Running on Empty – The Unexpected Half Marathon

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Today would have been my parents’ 56th anniversary. We lost Mom last year. However, they had over 54 beautiful years together – and we had a fabulous party for their 50th. Still, it’s a bittersweet kind of day, the tail end of one of those weeks that leaves you physically and emotional drained.wedding

And I couldn’t fall sleep last night. I climbed into bed and started to doze off. Then…my mind started to twist and turn; I started to rehash events of this past – very stressful – work week. I then moved on to overthink the conversations that I might need to have come Monday. On top of that, I kept thinking: “Tomorrow morning we have a 19km run. I’m so exhausted. How will I survive 19 km?” I finally googled ‘insomnia‘ and tried out some breathing techniques – covering my right nostril and just breathing through the left; breathe in – hold – breathe out; and spray some lavender scent around the room. It was 2:30am.

Something must have worked. The next thing I knew my alarm was going off and it was 6:45am. So I got up.

I was the first person at Forerunners – I felt the need to make up for arriving so late 2 weeks ago. Happily, it was also Mizuno day. I got to test run a pair of Mizuno Waves – and see how they compared to my Nikes.

As my pace group headed out, I was at the front chatting with the group leader. Per our usual etiquette, we call out whenever we encounter another runner (“Runner up!”) or if something is jutting out onto the sidewalk (“Bench!”). Today, we noticed something on the ground ahead. What IS that? Oh. “Vacuum cleaner!” Laughter from behind – never heard that one before!

Our route took us along Kits Beach, under Burrard Bridge, along Granville Island, until we reached the water stop at Cambie. The weather was absolutely glorious. Sunny, but not too hot – perfect for a long run.

We circled False Creek past Science World and targeted the second water stop at the entrance to Stanley Park (where I encountered the group back on Labour Day). At this point, those doing marathon training were continuing on to loop the park, and complete 36km. The rest of us were heading back to finish 19km.

Then Coach Carey reminded us – it’s 6km back to the store. We were already at 15km. We call these Carey kilometres. And with that, we were running a half marathon today!

I kept pace with two strong runners on the way back. We zipped back along English Bay and over Burrard Bridge, and then a straight shot along Cornwall. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, but the last couple of kilometres were awfully hard work. When we hit the store I confirmed it Р21.6 km. A complete half marathon, in 2 hours and 1 minute (faster than all of my first three half marathon races). And the last kilometre was the fastest thanks to my fellow speedsters!

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The best part – I barely noticed my shoes. They were so comfortable and fit so well – I bought a pair! I think I’m a convert!

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I started out the day running on empty – and though there’s still a bit of melancholy in my heart, I’m again grateful for the sense of satisfaction and peace that running gives me. Also, I took a nap this afternoon.

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