Today was my favourite and most meaningful race of the year. Always. See my reports from past years here:
This race is so special to our family because it supports the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Units in Calgary, of which my daughters spent time in two of them in their first 8 days of life. We are proud to have made this race a family tradition and every year since 2011, we have had a family team that truly makes this a super special day surrounded by family and friends!
The Meeting Place
Each year, we designate a central meeting place at Chinook Centre for everyone on the team to gather if they wish. This year, we chose the perfect one in that it was close to the start and had ready access to tons of washrooms...oh and plenty of room for the midgets to run around in.
This year was a bit frantic for us as we got out of the house later than planned and then ended up running into road closures when we should have been already parked. I may or may not have been in a state by the time we pulled into the parkade - exacerbated by the pinging of a thousand text messages wondering where I was (might be exaggerating the number there...but my phone came alive the more road blocks I hit)
This place has also become the place where we can take load of pre-race photos and some of these photos have become traditions in themselves...like this one of the twinners with Juli, my good friend V's daughter (and Anna's granddaughter).
Notice the white bands on my daughter's wrists - I used my p-touch labeler to make emergency bands with their names and my number on them in case they became separated from us. It was great peace of mind all day for me...and they stayed on really well. I'd so do this again.
This year, we also managed to get a great mother-daughter shot of me and my TNT Nike friends with our daughters.
I always love the meeting place because it is always so happy.
|with Susan from my Nike TNT team|
|The 2010 Nike TNT alum group (plus Sonia)|
|This year, Erika and I actually got to meet in person after years of Twitter banter!|
|Me and V|
|Alex, from Team Goofy Alberta, and me|
|with Lorraine and her contagious smile|
As always - we could always use twice as much time at the meeting place than we usually have and soon it was time to head to the start.
We got outside, just as Mayor Nenshi was sending the wheelchair athletes on their way. It was so crowded...I wish I'd had the thought to pull my camera out as we passed the start line on our way back into the pack. There was a large "Boston Strong" banner plastered to the front of it...but at that point we were trying to keep track of the midgens in the rush of people until we could get back to the strollers.
At one point, we ended up darting into the mall just to escape the crowd and make faster progress. Unfortunately, we lost Juli and her grampa in the process so the girlies didn't get to start together. As it turns out they had a bit of an adventure on their own so we might have been without them even if we had been able to start together.
We wanted to start ahead of the walkers area and thought it might be calmer back in the strollers. Turns out we chose perfectly.
|Me and Doodle, just before the gun started the race|
|Looking toward the start line|
|looking behind us|
|A family shot before the real fun begins. |
I love this crew more than anything on this planet!
They make my life so rich and full.
And then we were off...
It took us easily 15 minutes to cross the start line after the race began. We tried to keep the girlies walking, but they were already pretty tired from the early start, long drive in and playtime in the mall. We danced through the crowd and eventually resorted to carrying them to the start line and told them they could start running after we crossed.
The course starts on the east side of the mall and winds its way along the north side and then through the parking lot before it hits the streets. It runs north before spitting us out on Macleod for a long stretch to the finish.
Around the back of the mall, there were belly dancers putting on a show for us all.
It became apparent early on that the twins were either too intimidated by the crowds or simply just too tired to run. We spent a great deal of time coaxing them along to avoid potentially carrying them for the full 5k.
But we were still carrying them by the time we hit the donation bins at the end of the first km. Thank goodness for incorporating piggy-back practice into our training regimen.
It was warm out, but the thick cloud cover kept us from scorching in the heat. I think I was actually warmer from the heatpack (er, I mean kiddo) on my back than from the weather, which was a welcome reprieve over the volatile weather of every one of the last 3 years.
We tried to alternate piggy backing with running - where we usually spent time saying "Look -there's a puppy - go ask if you can pet him!"
We made it through the first water stop at about the half hour mark and had a brief stop to drink and thank the volunteers.
Soon, the half way mark was in sight and the 5k people split from the 10k people until the final stretch of the race.
In terms of kid carrying duties, Hubby got the raw end of the deal in usually ending up with heavier Buggie who insisted upon being carried on his shoulders because she couldn't see anything from his back.
|High fiving volunteers|
at least when she was on my back - she would stay low...my poor neck couldn't have handled a shoulder ride.
The girls started losing steam pretty fast after this and they started to feel so heavy so we'd try to make them walk more and more. and every time we set them down, a tantrum usually ensued. So we stopped for a snack just after the 3k point.
Apparently Doodle also needed a stretch...
With the help of a fruit bar and the lure of chocolate milk at the finish - we soon carried on.
The crowds ahead. Last year, running this course, I never noticed how pretty this part of the race was (probably because my eyeballs were melting in my head that time)
Coming in for a Landing
Before long, we were turning onto Macleod and, while the finish line was still far out of sight, we were starting to feel like the end was near. We spent more time high-fiving police and paramedics and thanking volunteers. Somehow we caught up to all of the people we started the race surrounded by. There were a ton of NICU twins in our midst and it felt great to be surrounded by others who had endured what we had for those first 8 days. So many of the baby photos adorning their t-shirts and wagons could have easily been our daughter's own.
Soon we were only a km from the finish and hubby decided it was time to get er done and bolted into a run that I tried to keep up.
We leap frogged a bit, with Doodle on my back yelling "run fast momma!" like a jockey to her horse. People around us thought that was hilarious.
|BAD family pic as we race to the finish!|
And, all of a sudden, we were across the finish line and I could finally drop my human knapsack and grab some snacks. We were chip timed at 1:17:06. Here's what Garmin said so I guess I must've been dead on for turning on my watch considering I was maneuvering with a kid on my back both times.
The the midgens in the crowd - there is also a kids race. The girlies have run it the ast two years and they were really looking forward to running it again this year with Juli. As it turned out, we crossed the finish line just in time for the Little Legs race in their age category to start.
When we left them on that side of the parking lot and went to the other side to await their finishes, Juli was telling the girlies how to get their own happy face sticker from the clown in the middle and she really wanted the girlies to not miss out. I should have foreseen what happened next but it still took me by surprise. Just moments before the race started, Buggie bolted across the crowd to the clown!
and then the race started and Ronald simply reached down, took her hand
and ran like the - er - wind to the finish!
She eventually got that sticker...and then spent the rest of the day telling us that she wished it was a different clown than "Old MacDonald" because he was a weird clown. HA!
Hubby caught it all on video so I will add that in if I can get it onto YouTube.
As a prize, Mcdonalds provided toys and certificates for all of the finishers. That stung alot less than the medals they gave them last year (I STILL think the moms should get medals for this race)
So, once again - a super fun way to spend Mother's Day! This will always beat breakfast in bed, as far as I'm concerned. Even at a 14 min/km pace - it is much more my speed ;)