Saturday, March 17, 2007


I made it back from Toronto with little difficulty yesterday. And to be totally honest, I had a pleasant flight on Air Canada. I no I swore that I’d never book another flight on Air Canada after the shabby treatment I experienced following two back-to-back flight cancellation, but the lure of low air-fare was too much for this penny-pinching runner and I book another flight. Unlike last time, the plane actually boarded on time and had an uneventful departure.

The cabin crew were great. One of the cabin attendants made me a pot of decaf coffee after I asked for it even though I was the only person drinking decaf on the small plane. Since no else was drinking decaf, they kept my cup full. The in-flight entertain system crapped out mid-flight (not an unusual occurrence) and the cabin attendant working the equipment personally apologized for the inconvenience. I’ve never heard an airline employee take personal responsibility for equipment before and since I actually know a thing or two about this technology, I can attest that there was nothing he could have done to make the equipment run any better.

When I booked the flights I hadn’t paid too much attention to the flight connection in Denver. As it turned out, I only had 40 minutes between flights which can get eaten easily up by any issues at either end of the flight. Although the flight from Toronto landed on time at Denver, the original gate assigned wasn’t available and United (code shares with Air Canada) had difficulty matching up an empty gate, a ground crew, and a Jetway operator for the flight. We taxied over to the United Terminal and sat for 5 minutes; made a u turn and taxied towards the north end of the terminal and sat for another 10 minutes before we finally got an open gate. All the while my watch is ticking down. My youngest daughter was sick at home in Phoenix alone. My wife is in California, my middle daughter is in Hawaii and my oldest daughter, who had come up from Tucson with her boy friend during her Spring Break to care for her younger sister while I was in Toronto had already left for Tucson. I really needed to make this connection.

I got off the Airplane with less than 20 minutes before my next flight was scheduled to depart only to find the plane one gate from the north end of the terminal with the Phoenix flight sitting at last gate on the south end of the terminal. I started hustling through the terminal and quickly caught up with and passed two fellow passengers from Toronto. I was surprised 5 minutes later to find them still on my tail. Neither looked like they were in good shape and I was motoring. To add to the tension, the PA system started announcing the immediate departure of my flight; however, I had a hunch that United was just trying to light a fire under the passengers from the Toronto flight. I got to the gate first; however I forgot to stop my watch, so I never got my official time in the United Terminal Sprint. The other two guys got on immediately after me … the door closed and we pushed back. Who says you need to pay big bucks for a good foot race?

This morning I had a 10 miler scheduled, but slept in until 7:30 so I didn’t get out on the road until 8:00 AM. The sun was well over the horizon by now (no Daylight Saving Time here) and the temperature was already over 80F (27C) in the cloudless sky. Not wanting to temp fate with my first 80F run of the season, I picked a relatively flight course for this morning. As I walked down to the starting point, my Garmin turned itself off. The battery was completely dead which was weird because I had charged it after I got back from South Bend mid-week and hadn’t used it while in Toronto. At least I still had the timer on my HR monitor; however, I didn’t have a clue where the mile marks were on this course nor did I really know how long it was … however, I estimated that it was around 11 miles. So with only minimum equipment, my dog and I headed east into the rising sun.

The first couple of miles went by slowly. My HR stayed under 140 until I turned north and started running up a gradual incline on miles 2 and 3. By the time I turned west on mile 4 my HR was holding steady at 145; much higher than I wanted, but running any slower just didn’t feel comfortable and I didn’t feel tired.

On mile 7 I was crossing another main street when a sedan failed to look right on a right hand turn and proceeded through the crosswalk directly into my path. I pulled up as fast as I could and bounced of the passenger’s door, hitting the right rearview mirror with my right hand. I bounced off the right rear fender, lost my balance (I’m soooooooo graceful) and rolled onto the ground as the car past. To my utter amazement the car stopped! I quickly got up, thanked the guy for stopping and continued on my way. I’m sure the driver thought I was crazy. He kept yelling to me asking if I was OK. If you’re going to get hit, you might as well get hit by a nice person.

The altercation with the car did me in. Although I wasn’t hurt, the adrenaline rush pushed my HR up to 157 and only slowly recovered to 153 by the mile 8; however, that was as low as it would go. Over the next 30 minutes it continued to climb. When I was about 1 mile from my house my HR hit 163. That was enough. This was supposed to be a general aerobic run and I was cruising along slowly at 94% HRmax and wasn’t doing myself any good. I knew I was out beyond 10 miles (11.2 actually) so I stopped running and walked the rest of the way home.

Yes, I know this is symptomatic of dehydration. I’d brought a pint of water with me on the run but I’d lost a net of 4 lbs of water during the run (5 including the pint I drank). I think it’s getting to be too hot set off on 2 hour runs without considering my hydration needs.

Hope your weekend is going great. If you get a chance, go over to and congratulate Dusty for a great 5K this morning.


MON: Travel Day
TUE: 8.5 miles; Aerobic w/10x100m strides; 9:08 avg pace
WED: Travel Day
THR: 5.0 Miles; Aerobic; 9:14 avg pace
FRI: Travel Day
SAT: 11.2 miles; medium long; 9:48 avg pace


Near the shore of Lake Huron (Canadian Side). Looks a little cold down there.

DEN ... Looking west into the setting sun

People with more money than sense build very large house near the airport.


Mike said...

It's already summer, isn't it? Sorry to hear about you getting bounced off a car, I'm also he stopped. I'm glad to hear you're ok though.

The flight might have also helped dehydrate you a bit, and this weather takes awhile to acclimate to (geez, didn't summer just end?).

Recharge the batteries (yours and the Garmin) and get back to it.

Irene said...

Wow, you've been busy! Nice sprint through the airport... I wonder what the record is. J/K.. LOL... Glad to know you're okay after bouncing off that car. Yikes.

Dusty said...

Neat pictures! Glad you decided to walk, getting hit by a car (even a glancing blow) has got to be tough on the body - don't be surprised if you are sore tomorrow. Glad the guy was nice/worried/stoped. Because of that, he will worry all weekend instead of you fuming that the guy didn't stop.

Congrats on your airport sprint! Glad Air Canada is redeming themselves. Thanks for the link & kudo! :)

Ewen said...

Luckily we're into Autumn, so the long runs are a bit easier. Still need to watch the fluid intake though. Pleased the car altercation wasn't more serious.

A shame you didn't get an official PB to go after in the next UT Sprint.

Anne said...

Holy smokes, Phil! You get hit by a car and make it sound like you landed wrong coming off the curb. My HR would have shot up a lot more after that one!

I've got a 40-minute connection in Chicago in a couple of months and know what you mean about the airport sprint. Not looking forward to it, especially since it's the last flight to San Diego for that day.

Tesso said...

Wow Phil, that's so scary about the car. One or two seconds either way and you don't know what the consequences would have been. But hey, you could have made it more dramatic and done a roll across the front of it :)

Re houses near the airport, there's a classic little Aussie movie ...

Darrell said...

Glad to hear the Air Canada redeemed them selves, at least a little.

You do definitely underplay your incident with the car. I wonder how the dog responded.

Lastly, do you routinely weigh yourself before and after runs, or just the long ones?

carmen said...

I'm glad that this time, the crew on AirCanada was more polite to you. I remember how horrendous the experience was for you last time.

I laughed when you wrote, "if you're going to get hit, you might as well get hit by a nice person." hehe It's so true! I remember in 2001, I was on my way to a Backstreet Boys concert (hehe) with my little sister on the 202 in my car. I ended up hitting this lady but she was so nice. It turned out that she was taking her daughters to the concert too and she took us along with them while our car got towed!

Thanks for the pictures! You're still kicking butt with the running. glad to read that!

Thomas said...

Wow, Phil, I sure am glad you're ok. This did sound rather scary, and could easily have ended a lot worse!

J~Mom said...

Holy cow, I can't believe you bounced off of a car. I would have been so rattled by that. I am glad you are ok. How is DD? I hope she is feeling better!

It does stink that temps rose so quickly. I really felt it at the half today.

Great job on the airport sprint! LOL