As I sit here with my not quite Frankenstein legs the day after my first half marathon, I think back to all the varying moments from yesterday. The story of a race can get a little blurry, you start, you run, (if you’re me you walk) you finish. Yet there are all the little moments that are captured in between. Some of those moments that stand out for me include:
- finding so many Achilles friends before the race and how we were all there for each other
- pushing through the throngs of people to find our corral
- my guide Marcie picking up discarded trash rain ponchos for the three of us while we waited in the rain
- Larry being his race social butterfly self and finding an old friend who stayed with us for 3km
- seeing at least 3 signs that said “If Trump can run, so can you!”
- the cop marshal who finally had a response to Larry’s cheer of where’s the beer?…the reply was, “in the other direction”
- the different bands and cheering sections that pumped me full of energy
- cheering all the Achilles members we saw on course, Yes I knew it was you Randy when you yelled out Pinky! And no I wasn’t offended.
- the woman with squeaky shoes that we kept passing and then she would catch us, I finally asked her name, it was Helen, at one point I turned to her and joked, he’s all about where’s the beer station, I’m just waiting for the shuttle bus! She laughed and said me too!
- our moments of race karaoke, I had compiled a list of cheesy 80/90 songs to sing along to and Marcie had loaded them on her phone
- how quiet it got at the back of the pack when we were eastbound on Lakeshore and the cheering was minimal and they were starting to cleanup the water stations
- thinking how many streetcar tracks there are in downtown Toronto
- pulling out my song at the 20km marker and belting out I Will Survive just as we passed through an underpass, it had an amazing echo, Marcie said we got a few crazy looks and might have embarrassed Larry a bit
- how good it felt to cross the finish line and know there was no farther left to go
- the funny pictures we took afterwards, posing all wrapped up in the space blanket. It wasn’t the best race for me, I hit the wall at 16km. And when I say hit the wall I will admit that it was trying to run to the 16km marker, slowing down into a walk with no breath left and just bursting into tears. I was able to put it back together enough to keep going, Those last 5.1 kilometers were pretty rough. In the end I achieved my goal and ended up with a pace and time that was smack dab in the middle of what I had predicted.
If you had asked me five years ago if I could picture myself completing a half marathon my answer would have been hell no! And that is the victory. One congratulations I received while I was still emotional and overwhelmed was “it’s hard but that’s what makes it special”. Amen.