Uncertainty, unexpected, unanticipated conflict, confusion, circumstances. Forward movement.
It’s been a pretty amazing and memorable few days since I last wrote about our initial experience with the #yycflood. I have so much to update you guys on, so much that I’ve learned and felt and some pretty neat moments to share mixed in with the frustration of events out of my control.
When I last checked in on the blog, I was hanging out at my in-laws’ place with Mikey and my mom, putting my feet up and letting everything sink in about the lack of my first marathon in Banff due to washed out road conditions on the highway and working through the emotions of my mom being here without us being able to do much together. Everything was different – unexpected and NOT what we had planned. There have been so many time in my life when things have not gone according to plan, and I’m reminded of the truth in Proverbs 16:9:
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” and
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will prevail” (Proverbs 19:21).
We’ve all experienced when things don’t go according to our own plans, but what matters most in those moments is what we chose to do and how we chose to act in those situations.
So, after half a day of lounging and staying inside, we finally ventured outside to explore and eventually head to a cheap matinee with my mom. En route to the theater, we were rear-ended and totalled our car. We absolutely couldn’t believe it, and I was worried about my mom’s health with her in the back seat but she was okay. Amazingly, we all were okay! Things could have been a lot worse, but it shook us all up a it and we finally took off – limping, as it were – home in the car.
Once settled at home, I got the news I was waiting for over several days: the Banff Marathon had been cancelled (as I mentioned in my last post). Of course I was sure it was going to be cancelled since the highway to Banff was closed from the east and west, and it would have been odd if the even still went on in the wake of so much disaster, but I was still discouraged. I tried to let it go and kept thinking about how much others had lost…
This took my “Flexibility in Training” thoughts to a whole different level!
After the mandatory insurance phone calls and more sitting post-accident, we all went to bed tired and a bit dazed, ready for a fresh day. And a fresh day it was! We all felt ready to do something else and move on, and something that we’d talked about the day before – running my own marathon – that had seemed so defeating and inappropriate at the time now seemed like a way to redeem the weekend. After a bit of brainstorming, we hopped in my in-laws’ car and grabbed some clothes from our still-evacuated apartment and headed south east to Waterton National Park. The damage to the surrounding areas was pretty extensive and just hard to believe:
We chatted with the neighbors, our building manager and people in the street, everyone incredulous at the huge propane tanks in the street, cars turned around and huge logs on major roads. Soon enough we headed back with fresh gear, ready to hit the road and explore an area we’d all never been to and run a race that was supposed to be…
We had fun exploring the town of Waterton and walked around, checking out the little shops and eventually stopping for dinner and mapping out our game plan (while staying hydrated with Nuun, of course!).
After watching “Spirit of the Marathon” and still not really believing this was happening, we said good night and all had a rather restless sleep. The morning included some homemade coffee by my mom (my favorite kind she brought from California!), a bun and almond butter with a banana and a few sips of water. We got dressed, packed the fuel and headed back into Waterton from Pincher Creek where we were staying.
It was go time.
Rather than walk you through mile by mile, I’ll let my husband’s incredible video work do the job for you, although I will mention a few things:
– The start was quite anticlimactic. “3, 2, 1, go!” and I began trotting down the path.
– My mom held onto my phone which was mapping our route as we went using Map My Run. This, coupled with the fact that I did some extra solo on the Wishbone Trail, ahead of the bikes and not realizing they couldn’t make it through the mud, combined with the extra weaves here and there meant that we’re not entirely sure how far I went, although we are certain it was over 26.2 miles.
– The headwind on the way back was INCREDIBLE. Very strong and I was a bit nervous about it right from the start when I realized I’d be running against the wind the whole way back from the drive in.
– Mikey biked ahead and filmed so many neat, unique shots and gave me fuel and water as needed!
– My mom never left my side and was behind or beside me the ENTIRE time. I was so encouraged by my supporters and couldn’t have done this solo marathon without them.
– Shout-out to Zensah for keeping me going with their arm sleeves for a bit and compression leg sleeves for the entire race! Not only did they play a role in my recovery (see below), but they helped when I was being scratched and scraped and running through mud puddles on the Wishbone Trail!
– Oh – and it was BEAUTIFUL! And HILLY! And HARD! But GORGEOUS! Check it out for yourself:
The finish was extra hard as we kept going until I reached my hopeful distance, factoring the extra calculations in and estimating best we could. I didn’t know where the end was and can understand the benefit of seeing an actual finish line. On top of that, the wind was whipping harder than ever as I rounded the final bend and pushed on through the end of the point. It felt odd to finish and I was filled with emotions, needing to walk it out to process them and not exactly feeling triumphant while also feeling proud at the same time. So many mixed emotions. My time was somewhere between 4:30 (on my watch as I stopped it when we weren’t sure where to go) and 4:45 (on the iPhone), which I’m happy with considering it was half of a trail marathon (where my shoes got sucked off twice in the mud! But thanks to my Lock Laces, they were easy to slip back on!) and half of a run-into-the-wind marathon. As soon as I returned to myself, I was ready for a few pictures:
My two amazing supporters…I’m not sure I adequately expressed how incredible they were to me as I was struggling at the end of the race, doing the “marathon shuffle” and grunting in frustration at the wind! So thankful for you guys. 😀
After a quick dip in the freezing lake (quick dip meaning I tried to sit, literally could NOT handle the water, stood for a bit and hobbled out), we were off to eat.
The rest of the afternoon included going to the Prince of Wales Hotel, laying in the sun and chatting, reading books and taking it easy. We went back to get ice cream in the village before heading home and promptly to “Wold War Z” for a 7 pm improptu movie in Pincher Creek! What.a.day.
Waking up rested and surprisingly NOT sore, we hit the road for a beautiful drive back to Calgary. Side note: I’m shocked that I was barely sore this whole week! I was walking down stairs fine, up then easily, wasn’t stiff at all and couldn’t believe that my body recovered so well. Not what I anticipated and so thankful for that! The next morning we drove home, checked out our apartment again and then my mom and decided to do some shopping for our home. Well…you’re not going to believe what happened. On the road, in slow moving traffic, there was all of a sudden a loud CRUNCH and a feeling like an earthquake and just like that there was a dump truck full of boulders dealing with flood help in the side of our car – or rather, my in-laws’ car!
Thankfully, no one involved was hurt – can you imagine how bad this could have been? I was shocked but not panicked and from here we dealt with the information, filed an accident report and headed home – we never made it to the shopping center. 😉
So, so many things were not as we planned this weekend. So many people suffered so much worse, and considering we were in 2 car accidents, evacuated for 7 days minimum (just got that update yesterday as our building was “red flagged”) and had a cancelled marathon that my mom traveled up here for, I’d say it was still a good weekend. So much learning, so many hard talks, so many tears once the dust all settled and the emotions and relief took over, so many memories and moments of laughter and times spent thanking God for his protection and plan. One thing is for certain: he knew that I would not run the Banff Marathon from the moment I started training for it; God knew that my mom would be a part of a historic time in Calgary; he knew that we would all have our ups and downs and live some incredible experiences. Through it all, God remains faithful and good. Were there some defeats? Some failures? Some conflict and confusion? Yes, but in a way, no. There was learning and growth and crazy circumstances and moments we will not soon forget.
…and that is part of the story of my first marathon – the Waterton Marathon – in the midst of the #yycflood, during an evacuation, with 2 car accidents thrown into the mix and a weekend visiting with my mom, in-laws and husband. Whew.
Learning from it all, growing from it all and still processing all that’s happened… Downtown opens slowly tomorrow but I will be taking Wednesday off to deal with the car insurance, sleep in, get groceries and get ready for Thursday and Friday. Here’s to adventure runs, unexpected days, safety when things could have been worse, protection from God, moments with family and the unknown – it really is different, and in some ways better, than I could have dreamed up despite the hard circumstances in the mix.
Live well & be well friends, and thanks for letting me share my journey with you! Run on,