Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Cape to Cabot (aka Let's Punch Pete Soucy in the Face)

It's been just over a week and I finally feel like I'm ready to talk about it. Because I refused to even think about it for so long, it's kind of difficult to actually put the entire thing into words.

I finished the Cape to Cabot.

Now that's it's over, I can look at my sneakers without hyperventilating. My compression pants no longer cause cold sweats and my PRC shirt once again makes me think of fun runs instead of the Bataan death march.

The weeks between the half marathon and the Cape were somewhat stressful at my house. All I could think about was trying not to think about the race. My hip and knee were still sore from my first training run from Cape Spear and I had convinced myself that I would not be able to finish the course. I even considered backing out altogether. I had a plan to wait until Saturday night before the race and then tell Lori that I wasn't going to run. Can't tell her too early or she'll talk me back into it.

Maybe it was a coincidence, or maybe she's psychic, but over the next few days Lori managed to talk me back into running without even knowing I was quitting. She kept texting things like "I'll regret it if I don't start" or "It doesn't matter if I don't finish it" or "I just need to try and see what I can do".

Sugar's daily weather updates for race day didn't help with my stress levels. "Three degrees and pouring rain for race day". Shut up. "Up to five degree now and scattered showers". Shut UP. "Changed to five degrees and overcast". SHUT UP.

Because there was nothing I could do to stop it, race day arrived. We got up at dark o'clock to have breakfast and left shortly after to make it to the shuttle buses by 6:00 am. 

The ride to Cape Spear was interesting. When a vehicle can barely make it up a hill you have to wonder why you thought it was a good idea to try and run said hill. Maybe I could just stay on the bus and hitch a ride back.

There are so many runners outside the bus warming up. There's a lady doing yoga. That couple over there are having what looks like a picnic while they wait. There's a guy in a garbage bag trying to keep warm and a guy wearing what looks an awful lot like a hazmat suit.

At 7:50 am I got kicked off the bus and had to make my way to the starting area. I went as far back as I could because I knew I'd eventually end up there anyway. We sang the Ode, the gun was fired and off we went. 

My plan was to run slower than usual, even on the flat parts so as not to re-injure myself. I'd done the calculations and knew that if my average pace was under 9 minutes per kilometer, I would finish the race in the three hour time frame. 

I don't remember much of the race itself. I do remember forcing myself to slow down running down several of the hills. I remember a man at the 5 k water stop looking at me with concern and asking if I was alright. Did I really look that bad? Maybe I'm having some sort of breakdown and don't even realize it. 

I also remember getting past the 10 k mark where the pain started during the training run and realizing that I was going to be able to finish the race. 

Southside Road, Water Street and Harbour Drive were wonderful. I ran along at my usual pace feeling pretty good. The stress was gone and my app was telling me I was going to be finished in less than three hours, even with Temperance and Signal Hill left to go. 

Photo credit: Canvassing the Neighborhood Photography

Enter the piper. There is seriously nothing more encouraging than having someone pipe you up Temperance Street. I felt a little like Braveheart. The real Braveheart, not the monkey with the lightning bolts. (Video)

I did walk some of Signal Hill, because let's face it, it's awful. I could hear the shouts from my fellow PRCers at the top and I knew that in a matter of minutes it would all be over. I could go home and never speak of this whole experience again.

Photo credit: Ron Earles

I ran down the finish chute passed a sea of yellow jackets but all I could really think about was getting over the finish line. I was almost at the mat before I realized that Sugar was there, looking just like National Lampoon's Uncle Eddie, waiting with my medal, ready to place it around my neck. That moment made it all worth it.

I think I asked someone where I could find Pete Soucy so I could punch him in the face. Since he was long finished, we took a few pictures, gave a few hugs and headed for home, no worse for the wear. 

I survived. 

I've been asked since, "Will you do it again next year?" My answer - no. But then again I also said I'd never run a half marathon or do the Cape to Cabot, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see.