Sunday, September 13, 2009

100 mile recovery

I'm thinking the best way to recover from running 100 is to spend a month traveling a foreign country and indulging in all sorts of bad things like drinking lots of beer and doing a whole lotta nothing! Erik & I are having a great time rambling all over Australia.. we're going wherever we feel and doing lots of camping and hiking. We've spent some great time with Erik's family and friends... we helped his parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and got to watch a high school musical directed by one his best mates from high school.

Running has been on the backburner for the most part... although barefoot running on the beach has been pretty damn great! I'm definitely feeling the beer drinking and laziness... I think I've put on a good 8 pounds since I've been here! Whoops! I had every intention of running the Sydney Marathon on the 20th, but I think I'm going to end up giving it a miss... I'm having a hard time spending almost $200 on a marathon. Leadville was $250! As much as we're trying to just enjoy this holiday and not think about the unemployment factor, it does colour alot of our decision making. Lots of camping and cooking on the camp stove and staying only in cheap motels when it's going to rain or we need to shower. The gorgeous spring weather and the fact that we love to camp makes the spendthriftiness quite OK. We are totally lucky that Erik's sister lent us a car and camping gear so we didn't have to rent stuff.

Getting to Australia is always an adventure, but we try really hard to make things as easy as possible on ourselves.... flying Quantas is the first step. Even if it cost's a bit more, we would NEVER fly an American carrier overseas.... foreign airlines take much better care of you! We were able to get vegan meals that we fairly good and the seats just seem so much bigger... and everyone just seems so much more friendly and helpful. We left Denver and flew to LA, had a thankfully fairly short layover at LAX. That airport just sucks ass.... at least the international terminal. The only place to eat that was open was a hotdog stand, fortunately there was also a bar so we drank our dinner hunger pangs away..... sadly when we got the bill, we found that our Kirin beers were $8 a piece so then we had money pangs instead. Usually dinner is served fairly quickly after takeoff and since we get a "special" meal we get served first, so I was real ready for the plane to take off. It takes about 40 minutes for the plane to taxi over to the runway and I settled to take a short nap until dinner and then was rudely awakened by the captain announcing that someone on board had gotten ill so we were going to have to turn around. 40 minute taxi back to the gate, a nice long wait till there was an available gate and then time spent digging the ill person's luggage out, meant we were going to miss our train when we got to Sydney. We were taking the train up to Erik's sister place and there is only one a day.... it left 4 hours after our plane landed and under normal circumstances we would have had NO problem making it. Sadly for us we had bought our tickets online and there were non refundable, so we had a 17 hour flight to be cranky about wasting $150, and having to find a hotel in Sydney (more money) and missing some of the weekend celebration for his parents anniversary. The flight was smooth, but my sore muscles and achy knee from Leadville made it really hard for me to get any sleep. I kept trying to stretch my legs and get comfortable, but that's pretty rough at the best of times.

When we landed we had a little over an hour until our train left so we figured we see how fast we could do the customs/luggage thing... maybe we could still make the train! I put to good use my super fast hiking skills and we motored through the airport. When we hit customs, we handed our passports over and our visa info and since we came over on a permanent residency visa ( we still haven't decided if we're going to move) we had to give an Australian address, well the only one Erik has memorized is his parents out in Lightning Ridge, and the agent thought it was hysterical that we were going to move there... we then had to reassure him that there was no way. Lightning Ridge is an opal mining town, in the middle of nowhere. Erik grew up there and unless you are an opal miner or doing something related to that... there's nothing there. Drinking and playing the pokies is the only entertainment. It's about a 10 hour drive from Sydney, so no chance of popping into the big smoke for a fun evening either. We got through customs and thought that we still had a slight chance of making the train, but our bags were some of the very last to be unloaded. DOH! We decided to hit Central Station anyway and see if they could do anything for us or to find out if we had any other options for getting up to Moree that day.

We got a super nice Countrylink agent and she just transferred our ticket to the next day! Phew! No having to spend an extra $150!! We still had to find a cheap hotel in Sydney (hah!) but at least the tickets were sorted. Erik's sister Heidi was able to get online and find us a $100 hotel near Kings Cross and we headed that direction. Kings Cross is the redlight district so it's always a fun place to people watch. We checked in and headed off to wander the city, which is our favorite thing to do in Sydney anyway! We had a great Thai lunch and gave ourselves blisters before heading back to the hotel and crashing hard. The worst part of the trip is the awful jet lag, so we picked up some hummus and VB beer and spent the evening sitting on the porch at our hotel watching people.... staying upright lasted until about 7 pm when we couldn't fight it any longer and crashed hard. Going to bed that early means a 4 am wake up, so we got to do our favorite early morning hike around Sydney while the sun came up. Wandering around Circular Quay, which is where the Opera house and Harbour Bridge are is magical in the early morning.

To be continued!