During dinner after leg 1, we were laughing about the fact that the race went right past our shop's front door at Kingston Road and Woodbine. Erick had walked out at one point and seen one of the Ragnar direction signs right in front of our 'gawcky-g' corner sign and texted me a photo. To show support, he'd popped one of the Endorphriends logo decals on the sign. Well, before you know it Michelle and Allison had suddenly started brainstorming. Within seconds they came up with an impromptu contest to increase awareness of our company.
Allison contacted Reebok Canada and they agreed to help out! I literally wrote out the details of the contest in the parking lot of Farm Boy in Pickering, posting to all my social media platforms. The whole team jumped on board and reposted it. Thanks so much to my team and Reebok Canada for the amazing kudos, support and fun contest!
Also a super-huge thanks to Janice for stopping to take a pic for me too!
Darkness seemed to arrive suddenly for us in van 2. As we drove past my exit on the highway it hit me that... no, I am not going home to bed, I still have tons more race to do! It was a strange feeling. I gulped down my Starbucks and popped open our glow bracelets and started handing them out, trying to catch a second wind. Pulling into the parking lot of major exchange 18 was like a Christmas camping experience mixed into one. People lay on the grassy median in sleeping bags, headlamps and reflective clothing glittered and vans drove by with full strings of Christmas lights.
Michelle mentioned that she and Ben would be happy to run with any of us through the night legs if we felt unsafe. Given my route was right along busy Lakeshore Boulevard starting at around 11:30 pm, I felt pretty safe. I was prepared for the heckling considering it was the Friday night of a long weekend. Allison would run with Ben (who was neatly polishing off pretty much the entire Martin Goodman Trail through Toronto in his second leg) and Michelle with Lisa who would be running in more deserted locations.
Michelle and Leanne got to work on popping batteries into our headlamps only to realize they already had batteries! We wandered around the dark exchange chatting and finally finding van 2 of JPsTeam Sole Sisters! Those hugs were much appreciated.
Before we knew it van 1 was there. You wouldn't know that this team had been running and traveling all day based on our energy! I seriously think that getting out at every exchange point kept me going. I just never gave myself a chance to realize I might be tired!
We all hovered around the exchange area watching for headlamps turning the corner. Ben arrived to cheers from the team and continued onward with Allison who looked pretty pleased to have a matchy-matchy teammate!
My leg 2 route was pretty straight forward. A tiny bit through Colonel Samuel Smith Park, up a residential street, then straight along Lakeshore Boulevard from the Toronto border, through Etobicoke to the border of Mississauga at Port Credit.
We waited in the shadows of the park with only a couple other teams. Allison and Ben were suddenly there and did our hug exchange (which would become one of my favourite race photos!) I took off fumbling with my head lamp. My favourite part of the entire race when it comes to route came up during the first kilometer of this leg. After everyone talking about buddying up, I was a little concerned when the first part of my route headed right into the park. Within seconds though, the trees opened up and I was facing the shimmering lake. It was one of those moments that you can't help but smile. As I took in the view, hearing my footfalls on the pavement, a burst of colour appeared in the sky over the lake. Victoria Day weekend fireworks! It was as if someone had wanted to further improve my already awesome experience. With a final glance across the lake at our Niagara destination, I turned toward Lakeshore Boulevard.
Safety wise, I was happy to find that I always had another runner within sight. I also saw several police cars driving along Lakeshore. While there were some quieter spots along the route that made me a bit squeamish, the majority of the route was along the store lined street. I felt strong on this leg which was unexpected. I can count on one hand the number of times I've run past noon and I had expected to be really tired and struggle. Instead, I found myself picking up my pace and passing runners. By the end I'd passed six runners, making sure to say hi to each as I did so as to not freak anyone out! As I approached Port Credit, the number of bars and pubs increased, many with patios that covered the entire sidewalk (this made zero sense to me, I had to detour onto the street to pass). I definitely got some odd looks as I ran by on a Friday night of a long weekend when many people were out having a drink. I was glad I'd worn my hat as it gave me a slight feeling of being incognito. I took to tipping my hat brim down and headlamp up into the eyes of anyone who looked like they were about to provide some unnecessary heckling. I did have to laugh at one comment though, "Hey! It's like mining and running all in one!"
With the increase in bars, I was happy to be soon crossing the bridge to where I knew the lighthouse exchange point was. Krysten was there and we did our dance exchange (no runners were taken out this time). I rejoined the rest of my team who were shivering in the cold. I wondered why several of them had their hands out and gave them high-fives before realizing that they were all pointing to my headlamp which was blinding them.
Below left: Selfies just don't come out very well on dark streets at midnight!
Below right: No runners (or cyclists) were endangered during our leg 2 exchange!
To be continued, with Leg 3...