It's always good to have backup plans. That way you'll - more than likely - not be too disappointed.
This weekend was a good case of that.
A former co-worker of mine, while I worked at Tulare Regional Medical Center in Tulare, California, Jennifer Dilgard, had made plans to participate in the four-mile Shawshank Hustle in Ohio this past Saturday.
Another co-worker, Lisa Watson, was flying in from California to do it with her.
Both of these ladies were a large part of any success I had at that facility as an interim CIO.
I had originally planned to as well, but I wasn't paying attention how popular the event was and -- it sold out!
When did I find this out? Immediately after I purchased the airplane ticket.
So I was still going to go, meet up with them before and after and do four races this weekend (Fri. night, Sat. morning, Sat. night in Lexington, KY and Sun. AM in Cincinnati) -- adding to my counts of races in north American cities or towns.
However, there was something that needed to be taken care of here on Sunday evening that only I could in reality do and I had no guarantees if I did it on Thursday evening or Monday evening if the same outcome was to be expected.
I didn't need a big, costly shock in my world.
Making it all easier to be palatable was that my ticket was on Southwest, which allows you to bank the money if you cancel before the flight departs.
I saw races in Granbury on Friday night, Longview on Saturday morning, Arkadelphia, Arkansas Saturday night and the local Run For Wellness 5K on Sunday morning.
Agressive. Lots of driving. And without a lot of rest.
I was able to get a hotel room in Marshall with my Marriott Rewards for two nights with discounted points.
After putting in three and a half hours Friday morning and getting to having worked 45 billable hours at my client, I headed north.
However, a slow leak that I had in my rear driver side tire was seemingly getting worse as I made my way up Highway 59 towards Marshall.
I arrived, checked in and took care of a number of things in my room before crashing at about 6 p.m. It had been a mildly stressful week and in reality, I needed a bit of rest.
Yes, I woke up right around midnight.
Eventually, I got out of bed at about 4 a.m. and went down to the car to get my bag, which had my running gear. I figured that I could take the car across the road to the Shell station and air up the tire and head to Longview for a 7:30 a.m. 5K.
When I went out, well, it was flat. I wasn't going to be going anywhere. Now I had to come up with some different plans.
Eventually, when I went to the front desk and asked the clerk who they would recommend locally to fix a flat, they had a pair of recommendations but also offered the use of a portable tire air compressor.
I had a good breakfast at IHOP, which was adjacent to the Fairfield Inn & Suites just off I-20 and Highway 59, and then came back and aired the tire up enough to drive it and shut off the warning on the car's computer system.
I went to Hometown Tire there in Marshall. They were busy. Seemed to be a rash of tire issues this Saturday as the receptionist remarked to multiple people of such.
Thirty minutes or so later, they had patched the flat tire, charged me $15 and I headed back to the hotel. When I got there, I offered the two ladies lunch if there was any place that they wanted to order it from. However, they declined. I told them that it was the least that I could do after saving me from having to get a tow truck. (Thank goodness I had enough cash with me, which is rare, in case.)
So the new plan?
One that I had short-circuited on the way up to Marshall and that was to start my path of trying to run at least a mile in all 254 Texas counties.
There's a brand new running club that just started recently - as reported in Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine - by those that are seeking to run a 5K in every county.
It is led by retired Air Force officer Mary Kaplan, who is well into the 170s, I believe.
I was introduced to her in Kosse two years ago at the Greyhound 5K by the Seven Hills Running Club's Ken Johnson and I put her quest on to Texas Runner and Triathlete last year.
I figured that since it took me parts of 12 years to meet my first goal of running a race in 100 Texas cities or towns that it would be sometime in my early 70s until I could run a race in all 254.
As it turns out, looking at my list of Texas cities and towns, I've actually run a 5K race or longer in 54 counties, including 40 where I've actually finished in the county seat.
Will I repeat those counties and run at least a mile in them again? Probably. Especially if they are on the way to the next county in a trip. Obviously, west, south and central Texas are the biggest areas to cover.
So at about 11 a.m., I located the Harrison County Courthouse in Marshall, walked around and took some pictures and then headed out for a warm mile-plus.
My plan is to run about 12 to 13 minutes in each to make sure that I cover the mile.
For the first time ever, I actually tracked each my using the Map My Run app on my phone.
They were tough miles, especially in the 95 and greater heat, and as you can expect the average pace got slower with each one.
Harrison County (Marshall) -- 1.26 miles / 10:22 pace
Gregg County (Longview) -- 1.18 miles / 10:30 pace
Upshur County (Gilmer) -- 1.36 miles / 10:48 pace
Wood County (Quitman) -- 1.18 miles / 10:49 pace
Hopkins County (Sulphur Springs) -- 1.24 miles / 10:52 pace
Franklin County (Mount Vernon) -- 1.28 miles / 11:29 pace
Titus County (Mount Pleasant) -- 1.30 miles /11:47 pace
What I didn't do - in that heat - was to take some salt tablets (not that I had them with me) because even though I was getting fluids in me, my legs were cramping and that is largely the reason for the slower paces in the last two counties.
Titus County was actually by chance. I was hoping that I would be able to get in Marion County in Jefferson, which I had to pass through to get back to my hotel in Marshall.
I didn't even realize it as I was making my plans to cross beneath I-30 and head through Daingerfield and on to Jefferson.
I think that this may end up being a fun quest.
Regardless, I was up this morning at 5 a.m. and on the road by 5:45 a.m. to ensure that I made it back to North Park Baptist Church as Waverly was co-leading worship in song this morning as our regular music leader had plans to be gone this weekend.
Two weeks from now, she'll be in Lynchburg ready to start her junior year at Liberty University. My how the time flies.