Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

I went to New Orleans with what I would describe as the best of realistic intentions in terms of keeping up my training. After all, in addition to eight hours a day of conference to attend, there would be po' boys & muffelettas to eat. Incredible seafood to track down. Amazing cocktails to enjoy. And also the super-fun work travel phenomenon where, while you're sitting in talks and workshops and what have you all day, it turns out no one is doing your normal job for you (RUDE). So you get to deal with all that in the evening as well.

Getting to New Orleans was how do you say an adventure. My flight out of SFO boarded on time (+1) but then we sat on the runway for 40 minutes (-1), which meant I missed my connecting flight (-2). Luckily, when plane #1 landed, I got a text that plane #2 was delayed, which meant I stood some chance of making it (+2). Unluckily plane #1 apparently landed in Mississippi & had to taxi 200 miles to the terminal (-1), leaving me 9 minutes to sprint across the terminal & get a new boarding pass, but luckily I am good at sprinting & managed to slide through the gate just as the flight attendant was closing it (+3). Unluckily, since bitches can't use storage bins properly, I had to gate check my carry-on (-1) which meant that I although I was able to sprint across the terminal to make it to flight #2, my bag did not (-2).

Luckily, airport said they'd deliver it to my hotel by 11pm (+2). Unluckily, I arrived at said hotel to find that someone at the Marriott had (oops!) deleted my reservation in a week when New Orleans was already bursting at the seems hotel-wise thanks to Wrestle Mania, the French Quarter Festival, Jazz Fest, & at least 3 conventions (-10). Luckily, the manager there knew the manager at the much fancier JW Marriott across the street, who agreed to put me up for the entire week at the same rate (+12). Unluckily, my bag did not arrive until the next day (-3), which meant I got to spend another full day traipsing around in my boots, which are extremely cute but not really all that ergonomic (-2).

Luckily, one of the restaurants my New Orleans-savvy friend had recommended was two blocks from my hotel and open til 11:00, and after eight hours of dealing with all this on an empty stomach, I had my first amazing NOLA meal (+about a billion).

Swordfish, crisped kale, & French chardonnay. LOADS of yes.

It's amazing, just how quickly good food and good wine can make everything alright.

* * *

I did manage to get a respectable number (for where I am right now) of running miles in, although they were all done on the hotel gym treadmill which sucked mightily. And even a tiny bit of biking. But that was pretty much it.

Grand Total: 19.5 miles

    * 13 running
    * 6.5 bike (easy)

Monday: 3 run + 6.5 bike

    After work stuff I hit this place in the French Quarter for dinner:

    Incredible blackened tilapia w/ shrimp etouffee and the BEST biscuits I have EVER HAD..

    I was pretty impressed with myself for getting down to the hotel gym afterward.

Tuesday: Nothing.

    I had grand ambitions Monday night of getting up early for some strength work Tuesday morning, then doing some more running & cycling in the afternoon. Unfortunately it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed in time for morning sessions, so nothing happened before work stuff.

    After work stuff, I made plans to meet up with my friend Nicole & her husband, whom I hadn't seen since we'd all lived in Boston ten years ago, & the three of us went to a favorite of theirs called Toups' Meatery.

    DO NOT TAKE VEGETARIANS HERE. Everything has meat in it.

    Even the cocktails. This is a Toups' Manhattan, which has rillons (candied pork bits) instead of cherries. And Tabasco sauce. It was everything I dreamed it would be.

    After that I had to catch up on some work, & figured I'd do some running & cycling when I was done with that. Alas, it was more work than I'd realized, so my evening basically went like this:

    "I'll just take care of urgent work stuff & then hit the treadmill / spin bike."

    "Holy crap, how is it 10:00???"

    *Pass out in clothes while still sitting at computer.*

Wednesday: Ditto.

    Wednesday played out pretty much the same as Tuesday, except with conference / social / networking events during the evening as well, which pretty much blew any shot I'd had to begin with of getting in any physical activity.

    On the other hand: rabbit stew & dumplings, and an *amazing* bourbon cocktail called a "Scootaloo."

This was probably the best meal I had on the whole trip.

Thursday: 3.5 easy

    Another day in New Orleans; another incredible meal.

    I don't know what kind of fish this was, but it was INCREDIBLE.

    Blah blah corn bread blah blah maple syrup blah blah butter.
    All I know is it pairs damn well with a Vouvray chenin blanc.

    When I got back to the hotel, I was absolutely determined to do SOMETHING physical, so after banging out all the work stuff I could mentally handle, I hit the gym around nine. And WOW, were the last few minutes of this one tough. I wasn't even running that fast. Still, it was my longest run time-wise so far--30:00--so maybe that had something to do with it. I felt so incredibly awful after that there was just no way I was getting on the bike for another 30:00. Nope nope nope.

Friday: 3 easy

    By Friday I was barely a functional human and I think it was in fact 10:00 by the time I got myself to the treadmill, but godammit, I was going to keep the momentum (such as it was) going if it killed me. This didn't suck quite as much as Thursday's run, but it was still not fun and I was getting on that bike when hell froze over.

    (Here's another reason I just couldn't work up any enthusiasm for the bike. The view from the treadmill:

    The view from the bike:

    Eff that noise.)

Saturday: Rest

    The conference finished at two on Saturday, & after grabbing a muffeletta from Central Grocery in the French Quarter, I put on soft pants, started myself a tab at the hotel bar, & spent the entire rest of the day just plowing through work.

    Apparently Central Grocery is where the muffeletta was invented.

    Not to be missed!

    This, at least, was the good kind of work-plowing where you get into a groove & when you next look at the clock somehow six hours have gone by. In that state, I basically turn into a machine for converting wine into research papers / beautiful charts / math curriculum. (I did get a little rolling & stretching in, but other than that, this was a rest day. Which, honestly, my feet needed more than any other part of me, thanks to all the walking I'd been doing in shoes that are rather less biomechanically friendly than running shoes.)

Sunday: 3.5 easy

    Checkout was at 11:00, so I dragged myself out of bed around 8:00 & hopped on the treadmill. Boy, this was miserable. I think it was actually more mentally hard than physically; on the roads, I can run for hours and be mentally fine, but boy, some days on the treadmill, I am lucky to get to ten minutes. The only way I could face this run was by breaking it up into ten minute chunks with water breaks in between, and then I had to break the last ten minutes into two five-minute chunks on top of that. If I ever see another hotel gym treadmill (which...I will), it will be too soon.

    I finished out the week with brunch at iconic Mother's, where I had the best biscuits I've ever had in my life (yes, again) while a sixty-year-old waitress called me "sweet chile'" & kept bringing me more biscuits.

A fun week, but my guts are definitely happy to be home!


  1. *whimpers* I love to eat. And all of that looks incredible. Although I think Italy will set a new PR for amazing food.

    I hear ya on the hotel gym treadmill - I have to travel for work now and then, and sometimes one is lucky to even have a treadmill. (I took one look at the 'gym' in my Paris hotel - a room about the size of a bathroom, with one treadmill, one bike, and some weights - and resolved to wake up earlier dangit. It worked.)

  2. Man, I want to go to New Orleans.

  3. I'm super impressed at the miles you got in during your stay in New Orleans. I was there last month and instead of running, I just ate and drank the whole time. I also went to Cochon, and holy that was good.

  4. Yeah, the view from that treadmill was something special, wasn't it?! It's a wonder that it's ever used!

  5. Incredibly impressed by your dedication, especially in light of that sad workout room! It is TOUGH to squeeze any amount of exercise in during a conference AND in a city with such excellent food. Kudos!

  6. I'm on the plane headed back to Seattle right now, and reading this post makes me wonder why I left New Orleans. So many things to eat! Sadly, though, my workout plan pretty much went the same way yours did. But it was so worth it!