What a fantastic weekend! Mother Nature was on her best behaviour and provided gorgeous weather for the BEST weekend of the year for runners.
I was excited for the weekend all week and found myself unable to focus on things on Friday. I just couldn’t wait to get to Fisherman’s Village for the 5km Sunset Race and see all the awesome pirate costumes. A very excited and somewhat nervous group of pirates jumped into my van at 5pm and the fun began.
I spent the time until the gun went off, chatting with friends and familiar faces I have gotten to know through running. The music was cranked and everyone was having a blast. The positive energy was contagious – you can’t help but feel happy while at Maritime Race Weekend. That is unless, after the cannon fires and the starting line shoot empties, you are still standing there because you haven’t been cleared to run by your doctor yet.
I wanted to be there to support all my friends as they attempted to reach their goals. I wanted to be part of that contagious energy. I thought I had prepared myself to be ready to be the supportive role only.
The runners were gone and I was left with a sudden quiet to deal with. Even the Great Big Sea tunes that were still blaring out of the speakers didn’t help with the quiet. It took a minute to get my head back in the game and remember that I could choose how the rest of the night would go.
It wasn’t long before the runners were coming back in under the most beautiful sunset. I cheered on strangers and familiar faces, some serious runners who were completely focused as they passed me, a hundred feet before the finish line, and others who were laughing and singing while sporting their pirate gear. I must say that there are a few runners that made my heart fill with joy….
The parents who were running with their children – hand in hand or trying to keep up while filming their child’s accomplishments.
The couples running hand in hand who would glance at each other just before the finish line and you could see the love and pride they had for each other in the smiles that appeared on their faces.
And finally, the group of friends who crossed together while encouraging each other to do their best right to the very end. They were all powerful moments that I was privileged to watch.
I was so proud of my friends, Valerie and Dion, for completing their first race ever! I believe they were both bitten by the racing bug because they were both discussing their next race goals.
I love it!
The night cooled off fast and us pirates headed back home with the sky lit by the gorgeous full moon and the beautiful Maritime Race Weekend firework show in our rear view mirror.
Saturday 5:45 am. I would normally call that time of the day stupid o’clock but on race day, I call it sleeping in. The ride to the race location was a little bit quieter as just Vanessa and I rode together. She was preparing to run her first half marathon. I was suppose to be running my first half marathon with her but I would be cheering from the side lines again.
The sunrise pre race prep time was again fun and full of positive energy although different from the sunset race. Runners were focused on the job ahead to achieve their goals for the mornings races. When the runners started filing into the starting line shoot, I followed my best friend, Michelle and her husband, Yann.
We chatted a bit and I kept catching her looking at me with her mothering eyes. She knew my heart was broken as I stood on the outside of the barricade. We bumped into people we knew, including Anna from Piper’s Run, and chatted nervously.
Before I knew it, they were off…
The quiet that the sunset race left was nothing compared to the deafening silence of the morning race. My goal I had set last year, the reason I started this blog and opened myself to the running world in order to stay accountable, the dream of running my first half at Maritime Race Weekend 2016 dissolved in front of me on the empty pavement of the start line. Even though I know that I will have many more opportunities to run many more races – in that moment – I was crushed and alone.
I still have a lot of running to do but I don’t know if I will ever have a running moment as hard as that one.
I’m not really sure what happened for the next 15 or so minutes but I was so excited to see the first 5 k’er coming running around the corner and give me something to focus on. My spirits were lifted as each runner flew by and I thoroughly did enjoy cheering on everyone. It was great to watch friends achieve their goals and some of them shock themselves with their accomplishments. It quickly became a fun day of hanging out with some great people – runners and their supporters.
As Vanessa’s expected time to complete her half marathon approached, I made a decision and took a chance. I positioned myself just before the last turn into the finish line shoot. I cheered on the passing runners as I waited alone and away from the crowd for her. As soon as she got close enough, I joined her on the route, grabbed her hand and ran the last corner with her. It took us 10 seconds max but in 10 seconds I was flooded with all the awesomeness that flows through a runner when their feet hit the pavement. I concentrated on every step knowing very well that my leg was not yet strong enough to hold up for very long and every step was a risk. I tried to get out all the words that I would need to hear at this part of the race, so that I could encourage her to finish strong and I held onto her hand for as much support as I’m sure she was holding onto me for. It was a pretty powerful 10 seconds and an emotional finish line.
Once we wiped our tears, we enjoyed the rest of the morning cheering on other runners, enjoying a yummy lunch at Boondocks restaurant located next to the finish line, and just letting the awesomeness of the weekend soak in.
After this new perspective of Maritime Race Weekend, I still have the same opinion. It is a fantastic weekend for runners and their supporters that is filled with amazing amounts of contagious positive energy. The race director, Michelle Kempton, puts her heart and soul into this event all year long and it shows. The volunteers are amazing with their fun attitudes and endless energy. The location is a little slice of heaven that you could wander around all day. And even though I didn’t go home with any this year, the swag and bling is crazy top notch and gorgeous!
I would highly recommend that everyone get in touch with their inner pirate and enjoy Maritime Race Weekend. My plan for Maritime 2017 is already in motion. I hope to recruit as many family members as possible to run the Friday Sunset Race and to complete my first half marathon during the Saturday Sunrise Race.