No...not Americans running TO Canada. That's a different story.
My story today is about actually running a race. You see, I love to run. I belong to a tribe of four sisters, and we share the same eyes, sense of justice, and love of start and finish lines. One of my sisters runs a marathon or a half-marathon nearly every weekend and knows exactly how fast she needs to finish in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Another sister race-walks half-marathons and--I swear--zooms past plenty of runners. Another of my sisters makes it her New Year's Day occupation every year to get online and sign up for races throughout the coming year.
Are we crazy? No. One of us even has a t-shirt that says, "I run to burn off the crazy." Truth is, we like going outside and going places. The four of us have always been close friends as well as sisters, and we've included running in many getaway weekends. We've met up to run races in California, Chicago, Orlando, and even Niagara Falls--the Canadian side. Which brings me to my story.
A few years ago, my sisters and I signed up for the Niagara Falls International Marathon. We crossed the border and lined up at the start line of the beautiful and scenic half-marathon course (only 13.1 miles!) that would start and end on the Canadian side. Serious (and fairly serious) runners usually engage in pre-race math. We figure out how long each mile should take to run, how much time should have elapsed by miles 5 and 10, and stuff like that. As I ran along the Niagara River, I looked ahead and saw the first gleaming mile post. Boy, I thought, that mile marker came up fast! I must be running one of my best times ever!
My joy did not last. When I reached the "mile" post and discovered it said 1 kilometer, I realized my error. (You saw this coming from a mile away, didn't you?) Yes, I can do math in my head, but not while running a race. I gave it a solid try. Let's see...I know a 5k=3.1 miles and a 10k=6.2 miles, so how many "k" are in 13.1 miles? I puzzled for a while, trying to re-create my split times, and then I just gave up and ran. Do you know how beautiful Canada is? It's beautiful. I just ran, enjoyed time with my sisters, and powered through until the end of the "13.1 miles" for a strong finish at the Falls.
For the record, I'm NOT a fast runner and never come anywhere close to winning--except for one race I ran with one of my sisters. It was an "Amazing Race" themed event which included running, figuring out puzzles, counting items, memorizing and singing a song, answering trivia questions, and even doing math. My sister and I had the right combination of brains and legs that day, and we won! It's my only victory, but I'll take it.
Any other runners or racers out there? I'd love to hear your story!