Sometimes it takes some surprises to shake you out of the doldrums.
Going into week 10 of my training for the BMO Vancouver Marathon, I’m really glad we had scheduled to run in a race! It was a nice change of pace from running solo and unsupported. This past weekend’s run should have been a 10 mile run. It was sandwiched right in between running 13 miles last week and next week’s 15 mile training run. We happened to find a race on the calendar that was close… the Hot Chocolate 15K. 9.3 miles with the temptation of chocolate at the end.
I got a surprise call from my brother-in-law who lives in Oklahoma on Thursday afternoon. He told me that he had seen (via Facebook) that my husband and I had signed up for the race and he decided he wanted to run it with us! He registered for the race and had been secretly training for it. He planned to fly into town on Friday night and spend the weekend with us. When it became too complicated to arrange surprising both of us he had to call me and let me in on the surprise. But we still kept the secret from my husband and surprised him with a not-so chance meeting at the local pub.
As bad luck would have it, my brother-in-law, Mike, pulled a muscle in his calf right before leaving for the trip. I’ve been there before and I felt so badly for him. You train and then your body rebels with something as silly as a cramp in your calf and trying to flex your foot….. then “pop!”
We picked up our race packets on Saturday and Mike hoped that he could possibly even run/walk it. But it was just a no-go with his injury.
The second surprise? We woke up on race morning and there was clear sky. Granted, that clear sky made it quite cold… 36 degrees. We did have to scrape the windshield, but I could see that we were going to get something unexpected for the run. SUNSHINE.
As my friend, Carrie said, the biggest challenge on mornings like these is figuring out your layering strategy. You don’t want to freeze waiting for the race, but you can heat up fast and start wanting to strip layers leaving you to try to tie things around your waist. Who knows! I saw people with black plastic bags — typical for the start of a race, that now only makes me think of the movie “Silver Linings Playbook”. I also saw my fair share of unwanted sweatshirts near the starting line. (This is what people do… wear something you don’t want and then put it on the fence before the start…. it gets donated to charity.) But at mile 2, I saw an awesome yellow running jacket… it was QUALITY. Just draped over a parking meter on the side of the road. As I’m running by, all I can do is try to resist the urge to “acquire” the jacket!
The further we got into to run, the more the sun came out. This course was super hilly, but the pure happiness of running in the sunshine made me press on. I did my best to walk as little as possible. Even on the hills. In fact, I think some of the hills were so long and gradual that I knew I HAD to run them or risk an awful time.
Something else I did different was to leave my headphones at home. I ran this race without music. I listened to people chattering around me. I listened to groups coaching each other on their run/walk intervals. I was just more “present” for the run. I’m going to have to think about this one… would I do better or worse without music on a long run?
I finished the race feeling pretty happy. I found my husband right away and we got our chocolate treat and headed home.
I wished Mike could have joined us on the run. Seattle really showed itself in a beautiful way on this early March day.
I just love surprises. I’m sure that my marathon training has more in store for me.