Completing the Marathon – Part I

30 May

Well, I did it! I completed a marathon.

There are few ways to describe my experience any better than this: I had a blast! There are so many things buzzing in my head, and I don’t want to forget them. That being said, I’m going to make this a three-part blog as I don’t want to drone on and on. And on.

The first blog will recap my pre-race experience, while the second blog will chronicle my actual physical experience during the race. The third blog posting will reflect more on how I feel from completing the race and the race event itself. I know this will be long, but it also allows me to remember this event for myself.


First off, the Friday night leading up to the race, I spotted two little characters making their way up to my front door. It was my seven-year-old niece and five-year-old nephew. With a bouquet of flowers in his hand, and a box of cookies in hers, they greeted me with “Good luck” flowers. “Good luck on your marathon!” my niece exclaimed, then pushing the cookies my way. “You want a cookie?” My sister and her youngest son were in the van, smiling, as I was presented with the flowers. It was so sweet and nice to have such cute supporters!


Good Luck Flowers Always Go Well with Cookies


The day before the race I was feeling pretty anxious, so it was a good thing I had a lot of work to wrap up prior to heading to Ottawa to get my race kit. Working kept my mind busy and made my morning fly by. Once I packed up everything, Jamally and I were set to head to the Convention Centre in Ottawa. That is, until he announced we had to make a pit stop in Smiths Falls to pick up his work keys. It was 2:20 p.m. and the race kit pick up closed at 4 p.m.

I was very impressed.

“I’ve noticed a lot of guys with long beards lately,” Jamally mused on our drive. I responded with silence.

In essence, it only added on 10 minutes to our drive, but for a person who already has a ‘time stress’ gene ignited in her brain, it didn’t make for a relaxed drive! Once he got his keys and we aired our grievances, we were back on track.

We hit bad traffic when we reached Colonel By Drive, and after a lot of sighing (on my part!), we parked and got to the race kit pick-up site: with 10 minutes to spare. Coming to these events at the end meant they had no shirts left in my size, and I went with a Men’s Small t-shirt. It’s strapping! (Don’t worry, Molly, I didn’t wear it race day).


It's a nice shirt! Just a little big.


The race buzz was already streaming its way amid the Rideau Canal as the 5- and 10-km events took place that night. After my Race Kit Pick-up stress, I relaxed my tense jaw and was good to go.

We drove to Kanata, checked into our hotel, went out to dinner, then returned to the hotel. With magazine in hand and ice on my knee, I felt pretty relaxed. I didn’t sleep too well, and though our alarm was set for 5 a.m., I woke up at 4 a.m., and couldn’t get back to sleep. That hour was when I experienced my most pre-race angst.

To follow my pre-‘long run’ breakfast routine, I had packed both our toaster AND coffeemaker for the hotel. While Jamally gave me odd looks as I packed these small appliances into the car, he decided it best not to ask questions. But hey, I was then set for my breakfast!

Where's the Kitchen Sink?


The forecast was calling for rain, and since I have to wear some form of prescription lenses, I decided against sporting my prescription glasses and instead went with contacts. I’m so glad I did.

We got to the race site with about 35 minutes to spare. The marathon started at 7 a.m., and with the half marathoners not toeing the start line for another two hours, it was much more spacious in terms of getting to the washrooms and lining up in my corral.

Participants started to gather in the corrals. Before I headed that way, Jamally and I kissed and hugged and he told me he was proud of me. The floodgates almost started, but I smartened up!

Lining up in my corral is the time where I usually get nervous. You get set up in your corral and feel like vomiting. At least that’s how I usually feel when I’m about to start a race. But, somewhere inside my head, the logical sense of being woke up and I told myself I’m here to enjoy my marathon and I earned the ability to embrace this experience.

And the gun went off.



5 Responses to “Completing the Marathon – Part I”

  1. Jill May 30, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    I’ve been thinking about you and couldn’t wait to read your race recap!

    “Before I headed that way, Jamally and I kissed and hugged and he told me he was proud of me.”

    This made me tear up. 🙂

    The part about packing your toaster made me laugh. 🙂

    Can’t wait to read parts 2 and 3!

    Congratulations!!! Enjoy the cookies; you have definitely earned them.

  2. Heidi May 30, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    Way to go I am so proud of you!!

  3. Molly May 30, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    Cathy – I am so happy I got a shout out! I was thinking about you all weekend, praying for good weather. You are officially my hero – great job! Can’t wait to read your other entries.

  4. steph May 31, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    So my burning question is: what is your pre-long run breakfast?


  1. Completing the Marathon – Part II « On The Brink of 30 - May 31, 2011

    […] *This is part two of my three-part marathon recap. Read Part I* […]

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