As is the new norm, I woke up this morning to the very audible and manic sound of the morning birds outside my window in Scottsdale. I was starving, but not sure if I should go downstairs yet as one of my fellow training campers was regulated to a foamy on the living room floor and I did not want to wake him up. In addition to Geoff sleeping on the living room floor, my dad was “camping” on the floor at the foot of my bed – it was a full house!
Partway through a two month road and mountain biking trip in the American Southwest, my Dad happened to be passing through the area where I am currently training and is always looking for a good deal on accommodation. Given the options of sleeping in his Prius or on a foamy in my room, he chose the latter. (Ironically, twenty years ago, and likely twenty years from now, my father would always get dibs on the bed with the “child” (me) on the floor but now that I am paying the bills the roles are reversed!) . His sense of adventure, thriftiness and independence are character traits I have always admired, and it was fun to have him join our training camp for a few days.
I tip-toed over my father and snuck down as quietly as possible and found Geoff (www.harrisrunning.blogspot.com) was already up and out. Still getting my morning bearings and “BC” (before coffee), I stood in the living room of our 850 square foot Scottsdale condo looked around to see the evidence of a major doped out training camp party. Low tech and high tech toys overwhelmed the room: six laptops, eight phones, and two Ipads, a variety of running gimmicks such as rollers, sticks, baseballs wrapped in physio tape and other strange running tools littered the floor, as well as water bottles, Gatorade containers and assorted snack wrappers on every possible remaining surface. With three beds and one bathroom, room for a max of two in the kitchen at a time without touching “cheeks”, and four dining room chairs, quarters are tight but merry.
While still processing the stimulus overload of our small space and abundance of stuff, a new noise entered my world, one that was simultaneously clanking and squeaking outside our patio gate. Geoff pushed his way through the large brown wood gate dragging a wonky-wheeled grocery cart behind. On his current “paleo” diet and a skinny distance runner to boot, he looked one step away from homeless with his baggy sweats rolled to his knees, torn collar and shaggy red hair and unkempt mustache. The grocery cart did nothing to enhance his look of a productive tax-paying member of society. “What are you doing???” I asked incredulously. “Oh don’t worry” he said, “I just can’t walk properly right now with my sore Achilles so I just borrowed this grocery cart from the store down the road”.
I suddenly remembered that I had promised to wake Lauren (www.asklaurenfleshman.com) by 8 am as she has the amazing ability to sleep until noon without an alarm clock. Since all beds and reasonable floor space was already claimed, she was sleeping in her van in front of our unit. As I cornered the building, I saw her closing the door. The local police had beaten me to waking her up this morning. Apparently an uppidity Scottsdale oldie had reported a “crazy homeless woman living in her van” on our street. I suppose parking right next to the tennis courts meant that all the early bird players walked right by her window and saw her feet hanging off her bed. As many cute, young, blonde woman can do, Lauren charmed her cop and he left her alone.
I jumped into her van and was immediately drawn to a Costco-sized almond container, which had a variety of trash floating around in water. “What’s this”? I asked her. “Oh my god, don’t touch that”, she said emphasizing the word that. I looked closer. Right. Van without bathroom. I suppose if she were to be drug tested in the morning she would have her sample ready to go.
Back in the condo and disappointed that we had polished off the delicious bag of Peet’s coffee the previous morning, someone discovered a gigantic 10lb bag of French Roast in the freezer, and life was looking up again. After a cup or two of strongly brewed French press, the earlier events seemed even more comical. While Adele’s amazing voice rocked through the over-rated laptop speakers and Alicia and Celia worked on their dance moves, Lauren picked grapefruit from the patio for fresh squeezed juice from the tree outside our door. Before we knew it, Geoff had turned off the recorded music and was playing a beautiful rendition of strumming Mumford Son’s “The Cave” which we have been practicing as a group the evening before. Clearly lacking any special musical ability, I have been nominated the team’s music manager. All I can say is it is a good thing that we have scheduled practices at 9 am and 5 pm because we are getting much too comfortable in our good-time communal living situation!