Friday, February 20, 2015

NVM WEEK 14: Escape from SoCal (barely)

Guh. My life has been insane lately, mostly just due to work & mundane stuff & really not anything that is much worth talking about here.

I spent Week 14 in San Diego for work, which I was kind of excited about because warm weather & sunshine!

Yyyyeahhh....Things didn't quite pan out that way. In fact a lot of things about this week didn't pan out the way I'd planned.

My flight was Monday afternoon. The school site I was working at was a 4 minute cab ride from the airport, as was my hotel. Then, as I was walking out the door for the airport, I got an email from the project director saying they'd changed the site and now instead of meeting in San Diego we were to meet in San Marcos, over an hour of Southern California freeway north.

Much cursing ensued. I frantically researched San Marcos hotels near the new site, made a reservation, and also reserved a rental car. Also I cancelled the old hotel reservation & learned that SURPRISE!!! Cancelling day-of means you get to pay for the first night plus cancellation fee. GOOD TIMES!! :D (Hey, at least it wasn't my money.)

Also, I decided to be daring & reserve a Smart Car. I cannot remember now why this seemed like a good idea.

NOOOOOO don't do it no good very bad

Once in San Diego, I picked up my Smart Car & was deeply into the process of regretting my choice after less than a quarter mile. I regretted it even more intensely once I got on the freeway.

I will now list the reasons why no one should drive a smart car, ever.

  • The transmission is like riding in a car with a manual transmission with someone who does not know how to drive it.
  • You try accelerating onto the freeway (in SoCal!!!) on two cylinders.
  • I once drove a car down A4 along Loch Ness in Scotland with no power steering. This wasn't quite that bad but it was close.
  • The thing is so light that the faintest of breezes buffets it all over the freeway. A couple of times cars whooshed past me at give or take 100 mph & I'm pretty sure I felt the wheels come off the ground.

Basically, every minute I was in the effing thing, I felt certain I was going to die. My only consolation was that the hotel was three minutes from the school, and other than driving back to the airport at the end of the week, I wouldn't have to spend a ton of time in it.

Ha. Haha. Ahahaha.

Tuesday morning I made the three minute drive to the new site in San Marcos. No one there knows who I am or what I'm talking about. Because the universe is not without a sick sense of irony, I check my work email just in time to receive another email from the project director that OOPS! Just kidding. It wasn't San Marcos; it was Chula Vista.

Yeah so Chula Vista is basically in Mexico.

I wanted to be like, "Dude. For all intents & purposes, you've sent me to the wrong country." But I am a professional and so instead I got in my little smart car death trap & drove the 1.5 hours to the border Chula Vista site & did what I could do in the remaining time.

At this point I really couldn't justify changing my hotel again, so I just drove back & forth between Chula Vista and San Marcos all week. On top of this, there is basically no good food anywhere in this area (with the exception of a couple of Lebanese/Mediterranean spots, & you can bet I found them ALL) and it is Southern California so god forbid someone give you takeout that doesn't come in nineteen giant styrofoam containers. Also any and all salads are pretty much just a shredded head of iceberg and/or Romaine. My Greek salad had carrots and pickles in it. The wine selection was not much better.

Sometimes I kind of joke about having been ruined for food & beverages by San Francisco, which is all fun & games until somebody gets sent to Southern California for a week & suddenly I'm spending my evenings weeping quietly into a styrofoam box of Romaine and warm pickles.

This is the one edible type of meal in the greater San Marcos, CA area.

I may have cried a few tears of joy when I got off the plane at SFO.

~*~*~NVM WEEK 14 OF 16~*~*~

Grand Total: 33 miles

    * 18 easy
    * 15 long

Monday: Rest / fly to San Diego

Tuesday: 7 easy

    I'd planned to do an 8 miler outside as soon as I got done with work on Tuesday, but a) two hours in the death trap had left me an exhausted mental & emotional wreck & b) it was still 90° at that point and there was just no way THAT was happening. By the time I felt semi-human it was dark which I didn't feel great about, so treadmill it was. Which mainly just served to remind me how much I hate hate HATE treadmills. At six miles I felt pretty crappy but decided to try to keep pushing; at 6.75ish my body was waving the big red NOPE flags (all the pains in right hip/feet) so I called it good at 7.

Wednesday: Rest

    This was my worst day. The sheer depression of being alone in a southern California food desert with naught but a death trap of a clown car in which to travel anywhere really got to me psychologically. I could not rally myself to run in the 90° heat or drag myself anywhere NEAR that treadmill for a second time. So big, fat fail.

Thursday: Work/fly home.

    When I went to bed Wednesday night I was feeling slightly less sorry for myself & was all like, "I AM TOTALLY GOING TO GET UP AT 4:30 AM & RUN AT LEAST SIX MILES." Guess what did not even remotely come close to happening.

    It was still 90° & I was missing SF Beer Week, so I def needed a smoked
    porter while I waited for SFO to let our plane finally leave. THANKS OBAMA.

Friday: 10 easy

    The start of this run was not promising. I felt like I was landing hard and wobbling all over the place & just generally not hacking it. Things finally settled in around mile 6, but ugh. Before then, not pretty. Plus, it was hot. And by hot, I mean San Francisco hot, so like 75°. But full sun!

    Also, Friday was awesome because we went to see my favorite band in Berkeley, a little husband-and-wife duo from Ohio called Over The Rhine. They were amazing as always.

Saturday: Rest

    I went back & forth on Saturday about whether I should try to run. I felt fine, but kept getting all hand-wring-ey about how Saturday rest day + Sunday long run has been working really well for me, & in the end I decided not to chance it. Don's parents got in that afternoon & we went down to their hotel at Fisherman's Wharf & had fresh crab legs & fantastic wine for dinner.

Sunday: 15 long

    I woke up feeling crappy & did not want to do this run at all. We had afternoon plans with Don's parents so I had to get up early to do it. Really I was suppose to run 18, but I miscalculated time-wise and 15 was all I had time for. (Which, honestly, I was not that crushed about considering it was, again, about a billion degrees out & full sun. Okay like 80°. BUT STILL!)

    Conservatory of Flowers, looking resplendent as always.

    Also picking up more downed trees from last weekend's crazy wind storms.

    This one is just because this blog was getting dangerously low on green smoothie pictures. I understand if you were on the brink of not coming back. If you want the recipe, it is "Put some fruit & yogurt & green shit in a blender." You are welcome.

So, yeah. Not a total waste of a week, but about 10-12 miles short of what I'd planned on. Good thing this is still fake-training? I guess?


  1. That sounds like the work trip from hell. I once rented a Fiat, which is probably 3x the size of a Smart Car, and that felt like a death trap on a freeway. I specifically advised my parents not to drive on freeways until they felt comfortable here because SoCal drivers are crazy. (Not Canadian crazy -- I grew up 5 minutes from the Canadian border and that's a whole 'nother level of crazy driving -- but still, not fun to drive in when you're not used to it.)

    I am super grateful for the burgeoning food scene in Irvine/Costa Mesa/Santa Ana (thank you, hipster movement). I've heard further south in OC and north San Diego it gets grim and after living in NYC for four years I don't think I could handle that.

    1. Yeah, the freeways are crazy, but I've learned to manage them okay *in a normal car*. I keep waiting to be sent to the parts of SoCal with a decent food scene, but no such luck yet!

  2. Work nightmare. I can't believe the disorganization! Except yes, I can.

  3. I had no idea SoCal was so bad on the food front and I am praising the LORD that the husband talked me out of buying a smart car for me and the dude when we arrived!!

    33 miles is a pretty great pile of miles for fake training!!

  4. OK, so I'm all about hating SoCal I promise there is some good food here, if you're not spending all your time driving all over Greater San Diego in a shitty death trap. Also, you definitely should have changed your hotel again. Fuck it, it's not your fault they messed up. If you're in the SoCal, greater LA area, let me know and we will find you good food and a better situation.

    1. I totally believe there are parts with good food; for some reason I always just get sent to the shitty parts. :P I'll hit you up if I'm ever in greater LA!

  5. What a nightmare of a work trip. I hope they're reimbursing you for last-minute hotel swaps and gas (electricity? charging?) $$. I am impressed you managed to run at all; I would have definitely been like 'eff this' and burrowed back under the covers to sleep in.

    Also, that smoothie hasn't got enough green things in it. Plus you don't have enough oatmeal pictures. What kind of blog is this?

    1. Thankfully it's all on the company card - it just sucks because the project has kind of a limited budget.

      I know, I totally realized my failure! Greens or it didn't happen.

  6. Wow what a horrible work trip! And thanks for the thoughts on the smart car - I've always thought they look kind of cool, but I won't be trying one now I've read this.

  7. Hahahaha. WOW I think I may have just driven to the airport and gone back after the second location change :). Work travel is the worst!

  8. I went to Southern California 24 years ago and it's so reassuring to know that the salads haven't changed in all that time. Lettuce, lettuce and more lettuce. Maybe a little shredded cheese and if you're lucky - a baby tomato.

  9. Sometimes work trips are fun... this one sounds decidely the polar opposite. Glad you survived and welcome back to civilization!