This past weekend was Victoria Day weekend, best known as the kick-off to summer weekend here in Canada. Alas, in my neck of the woods at least, it wasn’t quite summery. Saturday was chilly, Sunday started off cold and luckily warmed up and stayed sunny in the afternoon, and Monday was damp and dark and drizzly.
The cooler side of Sunday ended up being well timed though, since it was finally the day that my 10K race in the Bluenose Marathon arrived! I wasn’t sure what to expect; on Wednesday I had gone for one last 5K run and Thursday morning I was barely able to put pressure on my left foot at all. My heel was in so much pain and I was really upset to think I might not be able to run. By Friday I was okay as long as I had shoes on (luckily it was casual Friday so I wore running shoes) and then on Saturday the pain was almost gone. I had also picked up some memory foam insoles for my shoes and despite my concern over using something new on race day I stuffed them in my shoes and hoped for the best.
On Sunday morning I was up at 7, had eaten two pieces of toast with almond butter (and guzzled water) by 7:15, and was ready to go by 8 so I could be downtown in plenty of time for my 9 o’clock start time.
Turns out I made it to the start line just in the nick of time (T-minus 30 seconds to the gun going off) because the line up for the bathrooms were crazy long and it took me almost 20 minutes to get to one of the porta-potties. They really need more of those at the start line, seriously.
Once we got going everything was fine and I reminded myself to not take off too fast right off the bat, saving some energy for later. That worked out quite well. Despite the cool temperatures there were plenty of people to cheer us on as we ran through the streets.
My biggest fear of course was the bridge. I had told myself repeatedly over the past few weeks that it was no big deal, that running along the bridge was no different than running on a street, especially if I looked straight ahead. Still, when I turned onto North Street and the bridge loomed ahead of me I may or may not have cried just a little.
Except you know what? Once I took my first few steps onto the bridge… it was no big deal, and it was no different than running on a street, especially if I looked straight ahead. Who knew? (Well, all the people who told me that probably knew…)
I had never been in that area of Dartmouth and it was a really nice run with tree-lined streets and lots of people on their front steps hollering at us as we went past. It was a little congested since we were a large group (the 10K had the most runners with over 4700 of us!) but it was just really nice and I stopped taking it so seriously and just made sure I had fun. I picked someone in front of me to keep me motivated by making sure I kept up (I followed someone dressed in purple with pompoms in her hair and silently referred to her as purple pompom girl) and found myself really excited to head back to the bridge again.
And this time I didn’t just look straight ahead. Turns out it’s not so scary to look out over the harbour where it starts to turn into the ocean.
(I totally want to cross it on foot again!)
I hit 8K about 3/4 of the way back across the bridge and decided it was a good time to use some of that conserved energy and I kicked it into gear a bit. The race planners are mean enough to have two uphill stretches near the end of the race but I was so pumped up that I didn’t care or mind at all. Once we were getting into the homestretch I hopped up on the sidewalk for a bit to get away from the crowds, especially those who were starting to slow down a bit and gave high fives to kids who were standing along the lawns with their hands out.
Next thing I knew I was booting it towards the finish line and smiling at various cameras not knowing which one was the official finish line camera and not really caring because I heard them call out my name over the sound system and I was in the finishers chute, heading towards a water station and the people with the medals.
Oh my GOD I did it! My official time was 1:03 and I was super happy. Of course it would have been nice to get below an hour but my unofficial goal (I didn’t REALLY set a goal) was below 1:05 and I did that. I was on a high for the rest of the day (which must have been behind my incessant eating the rest of the day too – bagel and avocado and pistachios and ribs and rice and veggies and chips and and and…)! The best part was that thanks to my training and the adrenaline of racing, I felt strong throughout the entire race. I never once wanted to stop or had to push myself to hang in there. It was one of the best runs I’ve ever had.
One of the most fun things about running a race has got to be the signs and these are among my favourites of the ones I saw:
- “You’re awesome!”
- “Don’t stop, people are watching!”
- “This is just practice for the zombies” (OMG how could I not love that?!)
- “Keep going! Keep going! (That’s what she said)” (I didn’t see that myself but someone else posted a pic of it, lol
- And my number one favourite sign: “Run like Ryan Gosling is waiting for you at the finish line!” (That one earned her a hoot and holler from me along with a thumbs up, she approved of my enthusiasm by returning the same back to me)
I also had a fun moment where, as I drank my water in the finisher chute, I heard the announcer mention the name of Tina Simpkin, our local CTV meteorologist, as she crossed the finish line. We ended up walking into the Metro Centre together as we sought out food and I congratulated her. Then on a total whim I asked her if it would be weird for me to ask if I could grab a photo with her because my youngest daughter loves her and would be thrilled to see a picture. (And that’s totally true, Breanna loves to see her weather report every day and looks forward to seeing her and her wardrobe without fail.) She said, “oh my gosh, of course!” and I got some random guy to take a picture of us together. She is super nice.
As for the rest of my weekend, well, Sunday warmed up in the afternoon so I spent much time outside on the deck enjoying the sunshine and light amounts of heat. I drank green tea, tons of water, and chilled. It was very relaxing. And I relaxed further after supper by having a hot epsom salt bath to soothe my tired legs (although to tell you the truth it helped more when I had a second one today, but I made it through the aches and pains and will live to run again). Also, those insoles saved my foot since I had zero pain in the race or afterwards, and I will never run without them again.
Monday was nothing special, it was too gloomy out to do much so I chilled with the kids who were watching a marathon on Family channel and mentally prepared myself for a return to the regular routine. At least it’s only a four day week.
I hope you had a great weekend too! Let me know what you did!