(Originally posted on a now-defunct blog. Posted here November 21, 2006.)
* pb = personal best
(warning: not very intellible and elegant in writing today as you will soon see.)
here’s the breakdown:
1. the drive
2. the hotel
3. the race
4. the wind-down
we rented a maroon grand prix. ugly car inside, but alright and sporty-looking from the outside. maybe i could have been signed on for no extra charge as the significant other but we didn’t test that clause out and i was perfectly cheerful with the role of conversaton-provider. churchill (the dog) was along so he could spend the night with his “grandmother” (w calls himself “dad”).
w is an expert driver between halifax and moncton anyways. and i loathe long-distance driving.
we booked a room at the delta brunswick, the “official race hotel.” w reserved a run-of-the-mill room (rate $149/night) but they had run out so they upgraded us to the next better room (rate $300/night) for the same charge.
so we were wandering into the room and to the left upon opening the door was the usual bathroom and a little alcove with mini-bar, microwave, and coffee machine. we walked further in and saw the plump bed (with a massive headboard with an oval mirror) and a set of plump softas and heavy mahogany coffee table. turn to our right and there is more to the suite – an additional room beyond the open mahogany wall contained a big television, a small desk, a glass dining table, open space, and a whirlpool shrouded in stone and mirrors!
i made the executive decision to just order in. while we were driving around downtown saint john (yahoo maps proved useless on local streets, yet again), we came around again and again vito’s so we ordered for delivery two spaghetti dinners (carb-loading, you see)… and feasted. ran the whirlpool and added bubbles… boy was that fun and ultra-relaxing. (if there had not been a whirlpool in the suite, we would have just gone to the hot tub by the hotel pool.)
slept reluctantly at midnight… race day was up ahead!
we woke up around 5:30 (somewhat reluctantly) and began the process of hydrating ourselves. coffee, water, oatmeal, nectarines, the breakfast of champions. :p we also picked up our race packages (arrived too late the night before) and dismal because all they had left for shirts was L for me and XL for him!
it’s funny how on a race day – as it happened last time – i start thinking about the next one. i’m considering the p.e.i. marathon in october. i was nervous though because my longest run in the past ten weeks had been 9 miles and that was two weeks before. not only had i skipped the long run only a week before, my training had been highly erratic with only about between 3 and 4 runs a week instead of 5. blame it on the blesssed thesis. :p
from 7:00 until, oh, 10:00, saint john was covered in a blanket of fog. (the decision to stay in the night before hedged partly on the anticipation of “exploring” the city while marathoning.) the first few miles were a bit of a blur for me. a lot of adrenalin helped propel me forwards and not too despairing that we hadn’t yet caught up to the 2-hr. pace bunny.
at mile 9 (about an hour and a half in), w took off (we still hadn’t caught up to the 2-hr. pace bunny but we hadn’t fallen back to the 2:15 pace bunny either) leaving me to face my wall and the most difficult 2 miles alone. that’s alright. (we had trained mostly separately and he had trained for an all-out finish while i never risk pushing myself too much for fear of collapsing.) like the last marathon, i trained alone and while it is a competition with yourself and not a “social event,” it also helps to have people around you similarily pushing themselves. their presence silently eggs you to continue on because they are as well. (well, to make his target time, w sped past them and kept a tally of how many he passed.)
we would laugh when it was over about this massive bridge (later identified as the harbour bridge) around mile 11 that seemingly stretched on forever. we were both of us alone at this leg of the race and not giving up half way on the uphill was a huge mental challenge! we both got over it (pat, pat on our backs) and were rewarded pleasantly with a downhill incline towards the finish line!
last time, i was horribly disappointed when i received my finish line photo to see what demented look i had and hopefuly this time will be better since i was wearing a more streamlined shirt, let my hair down so only two ponytails on the side remained, and was waving and smiling to w (who finished earlier) just before the cameras. :)
my final time: 2:02:19.2, an unexpected improvement of 9 minutes from the last time. w’s final time was 1:57:41.7 and i’m immensely proud of him for completing it under 2 hours. (that’s my next goal.)
food was aplenty at the finish line: pizza (vito’s did well), fruit, juice boxes, water, gatorade, cookies, chips, etc.
funny – as soon as we stopped the pain set in. muscular and joint pains through w’s leg’s and sore-as-hell ankles reduced me to hobbling status.
you know what that means….? another dip in the whirlpool. squeezed too many bubbles in it was quite amazing. too bad for the noon check-out time. :(
we stopped again in moncton to pick up churchill (i have never seen him so excited to see us, he was practically beserk.) and further unwind like vegetables on the lazy-boy sofa. i got a driving tour of moncton (pretty and distinctly more quiet than halifax) and we head back home….
it was a wonderful experience. not just the run that was sooo satisfying and not just the awesome hotel suite but the little things like trying to navigate ourselves out of that little city and coffee stop halfway between the equator and the north pole (stewiacke) because w fondly remembers mastodon ridge and scooping bubbles out of the tub and trying to neatly feed churchill a sugar timbit and sharing a lot of “firsts” and an otherwise unforgettable experience.