THE BEST LAID PLANS OF MICE AND MEN OFTEN GO AWRY -- Robert Burns
Several years ago, I was watching a Warren Miller film where an extreme skier said that the secret to his sport was “Showing the mountain and mother nature who’s boss.” It came as no surprise when, a few months later, I read in Outside magazine about his death in an avalanche.
Unlike this poor fellow, I harbor no delusions of grandeur as to who is in charge. I know that when faced with what nature wants to dole out, I am at her mercy.
Likewise, having been a regular viewer of “My Name is Earl”, I consider myself well versed in the concept of karma. I do not test fate; I trust fate to leave me and my piddily little life well enough alone.
Which is why I cannot understand why mother nature and karma ganged up on me this weekend.
This weekend, I traveled to Myrtle Beach to run the 13th Annual Myrtle Beach Marathon. I had been training for months. I had a goal (4 hours 30 minutes or better). I had plans to meet a friend for the weekend. And I had visions of myself the day after the marathon, sitting in a stool with a margarita, entertaining a crowd of admirers with my wit and humor. Maybe I got too cocky.
Whatever the reason, mother nature and karma called up their friend Murphy to lay down the law for poor Heather.
It all started on Thursday when I landed in Myrtle Beach. I got off the plane and called my buddy to let him know I was in town. Then I collected my bags and got a cab to the motel. An hour and ten minutes after entering the lobby, I got my room key. It seems I had entered the lobby moments after a group of people who not only had a hard time dividing by four, but also had never heard of room tax. As their personal tea-party escaladed to epic proportions in the lobby, I considered reaching into my wallet and paying the $4.50 in tax myself just to speed things along. But finally, the clerk was able to explain things in an acceptable way and they conceded to splitting the $26.00 + tax per night four ways. It only took another 25 minutes to figure out how much that was per person.
When, at long last, I made it to the room, I again checked my cell phone. Still no word from my friend. I got myself settled in and went to sleep. The next morning, I still hadn’t heard from him. I went out for a little “loosening up run”, showered, and got dressed. Still no word from him. I went across the street for breakfast. Still no word. Finally, after breakfast, I got a call to discover that he had a snafu of his own and wouldn’t be making it to Myrtle Beach this weekend. I took a cab back to the airport to rent a car, since I ‘d be spending the weekend solo.
After collecting my race packet at the expo and latching onto a group of friendly runners who clearly needed a short brunette to complete their group, we started to hear rumblings about an incoming snow storm. At the pasta party Friday night, the first few flakes started to fall. An announcement was made that the start time had been moved back a half hour. As the meatballs and breadsticks disappeared, the blackberries appeared. Murmurs started circulating that “the race committee was weighing the options”. Weighing the options? What options? I had flown down here to run a marathon. There was no other option!
Except the option of cancelling the marathon. Which they did. On Friday night. Before anyone had a chance to see how bright and sunny and warm Saturday was.
I ended up running 13 miles along the course with hundreds of other runners.
At the end of the weekend, I drove to the airport, turned in the rental car, and went to the ticketing counter. My outgoing flight had been cancelled. Eight hours after entering the airport, I was able to board a plane. It seems that any form of precipitation -- be in snow, or rain, or fog, or, I don’t know, spittle from somebody’ lips -- is capable of cancelling just about anything.
Or maybe it has nothing to do with the precipitation. Maybe the problem with this weekend is that I needed to be shown who’s boss.
I will not be going skiing anytime soon.