That Time I Missed a Race in SoCal Because of Snow

So, funny story.

Err, kind of.

I was in Bend (#inbend as they “say” up there) last week for some work stuff, and was scheduled to fly out Friday morning to get back to sunny SoCal just in time to book it down for the Temecula Wine Country Half on Saturday.

Well Mother Nature and the weather-making-ologists had different plans, delivering a surprising and massive winter storm which included dumping a foot of snow on Central Oregon the night before I was scheduled to leave.


the face of someone who packed 200% more running shorts than snow boots

Friday morning I woke up, having dreamt of riding blow up innertubes through an airport with my sister and two best friends from Ohio (I’ve been having super vivid dreams lately that are outrageously bizarre in plot but creepily accurate to my actual life, always featuring people I know really well.) Anyway, I had a text from Delta saying my flight was cancelled, and they’d contact me with my rebook info. I didn’t want to bog down their customer service line if they were already on top of it, so I went about the day like normal, relishing what I thought would be a few extra hours in the winter wonderland that was almost too pretty to be mad at.

photo copy

I said *almost*…

After two hours and no word from Delta, I gave them a call.

“Oh, Miss Booney, your flight is departing at 12:33 today, going to Salt Lake City”


“Oh, well hold please. Just one moment please. Ok yes, that flight is cancelled. Are you at the airport now?”

“No, should I be?? Do you have another flight out soon?”

“Oh, well let me see when I can rebook you. Hold please, don’t hang up please.”

(frantic fear of disconnection sets in, why would she feel the need to tell me not to hang up if calls don’t get prematurely truncated routinely?)

“Ok, well, I can put you on the same flight but on the 17th.”



They had a flight with two layovers going to LAX late Sunday night, but my car was at Santa Ana and getting in a few extra hours did not seem worth the potential clusterfuck and general blood-boiling that happens every time I enter LA county. So she booked me on Monday and I settled in for three extra nights of slumber partying with Kate and Collier.

It wasn’t the worst – I mean missing the race sucked, but Bend is a seriously amazing place, despite the frigid temperatures I am most definitely not acclimated to. (Ohio thick skin, where’d you go??) But by Sunday night I was definitely ready to trade my double-layered fleece pajama set in and be back home with Brian and the dogs.

also, not running like Bambi

Monday morning, aside from eating the toasted PBJ I packed for lunch a little early and getting hungry on the flight to Salt Lake, everything was merry. Brian, I’ma comin’ home!

I sent the standard “boarded, ETA 6pm, see you soon!!!!!” text, and waited for the instruction to flip to airplane mode for takeoff. I hustled between apps in the usual frantic social media binge before being forced into digital seclusion, when the pilot came on, informing us there was a “minor mechanical glitch.” Great. They were going to reboot the system to try and fix it.

Right, like what you do to the router when the internet isn’t working. Or your phone freezes. Mehhhh, just hold the power button down for 10 seconds and see if it fixes itself! Apparently they use that IT magic trick on airplanes, too.

Except it didn’t work.

No big, we’ll just deplane, they’ve got another bird in the hangar they’ll pull over for us to use! Quick inspection and we’ll be on our way, folks! So we head back into the terminal, I impulse buy a bag of white chocolate peppermint pretzel thins instead of the veggie sandwich I was in search of, and then proceeded to eat all four “suggested” servings before boarding our new plane 20 minutes later.

“All good folks, this new plane is perfect and great! We’ll be taking off in 5!”

We did pull away from the gate 5 minutes later, and even made it out to the runway before what sounded like we hit a major pothole, blew a tire, and our brakes started screaming for Midas.

Apparently that plane was in the hangar for a reason, and someone forgot they were still working on it when we stole it? Something with the steering shaft mechanism or something another – probably kind of essential – whatever it was it meant we couldn’t fly in it.

IMG_5048 copy

when brian tried to explain to chico why I still wasn’t home. weepy heart melting.

Back out onto the concourse, more impulse meals while we waited (Wendy’s side salad and baked potato, mostly just to soak up the sloshy sugar belly from the previous delay snack.) I watched three or four perturbed fliers make elaborate rebooking plans on flights into LAX, Long Beach, San Diego – all adding hours of extra travel and hassle onto their already disrupted day.

Just as I started considering it, the herd started shuttling down towards our original gate – they had another plane for us and we were boarding now! Hustle hustle! Sit down shut up let’s go!

And it worked and we flew and California is just as I remember it, the end.

Oh and the dogs were happy to see me. Probably Brian, too, he just doesn’t express it as clearly as the others:

don't leave

When Ordinary is More

lifecycle of an ordinary run


eee ahh ooo eeee, creek crack squeak, shuffle scuffle plop plop

‘don’t judge a run by the first mile… don’t judge a run by the first mile…’


thump, thummmp, thumpthump, THUMP

inhale, exhaaaaaaale, inhaaaaaale, exha- inha- exhale-e-e…


swish, swish, swish

‘alright, finally, this feels kind of normal’


push, lift, push, lift, push, lift

‘…is there time for one more??’

run fall

Who’s counting anymore??

It doesn’t take much to turn an ordinary run into extraordinary, but when it happens, it’s worth those miles in gold.

Sarah OUaL

Weekend Long Run According to my Brain

This week was a step-back week in my newly-developed half marathon training, and to make things fun/make sure I got my ass through the miles I got up early(ish) Sunday and ran to our Browns Backers bar for the game. It’s a convenient six miles along the beach path and river trail, and a mile finish along a road with a bike lane so it was safe, familiar, and offered a great motivation to get my ass through it.

horse carrot

you know, except I’m the horse and the carrot is beer and pizza…

horse carrot pizza beer

that’s better

So here’s how it played out, per the voices in my head:



Overcast and misty, the first cool morning in months. Lots of joggers, walkers, and desperate coffee searchers busy around the path while our protagonist (Sarah, 28, in denial about being out-of-shape) impatiently waits for satellites.

long run scene newport

“MAN! this overcast feels great – maybe I should’ve worn sleeves? When was the last time you said that? Ha! Summer must be almost over! teedle dee da da

<cheerily waives to other runners>

This isn’t so bad, after all. I feel great! Maybe I AM ready to get back to marathoning…

<mile one beep> Hmmm that’s probably too fast… Oh whatever! Don’t listen to your watch, legs say keep going! It’s only seven miles…

Bathroom? There won’t be another one the rest of the run… Do you have to go? Go now if you think you do we’re not stopping later!

Ohmygod am I in a minivan full of kids or on a run??

<bathroom break>

Ok, that feels better. Man I love this outfit I should definitely buy more of these shorts. I wonder how the yellow would look on pasty skin…

<knowing nod to other runner darting towards bathroom>

Well hello, friendly cyclists! Wait why are they so friendly? This is suspicious… do I have TP hanging out of my shorts? Is there a trap up ahead?? Am I going to get jumped by a bike gang? All I have is my phone and an iPod, is that enough to satiate a mugger?

Is my breathing to heavy for mile three? My legs still feel great, but maybe we slow a bit to let the lungs catch up…

Nah legs don’t like that.

<.5mi later> Ok yeah we need to slow down. This is starting to hurt.

Is it hurting, or are you bored? You’re probably just bored, focus on your form… Ok focus on this song… Ok focus on HOLY SHIT that bike almost ran me over! Douchebag.

Let’s make a deal, you can walk the foot bridge up there if you run hard the rest of the way after. Deal? You’ll get a nice breather but then it’s fucking game on the last few miles.

<30 seconds later>… How far away is the foot bridge? A mile? Half a mile? Quit thinking about it! Just listen to your music and enjoy it.

Ugh who put all these slow sad songs on here?? <skip skip skip> How much further to that damn bridge?

Fuck it’s hot.

Are you really going to walk on a seven miler? C’mon you can keep going. Might as well get to the finish as fast as possible, not drag out the pain any longer, right? Right!

<mile five beep>

Only two more miles! Seriously that’s nothing you’re fine.

<walks foot bridge>

Ok, but you’re running the rest of the way hard! Get a little reset here then we go.

<slows to barely a crawl for last 10m, prolonging the glorious recovery walk as long as possible>

Alright, think of all the runners in Chicago gutting out that last 10k… Ugh nevermind that sounds awful, not motivating at all. Ok, think of how happy and proud they’ll feel coming down that homestretch! Or how happy you’d be for them standing on the sideline cheering… Finish this run feeling proud! You can push through, you love this!

Do I? Do I really love this?

… There’s pizza, beer, and the Browns game waiting at the finish…”

<drops pace. clocks fastest final mile.>

<immediately forgets pain and agony of run while trying to discreetly change sports bras in the car. cheers out loud when pizza delivers at halftime.>

socal browns backers patricks pub

Browns win! (from patrick’s FB page)

Sarah OUaL