Now that I’m back and recovered it’s time for the whole recap and nothing but the recap of my latest adventure. For this post I will cover the second part of my trip to Ireland.
I arrived in Chicago with a three hour layover. One of my biggest fears was the possibility of losing my luggage, but with a three hour layover you would think that there would be plenty of time to get my bag from one plane to the next. One would think.
In an earlier post I spoke about wanting to experience Ireland…including air flight. I decided to try the Irish airline Aer Lingus that is now owned by British Airways. Admittedly the reservation process wasn’t especially easy. I tried to book my flight through the website, which also wasn’t easy and ended up having to call anyway because the order wouldn’t submit online. I got the confirmation email but when I checked my account it said it wasn’t booked. After holding for about 30 minutes a nice Irish lass helped me out and the ticket was booked. The flight ended up being smooth sailing. The flight attendants were friendly and the aircraft wasn’t packed. The only criticism I had was the metal box that took up half of my leg space and was a little cramped. The flight took about 6-1/2 hours before landing in Dublin.
If you have traveled to a foreign country before you know you just don’t get off the plane, collect the baggage and hail the taxi. There is a process for foreigners and it usually involves very long lines. I had forgotten how it felt when you get to customs and nationals fly right through the lines and everyone else is in a very long line for passport check. Even though the line was long it moved very quickly and I was on my way! Now to collect my bag.
I go to the baggage claim and patiently wait for my bag. I’m sure everyone has experienced the nervousness of watching others pick up their bags while you wait for yours. There I sat and waited as the bags got less and less. Finally, I came to the bad realization that my bag wasn’t coming. Trying to placate myself I went to other turnstiles to see if MAYBE something got messed up. No, the realization finally hit me that my bag didn’t show up. Somewhat frantically, I walk over to the baggage information center and filled out my claim. They were very nice and I told the attendant that it was very important I got my bag because I was running the race in two days. She found out that the bag was still in Chicago (really Chicago) and that it may be here tomorrow but technically they have 72 hours to get it to me. 72 hours! Uh, no. I need my bag. I will admit panic started to take over. There I was in Dublin Ireland with the clothes on my back, a toothbrush (thank God) and a pack of Doritos. All my running gear (and clothes) were in my suitcase. There was nothing more to do but wait and hope that my suitcase got to me on time.
I exited the terminal to find my friend, Diane who would be meeting me for the trip. After a lot of Facebook IMing we finally found each other and were ready for our Ireland adventure to begin. We hailed a taxi that took us to our first stop the Hilton at Charlemont. I chose this hotel for two reasons 1) it was close to the start line for the marathon and 2) you pretty much know what you’re getting with a Hilton. The hotel was great and reasonably priced. Best of all I could walk to the start line.
Once settled in the hotel it was time to go to the marathon Expo and check in. I had some important decisions to make. If there was a possibility that my bag didn’t come in I would have to buy all new gear at the Expo. I had two days before the marathon and a scheduled tour the next day, so there wouldn’t be any time to go buy gear. I made the decision to buy all new gear at the Expo. When I say all, I mean shoes, clothes, underwear, and sports bra – the whole shebang. I had trained so hard and had come so far that I couldn’t take the chance that I might not have my stuff. The silver lining to all of this is I bought….more shoes. This time the Hoka brand. There were no Brooks or Asics to be found. So Hokas it is… I liked them…a lot but I didn’t want to run the race in new shoes.
Woke up the next morning and no bag. Trying to put that aside it was time for a little Irish sightseeing. We booked a trip to take us to the Wicklow Mountains and Kilkenny. Once out of Dublin, we traveled to the Glendalough Monastic Site originally built in the 6th century by St. Kevin. It truly was a beautiful placae in the Wicklow Mountains with streams, trails and ruins. It was truly beautiful. Here are a few pictures.
I just love all that Irish green. Happy Miles to You!!