I am currently sitting in bed, eating pasta and drinking a glass of (not great, but not terrible) white wine.
SUCH IS THE LIFE.
It’s been a complete whirlwind of a weekend – family hangouts, work talks, friends a-plenty, and I even read two books!
Young adult books, mind you. But still – there really is nothing like a good story in which to disappear for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, this (Sunday morning), I ran in the Vancouver Fall Classic 10k.
It was my third time running the race, and just like the two races past, I ran this one with a friend.
(Even if you’re not running the length of the course side by side, just knowing that you have someone there with you always, always makes the experience just that much more fun.)
I woke to my alarm at 6:30am. I had fallen asleep the night before around 11:00pm, and other than one slight interruption to get up and use the bathroom, my sleep was relatively restful, and much better than some of the absolutely brutal sleeps I have had in my racing past.
After cuddling with Marc for a couple of minutes, I tiptoed out of the bedroom and started about my pre-race morning routine.
I had already packed my bag and laid out all my clothing the night before (along with back-up choices, just in case the weather was different that previously predicted.)
It wasn’t – the thermometer read three degrees, and the pavement outside was slick with rain.
Espying these both, I wasn’t going to take any chances, and decided that my long running pants, long sleeved shirt, and t-shirt were my best option.
Then, I brushed my teeth, washed my face, moisturized, put in my contacts, and put my hair into a ponytail.
It’s so weird that these actions have such important meaning for me, but it totally throws me off if I don’t take care to do these things in a particular order.
The only fly in the ointment at this point, was that I had gone to bed the night before with a slight stomach ache, only to wake up with full-blown crampage.
Surprise! As much as I love getting my period (ZERO SARCASM HERE FOLKS), the sensation of my uterus falling out of my body is one that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
However, I’ve also never forgotten the time when my mum told me that the first Canadian woman who summited Mouth Everest did so whilst on her period, so I really feel like I really don’t much of a leg to stand on, complaint-wise.
(Seriously, I remember this SO WELL. I was twelve, and at a track meet, and was competing in high jump. I was feeling totally crappy, and she was all, “AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!”)
Any who, I then got dressed, went downstairs, made and drank coffee, ate two pieces of toast (one peanut butter, the other Nutella) and hung out with Nymeria, watching British panel shows on Youtube, until 7:50am.
Then I took out the trash, jumped in the car, and drove over to Greg and Daniela’s, where they too were preparing for the morning’s festivities (Greg to run, Daniela to cheer.)
I drove us up to UBC, and we marvelled at how awesome of a day it was turning out to be – not at all the minus four degrees and snowing as stated in the day’s original forecast.
Once we arrived on campus, we parked, grabbed our registration package (our numbers and some sweet new running tights), checked our bags, and then moseyed on over to the start line.
My stomach was still in agony, but I tried to keep it in check by moving about as much as possible.
Timeline-wise, we had calculated everything really well, and we only had about a fifteen minute wait-time, before Greg and I bade our last goodbyes to our wonderful friend (and he, to his wonderful wife) and lined up at the starting line.
These places are always just a terrific mix of nerves, posturing, egos, excitements, and camaraderie.
They truly are the best.
Before we knew it, the time was nigh – as the horn blared, we blasted out of the start gate and took off with the best of them.
The first two kilometers seemed to just whiz by – we were at Marine Drive before I even knew it, and descended to the old, lower road – a beautiful stretch of pavement, flanked on either side by towering, deciduous trees, and just hints of the ocean that stretches far and wide, just off to the right.
At this point there was only one other woman ahead of me that I knew of - a blindingly fast lady, known only to me as “pink shoes” for reasons, of course, I am confident you can deduce.
It was here that I was caught by two other lady speed demons, and, knowing I was unlikely to keep up, I tried to keep pace with a different fellow in a lime-green shirt, running about three meters ahead of me.
As we summited the hill leading back to Marine Drive, I felt pretty fatigued – my stomach was giving me quite a fright; I am always afraid when running with these sorts of cramps, that I am in fact mistaking them for some other horrible digestive ailment.
But I figured as long as I ran as fast I could, and just got to the finish line, I’d be okay.
Turning around at five kilometers, there was a dude in a giant gorilla costume, and I gave him a cracking high-five.
Running up at UBC is always wonderful, because not only is it beautiful, but the people (mostly students) who come out and line the course are always fun, funny, and incredibly supportive.
I passed Greg as he was running to the turn-around; the guy looked just great – relaxed, happy, and totally in control, and we too exchanged high-fives as we passed each other.
From there, I was just working to get to 8k, telling myself over, and over again how easy those last two kilometers were.
It also helped that as the race continued, the sun came out, and it turned into an almost blindingly beautiful morning.
At the 7km mark, one more lady passed me, and I really started to dig in and try to keep my pace, if not speed up. I didn’t think my dream of a sub-40 was going to come true, but either way there was no reason not to run my absolute hardest for the rest of the race.
Turning into kilometer eight, the wind hit me full blast. I didn’t know if it was a nice respite from the growing warmth of the day, or a pain in the butt just slowing me down.
I decided it wasn’t that important, either way.
Nine kilometers was in sight, and as soon as we turned around to the last straightaway I could feel my legs getting looser, my strides longer, and breathing easier.
I passed two men with whom I had been playing tag with all race, and just ran as hard as I could to the finish.
Daniela was there to cheer me on, and a lovely volunteer handed me a medal.
I immediately joined my friend, and we waiting only a couple minutes longer for Greg to come charging down to the finishing gate.
It was pretty epic to behold.
In the end, he finished in 45:30 (amazing for his first time running a 10k race!), 11th in his age category, and 51st overall.
With a time of 42:15, I finished 4th in my age group (5th woman overall), and placed 30th in total.
They we showered-up, gorged ourselves on comfort food (see below) and spent the next few hours playing board games, and laughing ourselves silly.
Because what else, besides running, friends, food, and fun, is life all about?
If there is anything better, I want to know.