Thursday, October 1, 2009

Choose your poison: Ativan or red wine?

I chose red wine even though I know this means I am now officially off the wagon. One of my many shortcomings is that I am a nervous flyer. So, in many ways, just getting to a marathon that is not within driving distance is the biggest challenge I face. While I believe deep down that there is a gene responsible for this affliction, I can't dispute the environmental factors at play in my particular strain of aviatophobia. My father was so afraid of flying that he did not fly for as long as I knew him. Apparently, he had a bad medivac flight from Germany to California back in the 1960s that was so horrific, he never set foot on a plane again.

As a result, I did not take my first flight until I was 18 and surrounded by Air Force cadets who were addicted to the sport of flying. My first flight, as a matter of fact, was spent one evening in a stolen (okay, it was borrowed) Cessna flying at tree-top-level doing aerobatics over the University of Puget Sound and my mother's condo complex. We literally were chased by police down 6th Avenue in Tacoma, WA to the airport where we landed without lights and left the plane idling as we ran away from the fuzz. Some of my ROTC buddies will read this and say, "so that was you!" I feel it's safe to let this out 20+ years after the fact.

After the excitement of my first flight, I really enjoyed the time I spent in airplanes, mostly in military aircraft like the C-141, C-130 and KC-135. In fact, I ended up spending a few wild flights learning to jump out of these beasts at a very low altitude at US Army Airborne training in Ft. Benning, Georgia when I was barely 21 years old. I actually turned 21 while I was there and was shown a good time by a colorful Marine who took me for my first legal drink to a local nudie bar. And, I had to buy! Still some of my fondest life memories were spent there. I remember thinking how strange it felt to actually land in a plane after having jumped from them 5 times prior.

Okay, back to the fear. So, at one point, right after my Dad's death, I was so afraid that I would not fly. Perhaps it was because I had chosen an Air Force career as an aircraft maintenance officer and knew all of the bad things that could happen to the plane let alone getting to know the jokers flying them (JWs excepted). Regardless of the reason, I refused to fly for about a year and missed a nice family trip to Hawaii as a result. Since then, I have learned to control my fear with drugs and alcohol, though my doctor advised against mixing the two telling me that it would result in a Jimi-Hendrix-like experience that I didn't want any part of.

So, here I sit, with The Genius, in the local airport wine establishment getting my drink on waiting on a twice-delayed flight. Some of you may be new to my blog having read S-Diddy's splendid article in the SacBee today. Welcome. For the regulars, you know I'm not supposed to be drinking right now and might be a bit disappointed in me. Too bad. I am human, you know!

So, I am anxious about my flight, but not so much my race. That's pretty typical for me. I don't see the point in fretting at this juncture. I can't do any more hard work. All I can do is concentrate on getting to the starting line as fresh and healthy as possible. So, I'm flying in three days early, though that's mainly because of the Judi Marty mandated shopping trip scheduled for Friday at the Mall of America. I'm giving her that day to drag me around the mall, but Saturday is all for me to get my geek on and make my pace band and calculate my splits and program my Garmin and (geeky snort, geeky snort)...

I'm still formulating my three race day goals and plan to reveal those Saturday night after getting a feel for the course and the weather in the Twin Cities. I am mostly grateful to have so many supportive friends, family, teammates and Sacramentans cheering for me both locally and from afar. It means a lot to me to receive all of your support and I will try to do you proud.


  1. You are going to rock that course! Have a great flight and enjoy that glass of vino you have earned it. You have done the work, just relax & enjoy!

  2. Good luck! We'll be cheering for you here in Sacramento. Enjoy the race and have a HUGE beer after! Thanks for putting your "shizzle" out there for everyone to read-- and great article in the Bee!
    --Your stalker.

  3. Thanks for J-Dub exception in there. And in fact, I think you should extend it to the other J-Dub flyer as well. :)

  4. I have been taking Ativan for 90 days and I have seen vast improvment. It does not impeed my motorskills nor effect my work performance. I can actually interact with strangers and go outside the house without having a panic attack.