I made it!! Turns out that I can make it through a mountain night race in -20 degrees Celsius without having to be rescued by emergency services!! Woohoo!! This not to say by any means that it was easy….so let’s start from the beginning.
Timing was a bit stressful…I hadn’t picked up my race kit in advance as we had been out of town all week. So I needed to get to the race location early and get organized. Normally we always go as a family to the races but this time my 6 year old son was scheduled to spend the afternoon/evening at a friend’s house instead. However, last minute scheduling mishaps occurred and his plans were cancelled. Then they were back on. Then they were cancelled. We started driving, then turned back, then drove away, then back again. Then we stopped in front of the friend’s house (which just happens to be the neighbors, so really we were just back where we started) Let’s just say this was the last time I let my husband and the other dad organize a play date! Fellow mommies, I’m sure you are with me on this one!!
Here’s a great little moment we had in the car as we left the house….see Zach smiling in the backseat? It’s approximately 5 minutes before all hell broke loose. After changing the plans on him so many times it was just too much for this little 6 year old to handle. He lost his sh*t. Totally. Completely. Lost it.
After some intense yelling and crying from pretty much everyone, we finally left Zach at his buddy’s house and headed out for good this time. Of course now we were about 30 minutes off our scheduled time. I am a very punctual person, I HATE being late. So of course I spent the entire car ride imagining how I was going to miss the race. Luckily my hubby (who normally drives at snail pace) did me a little favor this time around and revved it up to a snappy turtle speed so we actually made it to the race with a couple of minutes to spare 😉
I made a run for the chalet to get organized while hubby and baby girl looked for parking. By the time I had picked up my race kit and changed my clothes, they arrived to meet me. Only they were FROZEN. Aaaand cue the music…...Let it go! can’t hold me back anyyyyymorrrrreeeee!!!!! No really…..Chloe was actually singing Let It Go at the top of her lungs. Lol 🙂 Just can’t get away from that song!!
Apparently parking was quite far which meant that in order to meet me before the race started, hubby had to run uphill while pushing a heavy stroller in the snow filled with 3 year old wearing a full snowsuit singing Let It Go. And he had lost his gloves. Needless to say he was not impressed. So Chloe and her daddy decided to stay inside the warm chalet instead of seeing me off at the starting line. They grabbed some hot chocolate and hoped to thaw out by the time I came back.
After a quick hug from my little princess, I was off! It was finally time for me to run 🙂
I headed out into the frigid night and took my place in the crowd. Everyone was jumping, hopping and getting excited. I tried to stay focused and not to get too lost in the excitement of the moment. As much as I love that part right before a race, I also know that hype can mess me up and make me start out too quickly. I already knew the course and knew how hard this was going to be. So I focused on aiming to keep an easy, manageable pace and save some energy for the dreaded uphill battle I knew would come at the end.
And just like that, it had started!!! OMG….it’s so hard to breathe while running straight into the wind! The trail started out downhill but it was really icy. So icy that the treads did not help, I actually had to gallop sideways down the trail for one part in order to avoid face planting into the ground. Yeah…and that was before we hit the uphill section…..This was by far the hardest race I have ever run….but I did it. I survived 🙂
Despite the -20 degree temps, the blowing snow and that icy trail, I can truly say that it was magical experience. Did I get a PR? Nope, far from it!! In fact I ran this 5km in 35 minutes which not only is much longer than my previous PR but it is way longer than the best I’ve ever done in practice and especially long compared to the time of 27 minutes that I hit at the 5km mark during my 10km race back in November.
However none of that mattered to me one bit. Running up and down Mont Royal and looking out at the lights of Montreal was so beautiful and so surreal that speed, time, pace etc…didn’t matter at all. I enjoyed the challenge of each step, the view, the cold air in my lungs. I marveled at how far I have come. Had someone asked me 2 years ago if I would run, race or hell even go outside in winter?!? I would have laughed and called them crazy. Running has taken me to a place I never knew existed. It is a place inside myself where pure happiness is born and seems to permeate every other aspect of my life. I was thankful as I ran. I relished every moment of this race and those are memories that I know will last forever.
So despite my fears about this race, I did make it through. Although no PR was to be had and due to the arctic temperature my lovely family was not at the finish line cheering as they usually are, it was still overall a beautiful experience.
This was the view from just outside the chalet. Such a beautiful view makes this Montreal Runner Mom even more in love with her city 🙂
So my friends, 2014 has come to an end. For me, it was a year of new beginnings and some great accomplishments but I am just getting started….2015 is going to ROCK like nothing before. This is the year that I am more focused, more driven, more appreciative and more authentic then ever before.
Wishing a very Happy New Year to all the my fellow runners, bloggers and family & friends out there. May your 2015 be the best you’ve ever had. Make it count. It’s the only 2015 you will ever have.