No Workout? No Problem!

No workout today. Instead, 14 hours of travel, make that five hours of actual air travel from North Carolina to California and nine hours of combined waiting in between.

At one point in my three-hour Dallas layover I tried to run for a bit…from McDonald’s back to the gate. There’s something not quite right about jogging while clutching a bag filled with chicken tenders and that oh-so-sweet barbecue sauce. At least I ditched the fries, right? And hey, I’m sure I was within Zone 1 on the heart-rate.

We were stuck in Dallas (pictured above) because not one but TWO planes were broken. The first had a hydraulic fluid leak and the second was broken yesterday but the problem was allegedly solved earlier today. False. Plane B never left its sad hangar. Fortunately, A) we were in an American Airlines hub destination and lots of other MD-80s were available and B) we were on the ground when we learned of said problems.

On the initial doomed plane, I had the pleasure of sitting next to a very large man occupying the middle seat and spilling onto both seats surrounding him. We’ll call him Jake. To his right, we had a coughing – OK hacking for his life – mullet-wearing man in the window seat who looked like the opening act for the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Mullet Man, I swear he looked like one of the two Darryls from that Bob Newhart show, was coughing so feverishly that at one point he puked up the water he was trying to drink while calming himself down. That prompted Jake the Fat Man to find another seat, claiming he was too big to ride “bitch.”

At this point, Mullet Man leaned into me and apologized for his wretched coughing. My caring side gave in and I told him not to feel sorry and that I understood his predicament.

Then, Mullet Man told me he had bronchitis.

Then, he patted my shoulder and thanked me for my compassion.

At which point, the lady across the aisle told me that Mullet Man most likely was suffering from Swine Flu. How does she know? Well, she’s a nurse, and she’s heard that phlegm-rattling cough many times lately.

I’ve yet to put together six days straight of training on Coach Gerrardo’s new plan, let alone six straight days of training in two weeks, and now I may be a walking Swine Flu case.

My Ironman training is not off to the zesty start I envisioned. That’s what I get for staying an extra night in North Carolina to watch the Tar Heels play.

One positive note though, which I’m clinging to: Coach Gerrardo texted me last night that the comfortable pace I ran in my 45 minute treadmill jaunt yesterday would be good enough to finish a marathon in 4:20. While that may not seem remarkable on the surface (it’s not!), what’s cool is that if I can bike 112 miles in six hours and swim 2.4 miles in 1:15, I can actually finish my first Ironman in less than 12 hours (barring injury or bonking). That means I’m well within range to meet my 12-hour goal now. Now!? Wow!

I can do this!

Coach Gerrardo’s text was a huge confidence boost, and really the first one I’ve had since registering for Ironman Arizona last Monday. It’s funny that we can sometimes get the greatest benefit from training on days when we’re not really doing anything at all.

This one text message is enough to hold onto on yet another day without a workout, and enough to motivate me to jump out of the covers early tomorrow morning with my running shoes on.

As long as I don’t have Swine Flu.

356 days and counting.