Monday, March 17, 2008
This has been my home since Friday night and will continue to be my second home until they allow the boats to leave again - hopefully sometime around Monday evening. Although the skies are clear, it is quite windy. As I know all too well, wind and ocean travel don't mix well. Getting over here Friday night was quite an adventure - did you see the movie "Titanic" - okay, not quite that much of an adventure, but close. After being tossed about like a rag in a washing machine on a boat, I kissed the dry ground and started off to find the new runner check in hotel. It used to be right by the port but this year, it was relocated to the Catalina Canyon Resort & Spa - sounds nice, right? Well, I have never before wished so hard for a building to descend itself down a hill. Trekking uphill at 8:30pm while carrying the laptop, and necessary race gear including a few quarts of Gatorade was not exactly pre-race resting. Naturally, I would not be staying at the Catalina Canyon Resort, so I trudged downhill, now carrying the additional "goody" bag, across the island to my hotel. Got a few hours of sleep until 4:00am, then it was off to the 5:00am ferry where 600 very well hydrated runners boarded for our ride to the 7:00am start in Two Harbors. Who knew "Titanic" had a sequel...?
Despite two turbulent boat rides in the 12 hours prior to the race, the Catalina Marathon on Saturday was terrific. I finished in four hours and 38 seconds, fourth in my age division. It was my slowest time ever, but I still had a lot of fun. To begin, I knew I wasn't in "race shape" having just run the Napa Valley Marathon two weeks ago. Also, it was windy. Really windy. I literally counted more swirls of dirt devils than runners. The wind made for some really fantastic clear views along the way, but alas still no buffalo sightings. For those of you keeping track, this is my fourth Catalina Marathon and I have NEVER once spotted a buffalo or a bison or anything of that sort while running out here - unless you count the pictures on the finisher shirts. Personally, I think it is all a conspiracy to make me keep coming back in hopes of seeing one.
Ben Brown wins for the second year in a row. Julie Allen was first female in her marathon debut, and she later gave me my first ride in a golf cart to the post-race party. Results.
Fourth best part: MOJITO after the bath! Followed by a seafood salad at Original Jack's that was so good, I had to write a review. Dessert: Pistaccio Nut Ice Cream from Big Olaf's.
Well, it can't ALL be good food, right?
Although the entire trip may seem to have been problematic, and my race results were not exactly "racey" - I must say that this has been one of the greatest experiences in my life. There were times when I seriously considered sending for my belongings and permanently relocating to the quaint little town of Avalon. With my qualifications, I'm pretty sure I could quickly become gainfully employed as an ice-cream critic and part time running coach. When I'm not hard at work, I could spend time on the miniature golf course, ride the horses at the stable, go on long runs, learn about the birds at the Catalina Island Conservancy, and do my part for the environment by commuting on a Segway... Well, it sure beats getting back on the Titanic, Part Three!