I hope everyone's enjoying these posts as much as I am :) They've been a really nice way to start off the weekend. Especially post-holiday weekends like this one. (Is it just me, or does Halloween get a little crazier every year?) Katie, my awesome CP and writing buddy has a post for us all today (and you definitely should check out her amazing book, ELIXIR BOUND, which is one sale for only $0.99!!). Take it away Katie:
One day my sister said to me, “Want to run a marathon in Alaska?” And for some reason I immediately responded, “Sure.” I was a busy college student but always up for an adventure, so a marathon in Alaska during the summer solstice sounded fun and exciting. And it was for a good cause: the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The tricky part was that between the two of us we had to raise $11,000 (or fork over our own money for the trip) and we had to actually run a marathon.
I’ve been a runner all my life (though not so much in recent years), so the training part was more a matter of discipline and carving out the time for it. The training actually turned out to be kind of fun and my sister and I did all our long runs together. It was a good bonding experience.
As time ticked closer to when our money was due, though, we found ourselves with a good chunk of change, but still several thousand dollars short of our minimum. Just when my sister and I were starting to sweat a little over how to pull the remaining money together, a local businessman contacted us.
He had seen an article about us in one of the regional newspapers and generously agreed to donate the amount we needed (without knowing how much we still had to raise) to meet our goal. That was our first Sary in real life for the trip, but not the last. With our financial issues solved, we were able to focus on the challenges of training. Among our foes were a rainy May and butt chap, an unpleasant side effect of running for long periods of time without a break.
The day finally arrived for us to leave for Alaska. We packed up the car, running a little late as my sister is always running a little (or a lot) late, and hit the road to the airport. On the way to Newark airport, we got slammed with traffic. It was a Thursday and early afternoon, so we weren’t prepared for this. But we made it through and got to the long-term parking with what we thought was just enough time to make the flight.
There’s only one direct flight a day out from Newark to Alaska, so if we missed this one, we wouldn’t get in until around midnight the next day, a mere six or so hours before we would need to be heading to the start line. We willed the transit bus along, cursing every time it stopped at another section of the parking lot. All the while we were convincing ourselves we would make it. We had to make it!
When we finally made it to the check-in counter with about 40 minutes before departure, the lady informed us we would not make it. We argued we could run to the terminal. I mean, we had trained for a marathon, surely we could make it in time. She said the luggage belt was a mile long and our luggage wouldn’t make it in time. We tapped our carry-ons, full marathon gear (right down to our sports bras) packed safely away and with us. We could pick up the rest of our luggage when it arrived. We’d make do.
We pleaded that we raised all this money for charity and we had to get to Alaska. Sadly, we were denied the opportunity to sprint across Newark airport to our flight. That’s when full-on panic began to set in. What did we do next? Drive back home only to have to make the trip from CT back to Newark, NJ on a Friday. No thanks. Get a hotel room near the airport for the night. Maybe, but expensive. Hang out in the airport for the next 23 hours until the next flight and get in with barely any time to sleep before the marathon. Ugh.
Before we were forced to choose the lesser of three evils, the airline worker said we did have one other option. There were two standby seats available on a flight to Seattle, WA that left soon. We had time to make that flight, and from Seattle, there would be a lot more flight options to Alaska. The airline wouldn’t charge us any extra if we did the two flights instead of the one tomorrow. My sister and I exchanged a glance. We were soon on a packed plane to Seattle, her crammed in the very back row of coach and me slightly better off in the middle of the plane.
We arrived safely in Seattle, but we still weren’t in Alaska. We were still about a day and a half away from marathon time, but time was ticking away quickly and jetlag was settling in. The flight attendants told us to hang tight and that they were doing all they could to get us on the last flight of the day to Alaska. But alas, it was not to be. There just wasn’t any room on that plane, and the next one out to Alaska wouldn’t get us in much earlier than if we had just waited in Newark for the next direct flight.
Step in Sary number two in our trip, well really several Sary number twos. The flight attendants put out the word that two young women needed to get a flight out to Alaska to run a charity marathon. Another airline stepped in and said they had room for us on a flight that left very soon. Both airlines agreed not to charge us anything extra. I pictured the storm clouds parting and the sun peeking through.
Now we had our chance to sprint across the airport. With a hasty thanks to the attendants from the first airline, we dashed across to our new terminal. The new airline welcomed us and we settled in to our seats (next to each other this time) on the plane. We were exhausted and starved, but we were going to be in Alaska before the night was up. The attendants even offered us extra complimentary snacks to us.
I remember watching out the window as the plane chased the sunset. It was already pretty late east coast time, but I didn’t sleep at all on that plane ride. I just enjoyed relaxing into my seat, knowing that with the help of my real life Sarys, I’d have time to rest in my hotel room before the marathon.
About the Author:
Katie L. Carroll began writing at a very sad time in her life after her 16-year-old sister, Kylene, unexpectedly passed away. Since then writing has taken her to many wonderful places, real and imagined. She wrote Elixir Bound and the forthcoming Elixir Saved so Kylene could live on in the pages of a book. Katie is also the author of the picture app The Bedtime Knight and an editor for MuseItUp Publishing. She lives not too far from the beach in a small Connecticut city with her husband and son. For more about Katie, visit her website at www.katielcarroll.com or follow her on Twitter (@KatieLCarroll).
In honor of Elixir Bound being released in paperback (pre-order it here), the ebook is on sale for $0.99 across all platforms. Buy the ebook at the MuseItUp bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other ebook retailers.