And here we are as a team at the start...
Just as we exited the trail we had our first little break and I was thankful to be able to take off my long sleeve top and gather up all the things I'd forgotten. I could grab my Handana and extra snacks out of the support van but realized I'd forgotten my sunglass back in my truck. Not good.
The next 7km were on totally flat farm roads and were a good chance to settle down and just chat. We pretty much stayed together as a group and listening to the conversations around me as everyone got to know each other was fascinating...
We'd already passed a few family members who were camped out along the way with signs and cow bells and lots of cheers and high fives. I couldn't wait for the first time my friends or family might pop up unexpectedly along the road and it wasn't long before I could see Solana and Dianna cheering for us up ahead. I felt great so we said hello, had a hug and carried on.
Somewhere around 15km was a formal aid stop and it was nice to run up and see everyone (the paramedics included!) waiting for us and cheering us in.
We had a few minutes to grab a drink or a snack and chat briefly with family. My parents and sister had driven all the way back to Abbotsford to grab my sunglasses out of my truck and it was so nice to put them on. The weather had been perfect and although overcast was just bright enough that sunglasses made it so much more comfortable.
This section of the run was really pretty as we ran alongside the river again. Up until now everyone had been chatting lots and this part was no different. At one point Ray sidled up beside me and said that he'd read a bit about my running story and he wanted me to save the whole thing for around 35km when he said he was going to need some inspiration. It was kind of a flattering moment to find out that one of my running idols wanted to know more about little old me.
Around 21km was where my sister busted out the first of her handmade signs. Thanks for the reminder Brandi!
Not too long after we passed my sister and her lovely sign I started to feel kind of tired. We had only just passed the half marathon mark but suddenly the pace felt a bit fast for me. Up until then, we had been taking breaks about every 5km and even though I usually do 10:1 run/walk intervals religiously, I was finding the 5km break pattern perfectly fine. Around 23km (about 5km since our last break) I was really feeling like I needed to rest a bit. I saw there was a parking lot at our turnaround up ahead and figured the support van would be waiting for us there.
I knew we'd be back at McDonald Park in a few kms for a rest so I tried to just suck it up and keep going. It just kinda sucks when you don't feel strong though and I didn't really want to admit that I was feeling pooped already. We were on a packed gravel walking trail but because my legs were feeling tired, I felt like my feet were constantly slipping and adding more resistance. I've never liked gravel trails and this was no different. I was mad that I didn't have any training behind me other than roads because this silly gravel trail was wearing me out!
Anyhow, I was so relieved to get back to the park but I'm pretty sure my frustration showed on my face as I ran past my family as they cheered us back in. At this rest stop I grabbed some pretzels and a big bottle of water and plopped down in the grass to stretch my back and just try to regroup. I was feeling a bit discouraged and didn't want that to get worse because I still had more than 20km left to go!
I'd barely had a moment on the ground when our support team was forcing us back up onto our feet, it was time to go. I grumbled to my family that I was feeling tired and carried on down the road.
Update: Part 2 of this story is now done! Check it out here .