June 24th- 27th, 2015
The fun thing about flying from New Hampshire to Montana is that you get to travel approximately 2,250 miles in fewer than 36 hours. The not so fun things are the following: you have to take two flights (and sometimes those two flights are tricky), and you arrive suddenly into a land that has 14% less oxygen available than you are used to. Surprisingly enough, that 14% of oxygen makes a pretty big difference.
I left Boston around 6:45 in the evening with a flight to Minneapolis. The Minneapolis airport is awesome. It’s a strange, beautiful land of white and blue lighting, extremely trendy and healthy snacks, seas of iPads, and young men playing the piano for restaurant goers. I always wonder at the people who sit down to eat at airport restaurants. I just think, “1.That meal must be just crazy expensive; and 2. How do they have time to sit and have a steak dinner? Isn’t their flight boarding soon?” It took me a while to realize that some people just get to the airport earlier than I do.
Although the Minneapolis airport is awesome, it was not so awesome after waiting for our airplane to arrive from
Atlanta for three hours. I arrived there at 8:40 pm. We were supposed to LEAVE by 10:00 pm. We actually left at 12:45 in the morning, arriving in Bozeman at 2:30 in the morning. I know that, generally speaking, I have no right to complain about anything, but sitting and waiting for hours on end after just finishing sitting a waiting for hours is the WORST. The consolidations were these: Delta gave us pizza (which definitely aggravated the heartburn I had induced by stupidly drinking airplane coffee on my first flight); and I met some great people with whom to pass the time. Kim was going back to Bozeman from a visit to family in MA, and Arran and Finn had come all the way from England that same day and were going to meet their father in Bozeman. They were going to visit Yellowstone, and then road trip to Las Vegas. I didn’t feel so bad for myself when I realized that those boys had already taken an 8 hour flight, had waited 8 more hours in the airport BEFORE the flight was delayed and, on top of it all, still had to drive the 2 hours to Yellowstone after arriving in Bozeman. They had amazing attitudes, and we had fun playing card games on the terminal floor and making each other laugh.
I have flown to Bozeman three times previous to this one. Each time, my body reacts to the change in environment in the same way. Day one is great; a little tired, but loving the open space and bright sunlight. Day two is pure hell. It’s as if the altitude lulls you into a false sense of security, and then you wake up the next day with a headache that would kill a horse, the most dehydrated you’ve ever felt, all the bogies in your nose turned to concrete, and realizing that the walk from your bed to the closet has left you wheezing like a 1990’s hand dryer from a badly maintained Rite Aid bathroom. It’s rough. This year’s reaction was compounded by the fact that I arrived right when Bozeman was experiencing a pretty extreme heat wave. It was literally 98 degrees everyday. All you can do is drink lots and lots of water, eat vegetables, and stay in the shade. Definitely don’t drink alcohol or each french fries (both of which I did, in fact, consume).
All of this was correctly predicted by my mother, and so the first three days of my training plan look like this:
Thursday I wandered around Bozeman seeing old friends and feeling like a zombie. Friday, (the day from hell), I put a lot of effort into riding around doing errands with my cousin as the sun beat down upon us. I jumped in at Bozeman beach to try to soothe myself; unfortunately, the one thing that Montana does not do well is lakes. New Hampshire takes the cake when it comes to lakes. The Bozeman beach water is luke warm and green. I then busied myself by convincing Claire to come with me to the Bacchus to watch the women’s world cup where I then consumed cider (glorified juice), a burger, and french fries. So, I did ~really well~ with training.
There are all these great trails that snake between the neighborhoods in Bozeman so you can walk along the creek and under trees or through some fields at a very short distance from your house. This puppy took about and hour and a half and is a whopping 3.61 miles. My heart rate was a steady 105 bpms with one small hill that popped it up to 130 for about 1 minute.
Sunday was Claire’s triatholon. She did the same one last summer, and I had a pretty acute sense of deja vu on the bike ride to meet and support her for the start at 7:30 am. This year, however, was much, much warmer than last year.
Same triathlon, different year. I whiled away my time between cheering Claire on during transitions by eating a ham croissant and meeting new people. Claire finished this backbreaking event and then we went to lunch (at the Bacchus again), where I consumed my weight in french fries again and had half a Mediterranean salad. The bike ride home was not pleasant; however, I do think it served to burn some of the french fry fat I had consumed.
A word on eating and then feeling guilty: this is something I actively revile. The only times I regret eating something is when I feel like crap afterwards. I also actively try to avoid food choices that make me feel like crap, but, alas, I was not born with a fully developed sense of self-restraint. I love food. I love eating healthfully, and sometimes I eat french fries. Sometimes I lean an little far into the french fries side of things, but the icky feeling in my body soon gets me to turn back over to fueling the machine with what it really needs.
It’s been an interesting four days in Bozeman. Monday begins my training, and to be honest, I am so ready to sweat.