I slept in this morning and had a lovely breakfast before heading to Charlottetown. Thankfully the weather was perfect, partly sunny and hovering about 6 degrees (celsius) during the 40 minute drive.
It was chilly during the wait for the start, and I needed to use the bathroom — again — but had to forgo this call to nature. What seemed forever, though was only minutes, eventually passed and the gun sounded. The first minute 20 seconds was a slow walk, funneling like cattle through the starting gate where the chip mat recorded the personal starting time of each and every participant. After passing the mat there was enough elbow room to break into a slow run and begin winding my way through the runners and walkers.
The run along the river in Victoria Park was peaceful and beautiful, though we were compressed to a narrow lane on this part of the run. Leaving the park allowed participants to find space and pace and settle in to personal rhythms. Along the route, well wishers and volunteers cheered and shouted words of encouragement and inspiration. I particularly liked the large sign held aloft which boldly stated “Runners Are Sexy” and when I could hear my own girls calling out “Go Mama”.
As I turned at the entrance to UPEI, which was about the 6k mark, my family was there cheering and smiling. Yay for them! I was running at just about my goal pace at this time which, if I maintained it, would bring me to the finish line at just under 1:10:00.
At 7k I was surprised to find a new energy, perhaps inspired by the pair of UPEI swimmers who were running and discussing how good it would be to shower and eat soon (though they were elaborating Big Macs — ewwww). My legs felt strong, my breathing was smooth, centred, and balanced so I picked up my pace a touch. I managed to hold the increase until the finish line, though the last 300 – 400 metres required some serious inward focus.
I was quite content to pass that finish line (check #203) well under my goal: a gun time of 1:04:50 and a chip time of 1:03:29.
I am grateful to every one of you who have been reading about this journey. To those who have made comments on this blog or on my facebook page – thank you so very, very much. To those who have been content to read quietly – know that I think of you with much gratitude too.
After the run, we headed to a restaurant and shared a fun-filled brunch. Thanks Choyce, Jaz and Udo!
Doctors and scientists said that breaking the four-minute mile was impossible, that one would die in the attempt. Thus, when I got up from the track after collapsing at the finish line, I figured I was dead.
~ Roger Bannister