It’s official, we finally made it to Colorado! Coming down off the high of the Hawaii 70.3 race and immediately stepping back into reality was tough. After spending a few days tying up all of the loose ends in Hawaii, we caravanned to the airport with our 5 over-stuffed and extremely heavy suitcases, 3 bike boxes, and our dog with his extra-large crate. The check-in process was relatively smooth and we took off on the 5 hour red-eye flight direct to L.A. with no drama. This is when the fun started.
I have a hard time sleeping on planes especially on red-eye flights. It’s a mental thing. I know I need to sleep or else I will be in pain when I land. So I keep telling myself to relax and fall asleep. This only makes it worse. I stress about needing to sleep instead of actually sleeping and then before you know it we have landed. Well, this made the 16 hour drive to Colorado interesting.
We got off the airplane at 6am (3am Hawaii time) and headed down to baggage claim to start corralling our mass of luggage. They brought out Tucker in his crate and I could tell he had a rough plane ride. A puddle of drool pooled around him inside his crate and he was shaking. I hurried over to comfort him and he smelled terrible. If you don’t have a dog this might sound really gross. He must have been so nervous during the flight that somehow he popped his anal gland inside the crate. It was the most disgusting smell ever! We had all 5 bags but no bikes so we decided to cart all of our stuff and Tucker (still in his nasty crate) outside to the shuttle stop so that I could wait while Peter went for the bikes. Good thing I had my package of anti-bacterial wipes! I took Tucker out of his crate, took out my wipes, and started wiping him down. I know people were looking at me strangely. Here I am outside of LAX, one of the busiest airports in the country, with a million bags, bent over smelling my dog’s butt and back legs to make sure I got all of the nasty smell off. And, he must have rubbed it all over the inside of his crate because that thing was terrible. I took Tucker’s leash in one hand and while he stood on the sidewalk, I was literally inside his crate wiping it down with the wipes. I swear the smell was even on the ceiling of that thing…nasty.
Once Tucker was taken care of we waited for Peter with the bikes. 20 minutes went by, still no bikes. Finally Peter came walking around the corner, no bikes. Somehow, Delta had lost our bikes between Hawaii and L.A.; a simple direct flight. Seriously?!? This is the one piece of luggage that I cared about the most (besides Tucker of course!) I would rather they lost all of our luggage. Once the shuttle arrived and we loaded it with all of our suitcases and the dog crate, the bikes would never have fit…maybe not having them was a blessing in disguise. No, I was still upset.
We shuttled over to the car port in Compton, great part of town by the way, picked up both of the cars we had shipped over from Hawaii, and loaded the bags. Once again, the bikes would never have fit…huh maybe its a good thing we didn’t have them. Nope, I was still mad. I would have felt better if Delta actually knew where the bikes were but they had no idea. They were scanned onto the plane but never made it…not good.
After desperately searching for a Starbucks (outside of Compton) we started the long drive to Colorado. I completely underestimated how difficult it would be to drive across country after a sleepless red-eye flight and 3 hours of jet lag. Tucker slept like a baby for most of the day and I started to struggle at the 4 hour mark.
At least I was driving the nice air-conditioned 4-Runner. Peter battled the 112 degree drive through Vegas with a broken air-conditioner in the ’94 Jeep Wrangler. And to top it off, we sat in an hour of stop-and-go traffic because of a bad accident across the road. Poor Peter had the windows down because the air outside was cooler than the air inside the jeep. At 6 hours I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore and we deliriously rolled into St. George, Utah.
I followed Peter into the parking lot of a nice hotel (I won’t say the name) and I was so tired, I did not even think about Tucker sleeping in the back seat. Peter got the room and at that point it dawned on me that we needed a place that allowed dogs. Too late. Peter scoped out our room and luckily it was right near the stairs. As I brought the bags up the elevator, Peter snuck Tucker into our room. We were so tired we forgot about dinner. Luckily we had rolled oats that I had packed into one of our bags so I made oatmeal in the coffee pot.
I think Tucker enjoyed sleeping on the comfortable bed in such a nice hotel room!
After a few hours of sleep, the dreaded alarm went off and I felt in no shape to get up and drive. It was 3:30am! But, Peter had to report in to his unit by 6pm that day so we had to get going. Desperate for coffee, we stopped at a gas station since it was the only thing open at that hour. With truck-stop burnt coffee and a granola bar, we were on the road. We made it to somewhere in the middle of nowhere Utah and I started to die. I felt myself not remembering driving the past stretch of road and my eyes were involuntarily closing. I called Peter. We have to stop. Can’t you make it to the next rest stop? No, I can’t even make it three more minutes! So, we pulled over at some desolate exit with only a dirt road. I got in the back seat and fell asleep the minute I laid my head down. I slept for 30 minutes while Peter took Tucker for a walk.
Mildly refreshed, I woke up and we got back on the road. Despite the setback we still made it to Colorado Springs just in time for Peter to check in. The hardest part about moving and traveling is that your normal routine no longer exists. It has been a frustrating struggle to fit in even the shortest workouts. We have been all over the place trying to find a place to live, looking for a new car, figuring out our surroundings, even finding a pool to swim in. We are trying to do as much as we can before Peter and I start our first day of work next week. But our friends Doug and Dee graciously opened their home to us so that we had a place to stay during this transition. It has been such a blessing to have their help.
Oh and remember the bike ordeal? Delta finally found our bikes in Minnesota (what?!?) and delivered them right to Doug and Dee’s door. Okay, I will admit that front-door delivery of three huge bike boxes was extremely convenient. But, waiting to get my bike and unpack it was painful. I was extremely itchy to start exploring Colorado on my bike.
The few workouts I have fit in so far have not been the most enjoyable. The altitude change is a killer and I hate sucking air and feeling light-headed while climbing even the smallest hills. I am anxious to feel normal again so that I can actually start pushing myself. Right now I am struggling to bike and run at paces that were easy in Hawaii. And flip turns in the pool nearly put me in cardiac arrest. But I know it will take time so for now I will just have to slow down, let my body adapt, and enjoy Colorado’s beautiful landscape.