Wow, can it be true? Am I really about to settle in to one place for more than a couple of days? The answer, finally, is yes. I'm writing this from a hotel... somewhere between Tallahassee and Orlando. It is probably some sort of personal safety issue to announce my specific hotel and room number at this very moment, right? It doesn't really matter. The point is, I'm finally on my way to Birmingham. And I'll get to sleep in the same bed for more than 3-4 nights for the first time in close to a month.
I spent a couple of days with Kim Schwabenbauer (I think I spelled that right, but please forgive me if I didn't!) who had come down to stay with her mom in Ormond Beach for a few weeks to escape Pennsylvania winter and get some good training in for her inaugural pro season. She noticed I'd be in Florida, we talked about doing some training together, and given my nomadic lifestyle as of late it was pretty easy to go on over. It's funny how this sort of thing goes sometimes. I didn't know Kim before this. We were on the Mark Allen tri team together for a year or two maybe, but I'm not sure we'd ever met. I recognized her name and we were facebook friends but that was about it.
It's amazing how sometimes people just go out of their way to be nice to you, and so accommodating and welcoming. And it's funny how sometimes you can so easily talk to someone you just met because they are one of your "people." Kim mentioned this too. We both understand the early bed times, not ever really bothering to do anything with your hair because the next workout is a couple of hours away and the way that occasionally intense hunger sets in and you must eat now or risk a cranky tantrum that can't be rivaled by even a toddler who is told she can't have dessert.
The only down side was that we didn't really get to train much together. My "running" being what it is I'm not much good to anyone as a training partner there, but we were at least able to bike and swim. The weather was very warm and great for biking, the roads were pretty good, and the outdoor pool was gorgeous and everyone at the YMCA was nice and welcoming. I also got to stay for a dinner party at the house last night. Even after just a short time being away from home and off on my own it's just so nice to enjoy that kind of evening, so I'm glad I had the opportunity to be a part of it. Thanks, Kim!
But, then it was time to move on again. Very early this morning I got up and drove back toward the Disney area to meet a good friend from home who happened to be here on vacation. I met her at her hotel for a run before we got cleaned up and headed over to Universal Studios. We were going to hang out either way, whether at the park or just the pool at her hotel, and in the end we decided to do the park... especially knowing that we'd have time to do the pool later. It was a hot day at the park, but a soaking ride on some stupid thing that drops you from great heights into the water will help that. We got to do all of the good stuff and were done by 1:30. Not bad. I don't know if I'd bother to go to those places if there were actual lines.
After that we had some pool time, including a ride on the waterslide with her niece, and then it was time for me to hit the road. I originally thought I'd just stay somewhere near there for the night, but decided I could at least knock out an hour or two of the drive to Birmingham before finding somewhere to stay, so that's what I did. It's kind of sad to be leaving Florida just because it's been so toasty warm (except that freakish day at camp when it was 30!) and it's not so bad to be able to swing over to Disney or Universal to kill some time. But it will be so incredibly nice to actually stay in one place for a long time.
It's funny to think that at this time last year I was about ready to start pulling my hair out because I was so sick of being alone in Tucson and my trip was almost over. Now it's barely begun. I've got a couple of months to pull myself together for some good racing in 2012 and I think I've set up a great situation to make that happen. So I guess all that's left is to... make that happen.
Tomorrow I'll hop in the car and drive the rest of the way and then unpack it! Let the real training begin...