My First Race, Diapers Not Included
I awoke and glanced over at the alarm clock. It was only 3:22A.M. Another four and a half hours before I had to leave for the big race. I tried to go back to sleep but I tossed and turned until the sun came up. On that particular morning I did not need the alarm clock, I was way too excited. The weather was perfect, it was not too cold, not too hot. Up until the day of the Montreal Marathon, I had one goal, to cross the finish line. It occurred to me however as I pinned my number 19456 onto my t-shirt that I did not only want to finish the race but make good time as well. In that moment I decided I would complete my first 10KM run in under fifty minutes.
For nine years I had been running 5KM three times a week. In the spring of last year one of my friends mentioned that she would be running a 21KM in September. This was something I had always wanted to try. Still, the jump from 5K to 21KM seemed a little extreme. My friend suggested that I participate in the 10KM race, another option being offered as well. A few days later I signed myself up. Upon registration I was required to enter an approximate finish time. Since I usually completed my 5Km in about 30 minutes I estimated I would be in the 50-65minute range. Determined to push myself a little harder over the summer, I ran and ran and ran.
A few days before the race I became concerned that getting to the start location might be a problem. Blocked streets would make it impossible for me to drive to the start line. I decided I needed a logistical plan. Wake up, eat a light breakfast, (with as little coffee as possible to deter urination) and drive to the subway station. I would travel two stops on the subway then walk over to the start line.
My plan went off without a hitch with time to spare. Still, I became plagued by concerns over how my bladder would fend throughout the day. (there was excitement, coffee), Deterred by the idea of using the port au potties set up at the start, I made a quick bathroom stop at a local donut shop.
Forty five minutes earlier than intended, I arrived at the race meeting place . Crowds gathered in clumps. Runners chitchatted about what they had eaten that morning and the speed they planned to run. Five minutes before the race my nerves got the best of me. I had to go to the bathroom again but the line up at the Port au Potties went on forever. Desperate times, called for desperate measures; I ran behind a truck, looked around to make sure no perverts were watching and pulled down my pants. Luckily, I made it to the start line just in time.
The horn sounded. Slowly we all began to cross the electronic timeline. My legs were pushing me as hard as they could go. To my surprise, I was sprinting. I remained focused on the colour of the people next to me, which represented an estimated finish time. Pace yourself, was all I thought. My legs refused to listen. Staying close to the orange guys kept me ahead of my finish time. By the time I had completed 4KM’s I was exhausted, I kept running but was forced to slow down my pace. The cheering crowds kept me afloat as I ran the last two KM. About 5 metres from the finish line I looked up. The digital clock above my head read 48:03. I was going to finish just under my goal and I could not have been happier. Then I felt something trickling down my legs. For a split second I panicked and thought about stopping but I kept on going. I wanted to cross that finish line and nothing, was going to stop me.
After a quick cleanup, I walked to the subway and got back to my car. I got home and sat down at the computer to check how I ranked. I prayed I would be in the top quarter. Scrolling down I realized I passed over my name, I scrolled up and up. It had to be some mistake. But it wasn’t. I had done much better than I ever would have thought, in my first mini-marathon. Who knows what my second will bring and I’ll try and remember the diapers too.