Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ultrarunning Notes from Kona, a Sort-Of Ironman Interlude

Yeah, I'd rather finish my Rio 100 Mile Report, but....

You know you are an ultrarunner when.....(#348: You find yourself during a long layover calculating how many laps of the airport terminal you need to run to get to 50 kilometers)

The convenience of a ride to the airport rather than schlepping luggage for 4 including 2 carseats and a double stroller via off-airport parking is quickly neutralized by the flight, in which our younger lap-child stays neither on my wife's lap nor mine. Maybe my wife will make us pay for another seat next time.

At Honolulu's inter-island terminal, my first experience with the post-ATA-Aloha Airlines bankruptcy era. Go! Airlines to Kona, arranged through the medical conference travel agent. Two people working the counter, excruciatingly slow. I finally check in, he tells me the 7:37 pm flight is delayed "a little" and to wait by gate 72. Around 7 pm, an announcement overhead apologizing for delays in more than half the pending flights, including ours, expected departure 9:50 pm. I end up having to take the shuttle to a car rental place because I can't get through to the office in Kona, which closes at 10 pm, to make sure they stay open for our later arrival.

Around 8:40 pm, my younger son wakes up in our Phil and Ted's double stroller (the 2 seats are on top of each other, rather than side to side), had barely gone to sleep. Neither of my kids have had a nap all day, and it's almost midnight Pacific Time. My wife, exhausted (and unhappy-- I guess we could've flown direct for another $700 collectively if I'd booked without using the conference travel agent), is about to take him out, but I quickly offer to stroll him around to try to get him back down. I do 2 circuits of the small terminal waiting room, the crying stops. It occurs to me that for his sake I should keep moving. But walking is so.....boring. I kick off my Keen sandals and start jogging, steering clear of random standing passengers and chairs and another father and son playing catch with a crumpled newspaper. With the row of seats at the far end, I can do a lopsided figure-8 and it takes a full minute.

Might as well try to get a workout in.

After about 15 laps, my older son, who has been rambunctiously playing with another kid, decides to join me running around the terminal. He keeps up the pace, and in fact does so without peetering out after 2 to 3 laps like 2 older boys that also join our little parade. After about 10 laps, he's had it and gets into the bottom seat, his added weight significantly adding to the workout. I proudly figure he almost went a full mile. And totally sleep-deprived!

The flight is further delayed until 10:20 pm. They finally start pre-boarding at 10 pm, so I end up getting a good 75 minutes of running, plus the hectic stroller dissembly and long walk out to the plane. No, I'm not having fun, but there was this epic feeling like mile 87 of a 100 mile race. Exhausted, but more than 2 hours to go and no sleep anytime soon.


Next run not until Tuesday morning. Both my bro-in-law and I are stir-crazy from lack of exercise, and 2 mornings of lectures. The Ironman Sports Medicine Conference we are attending is great, but learning about exercise does not equal exercise. Only 70 minutes, but we push a decent pace. It is interesting seeing so many fit, lithe, intense athletes on an early morning run on vacation.


This computer keeps bombing on me, so I keep losing my additional blurbs, sorry. I think my kids are getting up. I guess this is a hint that should've been running.


David Ray said...

That's what I call making lemonade out of the lemons. Way to be the dad.

Gretchen said...

That's hysterical Mark. Even without the cute photo, I can totally picture you running in circles in the airport, pushing a stroller and leading a small parade of sleep deprived children. Priceless!