Was my snoring bothering you?
Although hiking in to and out of the Grand Canyon in one day was the most physically exhausting thing I've ever done, completing a marathon - and then - coming home to four children under the age of five, has got to be a close second. Add to that, we've had family in town so every night after spending a full day working - and then - visiting with relatives - I barely have the energy to take off my shoes before passing out.
This has been such an amazing week for us. So I'm going to put forth my best effort to post some of the various pictures that I took leading up to the marathon - the marathon itself - and then, what has followed, since.
Ready? Here we go.
On Saturday afternoon, Alex and Kathleen arrived. While Kathleen sat down with the girls to play with princess sticker books ...
Alex laid down with William and began reading the first of what would be, many (many) books. Meanwhile, Henry was attached to my leg begging to be nursed. (That's not unusual.)
Charlie and I left and headed straight to the hair salon. Because I thought that cutting off excess weight might really help me on Sunday, I had told the stylist that I would like about three inches cut off. She knew that I needed as much help as I could get, so she cut off seven.
When we went to the salon, the intent was that Charlie would get his hair cut.
But once we arrived, I decided that I needed a cut, too. My husband was concerned that if I got my hair cut, we might be late for the Inspirational Dinner we were scheduled to attend later that afternoon. Because ... everyone knows ... it always takes longer for a woman to have their hair cut.
When Charlie's barber pulled out a straight edge razor to cut my husband's hair and wielded a pair of hand-held clippers, in place of the "less precise" electric variety, I pulled a muscle from laughing. It turns out this barber was trained in the mountains of Italy and he believes that hair styling is an art. Which is why it took my husband 45 minutes longer than me, to have his hair cut. (Although, I must add - it really does look good.)
Doesn't Charlie look thrilled?
While Charlie was receiving his royal hair cutting treatment, I ran next door to pick up some critical supplies that we'd need to consume before - during - and after the marathon.
We drove north to the hotel where we'd be spending the night and the reality of what we were about to embark upon hit us full force when we saw overpass signs like this one. We were going to be a part of this!!
WE were going to create DELAYS!!
We picked up Margaret and together, we drove to the convention center where the Inspirational Dinner was being held. Walking in to this dinner was one of the most amazing things any of us have ever experienced. There had to be at least 200 people lining the sidelines - blowing horns - clanking cowbells - clapping their hands - hooping and hollering - and cheering for us.
"Us" being all of the people who were participating in the marathon through Team-In-Training and had raised money on behalf of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
We made our way through the food lines and piled our plates high with salad, pasta and bread.
Then, we joined the 5,000 other people who were in attendance for the Inspirational Dinner.
While we sat in a sea of purple (the official color for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society), there were faces of people flashed up on screens around the room who were either being honored, or memorialized, with their fight against leukemia or lymphoma.
As difficult as it was to see pictures of various people who have been struck with this disease, it was excruciating to see the faces of all the children - including too many who have died.
There were several speakers at the dinner including our Master of Ceremonies, John "The Penguin" Bingham. At least to me, the most notable speaker of the evening was a woman named Ellie* from Los Angeles. Soon after giving birth to her first child, when she was 31-years old, Ellie was diagnosed with cancer.
Not long after Ellie received her diagnosis, her husband had a Grand Mal seizure which it turned out, was the result of a benign brain tumor. Ellie underwent treatment and her husband underwent surgery. Just when they thought the worst was behind them, her husband was diagnosed with lymphoma.
All told, participants for this event raised a whopping $8.8 MILLION DOLLARS for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Ellie was the top fundraiser. She alone raised $103,000.00.
AND, she doesn't even know how to knit.
(*I'm not really sure if her name was Ellie. I think that's what they said.)
After dinner, as we left the convention center, we stopped at several booths where various gear was being sold. Since Margaret had forgotten to pack her running hat, she decided to buy a new one. Because there wasn't a mirror any where nearby, I told her I'd take a picture of both the hat and visor so she could see which she liked better.
"Of course I'm not going to post this on my blog!"
And maybe I wouldn't have posted these pictures if she hadn't kicked my bootay on the marathon course, Sunday.
Margaret Dear, I hope you've learned your lesson.
Participants from the various Team-In-Training chapters - from all over North America - had made signs that they posted around the convention center.
This one was my favorite.
Even now, it chokes me up a little.
We drove back to our hotel, checked in, made our way to our room, laid out all of our running gear, pinned our race numbers to our shirts, put our racing chips on our shoes, filled our running bottles with Gatorade, ate a banana, pretzels, and made sure that we had everything that we would need for the next day. We made a quick run to the hotel gift shop and bought a bottle of Tylenol that we thought would be wise to take before - during - and after the run.
Once finished, we sat back and took in the sights of downtown San Diego. From our room, we had a great view of the USS Midway.
Then, we set our alarms.
Because we needed to be up in five hours.
(to be continued...)