Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The longest thing I've ever posted.

Race day turned out to be a fantastic day! I was very nervous in the morning but it all disappeared the moment I took my place behind the starting line. The day went a little like this:

7:00am - I got up and leisurely made my breaky, read some of my book and thanks to a broken washing machine, I handwashed my 2 favourite running shirts and threw them in the dryer. I thought that it would take me 2 hours to get myself ready but I was sitting at the computer at about 8:10 completely panicked.

9:30am - Jay and I arrived in the very busy downtown Burlington where we met up with Mom, Grandma and Woody. I had one last bathroom break, put on my racing bib and chip and headed down to find the starting line. It took a little while to make our way down there because there were 2600 other racers and their families heading to the same spot. I'm sure some of them were not happy about the slow walk behind Grandma and her walker but she was seeing me off and nothing was going to stop her!

10:00am - I leave Jay, Mom and Grandma and go to stand behind the starting area. I try to choose the right spot for a slow runner like me. Someone is talking on a megaphone but I can't hear them.
10:03am - The whole crowd slowly surges forward. I have people on each side of me and we're only inches apart.

10:05am - The horn goes, there are squeals amongst the runners and we start moving forward. I finally cross the mat. This is it. The crowd was amazing, so much cheering, I'm smiling.

From here on in I can only remember things in Kilometres.

4Km - My first time ever at a water station and people are just throwing cups on the ground! I'm worried about the poor people who need to clean this up. I start to look ahead and on the corner I see Janice, Robyn, Steph and Mike. I start waving frantically and suddenly the loudest cheering I've ever heard erupts. They see me too. I giggle for the next kilometre.

11Km - There is a cute little snow man sitting on a beach chair with a sign that says "Go Mom and Dad!". Awwww. Below that the rest of the sign says "Suck it up!". Nice kids.

12Km - I'm approaching the spot where Beth and Jay are going to be cheering me on. I see them and start waving. Tess sees me first. They wave, I wave more, we call out to each other and I go by. Then I hear the loudest and most pathetic howl out of my dog. She FINALLY wants to run with me. Six months of dragging her around town and NOW SHE WANTS TO RUN?!
14Km - We've reached the Lakeshore baby! If there's going to be wind it's going to start here as we start heading west. Luckily it was fairly light! Today is going so well! There's a water station, I drink some and, for the fun of it, toss my cup on the ground.

16-17Km - Somewhere between 16K and 17K I start feeling a little tired. I know I haven't had enough sport gel and I don't think I can stomach any more. I start to worry a little but I suck back some gel push ahead. The 2:15 pace bunny catches up to me for the first time.

18Km - I see Mom, Russ, Janice, Robyn and Brody before they see me. I'm smiling and waving and when they finally see me they start cheering, jumping up and down, waving wildly. I suddenly feel like I will have no problem finishing.

19-21Km - Racers are getting more vocal, people are asking others how they are feeling. It's a feel-the-love kind of moment. I tell the pace bunny that I'm sticking with her. I want to make 2:15. She says "you can do it". By the time I hit the 20K marker I was already ahead of her, the streets are filled with people cheering and yelling "1 more to go!". When I hear someone yell out "400m more!" I charge ahead and when I turn the final corner I run as fast as I can.

I finally cross the finish line! The race clock says 2:13:13. I can't believe my eyes. Steph, Robyn, Jay and Janice are smiling at me. It's over!My official chip time was posted today, 2:11:41. I'm very happy with that. I was closer to 2.5 hours on my practice runs. I thought I could shave a few minutes off but I never imagined I could shave off 15 minutes! Today I've been able to walk up the stairs with only slight wincing. Going back down them is still a nightmare.


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