What's in my head

This is the home of your average girl in her early 30s making her way in the big city...Not really. I have thoughts. Now I have somewhere to put them.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


The race preparations today began at 5:30 a.m. and finished with my right foot hitting the finish line at 2:15:26. My realistic goal. (I had a secret goal of 2:10, which would have been an amazing feat given what I'd done in training). I was a tad disappointed because the last few kilometres I felt a little light headed so I wasn't able to push as hard as I knew I could.

The whole experience was amazing, exhausting, crazy and a definite learning experience that included arriving to a packed Nathan Phillips Square later than I should have and being greeted with a really long baggage check line, and a last minute trip to the washroom. The men's washroom. This is where I was when the race started. It didn't matter though, I was supposed to be so far back that the little pit stop still had me in line with the 2:30 pace time - just a little back of my projected 2:15. The race started good. I felt good. I didn't freak out despite my MP3 player deciding not to work properly for the first 30 minutes. I was on a good pace and enjoying the experience. There were so many runners. 20,000 in all - 10,000 in the half. At one point along Lakeshore the pack ahead of me were running up a slight incline (or maybe I was on the incline looking down at them - the details are a little fuzzy) and the wave of heads and backs in front of me was just astounding. I'm bit embarrassed to admit there were a few moments that got me teary eyed. One of the most emotional was when at 42 minutes in the men's leaders passed us heading east. It was amazing to watch these athletes in action. We all clapped as they flew by us and I got a little misty.

At the 10k mark I was really happy with my time and then the humidity started to take a toll and things got harder. I made it through to the 14k mark - 2/3 of the way through - and then I had to give myself little pep talks and slow down my pace so as to not burn out. At about the 17k mark the half marathoners headed one way towards the finish and the marathoners headed another towards the half way mark of their race. I couldn't imagine having more than 4k to go. I checked my time at 18k and I was four minutes ahead of when I'd run it before. Everything from here was a new distance to tackle. We headed under the Gardiner before heading north on Bay for the final stretch. I could see Old City Hall and the spectators along the route and I desperately wanted to dig deep and push towards the finish - there was just over a km to go, but my body was having none of it. My legs were heavy and I was tired, but more than anything I was feeling a little weak. Like faintish weak and I did not want to have an episode mere metres from the finish. With about 700m to go I passed a group of teenage girls and they screamed encouragement and held out their hands to high five some runners. I took them up on their offer and tried to use their energy to keep going. Then I saw my mom and my cousin and it helped push me even more. But, with 350m to go I still felt faint so I walked for 30 seconds and then took a deep breath and pushed through those last two minutes. I couldn't walk the final stretch and so I crossed the finish line running and smiling. Or at least I think I was.

While it felt great to cross the finish line and accomplishment my goal, it also felt different than how I imagined it would. I thought I would be overcome with emotion. I was happy, but not teary. I felt happy to be part of something so big and to have the medal around the neck. And then I felt like cattle as we were corralled to the water, to the timing chip drop off, and to the food area. By the time I saw my mom - after I'd dried off and changed - it had been nearly an hour since I'd crossed the finish line and by then I was just tired. Maybe I'll be elated tomorrow. The rest of the day I spent curled up in the fetal position because of some GI issues so common in runners. I guess these means I can now officially call myself a long distance runner.

And I have the medal to prove it...


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