The Seagull That Ate the Cigarette Butt
Business travel took me again to California's Bay Area, but to an area I'd never stayed in before; Scotts Valley, California. My least favorite day to travel is Sunday, but meetings started first thing Monday morning so I plotted a game plan to get there and still accomplish the long run scheduled for the day. I had two options; 1) run in the cold front that was moving into Colorado and fly out in the evening, or 2) "bite the bullet" and leave early Sunday to get in early in the afternoon to run in the Henry Cowell's Redwood State Park. Not much of a decision. I opted "early."
I won't bore you with all the details, but my flight left nearly three hours late from Denver. At this point, I'm literally doing the math to figure out if i could at least run to the park entrance and back to the hotel before dark. That was possible as I took off after three San Francisco weather delays. When I landed, I consulted my transport pick-up instructions which said proceed to Terminal 3 courtyard. I resisted the man urge to find on my own and stopped at the information desk at the airport. An Abbott and Costello "Who's on First" dialogue ensued.
|Right before he ate the cigarette butt|
"Where's the Terminal courtyard?" I asked.
"Which one?" she replied.
"You're in terminal three, courtyard three or courtyard four?"
I check again...no mention of terminal three, courtyard three or four. I call the company and find out I'm to head to courtyard four. It's now 3:20 in the afternoon. Tick...tick...tick... I had just missed the shuttle I was supposed to be on, but there's one at 4 o'clock. Smells like 4:20 at best as there are 7-8 people from Canada, Virginia, Mexico, and India that are joining my ride. As I sit in the rain waiting for the van, I realize I should be running through the redwoods at this point. I spot a seagull walking across the asphalt...in courtyard number four of terminal three. He pecks away at food that seems invisible, then plucks a cigarette butt and gobbles it down. Such beautiful imagery.
Two hours later, we have the Indians, the Canadians, and the Virginian. No Mexican in site. I call him and he says he's at Terminal A. "International?" "Yes." We drive over to the International Terminal and I tell him to meet us outside door number four. He's nowhere to be found. I'm getting frustrated at this point..."quatro, quatro!" "What airport are you at?" he asks. We are driving around the San Francisco airport, and he's at the San Jose Airport. "Catch a cab," I tell him.
The driver has no address for the hotel, so I play navigator for the hour drive in the rain. It's dark by the time we finally get there, but it looks like a nice hotel which normally translates to good treadmills. Check-in takes 20 more minutes than it should as they don't have my reservation. As I wait for them to find me a room, I notice a sign on the check-in desk. "Gym is under construction starting February 9th through the 28th. Exercise equipment has been moved to the Oak Room." This can't be good.
After I get my room key, I stop on three to check out the Oak room. It's completely dark in there, but there are two of the Indians working out on the ellipticals (without power) in the dark. Maintenance is on the way. They arrive and "Abbott and Costello" Part II ensues. "You can run two of the three treadmills and we'll have to unplug the elliptical." Power resumes and it looks like I'm finally get my fourteen in. Fine. I run to my room, get on my run gear, make my Generation UCAN drink and head back to the Oak Room. It's dark again, and the Indians are doing sit ups in the dark. I head to the front desk to look for a manager...I'm not sure what I'm asking for.
I explain that there will be forty sales guys descending on the Oak Room in the morning to work out with a room with enough power to run a desk lamp. I explain that I'm training for a marathon and need to find a treadmill. The closest gym closes in ten minutes. It's almost seven PM. The event manager takes pity on me and is willing to drive me to a 24 Hr Fitness 15 minutes away.
I get there and get in my fourteen miles. No redwoods, but at least the Olympics are on t.v. I apologize ten times on the return car ride to the hotel because I have cartoon type sweat happening in this poor woman's car. At least I had the foresight to suggest she brought towels so I don't ruin her fabric car seats. I've never worked so hard for fourteen miles in my life. Tomorrow's forecast? Sixteen hour work day and no redwoods. Crap.