Bib #35 – Goodlife Victoria Marathon
“Mirabelle! Mirabelle!” I shouted and waved my arms, willing her to see me from the other side the street where she was closing in on her final half-marathon miles, at a strong, 7:21 per mile pace.
She grinned, confirming that she’d seen me. It would be hours before I reached the spot where she now was on the out-and-back course, as I was going twice the distance, and at a slower pace.
As the marathoners began to approach, I watch first for pace groups — groups of runners led by the Super Pacers, with their star placards announcing the group’s marathon finish time. 3:40. 3:50. 3:55. I began studying oncoming runners in earnest. Cathy had a 3:55 marathon PR, and she was trying for another one in Victoria.
Then, the blond pigtails I recognized, high on her head. “Cathy!” “Jenna!” “Cathy!” “Jenna!” We high fived over the double yellow lines in the center of the street, squeezing one another’s gloved hand before letting go to continue on our way. Cathy would finish in 3:53, a personal record.
“Jenna! Jenna!” They shouted from the right side of the finisher’s chute, just yards from the finish line. I cut sharply to the right to grab their hands. “Don’t stop,” they laughed, waving me on. “Just finish!” I too, laughed. “I don’t care!” (About my finish time.)
Mirabelle and Cathy were the only reason I was even at this race; the beautiful race weather the only reason I was running the full marathon, rather than the half I’d signed up for. And, with a 50k just six days away, I wasn’t trying to accomplish anything significant in Victoria.
Post-race brunch is filled with catching up (we’d not seen one another since we’d departed trail running camp in July), french fries and croque-madame, before I board the float plane for the 30 minute flight back to Seattle. Mirabelle and I promise to make plans to get together, as only 3 driving hours separate our Seattle and Vancouver homes. Cathy, I will see in December, where she will travel from Mississippi to pace me at the Kiawah Island Marathon, as I am training for a sub-4:00 finish, a 13-minute PR.
Some friends, I realize, plan shopping excursions as a reason to see one another. Mine plan race excursions.