Bluenose weekend was a great success. A whole lotta fun with beautiful sunny and warm weather, a group of people that all have the same goal: enjoy a run and have a good time before and after the run.
The hotel issues were even minimal, just because we booked a room with 2 double beds and only got a double bed and a pull-out couch, we managed to overcome our discomfort and the cost of a less than ideal room and still enjoy the weekend.
So running as a family was the initial idea and we were going to run 3 minutes and walk 1 minute with Martha and Rachel, the oldest and youngest of our group. Well, that only lasted till the gun went off to start. There were so many people that were running and walking the 5km route that it was hard for seven people to stick together. We lost Martha in the first minute and shortly thereafter, Ronda was gone too. That left Debbie in the lead dodging the people and passing from behind, jumping up and onto the sidewalk and down on to the street, to the left of the street to the right of the street just to get ahead of the walkers and slow runners. Lindsey and Emma right on her heels, Rachel close behind and me keeping Rachel in my sights. Rachel had never run a race by herself so I kept my eye on her long blond ponytail, telling her pass left, follow closer behind Emma, dodge right.
There was absolutely no sign of Martha. Debbie wasn't concerned that my watch was beeping every 3 minutes to take a one minute walk break and Rachel seemed to be keeping up. I did know that she couldn't keep up this pace so after about 5 three minute beeps went by, I asked her if she wanted to take a walk break. Breathlessly, she shook her head, and we slowed our pace to a walk. I hollered ahead to Debbie that we were taking this break, giving her the option to slow down and run with her granddaughter in her inaugural 5k race, but Debbie glanced back with Lindsey and Emma hot on her heels and she gave me the nod and hollered back that I was ok to stay with Rachel? Yep.
Still no sign of Martha or Ronda. We came to a water stop and had a few sips and started again. I brought us down to a more manageable pace for Rachel and kept my eye out for Martha and Ronda. I gave Rachel a few pointers on her running posture and how to land on her feet which she quickly adapted her stride. A few seconds before we started to climb the hill to the Citadel, Ronda caught up to us, said hi, have we seen Martha, no, and was on her merry way.
As part of our route, we had to climb the hill to the top of Citadel Hill and follow around the historic route, passing soldiers in period dress, bagpipers in kilts, fans that were lining the route and down below in the street, the 10k and half marathoners were beginning to line up at their start line. It meant the world to me that the announcer made everyone in line turn and look uphill and cheer for the runners above. So cool. I had my iPhone in my hand and since we were at a more manageable pace and fewer people to maneuver past, I was taking pictures of Rachel and I running and Rachel passing the 3k mark and the people at the bottom of the hill. I was having a grand time as Rachel managed to run with somewhat ease. She'd have been happy to walk the rest of the way, I'm sure, but I wouldn't let her.
Down the hill we went and made a quick left and quick right and then another quick left. It was all downhill from here! Sort of. We did one more walk break and off we went again. I was telling Rachel that we just passed the 4 k mark, less than a kilometre to go. The watch beeped another three minutes that we had run and I asked if she wanted the one last one minute walk break. There was only 600 meters left, could she run it to the end? Sure she could. Onto the last street we went. The finish line was right there but it was a slight uphill. Keep up the good work, Rachel. Don't forget to breathe. Only 400 meters to go. Do you want to race to the finish? NO! Ok, keep your pace, almost there! Start smiling for the cameras! Are you smiling yet? Cameras are from here to the finish line! Look like you're having fun when you cross the line! Let's go!
I left her in my dust and when I crossed the finish line, I raised my arms and cheered in vistory like I had just won the race. Rachel was only 2 seconds behind me. When I turned to give her a two-handed high five, she clapped my hands and told me she was gonna be sick. I smiled again and tried to steer her to the garbage can along the sideline but she was going to be alright. We got water and tried to find the rest of the gang and wondered where Martha may have gotten to. We were pretty sure that she was probably sitting in the Metro Centre waiting for us to finish but just in case, we waited on the sidewalk. Shortly after, she came strolling up to us, arms swinging like dead weights, and cussed us for leaving her in the dust with no watch, no directions, nothing. I blamed Debbie but felt a little guilty because I had said that I would stay with her and Rachel the whole way. Too funny. Oh well, she'll get over it.