The O’Hare International Airport Marathon

This past March I ran the Ann Arbor Half Marathon. Somehow I suffered through sobriety on a Saturday night, woke up at 6:00am on a Sunday, and ran 13.1 miles through out the city of Ann Arbor.

I’m as shocked as you are.

I had never run 13.1 miles without stopping once in the past 6 or 7 years since I started running and I had minimal training prior to the race. And to make matters even worse, it was so cold that the cups of water they had out for the runners before the race were frozen.

Optimal conditions, right?

But somehow I survived.   I got through the 18-degree weather drinking half frozen cup after half frozen cup of Gatorade.

But that half marathon was nothing in comparison to the physical turmoil I experienced at Chicago O’Hare International Airport from approximately 9:05am to 9:15am when I was forced to sprint from Terminal C to Terminal F to make a connecting flight.

I don’t know exactly why a 6:00am flight from Orlando to Chicago was delayed one hour but I do know some things:

  1. I had 10 minutes to complete a supposedly “15 minute walk” from terminal to terminal.
  2. It wasn’t a 15 minute walk.
  3. It wasn’t even a 15 minute run.
  4. I know that if we missed the window to board our second flight, we would have had a 10-hour lay over in Chicago.
  5. I know that United Airlines doesn’t believe in happiness.
  6. I know that these truths are all I need to conclude that United Airlines is guilty, and that I will someday, somehow avenge them for what they have done to me.

The actual time spent in Orlando wasn’t much better (just kidding I had a great time, mom). With a diabetic mother being forced to wear an eye patch due to an eye injury, I knew from the start this trip was doomed.

Let’s start at the hotel.

Superman’s incredibly strong.   Aquaman’s great with water. My family’s amazing at returning to the resort when the housekeeping’s cleaning. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1pm, 5pm, or midnight; the housekeeping is always half way done cleaning our room. I’m not complaining about the service we received at the hotel or housekeeping in general, I’m just not sure if our room was actually that disgusting or if someone actually pin pointed our location and then send it back to the housekeeping staff when we were about to drive back to our room so they would have been cleaning and rearranging my dirty underwear the second I walked in the door.  I consider it more of an achievement than an actual inconvenience.

But that doesn’t even begin to cover the shift.  Here are some other note-worthy skills we have/lack:

  • Inability To See A Fork In A Bag That Contains Exactly One Fork And One Sandwich
  • Ability To Own Four Pairs Of Crocs Yet Still Feel The Barbaric Thirst For More (congrats mom, this one goes out to you)
  • Inability To Pronounce Cirque du Soleil. (Circus due soli?, Circ du soleelee?)
  • Inability To Use A GPS Properly (Mom, it said turn left, turn left.  You can only turn left.  Why are you asking which way to turn how are you legally able to drive)
  • Ability To Kick Ass At Dave & Busters (4,175 tickets, cough cough)
  • and my personal favorite, Ability To Befriend Six Year Olds Only To Have Them Insult Your Ass Five Minutes Later (Sorry Allison…better luck next time?)

We are a family of many talents.

But this week wasn’t all bad. I did (like always) achieve greatness. First, I didn’t burn. Wait, this deserves its own paragraph:

I didn’t burn.

After hearing again and again “Zach, why did you spend 20 minutes applying sunscreen if you’re just going to sit under an umbrella”, I came out on top.

The Victorious Blindingly-Pale White Boy.  Has a nice ring to it, right?

Secondly, I finished House of Cards (Francis Underwood, how could you) and read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Harriet Vanger, how could you).

And lastly, I learned that mothers wearing an eye patch shouldn’t be allowed to drive.

Or go on water slides.

Aside from a few speed bumps (and can you expect anything less from the Carlson family?), we survived.  We set off every alarm at the airport because of my mom’s pump for her diabetes, but we survived.  We broke the TV and the teapot the first night, but we survived.

But, Florida was great.  A much needed break from break.

Florida we’ll see you in a couple of years.  Hopefully without an eyepatch.

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