The heat has begun and so has the humidity. Each training session he past 2 weeks as been a chance to accilmate to the conditions I could face in Texas. It has also given me a chance to test hydration, sweat loss, and the mental preparations of an approaching big race.
But I don’t worry too much about the race until I am heading towards it. By then, I can shut out my work, have begun a taper and can rest, and focus on the activities that surround such a big event. Gina usually gets into her mode early and it usually shows itself in a few sleepless nights a week BEFORE we even leave. She makes sure eveything is on the check list and evaluated two-three times. Listen to the Sherpa.
This trip is though different. We are staying with the Wilsons, whom we met 3 years ago at the St Croix 70.3 and have invited us to this race each year since, but have never been able to plan it. We met them this way – on the run course at St Croix, it is a 2 loop half marathon. It was near 90 and humid and Wade was walking. Each time I saw him (twice) I just happened to try and yell cheers at him to finish. Looked like one of those guys having a tough day.
Turns out he finishes well, and the next day Gina and I are sitting in the hotel having breakfast and they come by and thank us for the cheers. They sit and we chat. Been communicating ever since mostly through email, but this year we planned it and it should be fun, being the race’s 20th anniversary. But one thing has been consistent with this event – hot, humid, and hilly.

So I’ve been doing nothing but hill work and preparing in puddles of my sweat. Work has also been busy of late, and honestly I am seriously looking forward to time away. I have also been promoting Aquaphor in run clinics and distributing product samples to runners in my group and customers at the store. We still recharge at Rita’s each Saturday evening since each week seems to end for us with “Is it Sunday Yet?”
A big thank you to Bill and Dave at Ship It Here for giving me a good deal on shipping the bike out to Lubbock. It would be a hasstle now to travel so far by plane with a bike case and it’s best avoided if possible.
I’m ready and eager to test the engine and let it rip. I have looked forward to this mini taper and with all the craziness at work the days before we left , it allowed me to not get caught up in the details of waiting to leave. By the time it was to leave, we were in need to get away.
All thoughts and feelings get left here once we board the plane. The game faces come on, but we know how to have fun too.

    So off we were to Lubbock. Our flight out got delayed a half hour which immediately got G worried about our connecting flight in Dallas to Lubbock. Can’t worry about that now. We easily got to the gate and had some java. G really loves her Kindle. I think she could have read a book during the way there.

We passed back one time zone in flight but that just meant that sunrise would be a little later and sunset now would be around 9pm. Just a longer day. The flight was uneventful until landing. Why? Well our connecting flight to Lubbock was now to depart in 10 minutes! We didn’t even know the layout of the Dallas airport but knew the shuttle tram was the way to go. Actually it was the only way to go. As we waited for everyone to slowly get off, I could tell G was losing her faith in getting there. Granny cut in front of me but turns out she was trying to make the same connection. We bobbed and weaved out of the terminal and up the escalator that was BROKEN.

Then we had to wait a minute for the tram. 3 minutes to go. I tried my best to calm G down all the while in my head knowing the wrong gate number even though she told me 3 times – B17 and I thought B19. Here comes the tram.

Two stops later off we go booking for the gate. I ran ahead and felt like the Amazing Race shows we use to watch. Of course I bypass the right gate and go to B19. Nothing, but a plane was there. G finally comes and yells that I passed the wrong gate. Oops. But B17 was next to it and to our relief a sign says its been switched to B15 and will be leaving at 11:30.

Whew! We actually now had 10 miuntes to spare. On the plane we go and that was certainly a rush. We even beat Granny to the plane. That event was kinda fun.

Don’t ask me why they have to serve a drink on a 45 minute flight but one guy found the time to down a small bottle of wine.

We landed and got the bags right away off the rack. Sweet. Once we got outside, Deb was waiting for us in the big truck which is the official VIP race vehicle. She has been volunteering for this event and knows the ins and outs of it all. We also picked up Dustin, who is from Boston and was shooting the DVD video for the race. he will be interviewing athletes and profiling Lubbock in general. He was staying at the host hotel where after dropping him off we got to meet the race director (actually it was his wife who Deb says is the real race director). Deb took us back to her house and we unpacked and relaxed. She made us feel right at home and gave us the quick tour. G and Deb went shopping for a bit with her daughter and I just shot some hoops in the hot hot 95 degree sun which meant I wasn’t dribbling the ball for too long. Took a quick shower, played some pool with G, and waited until the bike arrived. Wade came home from work and we just got to recap 3 years worth of stuff. He gave great insight into the course and provided great tips. Sure enough the bike came and fully intact. We took a quick ride and settled in as Wade made a great dinner. We lounged on the couch and slowly faded away. It was great day to just get settled and the Wison’s hospitality was unmatched. As G kept saying “I’m on vacation now!”.

Friday morning Wade and I went for a run. he took me through the hood and it is reallt flat around here. Quiet areas, nice homes, wide wide streets. the weather was in the low 70′s and a nice breeze but was to hit 100 this afternoon. They are building around his area and Lubbock hasn’t really been hit by the down ecomomy. It’s a nice area. It’s also one of those areas where people like to leave the doors open too. G and I had a little breakfast outside as Deb went to do some race event stuff while Wade went into work for a bit. We had time to walk around a bit too. Wade took me for a swim at Texas Tech’s pool. That is some facility! Amazing outdoor campus and I swam for an hour just to extend the chance to experience. they had a floating pool, diving board – yes! – a state of the art gym complete to the nine!! We then biked  the rural flat roads for an hour to get use to the heat and test the bikes. Awesome. I was even sporting my Texas Tech Red Raider cap.

They are having a big party tonight with plenty of friends so G helped Deb make a few lasagnas. Gina already has the VIP pass too since she can hang with Deb around the venue during raceday. Everyone is starting to get excited about the weekend.


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