Thursday, December 11, 2008

Putting the "I" in Arizona

Greetings from geriatric Arizona, home of the giant Saguaro cactus, supermarkets that sell liquor, and a large chunk of John McCain's face. I’ve been here since last Wednesday to see The New Boyfriend, who picked me up at the airport, tossed my bag in the back, and immediately took me to an In-N-Out burger. The fact that he watched me eat a Double Double with cheese without recoiling in horror or abandoning me in the non-smoking section with meat juice dribbling out of both sides of my mouth means that he's a keeper on a number of levels.

Wednesday morning marked the first time in recorded history that I made it to the airport on time, lugging my 48.7 pound suitcase to the Southwest counter and reveling in the fact that they allow me to take ten days worth of ironic t-shirts across the country for free. The only downside to Southwest is the lack of assigned seating. I was slapped with passes marked Boarding Class C, which means "Please fold yourself into one of the overhead bins and someone will extract you before we continue service to San Jose".

On
Thursday, we drove from Phoenix to Tucson to check out the course for the Holuaualaouaua Tucson Marathon, which he's been training for longer than we've been dating, although our relationship has probably been more painful. The course was mainly downhill, starting in the mountains and snaking through the small towns of Oracle and Catalina whose major industries seem to involve woodcarving or selling puppies. We stopped for lunch at the historic El Charro Cafe, the restaurant that invented both chimichangas and ambiguous bathroom labels. When forced to choose between a door stenciled with 'Charros' or one with a drawing of something that looked like a retarded goat, I selected the former and learned that while I'm apparently not a Charro, those who are freak out when you barge in and watch them pee. We came back to Phoenix, did a workout with his track club then went out for hot wings, which combined with the salsa at lunch to ensure that my colon would spend the next 48 hours weeping.

Friday morning, we drove back to Tucscon to check in at the fabulous El Conquistador Resort and Collection of Kokopelli Statues to hang out (and try to keep him from clawing his face off) before Sunday's race. We dropped our stuff in the room and immediately took off toward the pool bar for the El Conquistador Margarita which is a $9 glass full of Patron and bad decisions. I got Conquistador'ed enough to forget my credit card at the cash register--a mistake which ended with me sobbing to four different nametags at the front desk (and one that will be detailed in my upcoming TWELVE DAYS OF FAIL series). We had more margaritas at dinner, a couple more while watching ESPN's coverage of the Who Knew SUNY-Buffalo Had a Football Team Game so I woke up on Saturday morning facedown in the Arizona Vistor's Guide beside hastily scribbled directions to a Hopi Indian village.

Breakfast on
Saturday was at a buffet that specialized in ambrosia salad and elderly lesbians. Unfortunately, we were two bargain-priced plates in before realizing that any restaurant that classified Sunkist as 'juice' probably wasn't an optimal pre-race meal. The rest of the day was spent doing pretty much nothing, other than eating more excellent Mexican food and watching his niece be adorable. She has more Cute in one ringlet that I've accumulated in 100-something pounds. Also after a week here, I've gotten fluent in speaking 3-year-old, which is a language the Rosetta Stone people should look into, especially the translations for "I am on the verge of pooping", "Seriously, I'm about to unleash this right now" and "OK, I may need a wetnap and a change of pants".

Sunday--Race Day--began at 2:45 a.m. Neither of us could sleep and we had to be in the lobby before 5 to catch the buses to our respective start lines, so I ignored my 'Never Let My Skin Touch Hotel Carpet' rule by spending half an hour doing several stretches I remembered from either yoga DVDs or porn. We strapped the timing chips to our shoes, chugged our final bottles of Gatorade, and said goodbye as he got on the marathon bus and I took the ride to the half.

They dumped us off before sunrise in the middle of the desert, within a mile of the Biosphere, that scientist-designed ecosystem of the early 90s that spawned an unfortunate number of Jay Leno jokes and--even worse--a Pauly Shore movie that I refuse to link to. I had a pretty good day on the course, running a PR of 1:33:17 and crossing the finish line without soiling myself.

There were supposed to be showers at the end but that proved to be a myth, so I had to break my OTHER life rule of never being naked in a portajohn, where I changing clothes before finding The New Boyfriend's Family and waiting for him to finish his 26.2. His time of 3:24:48 was also a personal best (and his incredibly detailed race recap is posted here).

Since then we've been in Phoenix, spending our days moving slowly around the house and our nights trying not to accidentally touch each other's sore spots, which is sadly not a euphemism. Because of the course's Black Diamond-level downhills, I've winced every time I've gone up and down the stairs and have had serious internal debates with myself about whether I had to pee bad enough to justify the pain of sitting on the toilet. If I hadn't been draped across someone else's upholstery, I probably just would've let it go, which--based on the prominent displays of adult diapers in the Fry's grocery stores--seems to be a popular option here. We felt mobile enough on Tuesday night to venture out for some stellar sushi at Sushi Eye and
yesterday I got a sewing lesson from his mother, which means that in some cultures he and I are now officially married and he owes my family a head of cattle.

About this time tomorrow, I'll be heading back to Slappytown, still a bit sore and sad to say adios to him and his family. All I can hope for is that I'll see them again...and that next time I'll be in Boarding Group A.

29 comments:

surviving myself said...

I was really hoping that was a euphemism.

Tara said...

If you check in on Southwest's online site 24 hours before your flight you're pretty much guaranteed to get in the A group. If you wait to check in at the airport you'll get in the C group.

Melanie said...

Holy cow! 1:33!!! Dang girl. Congrats!

Laura said...

Congrats on the race! Definitely one of the more entertaining race reports I've read :)

Uncle Ebenezer said...

I applaud you for not soiling yourself, literally or by linking to anything related to Pauly Shore.

lacochran said...

Still laughing over the retarded goat. :) Thanks.

And,Pauly Shore should never EVER be linked.

Herding Cats said...

What a nice blog to read during my lunch break. Thanks for making me laugh :)

Anonymous said...

FYI- Hugh Laurie is hosting SNL on Sat Dec 13th.

the frog princess said...

I'm not sure what amazes me more... the 1:33 or the fact that you're still smiling at the end of it. I would've been passed out in a ditch somewhere around Mile 2.

Congratulations! :)

X-Country2 said...

I love your pre-race food prep. That's pretty hardcore.

amindinmotown said...

I only run when being chased, thus, total envy.

theloosemoose said...

Sweet PR! Congrats!!!

The Sassy Sexpert said...

Oh - I'm a Tucsonan AND so happy you made it to El Charro...in a place with so many wonderful, incredible, scrumptious Mexican restaurants El Charro remains one of my top faves.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Mike said...

"rule of never being naked in a portajohn"

There's portajohn rules? Oh oh.

J-Money said...

surviving myself: Me too. Sigh.

tara: Thanks for the tip... of course when I tried that today, the online check-in portion of the site was down. Group C, here I come.

melanie: Thanks!

laura: It would've been better if I hadn't forgotten the part where I had a McGriddle.

uncle ebenezer: I thought that would be best for all of us.

lacochran: No kidding. And I pity those who seek him out.

herding cats: Thanks for reading...please come back. There will be more stories in which I do foolish things.

anonymous: THANK YOU. Now I have a reason to suffer through their sketches.

the frog princess: I'm not sure it was a smile. I think I just had gas.

x-country 2: I sometimes walk the line between hardcore and foolish.

amindinmotown: If you wanted to start running, I would chase you for a nominal fee.

theloosemoose: Thanks! I credit the downhill course. And the urge for a portajohn.

the sassy sexpert: We DID enjoy it. I had the chimichangas and thought they were awesome. My boyfriend also insisted I mention Candela, the Peruvian restaurant on Oracle Road, just in case you'd be interested in some South American nom noms.

J-Money said...

mike: I have a detailed list of portajohn rules, available upon request.

Brooke Hughes said...

Love me some Arizona, my home town!

Girl With Curious Hair said...

First, congratulations on an awesome finishing time. Second, you went to all my favorite Tucson places. I miss my old stomping grounds. I especially miss El Charro.

Dexter Colt said...

Somehow I imagined marathon training would involve less hot wings and cheeseburgers.

emmysuh said...

Thank God you're back online. I was having serious withdrawals. I will not embarrass myself further by A) attempting to spell "embarrass" correctly ever again (damn double consonants!) or B)tell you how many times a day I checked your blog, waiting for you to get back...

Anyway, congratulations on the race! I hope you enjoyed Tucson as well - sounds like you ate pretty well, but next time you go, let me know and I'll send you my favourite places to eat there. I spend a fair amount of time out there visiting the lesser half of my family.

Can't wait for more posts.

Layla said...

Holy crap, 1:33? I will put my "first marathon ever" self in the corner over there and bow in honor of your time. I was in the same hotel -- rather, resort -- so if you saw a dozen nondescript people wandering around together, that was possibly my crew.

A Lover and a Fighter said...

What did you sew?

Bogart in P Towne said...

Congrats on the great time for both of you...and that whole flying Southwest thing is not so bad if you remember to check in 24-hours ahead of time.

Oh yea, man do I miss Mexican food. For some reason, there is none here in Virginia.

Andy said...

Elderly lesbians? Colons weeping? A Pauly Shore reference? I live in the wrong state. Pennsylvania just has Amish men with unfortunate beards and our penchant for saying "pop" instead of "soda."

i am feathermaye said...

I linked here from the blogher headlines and just have to say that all things considered (but mostly retarded goats and weeping colons), you're a riot!

WTG on that running thing. The most I ever "run" is to the store for more ice cream.

Have a great weekend!

ablogofherown.wordpress.com said...

Those life rules? Awesome.
One of my personal life rules is to never participate in any dance with the word "Slide" in the title.
And to not eat things I can't identify.
Both have served me well.

mehorsecrazy123 said...

a) I am eternally envious that you are in AZ.
b) AWESOME RACE and VERY entertaining race report!

Really enjoying the blog. :)

nwgdc said...

wow. looking GREAT for the end of a halfy! and everyone KNOWS about the rule about the 24 hours pre-Southwest check-in! come on!!

P.O.M. said...

Great time on your race!! Jealous over here.