The stress hormone, cortisol, was running high on Friday evening when I arrived in Victoria. The weather forecast was for rain and wind. Much of the Victoria Half Marathon course leads participants along Dallas Road which parallels the coastline of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. If it rains and there is a strong wind, it takes great fortitude and excellent clothing to enjoy a walk. If it was to rain and be windy during the race, it’s likely I would be person non-grata at the post-race Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday evening.
Truly, full justice of my family marathon weekend requires much more than a blog entry. The combination of anxiety, excitement, and hilarity are worthy of a journal posting on the website and I shall work on it over the next week.
For now, as events unfolded, my father required down-grading from the half marathon to the 8k road race. I took him to the chip pick-up venue at the race expo. He took his half marathon race package and walked up to the volunteers announcing that he was “chickening out” and changing to the shorter distance. The wonderful volunteer behind the table looked at him and said “You are not chickening out, you are being responsible”.
My sister, Sue, sister-in-law, Taryn, and my husband Greg each had specific worries for race day. The top of Sue’s right foot was hurting, Taryn had a groin pull, and Greg has a bum hip. To add to the coaching pressure, my oldest son decided to run the 8k and he hasn’t trained for anything! From experience I know the odds are not good for going into a race feeling 100 percent. I’ve encouraged hundreds of people that whatever is bothering them prior to the race, it will be a very different concern coming out of nowhere during the race.
More pressure was added when one of my other sons kept pulling me aside to say “Pop Scott (my Dad) does not want to do this race, Mom” Nervously, I told my son that sometimes coaching involves pushing people beyond their hesitations. It was brave talk. Even though my brother, Doug, had registered for the 8k on Saturday and had agreed to act as “sherpa” for Dad.
I did not sleep well on Saturday night. The weather forecast for Sunday remained poor. High winds, 8 degrees, and rain.
Remarkably Sunday broke with warmer temperatures and no wind. And, remarkably, we all managed to make it to the start on time despite a car that wouldn’t start.
So, here’s the good news. We all finished and we are all proud to say we achieved a personal best! Sue and Taryn walked their first race ever. They had estimated the 21.1 kilometers would take 4 hours to complete. They crossed the finish line in 3:04! Greg completed his first half marathon in less than three hours with a chip time of 2:55! Dad, and his sherpa, were third last at the 1k marker but pushed themselves to pass the participant using a walker and the woman carrying two babies -one on her back and one on her front! Doug will happily regale anyone who wants to listen with stories of being sherpa on an 8k road race. My son placed 15th out of 32 in his age category and 152nd out of more than 1700 participants. I shaved 28 seconds off my best half marathon time.
Most of all, everyone finished with a smile and I enjoyed a great Thanksgiving dinner with my entire family able to stand on two healthy feet.