The Race Before the Race

One of the most exciting parts of racing can be picking up your race kit. However, it can be one of the most stressful.

I was not looking forward to the drive to Hamilton this morning. Hamilton, Ontario is my Bermuda Triangle; for whatever reason, I always seem to get lost when I drive there. Secondly, my right calf still has a tendency to cramp up when I spend a lot of time behind the steering wheel; with the half tomorrow, a tight calf was not something I wanted to bring home with my race kit. And, with over 3000 runners descending on Confederation Park today to either pick up their kits for tomorrow’s full and half- marathon or to run the 5K or 10K this morning, I was worried about parking.

Fortunately, I was able to get a ride out with my friend, Delilah, and her boyfriend, Shariff. They were running the 5k (a Monday registration for D. and an hour-of decision for S!), as were her mom and aunt, so I tagged along. I did have to earn my keep, though; take a look at the huge shadow. That’s me, burdened down with bags. I didn’t want to put them on the goose-poo covered grass (we seem to have a lot of that in Southern Ontario) and the path was obviously not an option – at least, not in that point of their race.

Today, I was really glad that I switched my entry to the half-marathon, only because the tech. shirt is much nicer than the one for the full. I took home a short-sleeved v-neck red shirt – not my favorite colour or style. But the full shirt was a thin long-sleeved white so I feel like I came out ahead.

And, once again, the rest of the race kit was dismal: a magazine, my bib number and timing chip. However, I’d much rather take home nothing than a bag of stuff that ends up in the trash.

I never really get to see a race finish so today was a different day for me. The leader, who was well ahead at the 3K mark (where I was perched for 10 minutes) was well ahead of the others. The winner, though, passed him in the last 100 metres, making for an exciting finish.

Delilah and Shariff both ran strong races, finishing 22:04 and 21:37 with a 3rd and 4th place age group respectively. Mom and Aunt finished well, with Mom achieving a new PB!

After the 5k and 10K races had been run, I tried to trade my 21K shirt for a 5K tech. tee for Skipper; the 5K shirt was a much nicer style and colour (black or blue). But, as soon as the deal was made, my heart stopped. What if that was a bad omen – getting rid of a half-marathon shirt before the race? So, we traded back; I still took home a shirt for Skipper by donating $10 to the CityKidz charity the race is supporting; sadly, Little Ironman will not be getting a race “dress” and will just have to make do with the bouncy castles next to the finish.

I went to Confederation Park this morning with the intent of being a cheerleader for some friends. I ended up with so much more, though – a chance to watch a race finish, the feel for the course (with a slight uphill finish at the end!) and calmer nerves for what I’ll be facing tomorrow.

Bring on the half!

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