Shuffle. Ugh. Bump. Ouch. Creek. Shuffle.
I’m back from Negril where I ran my fifth half marathon this past Saturday. Interestingly, I’ve run all 5 in different countries. This was not something I planned – a completely coincidental fact given my whereabouts the last few years:
May 2006 – Luxembourg City, LUX
March 2008 – Hastings, England, UK
November 2008 – Calgary, AB, CAN
December 2010 – Las Vegas, NV, USA
December 2012 – Negril, JA
Leading up to Saturday, I was reflecting on all of my races, even the full marathon I ran once. I have such great memories and absolutely love race day, despite the obvious pain that is endured. The adrenaline is pumping, nerves vibrating, butterflies fluttering, and legs flying. I feel like I’m a part of a collective group of crazies. Those who love to run and push their limits. I’m alive and feel free.
Saturday was no different. It was an amazing morning. I’m so grateful to have completed the race with a smile on my face – the hard work paid off. I also finished beside my training partner, Kate. We carried each other to the end during the last 3 miles. My friends Elisa and Erin were in the race too and did excellent; Kelly and Wendy were fabulous spectators and photographers.
The race started at 5:15 am; it was still very dark out. The starting gun was accompanied with ‘Jamming’ by Bob Marley – reggae music, sound systems and drumming were sprinkled along the course. About 1500 people were in the run – some did the 10 kilometers, others were full marathoners, most did the half. People from over 40 countries were registered.
The sun started to rise at about 6 am, pink and gold lighting the sky once the torches went out. The ocean was often to my left, the hilly green fields to the right. The course was up and back the main road in Negril. Visitors stumbled out of their hotel rooms, coffee in hand, to watch and cheer us on. Hard to take it all in, actually. Very emotionally stimulating.
By 7 am the sun was hot and encouraging me to run faster. As were my achy knees. Lots of locals were also out by then, walking to work in their uniforms alongside us because the road was closed for the race. The final mile was named ‘Bob’s Mile’, and signs with inspirational Bob Marley sayings coached us on – a very welcome sight. As was the water-mister at mile 12. I finished just past 7:30 to a celebratory Red Stripe and hugs from supportive friends. Later that day we headed out to the famous Rick’s Cafe along the cliffs in West Negril for a cocktail at sunset.
Number 5 is in the record books. Where will life take me for number 6?