Friday, April 18, 2008

I think I can! I think I can!

I have been training for the ING 1/2 marathon since my last glass of champagne on New Year's Eve. I have been doubly excited for this because my oldest friend, Warren James Thomas, is running this too. Warren has come so far in the fitness category, I wanted to be there to witness his special moment, and decided to run along with him.

Training for the race was fairly easy. I would train at the gym because its cold in New York during the training months. I would watch my political commentary shows on Sunday mornings as I ran along. Piece of cake!

This same sentiment did not follow me to race day however. March 30 in Atlanta, GA did not present the usual spring like temperatures. N-O. The temperature was 44, and I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

This was just the beginning of lengthy list of things that seemed to go wrong.

1) I never found my stride, or that mythical runners high.

2) There was no mile markers between Mile1 and Mile 4. Honestly, if after Mile 1 the next marker said Mile 2, I was quitting.

3) There were hills. There were no such things at my gym.

4) My knees were falling apart.

5) It was cold.

6) The only thought running through my head was "if you can do this without stopping, the marathon is not in your future!"

So I finished the race in one piece, and could barely walk for 4 days. But I did it. It doesn't seem so daunting looking back, and a full marathon doesn't seem so formidable. So maybe I will find my stride in November as the New York Marathon comes into mind again. There hasn't been much I haven't been able to do once I put my mind to it. And this is easy, right? Just one foot in front of the other... and watch out for the hills!

Flying the Friendly Skies

I love to travel. I love going new places, trying new foods and cultures, seeing the world from a different viewpoint, being in another world – if only for a little while. And I am really good at it too… I am not a difficult person to deal with, I like people and have a genuine interest in the world. Me and traveling get along like peas and carrots.

However, my love of travel forces me to constantly deal with my biggest pet peeves: people in airports and American Airlines. Let me explain.

People in airports are idiots. Most of them do not travel regularly and therefore treat everything like its a first time experience. They take photos of everything, including baggage claim, the hotdog vendor, and the taxi driver. They get hostile for no reason. They talk LOUDLY on cell phones. They want to yell at airline security for making them late, and create more of a problem for everyone else. And the worst, they put their bag in the overhead bin 10 rows before their row just to ensure they have a place to put their luggage. Which causes someone like me – who sits as far forward as I can – to store my bag in the back of the plane which causes me to be the last one off the plane. The exact opposite of what I was doing when I sat in the first row!

But people in airports are not as bad as American Airlines. I cannot stand this airline. If you have ever been to the AA terminal at Laguardia, you understand what I am talking about. This place is always a zoo. People are standing and sitting EVERYWHERE. There are never enough seats, or any decent food options to enjoy while you wait for your flight – its either the hotdog place or the pretzel place, neither of which is appealing, not to mention the nutrition value.

Then theres the flight process. AA is NEVER on time. And no matter how many sign-ups you do on their flight alert system, they will not tell you your flight is late until you are already in a cab headed to the airport. And then you are at the airport for an extended amount of time wanting to sit but not being able to find a spot, and wanting to get some real food but being stuck with a junky pretzel or crappy hotdog.

All of this happens before they switch the gate 3 times, which is super annoying, because if you have managed to snag one of their coveted seats you then have to give it up to go to the other gate where you are sure to stand, or be stuck sitting on your suitcase, wrinkling every article you preciously packed.

Then when its time to board – at the much delayed time – there is for sure to be even more of a delay because the crew doesn’t get the ball rolling until the time the board says the plane will depart. Most of the time they don’t speak loud enough on the microphone to be able to be heard so people stand about creating more of a hazard for others.

Its especially troubling on a day like today when I have been looking forward to a trip home for so long, and I am arriving almost 2 hours late, which means I won’t get to see my nephew tonight, and my stepdad will be hungry. It makes me feel bad, and that is what I hate most.
I will always travel, and I will always be forced to fly because I love the people in my life and they are far away, and the places I love to go are even further away. But I will not be happy about flying American, and whenever I am forced to, I will always say to myself “I told you so”… because I always know what I am getting into anytime I hit "purchase" at