We take the train in from Bridlewood as always. I eventually get my shoes tied while destroying my race bib in the car en route. I wonder if the chip will still work.
The start line area is the most fun out of any race I've done for ages, I see a running Wheel of Fortune, girls in poodle skirts, tie dye hippies, a gingerbread man, sumo guy and a large dog. There's a lot of chatter and laughter. Soon we are off into the sunshine, what a beautiful day. Inglewood is lovely and I am so excited to see a singing Elvis I run across the route to high-5 him. Respect The King.
The water stop by the zoo is madness. Right now I can see within 100m of me the 2:20 pacer, the 2:30 pacer and the 5:30 pacer. We climb over Memorial and pass through Bridgeland, this first part of the route is my favourite. The East Village cheer station is the icing on the cake. A group of spectacularly dressed up people are on top of a bus dancing to the DJ. Why can't I stop?!
|I didn't even see a photographer here|
We run to 17th Ave and turn off from the Half route. My friend who lives nearby is out to see me so I'm over the moon. Her pic:
I feel strong and I'm maintaining a 5hr marathon pace past 11km. Then the hills start and the sun starts to get just a bit hotter. 10-20km is mostly residential, we pass by green areas with mature trees and a lot of blossom trees. There's Mumford and Sons playing in a park to our left (well not them exactly) and a bunch of brightly coloured people swinging hula hoops.
We pass through Mount Royal campus then get back into residential for kms 21-25. At 21.1km I am at 2:37. Although that is 5 mins faster than Pittsburgh and puts me in good shape for a PR, I don't feel good at all. I have a lot of small stupid pains and my stomach basically hates me.
The most wonderful people have put up a hosepipe for us to run through and fresh orange slices and watermelon in tubs on a little table. YES! Glorious. We descend back to 17th Ave and I love pelting down the steep hill. I share my joy with the nice policeman out directing traffic. Alas, this was to be my last decently paced kilometre of the race. Hey, my friend is out again:
17th Ave appears to be getting resurfaced as does the road we turn north onto. It must be summer. I spend the next 10 mins trying to force down Energy Bits (more than once) and convincing them to stay put. We cross the Bow River and enter Kensington, there's the giant chicken on my right. Another beautiful little neighbourhood. As we turn into the sun on Memorial my race goes straight to hell. I didn't know at this point I reached 30km in exactly the same time as Pittsburgh (3:46).
I end up walk/running all the way to the turnaround point (32.5km) on Memorial which by the way appears will NEVER GET HERE. I'm far too hot and just can't get my stomach to accept running. Along this road I pass by Martin Parnell and pace bunny extraordinaire Simon Donato complete with pink bunny ears. They are both running the ultra.
The saving grace in this soul destroying out-and-back are the numerous water stations and bright beautiful soaking wet sponges they are handing out. I bet that saved many a runner's ass. There are people stretching out muscle cramps left and right.
As we pass by the road where a person would turn if they were going to purchase cupcakes in Kensington, I spot another dear friend who has run the 10k already and has come out to support everyone. Bless her little heart. I celebrate my sheer joy by crying on her. Sorry Mo.
Left foot right foot, we reach the Peace Bridge. A lot of people are out walking and running by the riverside. The Centre Street Bridge is ahead, shade! Simon passes me and I amaze myself by sprinting to catch up with him. Hey who knew that was possible! I keep up with him for a km or so, he mentions he`ll finish at 5:20 or thereabouts and I finally realize my time is not as bad as I thought it was.
When I tell him I feel like crap, he informs me that since it`s only my third marathon I`ll have plenty of other ones to feel worse in. So fucking motivating. It makes me laugh and get things back in perspective.
We`re entering the happy oasis that is the East Village. I may be a bit tired now.
So things are going pretty well, I have relocated my sense of humour and I`m moving ahead at more than a shamble. Only 2.2km left to go!
Then this happens:
The entire fresh perky 5k race reaches me and its whipping by left and right. I want to lie down at the side of the road and die.
The speedy buggars get channeled into another lane before the underpass thank heavens, and along we truck back into the Stampede grounds for the finish.
|Might have been hearing voices here|
I did you guys, I gave 'er but today I missed all my time goals and brought home a 5:25. Which actually is pretty good given my second and third marathons were only 28 days apart. This one was 10 minutes slower than Pittsburgh, all down to how it went over the last 12.2km.
Kev had a very similar day, only (in my opinion) looked better doing it.
After all the fun, we were presented with the biggest medals I have ever seen.
Then Kev was able to find me and sneak back in for a photo.