There's a reason people put this marathon on their "must do" list.
It. Is. Incredible.
I will go into details later this week about our awesome time on the island [getting to California, meeting Caroline & having a blast with my family] but for today . . . just the recap of the race/event and what I liked and possibly didn't like.
We arrived via the Catalina Express, Friday afternoon around 3:30pm. We found our driver from our hotel and we were off.
Peanut: "Best ride ever".
Me: best ab workout ever.
5pm was packet pick up. I got there around 5:30. The line was insane! Well, for about 2 minutes it was insane. Then this nice man came out and said, "Any marathoners?"
Then, no joke, TWO of us walked forward.
Packet pick-up in 4 minutes FLAT.
I will say, this is not an "expo" in the way I have come to expect an expo [I'll blame that on RNR races ;) ] to be.
You will NOT find:
Gu's, compression socks, 26.2 car decals, body glide OR a race T-shirt.
T-shirts are handed after the race when you FINISH. Freaking loved that.
You will find:
Fast & efficient staff
Your bib number + pins
A bag with two papers in it
Your boat ticket
So we had the fabulous "Antonio's" for dinner. Then it was crash time.
It true Emz fashion.......I slept like 3-4 hours & completely spaced on packing, buying, bringing breakfast. Uggggg. Cam out of the bathroom to the Pita making me a "breakfast goodie bag" [ya, that's a first ever, so grateful.] Ahhhhh, almonds, ChexMix & fruit snacks. Breakfast of champions.
A 5 Minute walk to the ferry. And I'm on. I find a solo area on the floor and sit. I look up to see a young girl. All smiles but looks nervous. VERY nervous. I wave her over. We chat. She's 16. Yes, 16. And this is her very first marathon. HOLY. CRAP.
The ferry goes from Avalon to Two Harbors. Ride takes about an hour. Looking around, I notice a few things:
These runners look hardcore.
There's a lot of gold dangling from hats.
A lot of trail running shoes.
A lot of water bottles around people's waists.
A lot of older runners.
NOT a lot of people in tutu's. weird.
A lot of people either telling me they love my tutu mixed with a lot of not so approving looks from others. Ehhhh. whatever.
We arrived at Two Harbors with about 40 minutes to spare before go-time. The weather was perfect. Not cold at all but that eventually bit us in the backside about 1.5-2 hours later.
The start of this race felt a lot like the 50 mile Man against Horse Race I ran. Super laid back. No one is acting all stressy or doing pick-ups. Everyone just shooting the crap with their neighbor asking, "how many times you done this?".
My favorite comment at the start line from a 40-ish year old man.
Man: you know this is a serious run right?
Me [dead serious face]: what? This ISN'T the 5k?
Him: [blank stare]
Me: see you at the finish. Looks like a beautiful race.
I took the fist 5 miles very conservatively. Too conservatively, looking back on it.
At mile 4.75ish. A gentleman wearing a "dirty 30" shirt [meaning he has run this race 30 times] passed me going up a freaking hard hill [that I chose to walk].
His words: Let's go cupcake.
I'll be honest, that got my blood boiling. So I started running. I caught him. I said, "You chose just the right motivational word, see ya!" Never saw him again. Cupcake. Seriously? Cupcake. I freaking love my tutu. That guy did me the biggest favor ever.
Ever want to see men pick up their speed in an instant?
They get all kinds of crazy superfunk.
I turned my music on at mile 10. Only to hear SKILLZ "Enjoying The View", and I certainly was. This course is beyond words. Absolutely stunning.
One incredible thing about this race is the volunteers. The BEST volunteers I have ever had on any race course. They got better and better as the race went on too.
I do have to say my favorites were at 20 & 22. Loved. them.
I had a huge surprise at 20 when I saw my Pita & Peanut.
Took my breath away. Had NO idea they were going to meet me. I lit up in excitement.
Which equalled my pace picking up. YAY!
was off for the last 6.2.
Right after I passed another lady came by that Pita & Peanut cheered for. Pita said her comment was, "HA! I just got passed by TinkerBell!"
The Pita cracked up. Peanut wanted to smack her. My family rocks.
It was now . . . . . well, FREAKING heating up. Temperature was at least 15 degrees over the "norm" and well . . . we were all feeling it.
One of the awesome parts of this race?
The last 3 miles are downhill. Like super downhill. The last 1.75 miles is a paved road which passed by a golf course, baseball field, lots of golf carts & homes. I loved all the interaction it allowed with PEOPLE! I had a permanent smile on my face & threw up my hands in "rock-on" fashion almost the entire 1.75 miles.
Turned the corner to the finish line. And......Well, I'm just freaking happy.
I can see my Pita. In the finish line coral. Like right behind the finish line. All smiles. I've never been able to cross a finish line and literally jump [not sure how I jumped but I did] into my husbands arms. [insert soppy Hollywood drama music, but it was all that to me.]
Like the happiest I've been in about 947 days. No I didn't "win". I wasn't fast. I have yet to get my MAN BQ but........ you know, this run was everything to me. Not really sure why but I do know . . . I remembered why I loved running out there. I loved not having a lot of people around. I loved taking in the view and thinking of how freaking blessed I am.
No question. I'll run this again. [and again, and again, and again . . . ]