Figarelle's Fitness
Cutest kid in the world

I was very lucky to get this shot, since as you might know, unless he’s sick he doesn’t stand still for more than 1.5 seconds. I caught him looking extremely photogenic.

Vanessa and I decided it would be better for everyone if we write two blog posts about this years Lost Lake Run, instead of cramming everything into one huge monstrosity of a post like I did last year. There’s a lot to share, so we’ve unofficially divided everything in half. Sometimes however, we’ll have no choice but to talk about some of the same things such as the sea otter we got to watch up close in the Seward harbor.

But for the most part, we’ll be talking about different parts of the trip. We left Anchorage on Thursday and camped near the beach that evening. Lot’s of cool stuff that I won’t really go over, because Vanessa will be covering that part.

I’m going to fast forward to Friday evening and the spaghetti feed at the Resurrection Roadhouse. I didn’t know it at the time, but all the pasta and garlic bread were donated by that restaurant. For that we thank them, because that means more money for the CF Foundation, and that is always a great thing.

Nathan and a sign

I’m not quite sure why Nathan is frowning at me, he’d been running around having a blast with a bunch of other kids. I guess that’s Nathan for you though.

Vanessa and I were scheduled to volunteer at the spaghetti feed from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. that Friday. Actually, we needed to show up half an hour early to get set up for the crowd of runners that would be pouring in shortly. Vanessa and I ended up working the money box, while two other volunteers manned the entrances to collect food tickets from the runners and direct them to the correct seating.

In the end, we all felt it went quite smoothly. And by our calculations 108 additional guests had paid to join the runners (who ate free) for dinner. The buffet style table was stalked with all kinds of different rolls, garlic bread, house salad, pasta, spaghetti sauce, white sauce, and lasagna. More than a few people walked past us stating that the lasagna was excellent, but me being who I am, figured they didn’t know what they were talking about.

Apparently I’m some sort of lasagna snob (I wasn’t aware of this) because I didn’t expect great things from anyone other than myself or an Italian chef. But to be honest, when I finally got around to trying it out, I was quite impressed with how tasty it was.

Nathan at the Spaghetti Feed

This is the clearest picture of Nathan I could find at the spaghetti feed. He’s as blurry as bigfoot! At least everything else is in focus including that delicious lasagna I just mentioned.

With the spaghetti feed over, it was time to head back to the bed and breakfast to chill out and get ready for the race the next day. But first, I wanted to check the grocery store and see if there were any late evening deals to be had on food.

I scored 4 beef taquitos and some macaroni salad. The taquitos were surprisingly good as was the macaroni salad. See, I had been looking forward to eating some macaroni salad but it never got purchased at the store before we left Anchorage. Someone (Vanessa) said it wasn’t circled on the shopping list, but I’m not sure I believe that.

And as for Nathan, even though I offered to buy him doughnuts and chocolate, he ultimately decided he only wanted a soda. Cherry Coke to be exact. And that was that.

We drove back to the B&B (literally a couple hundred feet away) and Nathan devoured his soda while Vanessa watched some T.V. in the common area, and I worked on a cryptoquote in the newspaper. It was a good night.

Nathan with his soda

Nathan may look tired here, but let me assure you, that was not the case in the least. I don’t know where he gets all his energy from. Oh wait… yes I do. I totally know, and it’s not from me. (It’s from the soda Dad gave him! – Vanessa)

Nathan with his soda on a bed

That’s more like the Nathan we all know and love!

20160827_055516I would talk about Vanessa’s role as a volunteer, but I’ll let her take over:
5:30 sure comes early when you don’t normally get up until 7:50. Knowing that it was just for one day I didn’t worry about how much sleep I would get, (good thing, because I got none), and just dutifully made myself ready for the carpooling leaving our B&B at 5:45am. I wouldn’t have time to stop and be tired anyway.

As part of the starting line team we needed to be at the Bear Creek Volunteer Fire Station at 6am, so we could again carpool up to the race’s start at Primrose Lake and be set-up and ready for the first bus of racers to arrive at 6:30. As far as I’m concerned, and so it seemed with the follow-up meeting, things went very well at the start. They got the starting shoot roped off, the 18 bus trips rolled in like clockwork, there were very few hick-ups with registrations, and each heat of the race started on time. We did agree however that there was a definite need for more coffee. There can never be too much coffee for a crowd of a thousand at 6, 7, 8am standing near a mountain lake at 40 degrees.



The Starting Line

Some of the racers for ‘our team,’ Figarelle’s Fitness, at the starting line:
20160827_102101 20160827_101847

20160827_103803_001We do our job and pack up. It is as if we were never there. It was a perfect end to see a float plane leaving that flown in to watch the beginning of the race.

20160827_102636One of the most impacting parts of attending and volunteering for this race each year is the chance to meet up with other CF families. Since CF patients are so susceptible to infection from one another they are not allowed to be in contact with each other, or even in the same room really. This makes CF a very lonely and isolated disease. When we get together for the race however, being outside and having so many people and distances between each other allows for a little more interaction. Obviously Nathan cannot ride in a car with another patient, but I can! And I have to say that the car to and from the race start will be some of the best conversations I will have had all year. It’s amazing how refreshing it is to talk to someone, in person, and not a third party medical person bound by patient confidentiality, about living with CF. We share about the challenges of camping with CF, (WHICH I HAD MANY OF THAT MORNING), and about the timing treatments in a day and how long they can take.

It was quite funny, actually, that we were driving a random spectator back down who really didn’t know anything about CF or that the race even benefited the cause, and we joked that there would be a quiz at the fire station, as he was ‘getting’ to overhear all these technical terms, medication names, and details of life with CF. I wonder if it impacted him at all.

From here I’ll send it back to Andrew:

Nathan and I stayed in the room and slept in. Since I had been placed on grill duty, we had time in the morning to get Nathan’s treatment done before heading out to the Bear Creek volunteer fire department which serves as the end of the race. The weather that day turned out to be phenomenal. More often than not, it rains in Seward so it’s nice to have some sunshine (says someone who didn’t at all run the race) on race day.

Surprisingly, I didn’t spend as much time on the grill as I had expected. I really don’t mind working a grill at all, but if you’ve done enough time over a smoky grill on a hot sunny day, you’ll know how tiring that can get. So I can’t say it was a bad thing that I spent more of my time under a tent making sure the lettuce, tomatoes, and potato salad were continually stocked.

The fastest runners start crossing the finish line at roughly 11:45 a.m. That’s simply insane to me. These runners are running up and over a mountain for nearly 16 miles (0ver 25 km) and it takes them less than 2 hours. My feet hurt just thinking about that.

As great as that is though, do you know what’s even more inspiring to me? Some of the runners have CF themselves. One day that could be Nathan.

20160827_153024The Lost Lake Run continues to be one of the premier races in Alaska and raises a lot of money each year for the CF foundation. And you know what else? I want to give a HUGE thank you to Figarelle’s Fitness for doing what they do. Year after year, they continually raise so much money towards finding a cure for this disease, and their name is on Nathan’s 2.0 mile marker for the race.

Figarelle's Fitness

The Figarelle’s Fitness team this year at the 2016 Lost Lake Run. They raised over $10,000 dollars! That’s so awesome!

And I, Vanessa, interject again. I shared above about some of the personal impacts taking part in this race brings, but I feel that there are so many great experiences in it for Nathan as well. For instance, meeting this team and knowing that they are helping to find a cure. And by seeing all the racers, really. He is being exposed to top notch athletes, and specifically several with CF themselves. He is helping with a cause and working as part of a team, both we as a family and as volunteers for the race. He is also having to be flexible about activities going on around him that are bigger than himself, and the need for self governing that goes along with that. (Like “don’t wonder off without telling Mom and Dad where you are!”) I can see how being involved in experiences like this have grown several young adults in this community into very fine people, and I look forward to this benefit for Nathan as well. Back to Andrew:

As easy of a job it seems, I was pretty tired (sissy pants) by the time 3:30 p.m. rolled around. The “red lantern” team was still 2 miles out and the volunteers were beginning to wrap things up. There were only a handful of hamburgers and chicken breasts left and the last few stragglers were showing up to claim what little food was left.

At this point Vanessa had been done handing out water at the finish line so we decided we would head into town and walk around the harbor because we knew if we didn’t do it then, we wouldn’t feel like it the next day. After all, that’s when the breakfast/volunteer meeting would be happening, and who wants to walk around town after eating a big meal?

Nathan carrying water

As you can see here, Nathan is helping us with some final cleanup. This is where the chicken and hamburgers were served to the runners. The actual finish line is about 500 feet or so behind Nathan.

So we left and headed into town to get Nathan some ice cream as a reward for being so patient while we were volunteering. He opted for the mint chocolate chip ice cream with M&Ms on top. A fine choice indeed. Shortly after, we were strolling toward the docks to see what we could find.

And we weren’t disappointed at all. Not even five minutes later we stumbled upon a sea otter eating some fish. It didn’t seem worried about us at all. In fact, it appeared that the only reason it dove under water was to grab another one of those tasty dead fish. You know, the kind you buy from the local bait store to use as bait? Good stuff…

I’ve had sea otters come close to the boat years ago, but it’s been a long time and it’s always neat to get to watch an animal hanging out doing animal things. Unless they’re trying to eat you or crush you or headbutt you.

Nathan also got to see a wheelbarrow full of halibut as well. I know that sounds a little random, but I’m guessing a charter boat showed up and two of the crew members were bringing in the catches of the day so they could clean and fillet the fish. There were some other fish as well. I think I overheard someone talking about some rock fish and/or cod and I’m pretty sure I saw a red snapper (yelloweye rockfish?) as well.

Nathan looking at some halibut

This picture totally looks like Nathan is having a staring contest with that there halibut.

Tired out from the days activities we headed back to the bed and breakfast to make some dinner, watch a little t.v. and do Nathan’s treatment. Now that we had a sterilized nebulizer cup and electricity, we could get Pulmozyme done. And lucky us, Ninja Warrior happened to be on the television. Last year at the hotel in Seward, Nathan discovered the show and he quickly decided he really liked it. I’m thinking it’s because the contestants are always falling in the water.

We set up the propane stove on the back porch and I cooked a few hamburgers and hotdogs. Vanessa was looking forward to a repeat of the pork chops she cooked on Thursday evening at the campground, but unfortunately what remained didn’t smell right so we ended up tossing them. They would have been delicious though. She seasoned them with garlic and lemon pepper and then proceeded to cook them perfectly. I just burn everything I cook.

After the food was done cooking, we all headed up stairs to our room for a little game of Play Nine. It’s a fun game that Nathan latched onto pretty quickly. He likes it, and when he was first learning to play the game, it didn’t take him very long to figure out how to make pairs and what cards he should keep or get rid of based on probability. He’s in all seriousness just destroying us at the game. He wins I’d say a good seventy-five percent of the time. I don’t get it.

Nathan trying to figure out how a lighter works

Saturday night dinner. Nathan is trying his best to get that lighter to start. It was giving him quite the problem.

The next morning (Sunday) was the breakfast for all the volunteers. One of my favorite parts. It gives everyone an opportunity to discuss how the race went and what could be done the following year to improve the operation. I particularly like this because of the food. Volunteers share what worked well and what didn’t work so well about each station.

Bacon. For instance, apparently the Moose’s Tooth beer tent had a big bee problem this year. Most likely due to the root beer being staged alongside the real beer. I always love the seasoned potato wedges at the breakfast, and they didn’t disappoint this year. Vanessa talked about the hydration and water tents this year and how they were situated. The runners may have had a harder time this year finding the Gatorade and orange slices.

There were no orange slices at the breakfast but there was some delicious cantaloupe and honeydew melon present. In the end, I felt everything went as smoothly as it could at the food and grill area. I got to thank all the runners as they went through the line. Some of them asked me about the picture of Nathan I had pinned to my shirt which gave me an excuse to talk about him. Scrambled eggs and sausage for the win.

The only thing we had left at the end of the race were 3 containers of potato salad and lots and lots of lettuce.

And that was that. Another race done. The volunteer breakfast was over and it was time to hop in the truck and head back to Anchorage. We ran into her cousin and aunt and uncle at the gas station in Girdwood. Apparently they passed us on the way out of Seward because I’m a slow driver…

Congratulations! I do believe I can finally bring this post to an end. Thank you for sticking around. I think I’ve covered everything I wanted to, so in closing I wish to leave you with a very pretty picture of the Seward boat harbor. Later.

Seward boat harbor

Hope you enjoyed the blog post. This is a picture of the Seward boat harbor the evening of the Lost Lake Run. It was a beautiful day indeed.

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