Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Stairs-It's A Miracle-Pants

Yes, it is a funny title, but it sums up our family's weekend at Catalina. We went there so that I could run in the Catalina Marathon, which, for those of you who don't know, the main reason why I signed up was because it was a winter marathon on a Saturday that was close enough for us to go to, plus, I have a budding marine biologist who jumps at any chance to be near the ocean. I didn't look at the course profile until after I signed up. Gulp. A lot of hills. Oh well. I finally talked myself into it being like an upside down Grand Canyon.
One of Kevin's client's (who is in the opening credits to M*A*S*H. She is the blond nurse running toward the helicopter), her ex husband has a condo on Catalina and they generously let us stay there. It was so beautiful and away from the main part of Avalon, so we got around on a golf cart. The first time that we took it out for a spin, Kevin and I took Olivia and Blake. Olivia sat in the front seat next to Kevin and as soon as we started going, she sang "In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room" over and over until we got to our destination. Who needs a radio when you've got Olivia? The trouble that I saw immediately with where we were staying was: the stairs. 51 to be exact. That's how many we had to climb to get in, and then once inside, there was a couple of steps going up and down in the condo to each room. I knew that I would be feeling it after I ran.
Chloe was our photographer, so all pictures that you may see are from her. Dillan was in heaven and wanted to be at the beach all day and checked on when the low tide would be so he could go in the tide pools to capture whatever he could get his paws on. Kevin went snorkeling and came within 20 feet of a sea lion. He said that it had a lot of brown teeth, so he hurried and got out of the water.
So here is the race report, which, the most interesting part was getting to the beginning. I was told to purchase my race day boat ticket because that was the ONLY way to get to Two Harbors on the other side of the island where the race started. I bought my ticket with my registration, planned to be there at 5 am for a 5 am departure time, and planned out when we were leaving the condo with Kevin and went to bed in my own bed (that's what serious athletes do. I guess. Or ones that will use any excuse to get a night of uninterrupted sleep). Kevin and I left at the previously determined time, and got to the dock at 5 am. Just in time to see the race day boat leaving the dock. I ran down to the end and started yelling "I'm still here!!!!!! You can't leave without me!!!!!!! That is the only way to get to the other side!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Right then, another couple pulled up in the same predicament. I was told later by the fella that Kevin turned to him and said "I'm going to do whatever it takes to get her to the starting line. She'll be too mad if she doesn't run." The Harbor Patrol officer came by. We asked him what to do and if he could help. He said we could try a taxi, but we already knew that they didn't open until 7 am because we had asked them on the first night we got there. We drove over to where the race planners were setting up the finish line and told a guy our troubles. He looked stunned that this could have happened and didn't have any idea what to do to get us over there. Kevin said that maybe he could call the race director and see what could be done. That's when he said he was the race director. We went over to the grocery store that had a couple of people in it getting ready for the day. Kevin asked them if they knew anyone with a boat. They looked at him like he had three heads and said "We aren't hoity toity people who have boats. We work in a grocery store." I told Kevin that I wanted him to pinch me because this was a nightmare and this kind of thing doesn't happen to me!!! I plan for things like this NOT to happen. Kevin thought we should go back to the Harbor Patrol and see if he knew ANYONE that had a boat to take me and the other two (BTW, the girl had a potty mouth and started swearing at people. I didn't think that it was a good time to tell her that she may get a better response if she acted like a lady instead of a sailor) to the other side. He called one person, but they couldn't, so he suggested that we find the sheriff to see what he could do. As we drove over there, I started praying as hard as I could that we would find a way. We saw the sheriff at a stop sign and told him what was going on. He said he didn't know anyone with a boat (who owns all those boats in the harbor????), but that he could see some people that looked like runners getting into a van a few houses behind him. How he even thought that these people looked like runners is beyond me because it was two ladies in there 50s that didn't look like they were in exceptional shape. We hurried over there and Kevin asked them where they were going. Two Harbors. Tears started welling up in my eyes. Kevin asked if I could hitch a ride. They said of course. I hugged everyone I could in that van. There was the couple and a woman and her two boys. Kevin gave the man some gas money which he tried to refuse, but I think at that point, Kevin was so relieved that I wouldn't be mad (not at him, of course, since I should have known better), that he insisted and told him gas was expensive. I have no idea how much he gave him. We had lost the other two a little while before, but Kevin (the do gooder that he is) tracked them down and was able to get them in the van as well. It turns out the driver was the community pastor and they were going to drive over the night before to take the two ladies to the starting line, but were unable, so them even being there at that time was a last minute thing. My prayer was answered. And, yes, Mom, I did thank my Heavenly Father that I was getting to the start. This meant that I got to drive through the interior. which was beautiful, and get a sneak peek at the course. Hilly. We got there in time to take a potty break and walk to the starting line and then start. The course is so amazingly beautiful. Waves crashing on the rocks below, wildflowers everywhere, green hills, a few buffalo, and ocean air. I knew by mile 10 that I would be doing it again and again because it was my kind of course. It really is like hiking the Grand Canyon, but there's more up than down and it's all mixed up. I was so grateful that I had hiked the GC so many times with Kevin because he flies down the trail, which is harder for me than going uphill, so I had enough experience of keeping up and not trying to put on the brakes that my downhill running didn't suffer. Plus, the aid stations were fully stocked with peanut M&Ms, Swedish Fish, pretzels, cookies, and Twizzlers. I told Chloe this and she said I should have taken my number off and gone back for more, and I told her it didn't matter! I could have had as much as I wanted, there was no limit to what I could take. She may sign up for the marathon next year. And then, as promised, the last three miles are at such a decline that you could roll down. It was super fun. I ran through the Botanical Gardens, which was funny, because all of the sudden you see beautifully manicured plants and shrubs that are identified, and it took me a second to figure out that I was in the Gardens. Kevin and the kids caught up to me with a couple of miles left to go while they were in the golf cart yelling words of encouragement like "Go faster, Mom!" and "He touched me!" and "Mom, I'm hungry". It was a glorious sight to see the finish line, and get my FINISHERs t shirt, pin, and medal. I loved it. And I am still sore from running and I can truly say it is my favorite course I have done.
We went to church the next day in the bank building, where the sacrament service was held in a small room. Our family made up 60% of the congregation. Dillan passed the sacrament. Olivia asked me where her Primary class was, and then during "Gospel Doctrine", she had ALL of the answers. Kevin kept giving me the eye to get her to stop raising her hand, and I tried to get her to tell me her answer first so I could screen it, but then she would change the answer she gave me. And, it is very funny when the prayer is being offered and the two year old goes to the bathroom and chooses that reverent time to flush the toilet.
I'm sure there is more to all of this that I can say, and if there is something that I forgot, I will put an addendum, because I know there are many of you anxiously awaiting this report. Thanks to all of those who cheered me on in your hearts. At one point during the race, I swear I heard someone say "Kim!" but then looked around and no one was there. I'm sure it was either my sister, Jen, giving me encouragement, or Emily yelling at me to keep running.
I almost forgot about the "Pants" part of the title! Blake discovered that he loved saying the word "pants", so if there was any break in the conversation or a dull moment he would say "pants" and it would put us all in to giggles. Then on the ride home, the kids were watching a Veggie Tales movie and a song about, of all things, Pants, comes on, and, well, you can imagine the laughter.