We made it through TSA and into New Orleans.
Thankfully, Richard did not call any of the TSA agents “stupid,” although he said (rather loudly) that the layout of the ticket counter line was stupid. To be fair to him, it was stupid.
Our flight to New Orleans was full – overbooked, actually. Even then, it took awhile before someone was brave enough to take a seat in our row. The fact that Richard wears a medical mask when he travels means that only the bravest air traveling souls (usually someone whose loved one went through chemo or organ transplant) will sit with us. FYI, when you see someone traveling wearing a medical mask, they don’t have cooties. They have a suppressed immune system and can’t chance catching someone else’s cooties.
I planned to get my first running adventure started the next morning, but Richard was running a fever which took a few hours to coax downward. Until his fever got in the normal range, we were taking things hour by hour. If he did have to go to the hospital, the helpful lung transplant pharmacist Jenn (who wears the most amazingly outrageous shoes you’ve ever seen on a health care professional) had already filled me in on our hospital choices. Thankfully, Richard didn’t need to go to the hospital and, after getting his fever down and getting yucky NOLA coffee and yummy beignets into him, he recovered enough to tour for a few hours. In case I don’t brag on my super-hero husband enough, I don’t know many people who could be so sick in the morning and touring by lunch. He’s pretty amazing.
Richard made it through night #2 without incident, so the next morning I took myself out for a run along the Mississippi River.
Which brings me to several things about running on vacation I love:
1) You get a glimpse of the city most tourists don’t see or hear. I passed two street people as one of them said to the other, “You know Leelee, the red-haired black trick hooker?” How often do you hear gems like that?
2) People leave you alone. For the most part, people don’t mess with you while you’re running, except for the occasional friendly smile or wave from other runners. And who doesn’t appreciate that?
3) You can find out where stuff is before it’s obscured by the crowds. I finally know where Cafe DuMond is. It’s nowhere near our hotel and I had already discovered I really dislike New Orleans coffee, but I finally found it.
4) You have a personal experience with the city you’re visiting. I typically run when I travel and those runs are memorable, whether I’m running in my upstate New York hometown or through a thunderstorm in downtown San Francisco.
5) You can work off a few of the extra calories you consume on vacation. Richard and I enjoyed wonderful dinners at the Red Fish Grill and NOLA. Getting out for a run made me feel better about treating myself to desserts. By the way, if you go to Red Fish Grill, you absolutely HAVE to get their chocolate bread pudding. Chocolate bread putting is warm gooey chocolate goodness, like eating the middle of a brownie – YUM!!
6). You’re energized to start your day.
I understand that suitcase space is precious. My running shoes are light (but bulky), so they go in my carry on. Running socks go inside the shoes. Packing for winter running is more challenging than summer running, but ball it all up and stuff it in your luggage any way you can. You don’t need an entire running wardrobe, just enough for a run or two. It’s also a great idea to pack a breakfast bar or two in your luggage – perfect for pre-run nutrition or if you want a snack.
Running along the Mississippi was a highlight of our short trip. The weather was perfect, cool and clear. The sun was glimmering on the water. In the distance, I heard the sound of a jazz trombone. As I approached, the trombonist put his horn down and started singing. His tone of his beautiful deep voice was soulful. He noticed my Country Music Marathon shirt and told me he’d been to Nashville several times and it seemed like a nice place to live. That was a happy moment. Then I saw a young dread-locked woman wake up on the riverbank, shouldering her heavy backpack as she started her day. That was a sad moment. I also watched the vendors at the farmer’s market set out their fragrant produce and the barworkers hose down the sidewalks on Bourbon Street to prepare for the crowds.
I saw the dawn of a new day in New Orleans.