Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Catalina Marathon Race REVIEW Recap. "Enjoying The View" - Skillz

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.

Loved that.

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:
Friendly staff
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?
Pass them.
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!
Then, I 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.
Insanely beautiful, right?
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.]

So. happy.

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 . . . ]


Ciara Slider said...

emz looks like a crazy good run! i love the tinkerbell comment! haha! congrats!! xoxo

Jason said...

That sounds like the perfect race in more than one way.

WTG My Friend.....Man V Horse is on our race schedule one year. Takin' that frickin' horse OUT!

Anonymous said...

Catalina Marathon isn't a BQ-but you knew that.

Did you see Buffalo? That's a good reason to run this race.

This is NOT the original marathon. We used to camp out the night before in Two Harbors and have to pack up all our tents/bags/etc. the next a.m. before the run. THAT was the TRUE Catalina Marathon. Too bad this company bought out the other one. Oh well. Most people I know boycotted this race and will also boycott the half in September.

Next up- Catalina 50???

Karine said...

You failed me mention you took 2nd place for all the women! Too much humility. What an amazing accomplishment. I love that it was the experience/journey that was the most important part of this run, not the stats.

What a great trip!

Way to go, Cupcake!!!!!

Caroline said...

this is too good...I just posted my comment over at the other blog...I am a fan of your mom...

you know that saying..great minds think alike...

we will need a lunch date
gals only..in AZ

Emz said...

Ciara. You're awesome.
Jason. 2013. I. See. Horses.
Cheryl. Change is always hard. And usually stinks. But I loved, loved, loved this race....wish I had seen buffalo though. Pita & peanut saw them!
Mom. IFLY.
Caro. Yes. Yes. Yes. No doubt.

B. Jarosz said...

EMZ - Reading this gave me chills. The you-know-something-good-just-happened happy kind of chills. Awesome!

PS - Good job on leaving that guy in the dust. Cupcake? I'll show you a cupcake, mister!

PPS - I love your racing outfit. Totally rocks.

ConcreteNCoffee said...

What an awesome race! I love that you rock a tutu. I bet you'll start a trend for next year :)

Unknown said...

Great Write Up! They should hire you to write the brochure. Congrats on an excellent race.

Gotta add this to the list of races to do. Hey - I've yet to be passed by a tutu clad runner, I think it would be funny though!

Michelle said...

Isn't it funny how some posts touch us? I could see in every picture just how truly joyful you were. That made me happy. That was JOY, my friend. Congratulations on a fabulous day. And heck ya' on the tutu...maybe next year that guy will be wearing one.

Angie said...

Oh yay!

a runner said...

Finding the joy is the BEST!!!! You definitely look joyous in the pictures :) What a gorgeous place to run for a long time :)

pensive pumpkin said...

do you get tired of hearing how amazing you are?

i don't care if you're tired of it.

you are amazing. and now i want to run in a tutu, even though i may never pass anyone as long as i live. LOL

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

Oh Cupcake (he, he!) you had such a fab race AND the fam was there to see you! Love it! Way to go Pita and Peanut!

I think you looked adorable in your tu-tu! I would like to see a run*emz pattern on one for you!!

TriMOEngr said...

Freaking.Loved.This! Great race report! Great pics!

Laura said...

SO love all these pics!! Happy racing.

abbi said...

I loved your comeback to the dude at the start. I hope you passed him as well on the course and he got to eat his words!

Dana Joost said...

Great race recap!Way to kick some old man ass. Your post was awesome, as usual. The way you tell a story makes me feel like I am running along with you. :)

tahoegirl said...

Lets go Cupcake? WTF? Way to kick him in the balls. You are so inspiring.

Patrick Mahoney said...

20 miles from where I sit, yet I've never been to Catalina...

Runners Fuel said...

Great race!! You look good in purple!

bobbi said...

Let's go Cupcake! Bwahahaha! He obviously had NO CLUE to whom he was speaking! :)

Love this report, and love your family. They rock, seriously.

Elizabeth said...

The look on your face really said it all, awesome race and report.

Pam @ herbieontherun.com said...

HAHAHAHA... cupcake...

Char said...

So who are you exactly? Tinkerbell or cupcake? Don't men realise that a tutu won't slow you down if you're fast? And I love the transport to your hotel - spared no expense did they?!

Jen @ Run for Anna said...

This race looks AWESOME! I'm definitely going to check it out.

Petraruns said...

That just looks so gorgeous. Never mind that Tinkerbell kicked all but one woman and I'm sure most men's asses - well done girlfriend! Love it! And isn't it great to do a race where you just soak up the atmosphere and love the running (though I would really like to do that AND place at the same time but hey - that's not given to all fairies..). Well done girl - big hug.

Madison M. said...

awesome race!! and FYI.. I friggin LOVE your tutu!!

Unknown said...

I love, love, love this race recap. Freakin' awesome. And you look beautiful. I would rock a tutu every single time if I looked that cute in one. I would wear one for the rest of my life if my abs could look like that for just one week! :)

It looked like a gorgeous race, "cupcake" ha. ;)

Rachelle Wardle said...

Freaking love this recap. Congratulations!! love the tutu. You freaking rock!

Running Girl said...

That race looks amazing! And, love that you rock the tutu, and take on the silly mockers.

Jill said...

You freaking ROCK! Seriously loved your RR and your super awesome violet running tutu. (You remind me of my "Violet" doll as a kid :)). I'm happy to hear you didn't push it (ahem!) and had one fantastic day out there! You're the best! Thanks for always being you!!


Pavement Runner said...

LOVE the recap and LOVE the comments you got. Cupcake? The nerve.

Ok, I think you may have convinced me for 2013.

Kevin and Kim Partridge said...

This was a fantastic recap of a fantastic race. And you hit the nail on the head as to WHY to run this race: to remember the JOY of running. Very well said.

The Green Girl said...

Oh, Emz, you rock in more ways than I can type in a blog post reply. You go, girl!

Jen said...

I LOVE Catalina so I can almost imagine how fantastic that marathon was. You are such a rock star!