Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Ottawa Marathon - May 11, 2003

Thought I would just fill you in on another crazy moment in my life ...

Could not have asked for nicer weather to run a marathon. This time in Ottawa, on Mother's Day. 15C to start, maybe 20C to finish, partially cloudy, with a breeze. Shorts weather!

Got up that morning and tried to eat some breakfast. Fruit went down well enough even though I had to force myself a little ... toast became a cheap imitation of cardboard as I tried to chew it. NERVES!! Alright, just fruit was good enough, had to be ...

Scurried off with DB to the start line, and made it with perhaps a minute's spare - camera did not want to work - oh well. Quickly slipped in between the 4:00 and 4:15 pace bunnies (yeah, right ...) Then I thought people were just bunching up, like at all the other marathons, but hey, whoops, there I was, suddenly running over the start line with everyone else, but most definitely less prepared ... The thing about running a marathon is that once you've crossed that line, there's no turning back ...

Race was ... interesting ... different. Ottawa's course is a double loop.

Pros: You know where you're going the second time round.

Cons: You know where you're going the second time round. It's like the mileage markers ... One can say, hey, I only have 14 km more to run!Woohoo!! Or ... F**K, I still have 14 km to run!!

I suppose in a way, like even at this very moment, I was and still am in shock of it all. I've been way too busy to prepare properly for this race, physically and mentally, but somehow I made it to Ottawa and finished it, and I can still walk ... Definitely not enough mileage during training (averaged around 35 km/week x 6 weeks, er, perhaps less) with my longest runs being 21, 25, and 32 km, coming from a "winter base" of 10 km/week. Nope, still can't believe I ran this one ... I feel like I've been clubbed over the head and sent to la-la land, but somehow I've ended up with another medal ... woohoo!

I actually didn't notice too much about the course - I suppose parts were pretty - the tulips, the water, definitely not the industrial suburban part, the trees ... but everything seemed to blend in together and I seemed to be more focused on just watching the other runners and making it around the next turn. There sure were a lot of runners, especially when the half marathoners started on the course with the full marathoners, all fresh and full of energy, only needing to complete one loop, while we were already doing our second one. You know, I still can't even remember anything in particular about what I was thinking during the run ... it all felt so surreal, and still does (well, except for the definite lactic acid build-up in my quads).

At times I would catch myself smiling because it all seemed so incredible, and the day was so gorgeous. One of the most wonderful feelings while running is when a spectator looks you right in the eye and gives you words of encouragement and you know these words are meant just for you, and you need it so much because you are feeling like you can't go on and you question why you are even running ...

I was actually a good girl this time ... no swearing, and no getting frustrated or angry at myself for thinking I had it in me to run another marathon. I guess I just let go, and went with it, even the pain and the cramping, and the feeling that it'd never end ... but it felt so good when that breeze hit just at the right time, and the music filled my soul and nudged me gently as I passed the bands, and I could feel the power of all the other runners around me needing to feel alive, just like me ...

The kilometre markings passed the quickest in the 30's, don't know why, they just did, maybe 'cause I wanted them to ... but one could not mistake nearing the finish, as "all of Ottawa" turned out to cheer us on. I asked an official "how far?", and he said 500m, and I couldn't believe it. But then I saw the Finish line, and I knew I had to boot it, and then I heard a girl's voice say "look, she's going faster!". I poured it on even more as I started "sprinting" and leapt victoriously through the finish, leaving the half-marathoners eating my dust.

Thank you John for going out of your way as the "innkeeper" of The Urban B&B and getting up early to make sure I had something in my tummy, and for chatting with me. It helped to still my nerves. Thank you to the small handful of friends that knew I would be running this marathon, that love and support me unconditionally albeit my wacky and crazy dreams ...

Thank you to my kids, Toulouse and Gustav. Thank you for helping make this such a wonderful Mother's Day, just by being mine and by being so pure and loving and sweet, and proud of their mummy ...

But a most special thank you to DB, for coming out to share all this with me ... It was so good to see you at the mid-point, so good to hear the crowd cheer as we stole a kiss - it gave me courage to run the second loop. Thank you for the special words you screamed out as I crossed the finish line ... I did hear your voice, and it was wonderful. And thank you for taking care of me afterwards, and for just being you ...

These are my stats for those who are interested ...

Gun Time: 4:25:10.8 (Wow, it took almost 2 min. to cross the start line!!)
Chip Time: 4:23:19.8 (This is the REAL time it took me ...)
Pace: 6:18 min/km

Overall Placement: 1874/2668
Gender Placement: 589/1025
Age Group (W 35-39): 118/204

First Lap (21.1km): 2:07:05
Second Lap (21.1 - 42.2 km): 2:18:07

Well, another day, another medal, back to the old grindstone now ... hmmm ... until the next race ...

Have a most fantastic day!!

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