Well, I guess you start with mentioning one text sent from one friend to two others a week before the Chilly Half Marathon. In that text was a simple suggestion that we wear our matching Tiux socks. From there, it escalated to hours of funny messages and photos from the store while choosing the exact colour of tutus, drawings of how to accessorize, where we were meeting, and pretty much continuous laughter. Somewhere along the way #teamtutu #fairyfive turned into a branch of #JPsTeam--with our wonderful Jean Paul Bédard agreeing to wear a tutu and pom pom headband (in our defense, we got him a tie too) and run at a pace he'd never imagined--slow.
The race was the day before my birthday, and fun was the theme of the day. If you ever want to have people cheering you on while running a race (and you're not an elite runner) simply wear a costume in a non-costume race with four others doing the same thing. Along the entire course people yelled out cheers for #JPsTeam and commented on the awesomeness of our outfits. I lost count of how many people smiled, commented or cheered. We stopped to take photos with friends, with strangers and volunteers. We danced, we cheered, we laughed.
Heading into the race I had been feeling like I might be getting sick. After an amazing first five kilometers, I slowly began to realize the rest of the race was going to be painful. I had no energy and no appetite for fuel. The further we went, the less energy I had and the worse my stomach felt. I lost track of how many times I saw the heads of my friends turn to see I had faded to walking once again. And each and every time they smiled, backtracked and on we went together. They distracted me with conversation about big life events. Hilarious stories. Funny comments. Challenges to keep running to certain points. And pointing out the view (even if it was the same scenery twice!) But at no time did they leave me. They let me know that they would be there until we crossed the finish hand in hand, and they were true to their word. When that finish line finally came, we collapsed into a group hug. This was by far my most emotional race ever. Even though I continually felt guilty for holding them back, I never considered quitting. I knew I would finish, and even though I felt rotten, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this race. Nothing could be a better example of friendship and the running community than this race. Thank you JP, Melly, Andrea and Sandi. An extra special thanks to sherpa-extraordinaire Mary Anne and to my friend / coach Michelle who reminded me after the race that, "Today was just supposed to be about fun. You had fun = Success."
I have to say that this day was one of the best birthday gifts ever.