Well I could have titled this blog almost anything. What an awesome race. I have to say that today ranks right up there with my favorite Mother’s Day and perhaps one of my most fun races ever. To make things easier my daughter and the little one spent the night. At 6:15 my alarm went off and I did a few things in our room before heading over to the guest room to wake up the rest of the house.
At 6:30 I woke up the “kids” and Nikayla sprang out of bed all excited. She was half way through her cereal before mom even stirred. Sticking to my diet (down 5 pounds since Thursday) and as today was a light run, I only had celery and peanut butter for breakfast. The other 2 had fruit loops. We dressed in our brightest pink outfits, packed our extras and headed out the door on our way. We had to make one quick stop at my daughter’s as she had left the draw prize numbers at her place. Oh well, it was only 7:30 and we still had lots of time. The plan was to get there early to find good parking and our friends.
No problem as we cruised through downtown we spotted lots of available parking meters. Meters are free on Sundays in most areas of downtown. We parked on the end so no one could box us in. As we were gathering our stuff and locking up the other parking spots in the area quickly filled. We had timed that just right. We made our way to the meeting place for my friends. A couple of friends arrived, but as the little one was in need of a potti we made our way to the starting line. My friends figured they would have no problem finding us we rather stood out – all in pink. We got lost of smiles, comments and stares. We never did find the port-a-potties but the hotel was nice enough to let us use their facilities. I must say a much better choice than a smelly port-a-potti.
There was quite a crowd gathering at the starting line. We stayed near the front for a bit waiting for Dianne and gang. She was easy to spot as she too was wearing a pink hat, but just the hat, the rest was reds. As we danced to the fiddle that was playing to some jig type music we had a lady from the Herald snap several pictures of the little one and all three of us. Cool.
Below Dianne shows Nikayla and us some great warm up steps and Mom gives the little one some last minute instructions about the race.
We then made our way towards the back of the pack. My daughter didn’t want to go back all the way so we settled in around the back of the 8 minute pace which was about right. We stayed to the side so as not to be too crowded.
The litte one was getting excited and kept asking can we run yet. Finally we heard them announce the start of the wheelchair event, then it was the rest of us. It was so crowded it took several minutes of slow walking to make it to the chip mats. Nikayla chirped loudly as we crossed the mat and began running. We weaved through and around the tons of runners in our path sticking mostly to the right curb side of the course. Nikayla spotted a lion mascot on the side and had to hug him before running any further. We heard lots commenting as our little pink speedster ran past them. “Wow look at the little cutie go and how cute all in pink”. We saw the local media catch her on camera so now I have to watch/record the news to see if she made it. As we rounded the corner and headed down under the train bridge we were all still running.
We made the first km somewhere around 8 minutes so we really had seeded ourselves correctly at the start. About 14 minutes into the race we passed the first mile marker. We had added in a few walk breaks here and there. Mostly it was walk a block, run a block, eat a sharkie for the little one. Sharkies are great bribery for little runners. She was so cute thanking all the officers who were stopping traffic. My daughter was enjoying herself as well and doing not too bad. We played some games with Nikayla where she would run ahead a few meters and Nikayla & I would try to keep up or catch her.
At the half way mark Nikayla was hitting her wall and exclaimed “I want to go home, now!” So mom was smart and said “we have to finish so you can see the lion again”. Suddenly Nikayla was full of energy and off running again. That did the trick and we never heard her complain again after that. We weaved through more crowds and passing runners, walker, strollers and more. That’s the nice thing about an event like this, tons of people running/walking at all speeds. Every now and then we ran holding hands. We were now headed north and the road was divided into two lanes – the left for us 5k runners and in the right the speedy 10k guys & gals were now running by us.
Of course I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the pink sofa. It’s made of cement. Would have been cool to get us all on it, but it was on the 10k side. Perhaps when we have our penguin gathering next year we can all crowd onto the couch for a picture.
As we rounded the corner back onto 10th street Nikayla saw the Calgary Tower and figured out we must be almost done. She got all excited and we were off running again. The three of us joined hands and ran through the finish line as we heard the announcer say something about a family of pink finishing. We did awesome and finished at 47:39 by my watch but I was a few seconds late starting. I think the clock said around 51 but remember it took forever to cross the start. I will post the actual time when I find out tomorrow. Thanks to Jaime for the picture of us (2nd below) as we headed to the chip area. The bottom one was taken by another running friend, Sue. Thanks to Sue I was running with a great pink braclet she picked up for me at the Bloomsday Race. It reads Strength, Hope, Courage. I love it.
After our timing chips were removed we were all given roses. I scored a pink one. We then loaded up on the great post race food – apples, bananas, oj, water, yogurt tubes, granola bars, cheerios snack and a free paper which was thankfully in a bag so we had a place to put all that stuff. And no I won’t be eating any of it. We made our way to the Olympic Plaza for the festivities. There was a band playing, don’t ask me what and all the mascots. Nikayla had to have a hug from all of them. There was free samples of Jack Rabbit beer – very popular, they actually ran out. Oddly the power bars (low carb ones) didn’t seem to go as fast, but I did get a ton of those. Every time I walked by the kept handing me more.
We then sat down for a little bit to relax before the Little Legs Race. This is an event for the kids 2-6 years and they broke it down into 3 heats – 2 & 3, 4 & 5, and 6 yr olds. Even though she had just finished 5km Nikayla was excited and wanted to go. As we waited a photographer from “The Sun” snapped our picture and got our info. Now I have to watch the news and buy 2 papers – LOL.
For the Little Legs Race Nikayla and I lined up at one side and Mom waited on the finish line side. It was a little chaotic to say the least. Way too many kids and they all wanted to start at the front. Poor Nikayla, kids kept butting in front of her but she was a pretty good sport about it and didn’t seem upset at all. I love the picture to the left of her checking out the competition and getting ready to run. There were a few false starts and the kids raced to the other side for a goodie bag. I don’t know what else they got, but someone must of goofed a little as Nikayla got 2 Scoobie Do puppies and she was pretty happy about that.
We wandered around after and found the smallest dog all decked out in pink. Had to have a shot of that of course. She was just so adorable and I think I heard the owner say her name was Princess.
Of course no photo collection of any race I run would be complete without a shot of the officers who supported us along the way. Nikayla thought it was pretty cool and her Mom didn’t seem to mind either but declined to be in the picture.
In our travels we also met up with Jaime, one of our newbies from Tuesday. I had an email from her and she too is working on her report, so be sure to check that out later. Later we wandered over to the Eaton Center to see if we had one any prizes. No such luck so we settled fo ra nice lunch in the food court. Again I behaved myself and got some veggie/chicken dish that looked reasonably healthy. I picked out the carrots and baby corn. Nikayla was happy to eat them for me. I even managed to resist stealing any french fries from her or my daughter. I would have been safe with one, but doubt I could have stopped at one, so I pretended they just weren’t there. As we ate Carrie mentioned how much she really enjoyed the race and wanted to know if there was another 5km the three of us could run. She might even start training and do a 10km down the road. Alright, she’s been bitten. Now to see if she really takes action. 🙂
Finally we headed home. So how did every one else spend this fine Mother’s Day?