"I DON'T KNOW YOU....BUT YOU ROCK!"
Such was a hand-lettered sign that I ran past yesterday during the race, my first race, held up by a teenage girl on the sidelines. One of many signs I ran past, all encouraging, even as light rain fell intermittently, even as I ran alongside crowds of other runners, as I looked for each kilometre-sign marking off the distance.
Thirteen...that enigmatic number again.
May thirteenth --it's eleven months for my dad; it's the day of my first real race (and my sis's); and it's a milestone number for my friend H. All on the same auspicious date.
And it's mother's day to boot.
The race was the Sporting Life 10km, down Yonge Street to the base of Bathurst, over towards Fort York, to...the finish line. It was for kids' cancer-camp, which made the run even sweeter.
I don't run with a phone or any device other than my ipod (and keys in a zipped up pocket) but I wish I had had a camera to take a photo of the 20,000-odd runners all lined up in the Yonge St. corridor, waiting for their chance to run.
My run-time was abysmal.
My decision to train the day before the race ( a 10 k run, followed by lunch with wine and a 10 k walk) was ..misguided (I now know why they say NOT to run the day before).
My legs, my back--by the end of the race--aching.
My spirits were soaring.
I overcame my crowd-aversion.
I had a good experience at an event I would normally shun (group-oriented, early on a weekend morning, something scheduled).
I rekindled the flame I've been stoking these last ten weeks-the one I have with running, no matter what it gives me or doesn't give me. Despite sore feet, a need to wear running shoes everywhere, needing more sleep than I ever have, and taking up to three showers a day on the weekends when I do those long runs--I'm back in love. I don't care about the numbers, the stats, the times, the miles, the kilometres. I just know that I've got that feeling again, the one I used to get as I was walking somewhere and I'd want to break into a run, because, well, it's just that much faster.
My sister and I convened at the finish line and high-fived each other, and moved through the throngs of people to get some much-needed post-race liquid. We downed three cups each, electolytes coursing through our veins.
Then the band started.
The song my sister danced to with my Dad at her wedding.
She welled up. I did too. We hugged. The band played on, both of us feeling like the only two people standing there.
The song ended, but the feeling that my Dad was somehow right there, watching his girls, proud of us, stayed.
We limped off the grounds, back to the subway, still buoyed by endorphins, the clouds clearing, the sun beginning to shine.
Mother's Day involved champagne, shopping, a late-lunch/early dinner on a downtown patio, and a burger and fries (something I have not eaten in months..)
It involved three women smiling, sharing memories, food, and making the best of what could have been a daunting day, another 'holiday' first. First Mother's day without my dad.
So, that was the day. Not much else to say other than the fact that my sister and I felt compelled to sign up for a half-marathon, as much for the experience and the goals we will set as for anything else.
I don't really feel the sense of cutthroat competition that I thought I might, I just feel like I'm doing something I love, and there is, really, in the end, no better feeling than that.
Happy Mother's Day.