible. I also came away with a ziploc bag full of shampoos and sundries. I was happy to leave though, because I couldn’t stop sneezing and blowing nose the entire time I was there. I’m sure the housecleaning staff must think I stuffed the full box of tissues in my bag along with the lotions, but I used them all up. Everything cleared up as soon as I got outside the next morning. Too clean? Too fancy? I made the mistake of telling one of the New Balance folks and she said they’d keep that in mind the next time. Hello Motel 6.
Running log: Rest day
One of the nice New Balance folks called me a “pragamatic” runner. I’d just told her the story about having to have my sports bra cut during Rocky Raccoon this year.
Me: “Why do you say that?” (I mean, besides answering the question about my running history with a story about having to have my sports bra loosened with trauma shears.)
She said Anton Krupicka was a very philosophical runner, but that I seemed much more pragmatic. What?!? I’m chock full of philosophical thoughts! They’re just covered in a veneer of 4 year-old mothering thoughts — and they’re not nearly as entertaining as the sports bra story. (I tell that one pretty well now.) Really, I think she should have said that Anton (who sent me some very kind thoughts about not vomiting on the Uphill Challenge) is very articulate and his thoughts on running are refined and expressive. Many people find them meaningful.
Pragmatic: relating to matters of fact or practical affairs often to the exclusion of intellectual or artistic matters
Whatever! You just have to run with me for a few hours to me some to hear my profound-er thoughts? Right guys?
Truly, I am not all that articulate about things that are most important to me. Certainly not with strangers over dinner. I’m going to have to work on that. Eventually. Right now I need to work on training hard — and being a good mom and better spouse — and keeping the bathrooms sanitary. (All while thinking deeply.)
Here are some pictures of yesterday’s festivities.
Running log: 40 minutes
One of the nice New Balance folks asked if seeing all gear at the Outdoor Retailer show made me want it. Nope. It was like sitting at a table covered with all the food you’d eat in a week. Overwhelming and unappetizing. There was great people-watching on the other hand. It was fun watching the vendors pitch their wares. And I liked hearing about people’s jobs with their companies. It was like walking into a house you’d driven by for years, but never been invited into before. I have the most superficial understanding of sales and marketing. I’ve never been curious about the details of how it all works. I also have a very limited understanding of running shoe design. I am more curious after meeting the New Balance people who do these things. Maybe curious isn’t the right word. I am more appreciative of the talent that is involved in some of the work. And I am more cognizant of people’s efforts — particularly on the shoe design side. The NB folks made me feel my feedback was valuable. Now, I’ve never been a running shoe geek. There are so many large-scale things to work on with my running that shoes seem like a detail. It’s like when I was on the swim team in high school and someone asked if I was going to shave my arms for a meet. Um, less arm hair (even on my Italian arms) was not going to keep me from finishing last in the breaststroke. Large scale: bad swimmer. Detail: arm hair. I’ve always seen running shoes the same way: details. But really that attitude is a holdover from my road running days. Certainly different trails require different shoes and in 100k and 100 mile races on really rocky terrain like Bandera, a little padding can change a race — and a recovery. I’m not ready to buy my running shoe geek hat yet, but I’m looking forward to paying attention to how the tread on my shoes wears and handles more. (As I work on getting back in shape again.) For the most part though, I felt like a fish out of water at the event — flopping around on the convention room floor. My time was mostly my own and I spent a lot of time wandering feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff on display. I probably should have gone outside for a run, but I’d used up my running minutes that morning. (45)
Before I go any further, I should tell you about the Uphill Challenge on the treadmill — or my 15 minutes at a 15% grade running “against” Krissy Moehl. It wasn’t really all that horrible. People, especially Krissy, were wonderfully nice and the “run” didn’t last all that long, — but the whole thing was so surreal and it had enough unpleasant parts, that “nightmare” seems the best word for it. The two treadmills for the Challenge were set up in the back of the convention center in the climbing gear section. They were not easy to find and I started to feel hopeful that I might miss the whole thing. ”Oh, gosh, I’m soooo sorry I missed my time slot. I was lost somewhere in the gear-for-dogs section.” But I did find the treadmills set up side by side with the two guys in the 2 o’clock time slot warming up for their sprint. There was a good crowd ready to cheer them on and a whiteboard with all the participants mileage listed next to their names. I told you that my ego was not tied up in running fast on treadmills, but I figured I needed a goal (besides not vomiting or reinjuring my stress fracture), so I looked for the lowest mileage and figured I’d try to match it. (Wanting to make New Balance proud and all — since Anton wasn’t able to participate.) 2:3opm rolled around before I had time to have a stroke, so I mounted the treadmill after a few hints that it’d be okay to warm up. (Whatever.) Signs with our names were hung in front of the mills. Krissy had a large crowd of fans. (And rightly so.) The announcer introduced us with a microphone. (This is where it gets surreal.) I stood on my treadmill and listened to the announcer catalog Krissy’s accomplishments. And I stared at the crowd of strangers in front of me. I thought: this is the part where I look down and see that I’m naked — and then I’ll wake up and get Asa’s oatmeal ready for breakfast. Nope. And the dream continued. The announcer said some things about me — including that I was coming from sea level. I told her to add that to whatever she was going to say. I know, it was weak, (SLC is 4300 feet), but I panicked. I didn’t tell her to add that I haven’t really trained since May when I fractured my foot. So my dignity’s not totally gone. And then we started. The actually running part was fine. I’m not in super fit, but I can still run slowly for 15 minutes up a hill. There was lots of cheering for Krissy, (as there should be), but it did make me imagine my own afterschool-special-underdog-makes-good movie. The announcer moved back and forth between our treadmills to see how far we’d each gone before announcing it to the crowd. ”After three minutes, Krissy has gone 97 miles. Liza 0.04.” Well, not quite, but that’s how it felt. About halfway through, Krissy felt ill and had to step off the treadmill. I quickly suggested that we could pause the event. ;) ”I’m happy to stop really.” They told me to keep running. I had to do the last five minutes or so on my own. The crowd was nice, but a lot quieter. Nightmare. Krissy cheered. (The ill feeling was random and had made it hard to keep her footing.) And then it was over and I was out the back door of the convention center chatting with Krissy. Still surreal.
I’m going to finish up this story tomorrow. We had Asa’s birthday party today and both he and Eliot are already in bed fast asleep.
Running log: 1:45
I just ran my first 5k at the Salt Lake City Running Company. Here I am with Newbie the New Balance shoe. There’s a fan in there.
Hi folks. I’m in full country mouse goes to the city mode right now. Lots of pictures and stories from the Outdoor Retailer show for you tonight. (If I don’t die during the treadmill challenge thing this afternoon.)
PS. I’m driving in a car that has the windows rolled down. Rolled down windows in August. Amazing.
Update: I did not die during the treadmill Uphill Challenge. I did not vomit either. I wasn’t even last. I’ll detail the nightmarish fun tomorrow on the plane home from Salt Lake.
Last Saturday morning:
It’s 7:10 am and I’m in the lobby of the Fairfield Inn in Grapevine, Texas waiting for my co-instructor. We’d agreed to meet at 7am. Class starts at 8 at the REI. Five more minutes pass and I call his cell.
“Hi, K. I’m here in the lobby…Just wanted to make sure you were up.”
“I was just thinking the same thing about you. I’m here in the lobby too.”
I look around. Three people at the breakfast bar behind some ficus trees. One person sitting on the lobby couch. And me.
“I’m right by the front desk.”
Nope. Turns out K was at another Fairfield Inn. The one right next to the REI 25 minutes away. Oops. There was scrambling, throwing of clothes, checking out, loss of an $80 computer power cord, fast driving — and an on-time arrival at REI. (The class actually started at 9.) The slow realization of “we’re in different hotels” was pretty humorous — especially since neither of us was at fault. We even managed to get coffee before we arrived. Professionals. Yup.
Monday and Tuesday: Tree guys came and pruned the live oaks in the front yard. They look lovely — like they won’t die or put a hole in the roof if we ever have a rainstorm again. Large piles of money were exchanged for this peace of mind. Shifting all that money around was exhausting and I turned in at 7pm and slept until 7am.
Wednesday: 75 minutes of running in the heat at Friedrich Park with friends. Starting to feel like a runner again. Not an ultra runner. But definitely a runner. Satisfying to have sweaty running clothes in the laundry basket. And Asa “swam” from one side of the neighborhood pool to the other.
Thursday: More swimming and making letters out of playdough with the boy.
And then I loaded the little guy up in the car and we picked up Eliot and headed to the airport. We dropped Asa off with my good friend Kat along the way and then I said goodbye to Eliot and 103 degrees for the next two days. New Balance is sending me to the Outdoor Retailer show in SLC. I have never been to an Outdoor Retailer show and I’m excited to see what it’s all about — and to be near mountains — and not to tell anybody to try everything on their plate at dinnertime for two days. I’m entirely filled with excitement and gratitude for this little adventure — except for the part of me that’s filled with dread. Did I tell you about the Treadmill Challenge already? Treadmill set to a steep grade. 15 minutes. How far can you run? People watching you race against someone else on a treadmill next to yours. So let’s see… speed on sustained steep terrain. If I had to list two things I’m bad at, speed and speed on sustained steep terrain would be the two (right after house keeping and flossing.) Toss in my fitness (75 minutes was the longest run in almost 3 months) and my hatred for treadmills, and yeah, there’s a bit of dread. It’s not my ego (thankfully that’s more wrapped up in the current state of the bathrooms), I’m at peace with my treadmill skills. I’m just not particularly excited about the pain — or performing so poorly for a sponsor after not racing for months. New Balance does not seem to mind, but I worry they think I’m exaggerating my lack of treadmill talent. Nope. Now 40 miles in a hot garage at midnight. I’d win that stupid contest.
I’ll be running in the new New Balance MT110s, but I don’t think even they can eek much uphill sprint out of me.
iRunFar.com has a piece on the MT110s up right now. Anton Krupicka comments. I’ll only add that I like running in them a ton -both in gravity and out. The toe box is more roomy than the 101s, so no little toe rubbing, and they’re comfortable on the rocky trails here. I also like the shininess of them. It’s cheering. (No, none of my other shoes are shiny.) (Nothing bedazzled either.) My running buddies are not as fond of the shininess. They’re good people otherwise. If you get the shiny turquoise ones, they say “Tested in Bandera, TX” on the inside.
Odds and ends: I’ve brought my mom purse and I’ll be toting it around like a security blanket — and also to stuff goodies in. There should be goodies to be had, right?
If you’re at the show, say hi! I’ll be the small nervous looking one with the shiny shoes and the big purse.
Running log: 35 minutes
Nutrition log: I’ll start again this Sunday
You’d think I was all busy or something based on my posting lately, but it’s not true. I’ve just been kind of wiped out from the weekend. All that teaching in the REI parking lot in 105 degree weather sucked the life out of me. Or maybe I’ve just been drained from actually running in this heat again. Regardless, I’ve been pretty useless.
Exciting things are about to be afoot though. I’m in the airport getting ready to board a plane to Salt Lake City. I will write a real post en route and catch you up on all the goings on. Teaser: Potential for me to be in tears or vomiting on a treadmill on Friday.