Pretty soon it was time to line up behind the start line and I spent the last few seconds before the gun listening to Cypress Hill's "Rock Superstar" - which made me feel really tough. The gun fired, off came the ugly warm-up clothes...and we were underway.
(I'm in the red top and black tights - don't blink!)
The first few miles took us on a meandering tour through downtown Victoria. The twists, turns, and gentle hills kept my interest. We passed the Empress Hotel, the harbour, and the stately legislative buildings.
After all that solitude I was very happy to find my friend Stephanie and her Mom enthusiastically waving and cheering as I went by mile 17 and then again at 29.
Throughout the journey I did have a lot of work to do. I phoned Ian every 5 or 6 miles and filed a report. I walked and drank at all of the water stops and ate 3 cliff shot bloks every hour. I kept scanning the sidewalks for Ian and my Dad, who might appear at any moment from behind a large tree or parked car. Finally, and most importantly I had to remember my mission: Make it to mile 20 feeling great and ready to start the marathon!
(Here I am at mile 20 getting a last drink from Ian)
It's safe to say my strategy worked. I ended up seeing Ian and my Dad at least 5 times and I think each time they were surprised to see a smile on my face. Aside from one episode of aching toes (which was quickly remedied with Advil) and a couple of breaks to stretch stiff legs - I did arrive at Mile 20 feeling pretty great. Around mile 21 I accepted a tiny cup of beer from one of the Oak Bay folks and dug in.
In the end I did feel pretty crappy the last 3 or 4 miles but I kept reminding myself that this was going to be my last really long run for a loooong time, and that helped keep my pace up.
I crossed the finish with a chip time of 4:10:41, beating my previous record by 10 minutes and blowing my "best case sceneario" goal of 4:15 out of the water. Thanks to all my supporters and I'll keep you posted on the recovery...