Running to and in Memphis

It’s been so long since I’ve written a proper post. Did you think I’d abandoned my blog? I was starting to wonder, myself. But, no. I’m still a blogger, even if I haven’t blogged much lately.

My lack of posts is attributable to how busy I’ve been over the last two weeks. I am always busy, anyway–two kids, a husband, a full-time job, running, and a blog aren’t really a walk in the park–but lately work has really picked up. And then I found out I had some serious family business to attend to in Tennessee.

20140616-224634-81994951.jpgAnd the next thing I knew, I had booked a roundtrip flight to Memphis.

I left for Memphis on Thursday, June 12, flying Delta with a short layover in Salt Lake City. Delta, oh Delta. Originally I was supposed to land in Memphis just before midnight on Thursday, allowing me time to sleep that night and some time to help family on Friday, the day before the funeral. Delta got me in late to SLC–about 20 minutes late. And my layover time (per Delta’s flight plan) was only about 40 minutes to begin with. Can you see where this is going?

I was in Row 38 of the plane and it took about 15 minutes for everyone in front of me to deplane. That left only 5 minutes to get from the tail end of my concourse to the gate at the concourse next door before my connecting flight to Memphis departed. Do you think I made it? I am a marathoner, after all.

The answer? A resounding NO. I ran as fast as I could (regrettably, I’m not a sprinter), dragging my wheeled carry-on behind me, but Delta didn’t wait for me. As you can probably imagine, I wasn’t smiling and laughing when I found out that the gate agent had sealed the aircraft door even though I (and another passenger) were on our way to that connecting flight from another Delta flight.

Oh, Delta. It’s been nice knowing you. Never again. Never again. Please stop me if I ever say I’m going to book another flight with Delta.

20140616-224727-82047419.jpgI was pretty upset and tried to cheer myself up at a bar in the SLC airport. Healthy coping skills, I know. I’m totally mature.

To get me to Memphis, Delta put me on a flight back to the West Coast (LAX) and then a red-eye from LAX to Memphis, which would get me in to Memphis at about 6:30 a.m. I have studiously avoided taking red-eyes since aging out of the 20s because, well, sleep. I need it. And I usually can’t sleep on planes.

20140616-224905-82145583.jpgI managed to sleep only an hour on the flight from LAX to Memphis, landing in Memphis at around 6:15 a.m. My cousin’s sweet husband had insisted on meeting me at the airport and guiding me to my hotel in midtown Memphis because some of the areas between the airport and that neighborhood aren’t the safest. He is a true Southern gentleman.

I was pretty well wired that day as I spent time with family.

20140616-224957-82197615.jpgDrinking copious amounts of iced tea helped.

Saturday morning, I woke early to go for a run–my first run since the Newport Marathon. I was a prepared to run in heat and humidity. After all–the forecast that day was for temps around 85 and humidity somewhere between “sticky” and “sweat tsunami.” I totally lucked out, though, because that morning it was really mild and there was a nice breeze.

I ran from the hotel to the nearby University of Memphis, which boasts a replica statute of Ramses.

20140616-225035-82235636.jpgThe campus was dead–I’m guessing because the university is between spring and summer sessions. It was actually a little eerie because I didn’t encounter any other people. I decided to bag it and headed back out onto the nearby arterial, with which I was fairly familiar.

Midtown Memphis is really attractive, with large trees and many beautiful homes.

20140616-225136-82296929.jpgEven though it wasn’t that hot, I still appreciated the shade offered by those trees.

I also ran by the Pink Palace, the mansion built by the founder of Piggly Wiggly.

20140616-225212-82332524.jpgSightseeing while running is the best.

My coach, Kris, was allowing me to run only 30 minutes on this, my first run since the marathon. I felt good and running felt relatively effortless, so that half-hour passed quickly. Too quickly. I was dying to run some more, but I knew I didn’t want to overdo it. Plus it was starting to warm up.

Memphis doesn’t appear to be much of a running town. Although I saw a couple of running stores, I saw only 3 other runners when I was out running in pretty optimal (for typically steamy Memphis) running conditions.

I didn’t have another opportunity to run during my short trip. I overslept Sunday morning, waking at 8:30 a.m., when it had already reached the mid-70s. It was more humid, too. That’s okay, though, because this trip was more about family; it wasn’t about running.

There was food, too. After all–this is Memphis! I’m pretty sure I gained back all of the 6 pounds I lost in April and May. BBQ, Gus’s fried chicken, red beans and rice, coconut chess pie, fried catfish, macaroni and cheese, ham biscuits, fig cake, more fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, and grits will do that to a person.

20140617-071241-25961818.jpgYes, I ate all of that food.

I returned to Washington on Sunday evening. It was a quick trip, but I accomplished a lot. My first run since the marathon, eating tons of Memphian specialties, and spending time with family members I hadn’t seen in several years (and in some cases, as in the case of my cousin’s young children, had never even met).

20140617-071324-26004746.jpg

How was your weekend?

2 thoughts on “Running to and in Memphis

  1. Martha B says:

    In spite of your awful flight situation (I’ve had similar experiences with Delta. Ugh.), it looks like you had such a joyful and delicious family visit. Sometimes the crappy travel experience makes it all the better to be where you’re trying to go.

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