Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Done and done.

That's right - this past Sunday, after a long build-up, I finally ran my first half-marathon at the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Half Marathon.

What can I say? It was...AWESOME.

For about a billion reasons - the race was everything I could have hoped for and more. The day started with a ridiculously cold morning - yet I resisted the temptation to layer like mad man, realizing that at some point in time, I would warm up from that whole 'running 22K' thing.

But, this left me and my yum-yums feeling colder than 0 degrees Kelvin and wishing to God I could just be home, in bed, with the fresh smell of coffee hitting my nostrils. Speaking of coffee - it absolutely BLEW MY MIND how many runners were drinking the stuff before the race! I am not joking that I was in awe of the lineups at Starbucks only 15 minutes before these people were about to run a half marathon. I mean, I am no Steve Prefontaine, but that cannot be good race prep.

Anyway, the saving grace of this painfully cold beginning was that my sister, Corrie, was there to take it all in with me as we helped one another along with as many laughs as we could find. She was my inspiration for running this race, as it has been a lifelong goal of hers to run a half marathon and I told her if she did it, I'd do it. For the fifteen minutes before we finally started, being a supportive brother was the reason for me wondering if I would ever be warm again.

Nonetheless, upon being dropped off at the starting area by my brother-in-law and getting both warm wishes and confused stares from two of my nieces wondering why Mom and Uncle Flow were getting out of the car, we walked to our spots and waited for the gun.

Then, it began.

To be entirely honest, it is not that great of a story for the race itself. I trained to run at a 6KM/hour pace - and that is exactly what I did. I did not jump out the gate and I did not slow at the end - as I just ran my pace and eventually, the Finish Line found me. At one point, the sun finally came up and the game plan of not wearing my parka definitely paid off. It was as perfect of a morning as you could as for in mid-October - and made the entire race experience that much sweeter.

As you can tell by the title, my official time was 2hrs 1min 34sec. Seeing as I hoped to hit 2:15, this was a much better time than I anticipated. I will not be running in the Olympics anytime soon, but hey, for a first time - this was all about crossing the finish line.

And, let me tell you, crossing the finish line was EVERYTHING I thought it would be. It was not about the time or the big dramatic hugging of people - I actually could not find Corrie or our entourage for about 30 minutes after I finished - it was just about doing something you set out to do. I have been on a high since that finish line because it was a complete reminder that the only person who can tell you, you can' you. Sure, that is a bit cheesy, but who cares?! That finish line actually served as a starting point for my goal of a full marathon. Since my foot crossed that line, I have had the itch to run, train, and get out there and do it all again.

I do want to say a couple of BIG thank yous: first to my sister Corrie for having such high goals for herself that I was able to simply ride her ambition during this training, second to my sister Marlo for being extremely supportive both the day of by snapping tons of pics and cheering both Corrie and I on at different points along the route and for calming me down the night before and helping my nerves! and last but not least to Eric, David and Hannah and Emily for weathering the cold. There is also my parents, Billy, Q, Frigs, Taryn, The Lasenbys, The Gervais', and the Bowens for all of their support.

Few things feel as good as accomplishing something you have worked hard for and more than feel accomplished, this race made me want to go and do more - more miles, more work, more good deeds, more of everything - because the more you try, the more you succeed.

Here is to goals...and effort...and accomplishments...and knowing anything really is possible.