This coming Sunday my brother, my husband and I will be joined by our Ottawa-based younger son for the Ottawa Half Marathon, marking his first half marathon. His wife, our lovely daughter-in-law, is running the 10K event of Ottawa’s Race Weekend the evening before. Rounding out our race team are the most important members, our two small grandchildren, who will be making creative signs and cheering us on, as will my sister-in-law. It’s a family affair.
In thinking about what I need to take with me when we travel to Ottawa this Friday, I am struck by the difference in the level of emotional energy I am expending in advance of our seventh half marathon as opposed to the heady anxiety of preparing to leave for our first half marathon two and a half years ago. The apprehension of the unknown is gone, replaced by the happy anticipation of standing with thousands of other enthusiastic recreational runners, breathing in the excitement with my family members, waiting for the starting signal. What a difference experience makes.
Now I know that I can complete the distance; it’s a question of not starting too fast.
Now I know that there are some pre-race preparations detailed in books and magazines that I need to remember, some that don’t make the slightest difference, and a few others that I have figured out for myself. Those preparations are almost second nature to me.
Now I know that I should take clothing for every possible weather situation regardless of the weather forecast. Better safe than sorry.
Now I know that if it is warm and humid I’m not going to have one of my better times, so I shouldn’t beat myself up, just run smart and enjoy the experience.
What I don’t know is if I can beat my brother or not! This is the 4th time we have run together. Except for the NYC marathon – well, and the time he was injured and couldn’t finish – he has kicked my butt. Last year I was ahead of him for the first half of the race and then I ran out of steam. My goal for this year: don’t run out of steam!
On Friday my husband and I will fly to Ottawa from New Brunswick, my brother will fly in from Las Vegas (where he says he’s on business!) and my sister-in-law will fly in from St. John’s, Newfoundland, where she’s been checking out icebergs and whales while her husband is in Las Vegas. We’re converging on Ottawa with tens of thousands of others for Ottawa Race Weekend.
Great city, great crowds, great route, running with your family. Does it get any better than that? Let the fun begin.