I was surprisingly calm at the start line, me with my fairy godmother. Maybe I shouldn't have taken that Ativan. Nope, it's a real fairy godmother - Jo-Jo, all decked out in orange tuile, multicoloured flowers around her wrist and neck, a sparkly tiara, and a silvery streamy wand. What more could a girl want running her first half-marathon? Cynthia (Framboisine) found us in our corral (how could she not?). She was running with a bum knee and if she was going to run, she was going to be entertained.
Start Line to the Gates of Hell (Hull - however it's pronounced)
I think the start happened when the long 11 minute walk to the actual start happened. I thought everything was going swimmingly - the weather was beautiful, the temperature wasn't too bad, the company was great. The fairy godmother was blessing other runners and spectators alike. We crossed the Claudiere Bridge and Jo-Jo asked, "Is this Hull?" and then the fires from the bowels of the earth sprang forth and the baking began. Hell (Hull for the Locals) Dante had it all wrong. Hell can be only reached by crossing the Chaudiere Bridge during Ottawa Race Weekend during the Half and the Marathon. It is not composed of 9 rings of sin and fire. It is an endless array of hills and turns with relentless heat, and not a stitch of greenery to be found. It seems in fashion in Hell to grow concrete in your front lawn. You know you are in Hell when they serve petrochemicals that they call 'water' at water stations. The fairy godmother seemed at home in this place. She became bad cop while Frambo became good cop. They switched occasionally when I became incoherent in the heat of Hell. I tried to close my eyes and hoped that I would not die in this place, my body swept aside with the discarded gels and Gatorade cups. I don't think the evil fairy godmother and her partner Frambo would let me. They would just wake me out of my near death experience and make me suffer all over again.
Jo-Jo's Phrase of the Race: "I know you are hot and in pain, but I don't care, that's why they call this a race."
Passed out of Hell and onto the Alexandria Bridge. There was such a lovely cooling breeze coming down the Ottawa River. I wanted to stop and let it take all the heat and pain away, but my captors would not let me. The silvery wand turned into a whip and I was herded into Purgatory (downtown Ottawa). I was just happy to see a grade that could finally be catagorized as "flat" or "downhill." Maybe that gel I took in Hell (my first gel - I was that needy) finally started to work, but my legs started to find something in them again and I started into a shadow of my goal pace again. I thought I was starting to feel a little better again along the Colonel By side of the Canal. But it is Purgatory - Frambo's knee started to get aggravated again. My heart sank when I looked across the Canal and saw other half-marathoners on the Queen Elizabeth side getting close to the finish. I knew I had a long way to go until I was in their shoes. Stopped for a pee break in a portapotty just before Bronson Bridge. I thought I was going to have to call medical to get me off because my legs kept holding me down. I told my legs that Purgatory wasn't the place to stay, we had to continue. So off we went. I started to get a little fuzzy in the details after Bronson Bridge. All I remember is swearing a whole lot, with my fairy godmother and Frambo dancing ahead of me, yelling at me not to stop running. My legs told me not to listen to them, that they were silly. Fairy Godmother and Frambo told me not to listen to my legs. I was confused. They kept telling me we were almost there. I knew we were not. So confused. Legs were making sense though, they hurt! But Fairy Godmother and Frambo wouldn't hear of it. I think I hated them then. At 3K to go, I was asking anybody's god would just come and end this or make the finish line closer. Fairy Godmother and Frambo got mini cowbells and started ringing them at me constantly to keep me running. I then asked all the gods to shove those bells up their rear. Tee hee hee. Up ahead, I see what looks like the finish line. I was so relieved. Frambo decided to play bad cop and say that wasn't the finish line. I yelled **** but had little energy to make it loud enough to display my disappointment.
I ran to the finish line. It wasn't pretty. Marg was there waiting. Everyone gave me a big hug and I think I cried for a few minutes. I then wiped my tears away, got my aluminum looking stole, received my gold spinny medal and went straight for the paparazzi.
A lot of thanks goes out to Fairy Godmother Jo-Jo who was ON MY @SS the WHOLE WAY. I whined and complained for a large part of that 21.1K and she didn't take it at all! Another big thanks goes out to Frambo, who stuck around for the entertainment and got it in spades! The volunteers, spectators and race organizers were fantastic!
My dad was proud of me and said he knew I could do it, but felt sorry for the fairy godmother, because he said that 'you probably bitched and complained the whole way.' My mum has never said she has been proud of me. Not for 40 years. She just realized from my dad how far a half-marathon was. She posted this on her Facebook page that afternoon: (spelling and grammar errors left in)
My daughter who is eptilectic just ran 21.1k in ottawa this am/ am so proud of
her, yes after her operation of a pacemaker she,s been going strong