Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ottawa Race Weekend

My story starts on Friday night. Still in Burlington. Sleeping in my own bed. Or at least trying to, except I have the worst case of heartburn. I get up, take two tums and get back into bed. Still burning, so I get up and take one of Derek's prescription Zantac and prop up some extra pillows but the heartburn is getting worse and not better, my chest is on fire and I wonder if I'm actually having a heart attack. LOL Downstairs I go again and take one of Noah's Prevacid (yep, lots of stomach issues in this household). Finally that helps enough for me to be able to fall asleep around 11:30pm.

Fast forward to Saturday morning and my 4:45am alarm where I shower, have breakfast and grab my things and go. Derek drives Nicole and I to the airport in perfect time for me to arrive to find that my flight has been delayed an hour. An hour that I could have been sleeping off my heartburn rather than waiting for them to swap out the plane that had been struck by lightening in the night(!!). I finally got to Ottawa without any further problems (except the stale donut that I got at the airport Tim Horton's) and we made our way to the hotel and then over to the expo.
Bye bye Toronto
We picked up our race kits, said hello to my RMT who was working at the Running Room booth (who went in for a hug at the same time that I stuck my hand out for a handshake *awkward*), attacked the mountain of potato chips that was set up as a free for all (I got 5 bags, 2 of which turned out not to be plain but smoked meat and mustard flavour! Bleck.) and then hit the Rideau Centre for lunch and to kill time before the route bus tour started. Nicole and I both had pizza and water. I picked most of the cheese off of mine (I'm lactose intolerant but typically small amounts of cheese don't bother me) but maybe not enough. Have I mentioned that it had dipped below zero in the night and it was flipping freezing out?! We were a bit worried about being underdressed at the race start so we went to a dollar store and bought some kids socks for mittens and a pack of garbage bags. Then we went and sat on a mall bench to wait for the bus tour to start. As luck would have it Kenny and his friend walked by, spotted us and stopped to talk. Kenny told us how excited he was for us and Nicole told him our plans ".......and if nothing else Sam is getting a PB because her current one is 4:10!!!" *JINX* Finally the time came for us to board the tour bus and head out to check the route first hand. I really enjoyed this drive, even if we were gone for close to two hours. The traffic downtown is crazy! We had the best tour guide, he was so knowledgeable and was a runner so he really knew what points to tell us about. Best of all he was pretty funny and told some great stories. After the tour was over we tried to find somewhere to eat dinner.
Best bus tour guide ever, like!

As luck would have it Nicole noticed that there was an Italian restaurant right next to our hotel so we were able to order take out and eat it back in our room, in our jammies while watching the 10k race live streamed on the runottawa website. The best part was seeing Barb cross the finish line with a new 10K PB!! In my PJ's! Then we watched Spirit of the Marathon 2 and went to sleep around 9:30pm.

This is how a lot of time in our room was spent

2:30am and I'm now wide awake

3:30am I hear Nicole get up and I'm still awake.

5:30 my alarm goes off. Thankfully I had fallen back to sleep. I get up and notice that Nicole isn't there, wash my face, go to the bathroom (perfect, I have the runs) and go down to the Starbucks attached to the hotel to get some oatmeal with lactose free milk and a tea. Come back up to eat and Nicole still isn't there. I'm starting to get worried and am about to call her when she comes back to the room. Loooooong Tim Horton's line up apparently. Way to be prepared, Timmies. We get dressed and make our way over to the start line with the thousands of other people crazy enough to run a marathon. Nicole is worried that she hasn't been #2 yet but there's no time to get to the porta potties to try one last time because it is 10 minutes to race start. I'm so friggin nervous at this point. I had received so many texts and PM's wishing me luck, I really felt a lot of pressure to perform out there, but as soon as the gun went off that all went away and I just focused on running our paces. I was feeling really good and I was honestly amazed at the spectator support out there. So many families out at 7am to cheer on total strangers is so amazing to me!  We trucked along and held our pace well. At the 9k water station Nicole told me that she had to use the porta potty so I started walking. I figured I should keep my legs moving while I waited for her but I started to get pretty far away and didn't want her freaking out about where I was so I pulled off to the sidewalk and waited. Another runner stopped to ask if I was ok and I waved him on assuring him I was just waiting for my friend. The 3:40 pacer passed us here and the 3:45 caught up and I was going to suggest we just stick with him for the time being when Nicole caught back up to me. We ran along some more ticking off the kilometers and I was still feeling great thinking that we would for sure get the 3:45! We reach the 15k water station and Nicole has to hit the porta potties again. "I'll walk again" I tell her. "I'm starting to get a stomach cramp any way". Again I stop to wait for her so that I don't get too far ahead. No one asks if I'm ok this time. While I'm standing here the 3:50 pacer runs past and I tell Nicole as she runs back to me. "I am finishing sub 4 today if nothing else!!". I ask Nicole for a walk break around 18k because my legs are a bit tired and I'm getting super hot. I've been sweating like crazy the entire race and I can feel the salt on my face. I tell Nicole that we can only run the race that we're given and if we're not going to get our goal times that we should just enjoy ourselves. Nicole agrees and rips off her pace bands. This makes me laugh for some reason. Probably because the ones that she made me are still on the dresser in the hotel room. The race turns into Quebec and all of the spectator cheers turn from "Go Samantha!" to "C'est Bon, SamanTa!". We stop for a walk break and a guy tells us to keep running, we can do it! "I've got the shits!" Nicole says to him. "Sorry that you're having a shitty run" he replies. Nyuknyuknyuk. We also notice a guy running and talking on the phone which makes us laugh. It is even funnier when we see him about 7k later still talking on the phone! Somewhere around 25k my tummy is really starting to hurt and strangely Nicole is feeling better. It's like we tag teamed the sickness. Nicole suggests that I hit the next porta potty and see if anything happens. I jump in there and only a trickle of pee comes out. I'm a little worried about that because I've been sweating so much. (Apparently more than I thought because Nicole let me know today that at one point we brushed arms and she was grossed out by how wet mine was! LOL) As we head back into Ontario my stomach is really starting to cramp up and I tell Nicole that I think I might be sick. "Well just be sick then" she tells me. Unfortunately I can't. "If we can keep up a 5:40 pace we can get your sub 4" Nicole tells me. I don't give a crap. About anything. I just want to be done this stupid race. What am I doing out here?! Why did I think this was a good idea?! Don't I remember how crappy it feels? Where is the pleasure in this?! I want to go home. I want my mommy! I want a beer. I want a salad! I miss fiber! I see the turn for the half marathoners and wish that I was taking it. Instead I make the turn the other way and head deeper into the suck. Derek's cousin told me that she would be around the 30k mark so I look out for her but can't see her. Probably for the best. I probably look like hell. (Turns out she was at the 35k water station and saw me walking). At about 32k we were in a park like area and my entire day falls apart. I'm fighting nausea and cramps and finally break down and begin to cry. I feel like hell and I'm ruining the race. Nicole gives me a pep talk and tells me that we can walk it in if I want. God no. That would mean being out here even longer! She then suggests that we do 10s & 1s which sounded like heaven to me. Then she pulls her pom poms out of her pockets and goes into full Nicole mode. "Look who we get to run beside! This guy right here! I think he's an ironman! He's so hot!!" Even through my crying eyes I can see that yeah, he's pretty hot. Poor Ironman though. We ended up passing him as I clutched my stomach and shuffled my feet while Nicole danced to the music and played to the crowds.
That hair hanging off my bun drove me crazy for 42kms!

This is what it sounds like, when doves cry

Eventually we switched to 5s & 1s because I couldn't make the 10s. And we were walking all of the water stations. And then I got yelled at for walking and not telling Nicole. "We're finishing this together!". Finally we turned back onto Sussex St and I know that I am going to finish this damn race. And that I am only doing half marathons from now on. Forever. And my God, what the hell was I thinking even considering doing a half iron sometime in the future?! I could barely make it though this. Maybe I'll quit running altogether. Maybe I'll just ride my bike. PeeWee Jackman. Up ahead I know that Barb is waiting at 38k to jump in and run us to the finish. Just make it to Barb I think. And I do. She asks how I'm doing and I tell her that I feel like shit. She then offers me peanuts and oranges. Ew. No. Who the hell eats peanuts while they're running I think to myself. Turns out she was offering up Kleenex, not peanuts. Barb asks if I want her to talk or be quiet. I tell her to talk to Nicole. Nicole points out the big spider to me, the one thing on the route that I really wanted to see. I think that this amused Barb. I think that it made me smile. At least in my mind it did.
Picture of the spider stolen from the internet
Nicole hands me a sponge that she's been keeping in her tank top strap and I wipe my face and neck with it. Then Barb takes it and carries it to the end. Thank you for taking our nasty ass used sponge, Barb! The half marathoners have joined in the course now and it is so congested. And the sun is out full blast. Perfect. And there are so many spectators! You can barely move. I'm forced to walk for a few seconds from the amount of people around me and Barb tells me to come on, we're almost at the finish. I stop to retie my shoe because my foot is really hurting and my toe stings. The massive blood blister I find when I take off my shoes and socks would explain that. Finally we are turning into the finishing area and Nicole asks if I want to take the final walk break. No. Just run. With 800m left I'm thinking that I REALLY want that walk break but I don't take it. This is where Barb leaves us and then Nicole grabs my hand and like that it's over. 4:11:11 . So much for that PB eh, Nicole.LOL

Smiling because I see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Thank God that's over!

Despite feeling like garbage for 17k I really enjoyed this weekend. Nicole was a great travelling companion (I already know that she's a great running partner), I got to meet Barb even if the only talking that I did was complaining, we met up with Sarah & Maggie for lunch and the race itself was outstanding. The medal even has a double spinner, and if you know me you know that I like my spinners! There was crowd support for every step of the 42.2km and that was awesome. Water stations every 3k and even sponge stations! Those were my favourite part. I feel badly that the race couldn't have gone any better for me, but shit happens. A day later and I know that I'll be out there again for redemption. I'm not quite ready to become PeeWee Jackman.....

I got my beer!

And enjoyed it!

I also got to add a mug to my 'You are here' collection. Now I have two! LOL
Best ending ever.