Monday, September 29, 2008

race day

My friend Jim and I, at the pasta supper on the eve of our first 1/2 marathon race.

All packed and ready to go, I tried to get to sleep early, finally falling into bed at around 10 pm. Could I sleep? Oh no.
I had had a very exciting lesson with my Amharic tutor in Toronto, Saturday morning. He asked me if it would be okay with me if he gave me the names of some people I could visit and stay with in Addis, and if I'd have room in my luggage for a few items he and his wife would like to send to their family in Addis.
It would make my dreams come true! Imagine, not having to stay in some impersonal hotel room, but to be invited into somebody's home! Why would I say no to that??
And, I had already planned on taking two suitcases: a larger suitcase filled with clothing, etc., that would hopefully benefit somebody, and just stuffing my smaller suitcase into the larger, for my return trip.
Then, I barely had time to do some laundry, so that my running gear would be clean and dry for the morning, before dashing out again to a pasta supper with the gang on the eve of our big race.
It seemed so difficult to turn my mind off, to get to sleep, because I just wanted to think about all the exciting possibilities before me. Back and forth, my thoughts flicked from wondering how the race would go to imagining what my upcoming trip to Ethiopia will be like.
I did finally sleep, but I woke up at midnight, at 3 am, & at 3:20 am. Finally giving up at 3:40 am, I got out of bed to eat a runner's breakfast of rolled oats (raw), organic meusli, slivered almonds, plain yogurt and pineapple. Shower, dress, another paranoid check of my check-list.
  • eload capsules (my stomach goes into knots with Gatorade as an electrolyte supplement during races) -- check
  • GU (one of my favorite energy gels to restore energy consumed during a race, plus it's tolerated by my stomach and tastebuds) -- check
  • change of clothes and warmup jacket for after the race -- check
  • cellphone in case I lose my running buddies after the race -- check
  • receipt to present (if needed, as I prepaid for this) for my 15 minute massage post race -- check
  • camera -- check
  • $20 in a pocket of my belt in case I need it after the race -- check
Okay: I'm dressed. Race bib is not upside down (how embarrassing!).Timing chip is secured to my shoe. I have my hair-elastics and running cap to keep my hair & the sun/rain out of my eyes.

Last minute thoughts: throw in plastic containers of fruit, of cereal, left-over rice & curry (not eaten.) Add a pullover to my bag in case it's cold by the lake ( I used the pullover because I got rid of the mylar blanket provided after the race too soon and had to retrieve the pullover from the car when I started to chill.)
The race itself was an incredible experience. And many, many thanks go to Mary and Kieran, our 1/2 marathon clinic leaders, for their time, dedication and insights. Andrew (our 2:15 pacer)ran with me for over 1/2 of the race, bathroom break and all, encouraging me to keep going. Davey G. (the 1:50 pacer) popped up near the 19 km mark to cheer me on (it's wonderful when somebody pronounces my name right from the sidelines!). As I approached the last uphill and the last 800 m, I thought of my mom and my kids, particularly my son, and I ran for them. Some fool at the 700m mark thought it would be encouraging to yell "only 700 m to go..." It might have as well have been 700 km. Not helpful. At 300 m I was determined not to walk. I was determined I'd run in, one step at a time, and finish standing up and smiling. At 100 m, I heard my name again, but couldn't look to see who it was. I realized later that it must have been Chris and Wade. Thanks, guys!!
An amazing feeling. Sweaty, congratulatory hugs all around. Then my wonderful massage...
Of course we had to stay to watch the full-marathon runners come in. Mary & Kieran were special to us, having been our clinic leaders for the 10 km, and then the 1/2!

No pics allowed of the party after the race. I certainly wasn't up to operating a camera any more. I had already taken about 2 min worth of video featuring my left shoe at one point...

A beer on arrival back in Whitby, another at Melanie Pringle's, a marguerita & mexican fare at the Mexican restaurant at Taunton and Gerrard...I felt so tired and fuzzy when I got home, I could barely find the cold water tap for a therapeutic bath for my tired legs (brrrr! still an insane things to do -- sorry, Davey G.! -- but I've gotta believe it helped).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

How/where did you find an Amharic tutor in Toronto? I have been looking for one for 3 years now. I can read and write at a high school level but I need major help with speaking. Do you have any idea where I can find a tutor>

11:42 a.m.  
Blogger Kati said...

I have several suggestions: 1. try Dr. Abebe Worku at the Ethiopian Association(416-645-5206) 2. try your local continuing education centre/ESL course for someone with whom you can trade conversational time 3. there is a large ex-pat Ethiopian community in the GTA with lots of shops/restaurants in the Danforth east area as well as the Bloor St. West area.
Let me know how you make out!
Good luck.

1:38 p.m.  
Anonymous Carolyne said...

Thank you so much for your suggestions. I will try the Ethiopian Association for some formal tutoring. In the meantime, I speak Amharic to any Ethiopian who will listen!!

7:40 p.m.  

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