Step #1: Be Sleep Deprived
Enroute to San Juan, have a flight itinerary where your first flight leg departs at 5:50 AM.
Get so distracted by everything else going on the entire week prior to your departure (e.g. work, improv class, Blackhawks games) that you don’t start packing until T minus 9 hours the night before departure.
Run around all evening like a madwoman trying to get things in order. Don’t get to bed until 11:00 even though your alarm clock is set for 3:30 AM. Then, have trouble falling asleep because your mind is still racing.
Wake up intermittently all night and then finally give up and just get up at 3:15 AM before the alarm goes off.
Step #2: Don’t Eat Properly
Have a very light breakfast before leaving at 4:20 AM even though you’re not hungry. Feel nauseous from the combination of sleep deprivation and forcing yourself to eat at this hour.
On your first flight, don’t use the bathroom even though you need to because you’re in the window seat and don’t feel like disturbing everyone around you. Don’t realize until it’s too late that the layover time between your first and second flight is only 45 minutes but has been shortened to 35 minutes because of delays. Curse to yourself because you wanted to get food during your layover but will have triply less time to do so now.
During your layover, have no choice but to grab the first food option that is quick and has no line (Papa John’s personal veggie pizza). Eat it at the equivalent of 9:00 AM CST. Only have a banana and a hard-boiled egg between then and dinnertime.
Upon arrival, leave for dinner at the equivalent of 4:00 PM CST. Take a long time finding and picking a restaurant, then order dishes that unknowingly take at least 45 minutes to prepare. Consider eating your own arm. Inhale the food when it finally arrives but still feel hungry afterwards. Seriously contemplate going to a second restaurant and ordering a second entrée. Deliberate for a long time, but eventually decide against it and just go to bed.
Step #3: Don’t hydrate properly
Even though the tap water is perfectly safe, drink only limited amounts of it because you think it has a metallic taste. Be too tired and too stingy to buy bottled water or any other sports-appropriate beverage so just deal with not feeling very well hydrated.
Step #4: Don’t plan your schedule well
Stay at a hotel with free breakfast served between 6 AM and 9:30 AM. Wake up at about 8:20 AM the next morning and decide to go just for a short 3-mile run so that you can be back in time before breakfast ends. Try to get ready quickly but ultimately don’t get out the door until 8:45 AM. Ignore the fact that you'll end up being rushed and therefore stressed at the end.
Step #5: Be way too ambitious
Decide to try to do more of a tempo run instead of an easy run in order to make up for lost time. Be completely unaccustomed to the sunny, warm, and very humid weather after months of running in cold Chicago weather, but decide not to adjust your plans at all.
Step #6: Push yourself even more than your overly ambitious original plan dictates
Run down a big main street with several side streets feeding into it. When various other runners turn onto the main street and end up pacing right next to you, speed up to pass them even though you’re already running uncomfortably faster than your normal pace.
Be unaccustomed to hills but be on a route with hills, in addition to the fast pace and hot weather. Power up the hills anyways and feel so winded that you think you are going to vomit.
Step #6: Ignore the forces of nature
See clouds rolling in very quickly and start feeling some drizzle. Initially welcome this as some relief from the sun and humidity. But then, watch that drizzle quickly turn to a torrential downpour with water coming down in sheets and buckets. Wince as the rain pours your sweat into your eyes, making your eyes burn.
Don’t even consider looking for some kind of overpass or other covered area to wait out the storm. Prioritize the fact that time is running out on free breakfast back at the hotel, and consider that you only have about a mile to go at that point. Keep going amidst the pouring rain. Ignore all of the normal people who did actually try to wait out the storm that stare at you in stunned disbelief as you slosh past.
Make it back to the hotel completely and utterly drenched. Before going inside, try to wring yourself out as much as possible, but realize that at a certain point it won’t make any difference. Try to look nonchalant as you walk into the lobby and ignore the appalled looks from the folks working the reception desk. Try to walk carefully on the marble floor, despite your shoes squishing with every step and leaving wet footsteps and a trail of water behind you. See your spouse on the way up, bringing you a plate of breakfast that in retrospect, could have saved you the effort of trying to rush back in the monsoon-like conditions. Feel grateful for having such a thoughtful spouse and simultaneously feel completely drained, sore, and miserable from what you just put yourself through.
Step #7: Forget that electronics and water do not mix
Upon getting to your room, focus on taking care of your dripping clothes and shoes and take a shower. Then, mop up any area of the floor where you were standing in order to prevent anyone from slipping and breaking their skull. Remember that the trick to drying out your shoes is to take out the insoles and then stuff the shoes with newspapers. Don’t have any newspapers on hand. Instead, make do by sacrificing your spouse’s entire latest issue of Sports Illustrated one page at a time (remembering to ask for permission first).
Completely forget about your MP3 player this entire time.
Realize much too late that your MP3 player had also gotten soaked. Also curse yourself for using a carrying case for it that was also soaked and was insulating the MP3 player in residual moisture for the last 30 minutes. Try turning the player on with no response. Try using a hairdryer to dry it off. Use your Blackberry to search for help and read that you shouldn’t try turning the player on OR using a hairdryer as a fix because both can potentially only cause further damage. Curse yourself again.
Attempt to keep the unresponsive MP3 player on life support for the three days until you can get it home. At home, try suggested remedies of burying the player in a bowl of uncooked rice and storing it with a silica gel packet. Pray that either remedy will work. In the meantime, feel completely resigned and unhappily start researching the cost of buying a new MP3 player.
Step #8: Make big decisions while still in the heat of the moment
Vow to never leave the house again. Ever.