It seems like forever since Jodi and I escaped for a girl’s weekend away. The Goodlife Half Marathon took place on May the 4th – only a couple of weeks ago! Usually, our races are family friendly and often the girls are running along side of us. Typically for me, as one of my girls is still in the toddler phase, I cross the finish line to a babe in my arms – literally. And, from there, both Jodi and I continue the race of Mommy responsibilities for the rest of the day – groceries, house cleaning, dinner and Sunday night routine for the beginning of a new week. Now don’t get me wrong, we love having the family involved – but, about twice a year, both Jodi and I absolutely treasure our “girl time”.
This girl’s weekend away began on Friday night. We had so much fun on the drive in to T.O. in the VW Beetle! The stress of the week and our responsibilities for two short days absolutely faded away. There were no constraints on our time. We stopped at our favourite carb loading restaurant – Lonestar. Then, after maneuvering through T.O. traffic, we arrived at the host hotel for the race. Going in a day early this year was so much more beneficial – we strongly suggest it! It allowed us to relax in the hot tub before turning in and sleeping in until 8am the next morning!!!! There was no early morning rush to survive T.O. traffic, check in at the hotel and then orientate our way to the Expo.
After an absolutely delightful sleep – we took our time getting to the Expo, sponsored by Goodlife. After attending a Disney Expo – there is nothing else that can compare. What did make this expo so very special is that we got to meet Katherine Switzer – Marathon Woman, who is known for wearing the bib #261 and she was also the first woman to ever cross the Boston Marathon finish line! Our only disappointment was that she didn’t have any of her FEARLESS performance wear for sale. Katherine was so personable. She really does feel that any female runner is a daughter of hers. While waiting in line for Jodi to get her to sign her book, I was amazed at how she made a connection with each runner. She was more than happy to aid in Jodi’s quest to win a beloved spot on the “Napa Needs Jodi” campaign along with wishing one of our favourite BAMR’s, Dimity, a very Happy Birthday!
Our hotel was in the perfect vicinity to downtown T.O. and we enjoyed a walk to the Eaton Centre. It was there that we met a superhero, Spiderman! Only in Toronto would it seem fitting to be twirled around on the corner of Yonge Street. After a day of shopping, walking and catching up, we hit the hot tub and completed our night before a race rituals. At this point, I really thought that I just might need Spiderman to carry me across the finish line!
Jodi and I travel so well together. And, I am sure anyone would get a kick out of our idiosyncrasies. I continue to flabbergast Jodi as I have yet to plan my playlist and wait until the very last moment to do so. While I tend to be pretty calm the night before, Jodi is laying out her outfits and checking her list
two, three, four times. The miserable weather really had us second guessing our outfits! I love that, to us, the bling is just as important as the run itself. Ironically, once the alarm rings in the morning, Jodi confidently completes her morning routine and is eager to run. I, on the other hand, begin to wonder if I am really ready to run 21.1km! Did I train enough? Will my hips give in? Am I dressed right? I just thank goodness that we balance each other out.
Once we got on the morning shuttle, there was no turning back. It seemed like forever until we reached the start of the half marathon. We did encounter a last minute panic as the water at the start line was not present as it was marked on the map. It was time to check the bag. And, the line up for the women’s washroom was about 40 minutes and we were rushed even though we left in plenty of time to get to the start line. Of course, my Garmin started to act up – I had to cry at the thought of not being able to run with my Garmin. Luckily, we were ready in time to run in a sea of hundreds of runners.
Too my amazement, I thoroughly enjoyed most of the 21.1km course. There were a couple of ignorant long and steep hills but they were expected. After an injury and experiencing a less than perfect training season for this race, I really didn’t have any expectations and was utterly shocked at how well I was running. The last 5 km were hard. Simply, hard. The race path was parallel to the water and the wind was blowing hard. At one point, I was running and not moving forward at all! Coming around the corner, searching for the finish line that seemed to not want to appear, I heard shouts of encouragements from total strangers. It always amazes me at races just how friendly and supportive the running community is. Crossing the finish line of my third half marathon in a personal best was more than I could ask for. I sought Jodi out at the massage tent and let “Fredrick” do his magic!
Our least favourite part of race weekend was the bus home. Toronto traffic was stop and go and it took the better part of an hour to get to our host hotel. Jodi tried not to get “bled” on by a passenger! And, as the bus driver pointed out – boys, please wear deodorant especially on a race day! We immediately went to the hot tub and soothed our aching muscles. The late check out fee was so worth it! Fran’s was our next stop as we enjoyed our pancakes and french toast! Soon enough, we would be back to reality.
And, indeed reality has hit us with full force. Thank you Jodi for a wonderful memory and for always making the most of every moment. I cannot wait until our next girl’s trip! And, most of all I love that no matter what, we always celebrate each others success!
Jodi and I are looking for a great race for our next girl’s weekend. Any suggestions?