Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Carnaval 2010, aka best spring break ever, PART TWO

Sorry this took so long! I've been doing some bureaucratic things and appearing in the regional newspaper and having to schedule appearances for autographs (just kidding), but now things are looking on track so I thought I would fill my loyal readers in on what exciting things I did after my trip to Paris.

So, once I got back in to Santiago - ok, it was another crazy flight. Darn Ryanair having cheaper tickets but being more complicated (pretty much like all my international flights seem to be) - from Paris/Madrid, I reorganize my suitcase hoping for warmer weather! Paris was basically arctic, so anything south should be an improvement. So, then Manu and I hop on the plane and do another crazy Ryanair circle. This time from Madrid to Valencia. Yay! At the airport in Valencia, there was no one there. Seriously. No one. When we wanted to get tourist information there were two kiosks actually open and the subway guy kept leaving his post. But we finally managed to make it to the subway stop to meet up with Manu's friend, Ania. After plopping our stuff down and noshing a bit, we go to make pizzas! We stay in this night because it is raining and the Valencians are wienies when it comes to rain, haha.

The next day we leisurely wake up, walk around the city, explore the City of Arts and Sciences ( and get info about their schedules before taking a detour to the beach. Here we watched the sunset while I was paranoid about getting sand in my running shoes. Anyway, the sunset was gorgeous and I did not get sand in my shoes. It's the little things in life, isn't it? After walking around a bit more and seeing all the boats in the harbor for the little boat racing thing that Valencia is famous for, America's Cup or something like that, we hopped onto the subway/trolley system (what is it with these cities having connected systems just to be confusing!) to go to a huge hotel for the Runners' fair. I picked up my number, 2361 ftw!, and got my swag bag and technical running shirt. And olive oil and socks! The most hilarious goody bag ever. After that we went back to the hostel and just crashed, because the next morning is a breakfast fun run! The important part is breakfast.

So we wake up, have breakfast in the hostel, then stroll over to the fun run site. Unfortunately, we got there late, so I sort of cheated on the run so I would know where it stopped. Fortunately, it doesn't matter because the only goal was horchatas and fartons (not kidding!! Feel free let loose that stifled giggle) at the end of the track lap. Horchatas are pretty much milkshakes. And fartons are like a sweet bread (not sweetbread, the space is important) that is cylindrical and has frosting drizzled on the top. This was the first year for the breakfast run, so the participation was minimal, maybe 40 people? After that, we explored a tower from like the Middles Ages and got a view of the city from above, it was nice. Then after eating the kind of lame pasta dinner for the marathoners and their guests, we made it to the aquarium!! Ah, the aquarium. I am sure many of you know of my affinity for aquariums and you can imagine the delirious delight at being at the (allegedly) BIGGEST aquarium in Europe! (I also love how aquariums always say they are the biggest at something, like, this one is the biggest because it is open air so the complex takes up more space. But I'm sure there is an aquarium that is the BIGGEST because it has the biggest tank.) Anyway, this aquarium is totally bomb. You get to go to each odd looking building and inside it is set up like, arctic/antarctic, temperate waters, Mediterranean, oceans in general, the Red Sea, etc. And then NOT in building but each in their own little area are birds, seals, and dolphins. And we watched the dolphin performance!! We basically stayed until the aquarium for real closed (who is surprised?) and were shuffled out. Since Valencia has not ACTUALLY FINISHED the subway line to the City of Arts and Sciences, we decided to catch a bus because it is mega far away. Bad planning, Valencia.

Now today is the marathon day! I wake up before the crack of dawn to get dressed and put all my running things on and get my bag ready for after the race. Now it is kind of chilly when yesterday was kind of hot, better for running a marathon, but a little too cool for walking to the starting point. I discard my sweats and put on my number (mentally note, next time do this the night before) and get into the starting block. And by starting block I mean the back of the pack. They fire the gun, set off the fireworks and blast Chariots of Fire and off we go! Every few kilometers (not miles, I know) they had a group of men dressed as cheerleaders and nurses, or a very small band playing music, or a gate marking each 5km with water - apparently there was a station with oranges but I didn't get there fast enough, haha - and then either every 10km and/or at the half marathon mark we were timed by the fancy chip I tied into my shoes. There were even some guys wearing costumes, like a few judges, a matador, and other people who were really fast and I didn't get the chance to pass them to see their costumes. The course is allegedly pretty easy, mostly flat, but we do go underground and then above ground following the streets going in tunnels, way awesome!, and it rained, but I was already prepared for that - Thank you, Galicia! When I finally finished - not last, yay! - I got a medal, a bag of oranges, a can of aquarius, and a bi hit of adrenaline and pride at having finished. But there was no buffet!! Come on, I just ran 26.2miles/42.2km and they don't even have food!!! So instead, I hopped up on the massage table and let some girls jiggle my legs for a few minutes then went to take a shower. After stuffing my face with food, NO THANKS TO YOU, MARATHON LACKING A BUFFET, we walked around the city a bit more then went to the IMAX at the City of Arts and Sciences. It was nice to be able to relax and watch a movie for a bit. By this point I am totally zonked and can barely walk up stairs, which is kind of entertaining to remember now, so we bus back to the hostel to pack because we are waking up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to go to the airport.

The most remarkable thing about the flight back was, after being delayed in Madrid a few hours because of weather conditions and missing the buses back to Monforte for work from Santiago, as we were descending to the landing strip in Santiago, the pilot instead GOES STRAIGHT BACK UP INTO THE AIR. It was mega windy and he couldn't land the plane so we had to go back up, circle around, then he went for a second landing attempt. It was intense. After FINALLY landing, we ate and relaxed a bit before I had to go to Ourense.

In conclusion, in the 11ish days of my vacation week, I was on 8 different flights and walked millions of miles around Paris and Valencia, then RAN millions (26.2) of miles in Valencia. This is why people say they need a vacation after a vacation.

Next up, photos from my vacation! Stay tuned!!


  1. what marathon doesn't have a BUFFET!! clearly they need to take a cue from the USA! Isn't the only POINT of exercise so you can EAT MORE? omg Spain. get with it!

  2. I can't believe you ran in and finished your first marathon!! FELICIDADES!!! What an accomplishment! But olive oil y calcetines?? I love that!


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