Monday, 15 October 2012
The Big Show
Well, the day dawned (actually at 4AM there is NO DAWN) wet and warm. It reminded me of the way the dishwasher feels when you open the door when it is just finished running.
I made my lists, checked them more than twice. Slathered Body Glide and vaseline all over myself and tried NOT to break my ankle slipping across the bathroom floor. Slithered into my sports bra, topped it with the pre-planned outfit. Pinned on bib, put up hair, stuck on hat.
Realized my Garmin was NOT charging all night like I thought it was. Figured I'd charge it in the car on the drive to Toronto. Packed 'after' clothes and shoes, and my new, shiny, never-worn 42.2 pendant for my necklace. Poured Gatorade (yeah, that's what I was drinking, sure) into the Camelback, stuffed important things like garbage bags (AKA raincoats) into the pack.
Slugged down my first of at least 2 coffees and snuck out of the house to pick up Angel.
Off we went, into the wild blue yonder (okay, warm dark yonder). Got to the city before the sun did, found parking in a lot where I knew I'd remember we'd parked (for old Chapers people, it's the lot at Peter and Queen by the Gap).
Made our way in the pouring rain to the meeting place of the So You Want to Run a Marathon, Eh group an hour before the meet up time (nerves and OCD make me early for everything). Killed time in Tim Hortons as the crowds built.
Off into the rain, met up with the group, did the 'pregame' photo. Realized that to get to the start corral we'd have to swim like salmon to get back DOWN University Ave. Swam and swam and made it just as the corral started to move. Hurry up and wait....walk and wait....finally cross the start line....
Realize that I'm now running up University, along the same spot where, during my first half marathon, I was mere yards from the fininsh line and feeling like having a seat on the side of the road. It was the first of what would be a bunch of 'Bite Me My Gatekeeper' moments along the next 42.2km.
Full of vim and energy I start leading a spirited tour of Toronto, pointing out things like the Death Star (Robart Library) and the places I've worked and played while I lived there.
As the first few KM pass, I realize that Amy, who we are also running with, is WAY faster and is pretty much just hanging out for moral support. She finally comes to her senses and sprints away along the Lakeshore. As I write this it's coming to me that it was a LONGGGGGG way....we passed so many things in so many neighbourhoods, from the drag queens at Church and Welsley (and Amy and Scott's old appartment) to the kids with the pails and drumsticks playing One Direction. We ran North, then East then West then South then West then East, and we were at the halfway point. As we neared the 21.1 cut off I thought about just throwing it in and going for a half marathon.
I could hear a lot of voices in my head, from Lori being Miss Cheery Pants to Trishia and Shannon and Jen yelling words of encouragement. The 'throw it in' voice tried to drown them out, but then Angel started doing the math 'only 1k 'till we've run a half' 'only 3k 'till we've run 25, etc). I figured it was better to keep running and argue with it as I went.
We headed East toward the Beaches.....running along the portlands, to Pier 4 and the entrance to the Leslie Street Spit, and then into the actual Beaches (past Annie's old appartment at Woodbine and Queen). As we ran into the Beaches they started taking the course apart and told us we'd have to hit the sidewalks.
Into the crowds of babies, dogs and yuppies we went, dodging clouds of cigarette smoke (ewww, at 30k that's a horrid smell).
We ran and ran into the Beaches, and I realized that we we going to turn around soon.....and that 'soon' was actually at the corner of Beach Blvd and Queen Street, home of the Goof! I started screaming at the sign, which cleared the path for us. Seeing the home of so many fun times gave me the energy to turn around and head back Downtown. (nobody offered me the 'thing' from the Hot and Sour Soup). Around this point my Garmin died. No idea how far we'd come, how fast we were running or how much was left to do. AND they'd taken down the KM markers as the course reopened to traffic.
As we ran we met up with other runners from the back of the pack. Felt rather like the Pied Piper as we collected them and dragged them along with us. Almost got turned around but were saved by the coach from my first ever Running Room Half Marathon Clinic, Dick, who appeared out of nowhere like an Oracle on a bike.
We ran past the street I used to live on (Booth Avenue) headed toward the end of the line. Laughed as I ran past Jilly's at Queen and Broadview.
The downside to living in Toronto was that I knew how much further we had 'till the end at City Hall....ran across the DVP, down onto Eastern Ave, up onto Adelaide, right onto Bay. Through the financial district wind tunnel. Nearing the finish line I heard my name being screamed. Looked up and saw Trishia...almost burst into tears. Stopped for a hug and realized I hadn't crossed yet! Linked hands in the air with Angel and sprinted across the line. Considered passing out from the shock, figured it would freak out the medical people, so I just stayed upright and looked around me like I'd just landed on Earth.
Gun Time 7:18:41.0
Chip Time 6:56:33.1
Got the bling, and waited for some of the people we'd run with to cross the line so we could cheer for them.
Took some photos, and then walked (right, plodded) back to the car for the drive home.
All the way home we kept looking at each other, and at our medals, and grinning like goofballs.
There are no words for how thankful I am that Angel stuck with me and ran the whole thing by my side. I would have given up, slowed to a walk, and just skipped it long before if she hadn't been there, making me run each interval, counting the KMs, and being her wonderful self.
It amazed me that the iRun Team had the faith to pick me to run my first Marathon with their help. The support, the cool new Brooks shoes, the fashion show, the cheering and the new friends were so much a part of this experience for me.
I was trying to find that stat about how many people in the world have ever completed a marathon, but all I could come up with was the USA (which IS the world sometimes). It's 0.5%. Is that a little number? I'm not sure.....
this was SO funny, I was laughing my face off at work (thank goodness my face isn't as sore as my quads)
I guess the bigger question is how long do I get to rest before I have to start training for the Goofy in January?