Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Chapter 2: The Race

We had to get up at 4:00am to get to the marathon. Here I am pinning on my number in the parking lot of some Safeways just before getting on a shuttle bus. There was absolutely no parking at the race. Everyone had to shuttle and it all worked so well. We were all impressed at how well run the marathon was.

There were almost 13,000 participants in all and over 2,000 volunteers. Mommie, Daddy, Heather and Alexandra walked the 2.5km. Erinn out did us all running the 1/2 marathon. The full and 1/2 marathoners were the first to start and then the 2.5km walkers and runners. Last to go is the 10km walkers. We were usually in the mist of a crowd the whole time. It was so energizing!

Don't get trampled Alexandra!

See all those walkers? Very serious people! Shawne and I had a blast the whole time, talking, laughing, clowning around, and every time our route paralleled the marathoners we cheered them on, "Go Marathoners, Go!", "Your doing great!", "Your awesome!", "We want to be just like you!" I couldn't help it! I couldn't shutup! I thought it was so amazing they were doing it and deserved all the encouragement they could get. All those other 10km walkers? Not a peep out of them, not once! [It was weird.] At least not the ones we saw. There were 800 other 10km walkers so it is possible there were other cheerleaders in the bunch. The other weird thing was the lack of support from passing motorists. Several times our route was on a busy road. We walked on lanes blocked off by orange cones. But very, very few honked their horns in encouragement. Shawne and I wondered if it was a Winnipeg thing. I once participated in the "Big Bike" in Thunder Bay, that's 29 people on a big bike riding a route of a few blocks for charity. Really not a huge physical feat yet people honked and cheered at us constantly. It was cool.
That's not to say there was no encouragement in Winnipeg, not at all! The route was lined with 100's of volunteers whose only job was to stand there, clap and cheer us on for hours. It must have been exhausting. In the residential areas [which are beautiful] people would set up chairs at the bottom of their driveways and cheer. In one front yard there was a Japaneses drums band, at least 15 drummers just given 'er. Awesome!

We all wore these t-shirts that my mom embroidered with "Sursum Corda" which is on the family crest. [we are the Hotsons of the house of Howeson, clan McDonald of the Isles] Being the uninformed, 5th generation, Scottish immigrants that we are [read: far removed from the homeland and therefore not knowing what the heck we speak of] assumed that Sursum Corda was Gaelic although my Dad rightly told us that is means, "Keep your heart strong" or something along those lines. I ran around that morning yelling "Sursum Corda" like it was a warrior's cry. When ever I saw a T.V. station's camera pointed at me, when I was crossing the finish line, I was yelling! [I just have to be sooooo dramatic]

Out of curiosity I just googled it and found this:
Noun1.sursum corda - (Roman Catholic Church) a Latin versicle meaning `lift up your hearts'
hmmm, ok, it's not Gaelic, it's Latin, makes sense, most family mottos are, should have figured out that. But what is that about the Roman Catholic Church? Turns out Sursum Corda is a part of the Catholic Church's service. Makes me wonder if there were any Catholics out there, what did they think I was doing? *sigh*

About 2km into the race we spotted a Starbucks. Detour! We walked in and the guy behind the counter said, 'the washroom's that way.'

'We're not here for the washroom.'

'oh!'. Shocked surprise.

'Grande Chai Latte and...'

'Grande Caramel Macchiato.' Shawne added.

As we rejoined the walk we over heard someone say, 'They got Starbucks! That was smart.' I think they meant that in a good way.

As we were coming back around and passing Starbucks again Shawne spotted the ladies that were in front of us when we went into Starbucks. She recognized the grey hat one was wearing. We had caught up!

'I want to pass her.' I announced.

'Let's run!' Shawne answered. We started running and were shocked how good it felt! It was like taking a break from walking, just as good, probably better than stopping. I guess because we were using different muscles. AND we left Grey Hat in the dust! [sorry, gloating]

Just as we entered the last mile [yah, they had the last mile marked and named] my legs wanted to stop. They got slower and slower. Up until this point Shawne and I had been walking at a quick pace, no Sunday stroll for us. Shawne said, 'this is when you have to push yourself, keep going.'

Ok, keep going! At this point we had joined the marathon route again. They all looked so amazing. They were coming up on the finish of a feat of a life time and they were succeeding with grace! Some marathoners were having fun with it and had dressed up. There were the princesses in tutus and tiaras, batman, the super friends in red capes, a guy in a riped tuxedo shirt and bow tie. Shawne and I talked about what we could do.
Soccer Moms: Dress in matching pink jogging outfits with cellphones and blackberries attached at our waists and get the Starbucks on the way back so we could cross the finish line on our cellphones, drinking coffee.
or Thunder Bay Hat Heads: trucker hats, animal print balloon pants and rock band t-shirts.
One guy, clapping at the side of the road, said, 'Your almost there! There are thousands of people waiting for you in the stadium to cheer for you!' Man! He wasn't whistling Dixie! As soon as our feet hit the plush, red, running surface of the stadium and we saw and heard the crowd Shawne said, 'Let's run!'

What a rush! Here we are nearing the finish line. Shawne had spotted our parents, Heather and Alexandra in the stands. I just thought she was caught up in the moment. I think that is the female 1/2 marathon winner getting her prize behind us which would explain why people were cheering like mad. But, of course when you are nearing the finish line you take all the celebration for yourself! Running under that huge, finish line, timer is another cool experience. Just on the other side there are 20-25 camera men shooting film and snapping pictures. You feel like a star for just a moment. Then you get past them and see hundreds of metals on red ribbon being past out, but their not for you, they're for the 1/2 marathoners. Move on.

Once we were done, Shawne and I stayed behind the finish line so we could be the first to congratulate Erinn. She thought she would be about 2 1/2 hours. As the 2.75 hour mark drew near Shawne spotted Erinn entering the stadium. She looked so amazing! She ran like a graceful gazelle.

Here she is, crossing the finish line at 2:46:47 hours.

Congratulations, Erinn. You are a inspiration to us all! No, seriously! I want to at least do this race again, or others here in Thunder Bay. I wonder if I could run the 10km? [next years race is on my birthday!]
Stay tuned for Chapter 3: Gettin' Artsy

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