The first feeling I got after crossing the finish line was relief. I made it. I was done.
But then, when the volunteer put my medal around my neck the sobs started. I didn’t think I would cry but there were way too many emotions bubbling up not to. I found Chad and Catherine just before I grabbed my food. Chad asked if I was OK and I certainly was. I couldn’t tell if the tears were from relief, pain or pride but it was probably a mix of all of them.
After grabbing half a muffin, a cookie and some orange slices I found my family and we headed off to meet the rest of the marathon training group who had already finished. It was so exciting to hear everyone else’s race stories and take group photos once everyone had crossed the line. I don’t think the reality of what we had accomplished sunk in until much later, at least for the first-timers anyway.
When the celebration was over we all made our way back to our hotels to get ready for dinner, where the real celebration would begin. It was at that point I was patting myself on the back for booking our accommodation just blocks from the finish line because I don’t think I would have been able to walk much further if I had to.
I have never felt so gross or sweaty in my life so after we got home the ice bath and hot shower that followed was incredibly satisfying.
The team had a group reservation at Canoe Brewpub, right on the harbour. Thankfully my parents had rented a car so they picked us up and took us there. Unfortunately there was a large staircase in between me and the entrance to the pub. By that point my legs had stiffened up and my knees were in so much pain that I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it down them. However, the beer waiting for me at the bottom ended up being just enough motivation.
As soon as I sat down and glanced at the menu I knew what I was going to order. A large pint of craft beer that was on special and the biggest burger they had with a side fries. It was the best meal. Ever. We partied until late into the night, or so if felt. In reality, we were in bed by 10.
On Monday, after a good sleep in and a lazy coffee and donut breakfast at a nearby coffee shop, Catherine, Chad, my parents and I all went to The Butchart Gardens. The rain that had persisted through most of the day Saturday was back and it was pouring. I wasn’t much bothered by it though because I had prayed for there to be no rain during the race and I got that. I couldn’t ask for too much more.
The slow walk through the gardens actually felt great. It helped to shake out some of the stiffness in my legs but any time I was facing stairs was a different story. I was learning about the realities of taking a running vacation, which is that sometimes the running hinders the vacation. But, I was totally OK with that.
Chad and my parents flew home from Victoria on Monday night and Catherine and I spent the next two days touring Victoria. We shopped, ate (everything), kayaked and had an amazing time.
I was actually surprised by how fast I recovered. Besides stiffness and soreness for a few days after the race I didn’t notice too many other marathon side-effects, besides pride.
Another thing I didn’t expect to happen so quickly after the marathon was to already be thinking about running another one.