Due to much work insanity this week, I have not had the time nor the inclination to write. It's very hard to be creative when every ounce of your energy has been sucked out of you by trying to juggle life. So, my loyal readers will be treated to another old race report. Old to me, but new to you! It's from my second half marathon of 2000, The Marathon de Deux Rives in Quebec.
The Adventure Continues.....
This past weekend, your favourite running fool ventured into "le Petit France" of Canada to run her second half marathon (yes, I'm a glutton for punishment..you should know that by now!). The 8 hour train ride in was fairly uneventful although I can't say it helped the condition of my already sore/stiff legs much.
I got into Quebec City mid-afternoon on Friday, dropped my bags off at the cute B&B I was staying at and decided to get out a stretch my legs. I couldn't have picked a better place to do so as Quebec City is EASILY the hilliest city I've even been in to date.
I should have remembered that when I registered for this race.
I also should have remembered that the Quebec City weather is as unpredictable as it's drivers...Friday and Saturday were absolutely gorgeous. All looked well for the race on Sunday...that is until I awoke at 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning to the sound of a light but steady rainfall. This was not good. I was not happy.
I ventured out into the cold rainy morning to meet my running mates, Susana and Brian, so we could walk to the bus that was going to take us to the starting line. Not having the faintest idea what sort of course I was going to run, it was nice to actually see the sort of ground I was going to have to cover. It was flat for the most part, which was good, but we had to run over the bridge that crosses the St. Lawrence river. That bridge is up high. We were down low. Very low. River level low. That meant that there was going to be big hill somewhere. Great.
The bus dropped us off in the quaint little suburb of St. Romauld right along the St. Lawrence river. The start line was right in the middle of a quiet residential area.
It had stopped raining just before we arrived at the start but it was still quite cold, so we spent the next hour stretching and trying to keep warm. 10 minutes before the race started, the rain came again in a steady drizzle. Wonderful. Susana turned to me and said "This is not what I envisioned!". No kidding, me neither! Everyone was huddled under trees or umbrellas or on the porches of the nearby houses waiting till the last minute to get into starting position. We had a marching band complete with baton twirlers, playing "Tequila" (which I was hoping for a shot of at the finish line) and all the residents of St. Romauld were on their porches waving and cheering...it was all quite surreal.
The first 3k was nice...it was quiet except for the rain and the breathing and footsteps of the other runners. At about 4K I saw "the hill". All things considered it could have been far worse. I made it up no problem. We came out onto a highway and ran across the St. Lawrence on the "old bridge". At the 8K mark there was ANOTHER marching band (!?!?) and plenty of supporters cheering us on. The crowd support in this race was great considering the crappy weather. There were even a few people on the bridge cheering.
Once I crossed the bridge,I could see the halfway mark. It was downhill from there (literally) As I ran down this beautiful long winding road, I concentrated on the distance before me, trying to ignore the incredibly tight muscle in my hip and the fact that I was running far slower that I wanted to be.
I crossed the 10K mark at about 58:30 (VERY slow for me) and started running into the most BRUTAL headwind I'd ever encountered. It didn't stop. I was on a totally exposed road right by the water. It was beautiful but man was it tough.
At that point I thought to myself I'd be happy if I ran this race in 2 hours. I had lost sight of my running mates at about 6K (they were far in front of me)
I don't know what happened but at about 12K I started passing people. My legs had decided to "kick it up a notch". WOO HOO! was all I could think. With about 2K left, I could see my running mates (thanks to Brian's bright orange t-shirt) AS I turned onto Boulevard Champlain and ran towards the finish line, I turned the corner to see Brian and Susana running together. I realized that there was no one in between us...I was literally right behind them. I watched and smiled as they held hands and crossed the finish line together (this was their first half marathon) and as they turned around, there I was, right behind them.
I looked at my watch. 1:51:38. Not as fast as my first one but pretty good all things considered.
I think I'll do it again next year.
In the meantime, chalk up half marathon number 2......
I'll keep you all posted on number three.