Last Sunday was the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington, Ontario. This race has become a staple on the winter running scene in southern Ontario and, with a few thousands participants, it has also become quite competitive. This year, it was the half-marathon championship race for the Ontario Masters Athletics, a few Olympians (Reid Coolsaet and Krista Duchene) and other national level athletes like Lucas McAneney were on the line, as were hundreds more who were looking for a challenge and a fast time.
Me? In December, I wanted this to be a goal race, one in which to push myself to achieve a certain time. But winter’s dark, Mama N’s ice and cold, and my nasty bruise from slipping on the ice put that plan on the backburner. I still had the race in sight, but my goal changed to finish while feeling strong – and I was totally okay with that. For me, the Chilly Half had become a ‘no pressure’ race.
On Friday night after work, I hustled to Burlington to pick up my race kit and bib. When I got there, I stopped to chat with Lucas McAneney from The Running Room and told him that I needed to find my race number. Lucas told me that they had been emailed but, somehow, I missed it. I was directed to a girl with a terminal who told me “6, 6…..6.”
“What?” I questioned. “Are you kidding me?” She passed me the terminal and I saw my name with 666 below it. I could only shake my head and laugh as I went to pick up my bib. The ladies handing them out stood still when they saw my number, looked at each other and were speechless until one commented “You could always wear it upside down.”
I went back to visit Lucas and told him that I liked my number better before I knew what it was. “Ya, I don’t have a very good one,” he said. “I got 13.” At least I wasn’t alone.
When I got home, Dave told me that he could have saved me the trip to the expo and picked up my kit when he was in Burlington the next day. “Are you kidding?
I asked. “Getting this number myself totally made the drive in rush hour traffic worth it.” When he saw it, Dave also suggested wearing it upside down.
At yoga that night, my friend, Monica, suggested that I ask the race director to exchange my bib for another number. “No way,” I said. “This is the bib that I was assigned so this is the number that I am going to wear.”
And I did. On Sunday morning, I got dressed and pinned my bib to my singlet, ready to race. But that is another post.