Friday, 6 April 2012

A giant leap for mom-kind! (Part II)

The second and final part of my cousin Riana's recap of her running adventure in Victoria, Canada (see Part I here) - enjoy!

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The race circumnavigated Elk and Beaver Lakes twice. The course was along a picturesque trail that weaves between dense stands of natural forest and intermittently exits to hug the lake’s banks. 

Elk/Beaver Lake [source].
The highly humid, cool air reminded me of running at home, where the high moisture in the air also has a distinct fresh smell to it as it condensates inside your nose. It feels like your nose is running, but your airways are wide open and comfortably moist and it just feels like you can inhale double your lungs’ capacity and just run forever. That familiar smell and trickle on the inside of my nose usually just makes me smile and puts a jolly skip my stride.

I couldn’t bring myself so far as to take pictures while I ran, but at some point I convinced myself to lean off the track and touch one of the trees. I wanted to collect a memory of what the moss growing on the north side of all the trees felt like. It felt like moss on a tree. Like an elderly dog’s back with his wavy hair shaved really, really short, the way they sometimes shave dogs in Namibia where it can get really hot.

The running course, a well-used gravel trail, had very few minor hills but the trail itself (as it goes with off-road tracks) was sloped on the edges to allow for water runoff. Since we shared the trail with oncoming pedestrian traffic, we often had to yield to the right, and after about 10k’s I could feel my right knee complain. I started to alternately walk and run and half-limped the final kilometres to the finish line. At some point during it I was really wondering whether my knee would hold so I could finish, even if I just walked all the way. I wasn’t sure.

With a time of 2:13 I thankfully crossed the finish line, still limp-jogging at a much reduced speed. At the start of the race I was just hoping for a time below 2:30, so it was a tremendous feat in my mind. During the last 500 metres, when I realised that I was going to make it, I blinked away a few irrepressible happy tears.  The previous time that that happened I was equally as tired, relieved and satisfied on the day I submitted my Masters thesis. I sat on the steps behind the university’s Admin building after I spent the entire previous night printing the final copies, and I just rested my head on my arms and savoured the moment. I did it. It was really, really tough, but I finally did it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, but it’s not. And that is why I had to do it.
Very happily approaching the finish line. And nobody could tell me that the ear warmer made my hair look like Ben Stillers’?

I ended up being 34th or 35th, which was a pretty comfortable place for me. In the end I think it was just the way it was supposed to be for my first half. It had to be a real challenge, not an easy one on a paved track with the safety in numbers of a thousand runners. The Hypo-half of Victoria will always be my first half-marathon, a personal feat that will conjure up pleasing memories for me for a long time to come.

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