Monday, October 21, 2013

It Takes a Team - Banff Ekiden Relay Support

No sooner had I crossed the finish and sent Michelle on her way, than Leana handed me a little goodie bag! Turns out I wasn't the only one with a few tricks up my sleeve for the day!

Inside was an assortment of runner goodies, a pair of BMO Van gloves that she'd been hanging onto for me for MONTHS and my awesome new birdie socks that were to be part of our team uniform for the day!

I quickly changed in the washroom so I could get warm again and then it was onto cheer duty!

Aww...stupid thumb got in the way of an awesome selfie of Leana and I...

We had no real way of knowing how long Michelle's leg was going to be.  Leg two had to be altered at the last minute to accommodate a momma bear and two cubs who had taken up residence on the original course. We knew that she would be running most of the same as my leg one and then an add-on out to Bow Falls parking lot and back.

We tried to stay inside where it was warm for a while until we figured she would be near.

I came really close to dognapping a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy named Addi.  But that's just how I am.

This also gave me a chance to try to figure out why my iPhone was draining and shutting down so quickly.

Luckily I had brought an emergency power supply but it also looked like I had somehow broken the lock button on the top of the phone and that was contributing to the drain.  I wish we'd known that we would have access to plug ins - I would have brought a wall plug with me.  Note to future teams - bring your power cords...there are plug ins inside!

When it was getting close to an hour, we decided to go out and cheer for everyone while we waited.  Tina was raring to go:

...and then suddenly, she was there!

And then it was Tina's turn to run her two legs.  It felt like the blink of an eye, but our team was burning through the legs much faster than I'd expected.  We had no time goals - just fun goals that we were meeting at every turn.

While we were waitying for Tina to finish her first leg, Leana and I headed out to the road to cheer.  My buddy from SAIT caught up with us there and we spent the next little while getting all caught up on the last 8 years of our lives (well, really it was like the last 3 years since I left Facebook).  I love how close I still feel with so many of my classmates from that time.   We were all such a tight-knit group and it is like having a whole other family to care about.

Michelle and I rocked the headbands that Nikki sent us while we waited:

Then,. Tina was there...

I raced over to the transition area to capture her coming through the arch as she embarked on her second leg.

Tina's 2nd leg was slightly longer than the first so we had a rough idea of how long Leana had to get ready and eat beforehand.

We also took some goofy photos

We headed inside to the little piece of real estate we had claimed in the middle of the floor and Leana got herself all ready to fly.  I could hardly believe we were already at our last runner of the day! It was around this time that we finally bullied Michelle into joining Instagram :)

The birdie socks got a whole lotta camera time that day.

With about 15 mins to go, we headed out to the startline and took a few pictures before Tina arrived.

Then, I went out to watch for her on the road and cheered her up the hill.

and then she hit transition and the chip was handed off one last time...

Leana was on her way

Tina went off to freshen up after her legs and it was time to start winding down our day and to get ready to celebrate!

Leana had been sick all week so wasn't really sure how long it would take her to come in.  Luckily, she posted a mid-leg shot to Instagram with her distance at 8k so we were able to pretty accurately figure when to expect her.

In the meantime, we took a bunch of photos

I contemplated dognapping Addi again...

and we were ready and waiting with our pompoms when she got there

Michelle met her at the hill and ran her in...with Leana chicking a girl who'd been ahead of her for most of her leg as she came in for a strong finish:

There was much celebrating:

Our team finished the relay in just shy of 4:11...much faster than I think any of us have ever run a solo marathon!  This was a bit shy of the marathon distance, thanks to the bear detour...but it's still nice to see such a quick time - especially since we had firmly decided our focus was on fun and not finish times. :)

and then we headed off to find lunch.  The announcer had said it was at the Sally Borden building, but when we got there we couldn't find anything and there was zero signage.

We were all starving so we decided to just head into town and find a restaurant where we could properly celebrate our achievements of the day.  We ended up at Nourish Bistro - a super yummy, vegetarian comfort food restaurant that seemed to fit the dietary restrictions bill fairly well for us.  Hubby and I had eaten there on our Banff trip back in march and the food was every bit as yummy as I had remembered!

and I still had one more surprise up my sleeve for my fellow Birdies...

Knowing that Hosteling International doesn't do medals for most of their races, I decided to take things into my own medalwhore hands...and got my craft on for a special project.

I made these so they could be worn a couple of ways.  The hand stamped tags are removable so they can be just a special necklace...or left on so they can adorn a medal rack. However the Birdies would want to rock them.  I think the Birdies were quite surprised that I had done that.

I am so proud of our little team.  From it's humble Twitter beginnings of 4 bloggers who didn't really know each other well, through the excitement of meetups, planning and coordinating and on to the amazing, magical day the event ended up being - we truly embodied the spirit of the team.   This day will live on in my memory forever as being one of the most special of my "running career".  So freaking much fun.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Thank you, Birdies!  You truly rock and I am proud to count you among my friends!  Thank you for EVERYTHING!


  1. Brilliant! Loved all the pics and hearing about the race :) Bit surprised there was no medal, but yours was way more fabulous anyway. I bet more people dress up next year after seeing you lot!

  2. This is so cool Cori! I love it! I'm so glad you guys had fun and that the race itself went so well! I too have been saving a pair of BMO gloves for you - ha ha!

  3. Thank YOU Cori!! It was amazing how quickly that day flew by, eh? I think it is so amazing how we went from not really knowing each other to forming an amazing bond and having such a wonderful day. It was so special to me. There is just something about running that can bring people together!!

  4. So cute how thoughtful you all are to each other. Bloggers are such nice people.

  5. Thank you Cori, for your support and for bringing us little birdies all together under your wing. You led us to the best tools for planning and collaboratively involved us in building our birdie wardrobes and spoiled us with the thoughtful medal. That was the FUNnest race ever!


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