Saturday, April 17, 2010

I've been lying to you.

I told you I was going on a girls' night to Portland last night?  Well I lied.  And my friends who commented about the trip to Portland were lying too! AAAAAH HA HA HA HA HA!  (It's all in good fun and for a good reason, I promise).

What I really did on Friday night is drive to Portland, and then fly to Salt Lake City to surprise my sister Liesel for her birthday (hence the lies, and I totally fooled her).  It wasn't just her birthday, but it was also...

Liesel's first Half Marathon, and I had registered for the race without her knowing so I could run it with her.  My mom is already here for her 3-month stay in the guest house.  My brother Chris flew in from SF last night too, and we got in after Liesel was in bed (midnight!), so when she came downstairs this morning at 4:30 am to leave for the race, we were standing in her kitchen.  It was a beautiful, teary moment (that I caught on video... stay tuned).  It is so wonderful to be here in the gorgeous, mountainous place with my whole family.

We left for the race at 5 am because there was a train ride from the finish line area to the starting line involved.  After a moving opening ceremony with helicopters hovering overhead, and color guard, and the National Anthem, Liesel and I wiped our tears and started running at 7 am.  The race course and the weather were perfect.  Liesel and I were cruising along on the mostly flat or downhill route, and I was feeling pretty good, though I definitely was noticing the altitude.  I noticed that I could not hold a conversation with Liesel at all without getting way too winded.  There were only a handful of mile markers on the course, so we only had a few reference points.  At mile 4, we were at 38 minutes.  At mile 10 we were at 1:41.  We were cruising!  It was great!  (can you sense the foreshadowing?)

At mile 11, I learned what it means to HIT THE WALL.  I went from weakening to absolutely nothing in about 2 minutes.  I stopped to walk and then my legs filled with sand and I got dizzy, nauseous and seriously considered quitting.  I sent Liesel, who was running strong,  reluctantly ahead of me at about mile 11.5, at which point I walked/ ran/ moaned until the end.  It was so bizarre.  I've never run out of energy so profoundly.  I could actually SEE THE FINISH LINE and still had to walk, looking around for a medic.  Everyone was shaking cowbells at me and screaming to me that I was almost done, and all I could hear was WA WA WA WA WA WA.

When I got within 2 blocks, I managed to run across the finish line where I was greeted by my nephews, mom, Chris, Craig, and cousin Tiercy.  I crossed the finish line at 2:19 which is still a PR, but the ridiculous thing is that I was on track for a 2:10 half marathon, which would have beat my previous best by 10 minutes for almost the whole race.  Everyone insists that the altitude is the explanation of running out of gas (Salt Lake is at 4500 feet and I live at sea level).  I think it is probably the combination of getting about 2 hours of sleep and the altitude, but damn.

I will state the obvious irony here, that I came out here to support my sister in her first race, and I ended up finishing 5 minutes behind her and almost passing out at the end.  Go figure.

After a few minutes, I was fully recovered and wanted a re-do on the last 2 miles.  So it goes.
I am so proud of my sister!!!  She was amazing!
Cameron and Grant (who didn't see me this morning, so didn't know I was there until I wobbled across the finish line) are two of the three most beautiful blonde boys in the universe.

They ran the "Kids Marathon" 1K after our race, and got their own shirts and medals too.  (Again, wait for the video of their earnest faces as they cruised across the finish line).

And we got some great schwag:

I'm so happy to be here. I have ahead of me a weekend with my family in sun-soaked Utah, and I'm going to catch up on my sleep deficit, and snuggle with my nephews, and have big, sit-down meals in my sister's new house. Lots of photos to come.

Enormous thanks to Sam who was happy to keep the kids home for the weekend so I could do this thing that means the world to me.


Sarah said...

Crying, of course. Have a great time with your sibs.

Jennifer said...

yeah!!!! I'm happy that everything worked out so perfectly (besides the altitude)! Enjoy your time with family.

Carver Fam said...

Whoo Hooo Em and Liesel congrats on your first half!! love when you do something you do it BIG. Sorry you got so sick, but damn you're tough as nails.

SNW said...

OH YES! I forgot about this exciting plan you were brainstorming back during the February race! Can't wait to see the videos. I did the canoe race today, myself, and my shoulders are dead. Hal Higdon better give me the day off tomorrow.

Kelly Dahl said...

What a wonderful surprise! I actually went to bed last night picturing you in Portland, missing my old home. Boy was I off!! Enjoy your family and the mountain sunshine!

Tiercy said...

Thank you so much for including me in on Liesel's surprise! I seriously had a great morning cheering you guys on...come to think of it I actually didn't get to see either of you cross the finish line...I want a race "do over" haha. You have such a great family...wait, I have such great family. I truly loved spending the morning with you guys...the only thing I would change is that I would be running it with you next time. =) Great job! Love ya!

maria. said...

next you're gonna tell us you've been sneaking vegetables into our meals (re: the post before this)! congrats to you and your sister on the halfathon! have fun in slc!

Karen said...

Awesome. I love surprises. What a great sister!

Heather said...

What a great story (and lie)! So glad you were able to surprise your sister. Enjoy your time with her!