Never plan to stick with the plan, beach-style

Merrill and I joke that we should never make plans. When we do make a "plan" there are always quotation marks around it. No matter how well intentioned we are, something seems to skew the "plan." That's not a bad thing. This past holiday weekend was typical Merrill and Brian

Four o' clock came on Thursday and that meant my week was over at work. In the morning I had my final (hopefully) appointment and X-ray at OrthoCarolina hand clinic. I knew things were progressing well at my last appointment when I had the cast removed. My only concern was that when I started wearing the brace and then the week of having it off my thumb ached. Of course, I figured the bone wasn't healing and that I wouldn't be able to begin training for the last triathlon of the season, Tri at the Trump.
Pietro, the physicians assistant that was taking care of me, came in and asked how things are. I told him about the ache (pain) in my thumb. He felt around where I said it is and he looked at the X-ray. The bone is healed, BUT I have bad arthritis in my thumb. It's pretty much all bone on bone. That got me down a little bit, but it's got going to prevent me from training. Woohoo!

Now, there needs to be some prefacing of the next two days. A certain storm named Hermine was making its way across the Gulf of Mexico, going to strike Florida as a hurricane and then continue through the southeast as Tropical Storm Hermine. Myrtle Beach and Virginia Beach were right in its path and Charlotte was on the edge.
Sooooo, G and M2 were going on a church youth trip to Myrtle Beach for the weekend. They were scheduled to leave late Friday afternoon and get to the retreat center late at night. Remember Tropical Storm Hermine? She was settling into hammer Myrtle Beach during that time. Lyn Holt, the youth director for St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Charlotte, came up with the brilliant idea to stay at the church as a lock-in and then leave early the next morning. Extremely happy they did that. The group got to the beach late morning on Saturday and proceeded to have a fantastic time! I am so glad because this was M2s first event with the youth group.
Virginia Beach was going to be the destination for Merrill, M1 and myself. For two years Merrill and I have participated in the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Marathon event. In 2014, we both ran the 5K because a half-marathon seemed so hard. (That is so laughable because of what we have done since that weekend) In 2015, we both ran the half-marathon. It's a beautiful, flat course that finishes on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk right on the beach front. This year, we were going to do the half marathon, again.

We got to the hotel in Virginia Beach around 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Part of this was becasue we didn't leave until early evening. The main reason it took so long was that driving into a Tropical Storm causes lots of rain that makes it difficult to see while driving. Driving under the speed limit was the safe way to travel. It was windy and rainy when we finally arrived. The sound of  the wind in our second-floor room was crazy. The beds called out names and we went off to sleep.

This is what we were greeted with when we woke up next day. Merrill said she heard what she thought was drops of water. She was right.
The view out of our room. We couldn't open
the door  because the wind kept it closed.
That is a leak from the ceiling.
We learned it started from the ninth-floor.
We did eventually make it out later in the blustery morning to have some breakfast at Mary's Restaurant. The power went off for about 30 seconds at the restaurant. Yum! Then a delicious pizza for dinner at Dough Boys. This was perfect pre-race fueling!
One of the best pizzas I've had.
Merrill and I got our clothes ready for the next morning's run. I made the decision, a rare very wise one at that, to only run the 5K. Even walking the half-marathon would have been too much. I would've gotten too frustrated.

While we drove up on Friday I realized something "tragic!" I had forgotten Hello Kitty. Don't even ask. I was so upset. So, while walking around the boardwalk I did the next best thing...a henna tattoo of Hello Kitty. The person who did it said she had never put Hello Kitty on a man. I am always the first at many things I do. Right, Merrill?
We went to bed fairly early. Then we were sharply awoken by a digitized voice saying, "There is an emergency in the building. Please proceed to the nearest stairs and go outside." This was followed by the whoop-whoop-whooping sound of a fire alarm. It was about 11:30 p.m. We walked outside in our jammies and were joined by the other people staying at the hotel.
While at the race expo, Toyota had a booth that was putting iron-ons on the race shirts. Of course, I knew exactly what I would do. This was for you Children's Hospital Los Angeles CAH Clinic.

The race was pretty uneventful. Not bad at all. I got to watch Merrill cross the finish line from the balcony of our hotel room. That is why we love where we stay. She is amazing and a beast. I am so proud of her and her accomplishments.
Later in the day we walked the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. This Neptune statue is huge!
Sunday night was uneventful. We got to sleep through the night (thankfully) and wake up refreshed on Monday. The car was loaded up and we headed back to Charlotte to pick up to girls who had the best time on the youth group retreat.

This was the view of sun and blueish skies as we said goodbye to Virginia Beach for another year. We will be back in 2017!


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