Mom was running at her “forever pace,” or the pace that she can maintain all day if she wants to. That means that she would run as long as it was easy, and then hike when she started breathing hard. But now that we were back at the ocean, breathing was easier and we ran a lot of the way up the mountain. I thought that we were probably just running on a flat bit, but every time I checked how far we were above the ocean, it was further and further below us. Since most mountains are longer on the way up than the way down, this must be a magic mountain because it felt short all the way up.
After 7.5 miles of running in the shade of the mountain, and then the shade of the trees we popped out of the trees onto a saddle with just the hats of all the mountains higher than us. Mom and I stopped for a snack and a drink. To be honest we probably could have handled going the additional 2.5 miles all the way to the top, but Mom said that there was no reason to beat ourselves up. We were about to turn back down when Mom’s phone buzzed. There was cell reception up here! This was a magic mountain indeed! But it turned out to be the Witch that Lives in Her Phone tricking us with one of those fake cell signals that you get in the wilderness and nothing would load. We ran another half mile around the side of the peak to see if we could get a better signal. Mom ran holding her phone out in front of her like a baby that had just overflowed its diaper. But mountains must not need to check their updates very often, because we couldn’t find any more bars to tell us how far we were from the nearest Starbucks.
That meant that it was time to finally come back to earth.
“Plus, you’re seeing the course right now from the comfort of your car-house! So you don’t need to spend all that energy to run it!” It was true, I was pooped, which is why I was curled up in my bed next to the driver’s seat with my head in Mom’s lap. The idea of running 10 more miles sounded exhausting. “And do you want to know something extra special?” Mom went on. “…The finish line is in the same spot where you finished your New Year’s 10K this year!”
Now that really was something! I thought long and hard about it while we waited for the line to move. I had run a long run in Big Sir. I had seen the whole course end-to-end. I had crossed the finish line. Ergo, I had run the Big Sir Marathong, just like Mom! What’s more, since everyone else wouldn’t run it till this weekend, and I was here now, well… I’d be the first one to cross the finish line! Which means that I got to finish my birthday vacation by winning the Big Sir Marathong!
-Oscar the Champion
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