Paradise Ahhh, we have returned from a nice relaxing get away. Thursday evening we drove to Loveland to drop Annie with her grandparents who were very excited to get an entire weekend to themselves to spoil her. We left their house at 5:30am on Friday to head to the airport for an 8am flight. The idea of driving an hour, to fly 2.5 hours, to cab 30 minutes, to walk 2 miles, to ferry 22 miles, to get to Catalina was just a little overwhelming. There were lots of things that could have gone wrong, but not one thing did. The flight was easy, the cab ride was easy, we picked up snacks at Albertsons before we headed walking to the ferry building with a stop on the way at an Irish Pub for lunch. The ferry left on time, and arrived on time. 10.5 hours after leaving Troys parents house in Loveland we stepped on Catalina Island!
Our accomidations at the Seaport Village Inn we ummm, islandy? But, they were safe, and ummm, cozy? So, we settled right in. Troy and I didn't plan to spend much time in the room, we like to explore. The group headed out to pick up race packets. I was able to talk the race director into letting me move my entry to next year's race. So if anyone is in the mood...join Troy and I next year (I think Troy is going to race next year too!!!!). We had dinner at this awesome place on the pier called Anthonys. I had FISH and CHIPS. Oooh and it was gooooood fish. Boy, living in colorado, that's been awhile! We dropped off the racers at the hotel after dinner (they had to get their beauty sleep) and Troy and I HIT THE TOWN. I'm totally kidding. We actually went exploring and took a several hour walk into the hills to scope out the fancy houses that were pearched on the edge of some crazy cliffs. Almost everyone in Catalina drives a golf cart, so we were getting a pretty big kick out of all the pimped out golf carts. They are noisy little buggers though! After lots of walking and talking we headed back for some much needed R&R.
The alarm went off at 4:30am on Saturday. 10 seconds later Michelle (anthony's wife) called to say that the runners were almost ready to go. We headed down with the group to the starting line. It was strange to feel the buzz of excitement, everyone looked very ready to go. It was dark and everyones headlamps were illuminating the quaint town roads. At 5am sharp the race director said go and the runners were off. 10 seconds later, Michelle, Troy and I stood there with 15 other people, on the empty streets of Avalon. We headed back to the hotel (a 1 mintue walk) and sort of stood around for a little while talking. Breakfast was in order and at 5:45 we were waiting on the steps of the only breakfast place in town that opened at 6am. Mimosas were in order as well, and by 7am I was feeling a little tipsy :). We decided to head out on a run since we had lots of time to kill.
This was the first run I completed since the snowshoe race last weekend and it went really well. We ran about 4 miles, mostly uphill to the Wrigly memorial and the knee performed very well. I have been doing my exercises religiously, in fact there was many a laugh this weekend while I paused in a random location to do 5 one legged squats on each leg. Ken (PT) would be so proud!
After our run we did a little more exploring, all the while checking in with the race staff to see the progress of our runners. They had the split times at each aid station printed on paper at the finish line so you could keep up with your runners progress. Our boys and Andrea took it out very slow and it was fun to watch them work up the ranks. Soon enough it was time for lunch. We headed to Luau Larrys for nachos and drinks, and I had the BEST pomagranite margarita. Allthough, an hour later I walked out of there tipsy for the second time before noon. We took 10 steps, looked down the street, and saw the race winner coming into the finish line. He finished just before noon! Insane! We talked to him for about 20 minutes and he was just a fantastic dude. Totally funny, and personable! Congratulations are in order to Evan!
At this point we started thinking about when the boys would come in. They had climbed from 80/81st place, to 40/41, then to 25/26th. We knew they would be in soon. So Michelle, Troy and I headed what we thought was back along the course to wait for them. Well, we got the wrong road and after talking with a guy we got straightened out as to which road to go on. So we retraced our steps and got on the correct road. We didn't wait too long and sure enough, the boys came flying down this insanely steep hill together. They both looked like they had just run a very long ways, and they both looked like they were not happy about the downhill. We cheered and then booked it to the finish. At the finish line they were very lucid and not passing out or anything. They said that they underestimated the difficulty and that it was really hard. But, they were alive, and quite happy to be done. We shuttled them up to the hotel for showers, rehydration, and rest.
Troy and I then headed down to see Andrea's status. At the beginning of the day we were calculating her pace and thought she would finish very close to the cut off time of 5pm. But as the race progressed, she seemed to really amp things up and the last time we looked at the splits we estimated a 4pm finish time for her. Troy and I started walking back up the course at about 2:45 and figured we would cheer for her around the 2 miles to go mark and then walk back.
This was one of the best parts of the trip for me. Walking back along the course and cheering for the runners as they were in their final mile. Some were doing quite well, most were not. But they were all making progress and since it was downhill they were all still running. One girl, who was quite hot I might add, said this was harder than Ironman. By the look of pain on her face, I believed it! We were about 1.5 miles back into the course when I look up the road and I swear I see Andrea! I start screaming "Is that Andrea" and she puts her arms up, and I go nuts. It was a good 20 minutes before I expected her.
She came running by at a low 8 minute pace and I just started running with her. I threw our bag at Troy and he yelled at me that I didn't ask to run with her. Andrea said it was ok. I was so excited for her. She looked better than ANY runner I had seen all day. She looked fresh, altert, aware, and pretty much like she was running a 10k. I kid you not. I wanted to cry because she was killing it so hard core. She was passing people like it was nobodys business. She was having a great day. I tried to keep up for about a mile, and then I stopped so she could run it in alone while I took a back way to the finish. She still beat me to the finish and when she was done she looked just fantastic. I was really in awe!
She spent little time at the finish and walked back to the hotel just as Michelle, Steve and Anthony were walking down to see her finish. They missed it! She was too fast. She had finished at 3:40pm, two hours after the boys. Insane. We all changed for dinner and headed out for a great celebratory meal. After some treats from the taffy shop everyone was ready for bed. Boy did I sleep good that night.
The next day after breakfast it seemed the three couples were ready for some couple time so everyone headed off in their own directions for some exploring. Troy and I were thinking that kayaking sounded fun. When we got over to the beach to rent kayaks I started to get an itch to go snorkeling. Troy was a bit hesitent, because the water temp was 57 degrees. But I convinced him. We rented wet suits, snorkels, and flippers and off we went. It was just like my childhood experience at CIMI summer camp all over again. The garabaldi fish, the kelp forrests, the sea urchins. I loved the rhythmic motion of the swells. It was just fantastic. After about 45 minutes Troy was getting cold. We went back in after an hour. But it was perfect, just perfect.
We headed to lunch with Michelle and Anthony, back to Luau Larry's for some more of those awesome margaritas and several hours later it was time to get back on the boat and repeat our ferry, cab, flight, drive back to Colorado. The way back seemed much quicker.
We had a great weekend, it was awesome to be a part of Andrea, Steve, and Anthonys first 50 mile race. I'm hoping it's not their last. I feel thankful that Troy and I have found two other couples that we really enjoy traveling with and spending time seeing new sights with. The dynamic is great and I am excited to do many more trips with them. Again, I am in awe of Andrea. I have known her for a year and a half and this race was transformative for her. I feel lucky to have witnessed it. It has made me think differently about my own perceived limits.