I will start by spoiling the ending, and saying that this trip was EXACTLY what I needed for my mental health. The day before I left, it was like a bunch of stress accumulated and came to a head, and I just had to do something. I felt like I wanted to just go to sleep and wake up a couple of months later--just put everything on hold for a while.
Of course, avoidance doesn't solve anything, but I was worried I was going to have some sort of breakdown if I didn't get a break. Thanks to a buddy pass from my brother, hopping a plane to San Diego at the last minute was a possibility, and it ended up being just what I needed to destress.
I left off my last post on Saturday morning, when we were getting ready to drive up to Huntington Beach for the Surf City Half.
Since my trip was so last minute, none of the other people going to HB knew that I was going. There were a few fans of the film that were going up for the race, and John was really excited for them to meet me.
It was fun to surprise Colin on Friday night, and he was going to be picking us up from John's. While we waited for him, Shawn showed up. Shawn is a big fan of the film, and I saw a post she wrote on Facebook that I was on her bucket list of people to meet. How fun to get to surprise her, right? ;) So, she came in to John's house, and we chatted for a little while before Colin picked us up.
Shawn is amazing, and I'm thrilled I got to meet her! She does a lot of fundraising walks, including Relay for Life and the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. For Relay for Life, she walked 55 miles around a track in about 23 hours. I can't imagine walking that far, but to do it around a track?! Just wow. Anyway, I was so impressed by her endurance.
Colin picked us up at John's, and then we drove up to Huntington Beach to meet up with everyone else (Angela and Jennifer, the producers of the film; Nora, who works for the FFTFL company; and Teri, a fan of the film and part of the FFTFL community). Everyone kept telling me that Teri was going to be crazy excited to meet me, which made me a little nervous (I always hope that I meet people's expectations of me!).
They hadn't arrived just yet, so Colin, Shawn, John, and I grabbed a quick dinner at Quizno's. Surprisingly, I've been sticking to my challenge of eating a salad every day! I had a Caesar salad and soup at Quizno's (which I later regretted because we went out to dinner with everyone else at a really nice place and I wasn't hungry!).
We went to the hotel, where we waited for the others in the lobby. It was super fun to surprise them, and I was excited to get to meet Nora and Teri. I always love seeing Angela and Jennifer, too.
|Packed into the elevator at the hotel|
|Dark photo, but: John, me, Shawn, Angela, Teri, Nora, Colin, and Jennifer|
|Teri and me (my hair is enormous from the "heat" in California--60's, haha)|
|I was really hoping the sun would come out for me, but|
it stayed cloudy the whole day. Bummer!
We ran an out and back right along the beach, and we discovered early on that the boardwalk was a big part of the marathon course (it was still open to the public, despite the race). It was fun that we were able to run the course, but without having to run a full marathon ;)
We were wearing From Fat to Finish Line shirts, and I was so excited because people actually recognized me from the film! How crazy is that?! There were some guys who set up a Beer & Bacon Station (not part of the race, but just for fun). I think this should be part of races all over! I did have a little beer, because I was thirsty and I obviously wasn't going to take anything from the water stations on the course without being part of the race. Beer always tastes so good during a run!
Chatting with Colin made the time go by really quickly, and before I knew it, we were back at the starting line/finish line. We did 8 miles at a 13:00-ish pace. Lots of fun with this guy!
We met up with Angela at the finish line, and I was on the lookout for Martine, who I asked to come meet us as well. Martine is a reader of my blog that I've gotten to know through emails. She always used to leave the nicest comments on my blog when I had the "Anonymous" option for commenting, and then she'd sign them "Martine". When I turned off anonymous commenting, I felt bad that she'd no longer be able to comment, so I emailed her to let her know my reasoning and to apologize for it. We then started emailing pretty often, and when I decided to go to San Diego, of course I wanted to try to meet up with her. She came to the finish line, and I was happy to see that she is just as delightful in person as she is in her emails!
|Martine's gorgeous smile|
Although, I do want to say that this particular race is NOT good for walkers or back-of-the-packers. I was shocked at all of the faster finishers who were taking huge armfuls of food and drinks at the finisher's chute, and then there was nothing left when the 3:00-4:00 half-marathoners came through. After our FFTFL people finished in 3:55, there was nothing for them to eat, and there were still half- and full-marathoners on the course! I think it's terrible that people would take so much when there were still people on the course. The race was not set up for slower runners or for walkers, unfortunately.
|Nora, Jennifer, Colin, me, Shawn, and John|
After that, I really had to figure out my plan for getting home. I had been planning to take the red-eye from LAX on Sunday evening, to arrive home on Monday morning. However, Becky called to tell me that the flight filled up, so I needed to do a different option.
Flying stand-by is great when you want to take a last-minute trip, but it's kind of a pain because you have to watch flight availability and your options are limited to what's available at the last moment. I thought about staying until Tuesday and leaving from San Diego, but I really needed to get back home to my responsibilities. There was a direct flight out of LAX on Monday at 6:50 AM, so I ultimately decided to get on that flight.
Martine ended up driving me (in her little BMW roadster!) to Angela's house in L.A. on Sunday evening. Angela, meanwhile, was staying another night at the hotel in Huntington Beach. I wished I'd have had time to plan an adventure in L.A., but going up there was so last-minute. I didn't have a car, so from Angela's, I walked down the street to a Carl's Jr. for dinner. I'd never tried Carl's Jr. before, so I actually looking forward to it.
I got a burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun (I figured I should save calories wherever I can) and it was really delicious. I wish we had Carl's Jr. around here! I was surprised at how much I liked the burger without a bun, too. I have nothing whatsoever against carbs, but hamburger buns seem like a waste of calories because they are just used as a tool to eat the burger without adding any flavor. I'm going to do the lettuce wrap whenever I can from now on.
Anyway, I walked back to Angela's house and just had a relaxing evening. I went to bed early, because I knew I had an early flight to get up for. I'd never used Uber or Lyft or any sort of service like that before, so I was nervous to try it! But it ended up being super easy. I had Lyft credit from someone handing them out near the race course, and John told me if I use the option to share a ride, it'll be even cheaper (whether someone shares the ride or not).
I requested a ride at 4:00 AM, and Tris, my driver, showed up in about two minutes. I was worried about safety, but the app shows a picture of the driver, a picture of the car, and the license plate number. Tris was super nice, and we chatted the whole way to the airport. The ride was 25 minutes, but only cost $9! I wish we had services like that around where I live.
Thankfully, I made it on the flight without any problems, and I even had a window seat with an empty middle seat next to me! Jerry and the boys picked me up from the airport after school.
I am SO so so grateful that I was able to go on this trip! I feel rejuvenated and ready to make some changes for myself that will be good for me in the long run. I realized that even though I'm an introvert, it's worth stepping out of my comfort zone to meet new people and make new friends. I loved every single person I met this weekend, and they're so inspiring.
If you want to get in on the action or just meet some amazing people as well, you can join the From Fat to Finish Line Facebook community. I haven't been very active in it, because it's kind of overwhelming; but after this weekend, I want to make more of a presence there. There are groups of community members at all sorts of races, so it's a great way to meet people. If you see anybody wearing one of these shirts, I'm sure they'd love for you to strike up conversation. The community has over 12,000 members now!
I also want to stress that you don't have to be a "weight loss success story" or "running success story" to join in the fun. There are people who are just starting their weight loss or running journeys, and there are
From Fat to Finish Line is hosting a big event in Vegas in November, and after this weekend, I've decided I must go :) That's for the Rock 'n' Roll race series on November 11 and 12. I'm kind of excited to be in Vegas on 11/11, because 11 is my lucky number. Don't think I'm not going to play roulette and bet on 11! ;) Jerry has never been to Vegas, so I'm excited for him to come with me, too.
Anyways, I'm home now, feeling a million times better than I did just a week ago, and motivated to move in a positive direction. Hope everyone else had a good weekend!