Saturday, December 30, 2006

Winters Family Gathering

Nathan’s parents planned a Winters’ gathering for us. We got to see everyone in one location. It was nice since being home for such a short period it is a little harder to travel around and see everyone. The chocolate fountain we received at Christmas, from my sister and her beau, was a big hit. We recommend everyone try chocolate covered pineapple :)

Monday, December 25, 2006

5 Years Since Last Home For X-Mas

AHH Christmas Day; we opened presents at my parents’ house in the morning. We got dressed and then headed to the Winters’ for X-Mas lunch and presents. We headed back to my parents in time for dinner/dessert and an evening of board games. WOW did we get a lot of presents! It was nice to spend time with family. We hadn’t been back home for Christmas since before we were married.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Made It To VT

We were on the road relatively early. We made it through VA, MD, DE and NJ rather quickly. New York was horrible during evening rush hour. Connecticut and Massachusetts also weren’t too bad. It was freezing rain in VT so that made for a slower driver on the highway. I don’t think I miss VT night driving especially on the highway; there are no highway lights. Driving in freezing rain with lack of light was not fun. Around midnight we made it to my parents’ house. Everyone was up waiting for us.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Luggage Delay

We nearly miss our last 30 minute flight. When our flight from San Fran to Washington-Dulles landed we needed to walk to the end of the Concourse, wait for a shuttle to take us across the runway to another Concourse. We had missed our call. The plane actually was waiting for us.

We landed in Norfolk and of course one of our 4 checked pieces of baggage actually made it with us. We filled out a loss baggage form with Delta. We knew that it was because of the quick change in that last flight. The next flight from Washington-Dulles to Norfolk was supposed to land at 1:30pm. Nearly 3 hours after our flight. So we decided to stay in Norfolk till the evening or at least until 1:30pm for a status report as to whether or not our luggage made it.

We let Angel out of her kennel to go to the bathroom in the grass area across from the baggage claim. Oh by the way it is against FAA regulations to let your pet out of the kennel at anytime, until you make it to your destination. We took a taxi from Norfolk to Portsmouth to go get the car. It took us about an hour to get that and then fill up the car with gas. We headed for lunch at a local Subway. Thank goodness for the GPS. While eating lunch we also jumped on a wireless network and made reservations at a hotel in Virginia Beach for the night. At this point we weren’t sure what was going on with the luggage and we didn’t want to get on the road without it. We received a phone call from the airport and our luggage was on the 1:30pm flight. They were going to deliver it to us at our hotel. We weren’t given a time for delivery but we were given the phone number of the company that was going to be delivering our luggage.

At around 1:30pm we get a call from the delivering company and they will be at the hotel between 3 and 9pm. Needless to say our luggage didn’t arrive in our hotel until 1am. I wish I could have found that lost luggage receipt when we got to Norfolk because I would have filed a claim asking for reimbursement. We weren’t planning on staying in Norfolk that night. The plan was to hit the road that evening for VT.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Goodbye HI

Our trip starts back to the east coast. Good-bye Hawaii and Hello mainland. We check in with Delta and find that Angel is on our flights however as Cargo and not as carry-on. I called two weeks before we left to make sure that she was okay as carry-on and I was told she was. Apparently when we checked in we found that she was not registered as carry-on. It was explained to us that there is a difference in the codes that are used for live animals as cargo and live animals as carry-on. It was about a 20 minute wait to check and make sure that there was room for her on our flights. A standard rule (for Delta anyway) when flying is 3 pets as carry-on per flight. A little bit of a scare there. But it all worked out okay. We did have to pay the $85 fee.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Move #7!

Once again I had to take the server down to do yet another move. This one was my own fault, but since our house was being demolished in January we would have had to move regardless. We are moving back to the states from Hawaii so this will be another long one. Household goods delivery date is Feb 8th! hopefully they will arrive before then. The car arrived in Norfolk today, we shipped the truck this morning, and we will be flying out tomorrow (with the dog as carry-on).

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Honolulu Marathon

The plan was to train during deployment and come back to run the Honolulu Marathon in under 4 hours. Of course nothing ever goes as planned for me. I did start off well 4 months ago in the desert. I was running with our flight doc who was going to make this his first marathon. I did well for the first 2 months and even handled several long runs of 12 miles (at night of course, it is almost impossible to run during the day. I tried on one cool day and I had to drink a 20 oz bottle of water about every 15 minutes. It almost made me sick taking in that much water and it still wasn't enough to keep me hydrated). I went through a pair of Nike Pegasus shoes in less than a month. The soles fell apart and I had to buy some new ones by the time I got home. I went all out and bought a pair of Asics Kayano plus some cushion inserts. Within a month of heavy running those too were pulling apart at the soles. I took them back and got a replacement 3 weeks before the marathon and tried to break them in too quickly. My back started hurting and a joint in my foot was aching, so I cut back on my training. The last 2 weeks before the marathon I hardly ran at all. When I did it was usually pretty short and I would stop because of the pain. I probably shouldn't have run the marathon but I'm too stubborn to give up.
Race day I was up at 3 am and dragged the wife out of bed to bring me downtown. We were actually able to drive within a few blocks of the start line. I've never seen that many people outside of a stadium before. 28000 runners packed into downtown honolulu. The majority of the runners were asian and they actually made all the announcements in at least 3 different languages. It was cool but humid with only a scattering of clouds. I worked my way into the first few thousand of runners by the start line and the race commenced with an impressive fireworks show. The pace was slow due to the number of people filling the six lanes of traffic. And unlike every other race I've been in the crowded runners didn't thin down. Actually even all the way to the finish I considered it crowded. The route of course was beautiful, through dowtown and waikiki with all christmas decorations then up around diamond head to watch the sunrise. I was also impressed by all the spectators. Ala Moana was lined and I don't think there was a 100 foot stretch without someone cheering the runners on.
By mile 7 I already knew my feet were in trouble. My shoes were not fully broken in and my feet were not tough enough to take the beating. But, I continued. I knew before I started that I may not finish this race so I actually carried my cell phone with me to call for Rikki to come pick me up (plus we only had the truck since the car is enroute to VA). The aid stations had the usual water, sponges, vaseline, and a sports drink called "amino acid." It wasn't too bad. I also carried 2 gels, though I lost one. I would stop and walk at each water station and drink 2-3 cups to make sure I was hydrated. I was starving after an hour and was going to eat one of my gels when I realized I lost one. So I ran on an empty stomach to the halfway point and then used my one gel. I kept below my desired 10 minute per mile pace until mile 20. I finally walked for a bit to give my feet a break. But I knew the pain would just get worse with time so the sooner I finished the better. I kept running at a much slower pace and still took a break to walk once in a while. The last mile was lined with people so I ran all of it. Finishing with in 4 hours and 47 minutes. 40 minutes slower than my last marathon, but still under 5 which is good enough for me.
The finish line and crowd were both impressive. They gave me a shell Lei, finishers shirt and medal. I would have liked to check out all the events going on but I was in too much pain to bother. I called Rikki and she managed to get somewhat close to the finish line so I only had to walk about anothe mile. As I said after my last marathon, I don't think I'll do another one.... we'll see if my toenails fall off again :-p