Bluenose Marathon 2012

What a weekend! This was our fourth year participating in the ScotiaBank Bluenose Marathon (fifth for Evan) which takes place in Halifax each year on the long weekend in May. By all accounts, this was the best weather we’ve ever had! Last year was freezing, and 2010 was sunny, but cooler.  In 2009, we had drizzle along the whole course.

This year, because we are bogged down in renovations, we made a flying trip down-and-back from Truro to run in the Bluenose. The boys chose not to participate in the youth run this year and just ran the timed 5k. We had made arrangements to have a sleepover with D’Arcy’s parents at their condo. We had stayed there last year, but they were away on a cruise, so this was the first time our kids had a sleepover with their McDonah grandparents.

We left the house mid-afternoon, and picked up our race kits at the Halifax Metro Centre. We LOVED this year’s purple “I RUN THIS TOWN” race shirts! We explored the expo a bit, then went to Woozles Book Store to pick up the 2013 set of “Battle of the Books” books for the Elementary School.  We stopped at the grocery store so we could pick up some safe snacks to send to the race in the morning with Olivia. (She has peanut/treenut/egg/soy allergies.) As I was walking down one of the aisles, I did a double take as I recognized one of my best friends from high-school, whom I had not seen in about 12 years! We had a great time catching up!

We arrived at D’Arcy’s parents’ place at suppertime and got settled in. Grandma had made a wonderful, safe, roast-pork dinner, and two of D’Arcy’s sisters & a niece joined us for awhile. After supper, we chatted and got ready for the race, making pom-poms for the girls, signing up for race alerts, and filling out the medical information on our bibs – just in case.

We had an early night, and I should have taken some photos of the unconventional sleeping arrangements – Olivia in a sleeping bag under the dining room table, Alex on an easy chair in the den, and Sarah & Evan in the living room. He was sleeping on the couch, and she was in a sleeping bag on the floor beside him. When I went in to check on them, I found Sarah asleep, with her leg up on the couch and her foot touching Evan’s – just to make sure he was there! 🙂

We were registered for the 5k this year, as none of us has been training seriously. D’Arcy had hopes of running the half marathon this year, but injured a muscle in his leg back in March and has been having trouble running. We had breakfast and walked up to the start of the race. Sarah & Olivia stayed with D’Arcy’s parents while they waited for Aunt Erin to pick them up to take them to their “Cheer station”.

We walked up to the start and warmed up with the marathon runners, who started their race ten minutes before we did. Evan grabbed a clapper to run with. We made sure that we knew where to meet after it was over and we were off! Evan shot away from us right away while Alex ran with us for over a kilometre. We told him he could run ahead if he wanted to, so he did. I was pleased with how good the run felt, especially considering the little bit of training I’d done. (To be clear, although I haven’t been consistently “running”, I do walk, and am usually on the move. We don’t spend much time sitting around so it isn’t that I’m totally out of shape…) D’Arcy & I ran together until we got to Citadel Hill. I knew I couldn’t run up that hill, so walked it quickly. I have asthma, and could feel my breathing getting quite tight. D’Arcy waited for me at the top, and stayed with me until my wheezing subsided and I was running again.

One of my favourite things about the new course was running Citadel Hill. Although it was a daunting task to run up, the views were beautiful, and seeing the route lined with Highlanders in full costume, high-fiving runners as they passed by,  had this tourism junkie a bit emotional! Nice touch!!

I joked with a man who had stopped to walk, asking if he thought we’d be disqualified if we rolled down the hill instead of running it? He giggled and I smiled. Once the Citadel was conquered, the race was almost over.  As we ran down the hill past Centennial Pool to the finish, I spotted the 21km sign for the half-marathoners. I quipped to the girl running beside me, “21k, so that’s why I feel like this! We’re not doing so bad!” She laughed. The feeling of camaraderie along the route is something really special. I really appreciated the people lining the streets, cheering the runners on! Two of my favourite signs were, “Run like you stole something!” and “Way to Go Random Stranger!”

I was fading by the time I got to that slight incline that leads to the finish, but pushed through. I heard D’Arcy & Evan cheering for me and spotted them at the line. We found Alex waiting by the medals for us, and we went into the Metro Centre. Evan was nowhere to be found, but we weren’t too concerned. We got some chocolate milk and a cookie, and chatted with some other runners. We looked up our finish times, and although none of us had a personal best, we were all pleased with our times:

Evan MCDONAH, Truro, 391/2002, Time 0:28:38.8, Pace 5:44, Category M 15 and Under 58/100, Gender 221/574

Alexander MCDONAH, Truro, 604/2002, Time 0:31:05.2, Pace 6:14, Category M 15 and Under 68/100, Gender 290/574

D’Arcy MCDONAH, Truro, 696/2002, Time 0:31:55.7, Pace 6:24, Category M 40 – 49 61/119, Gender 318/574

Anne MCDONAH,  Truro, 759/2002, Time 0:32:42.8, Pace 6:33, Category F 30 – 39 108/406, Gender 423/1417

After a half an hour with no sign of Evan, we started to get slightly worried. After 45 minutes, we started looking for him. Surprisingly, D’Arcy was more worried than I was. I knew that Evan knew where we were supposed to meet, and reminded myself that he had gone to Brazil without us! It turned out that he hadn’t realized that Alex had crossed the finish earlier, so he was still outside, waiting to cheer his brother on at the end! When it became apparent that the 5k runners were winding down, he came in and found us!

D’Arcy & Alex had massages, and then we walked to the Cheer Station for the marathoners to meet up with Erin, Sarah & Olivia. We stayed there until lunch time, cheering the runners on, passing out jelly beans, oranges, and wet sponges. It was a lot of fun!!

We went back to Grandma & Grandpa’s for lunch, then packed up and came home. I was exhausted and had a hard time keeping my eyes open, but went to sleep with a smile on my face.

It was a great weekend and a family “tradition” we plan to continue!

Grandpa, smiling at 7am, despite being invaded for the weekend!

Bluenose 2012 – runners & cheerleaders at 7am!

Just before the 5k start

Waiting for the race to begin!

Sarah, passing out jelly-beans to the half-marathon runners

D’Arcy & Olivia cheer on the marathon runners

The Halifax Running Club Cheer Station – handing out oranges, jelly beans, and wet sponges

Fun at the Cheer Station, D’Arcy’s cousin, Lynn on the right

Alex & Olivia hand out sponges to runners

The Halifax Running Club Cheer Station

D’Arcy’s sister, Erin, cheering on the marathon runners

Chatting with D’Arcy’s brother, Brian, a course marshall.

Evan & Olivia refreshing & encouraging runners.

To see our full gallery of photos, please click here.

To see all Bluenose Marathon Finish Results, please click here.

Surfing and Soccer

Friday’s update arrived in this morning’s email, courtesy of Erin:

“In the morning we went to a fruit market that was really long there was tons of different fruits you could try and there was also fish, clothes, and other stuff you could buy it was really cool to see all the different fruits they had. Then we went to a water treatment place it was really gross… Then we went surfing, that was like the best thing ever for that whole day!!! all 4 of us managed to stand up for atleast 25 seconds, after that we had a bbq at alexanders place that was really good also!!!

We were able to chat with Evan a couple of times this weekend and he proclaimed that surfing was AWESOME! He even intends to take it up back here in Nova Scotia. We do actually, have beaches in Nova Scotia that are known for their surfing conditions, however the water here is much chillier, I’m sure, than the water in Brazil!

Evan continues having a wonderful time! On Saturday, they had gone shopping at a mall, but he thought they were going to the beach, so left his money at home! On Sunday, he traveled into Sao Paulo with his host family to see Sao Paulo play Football (Soccer) against the Portuguesa Team. Sao Paulo is the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere, one of the largest cities in the world, with a population of 20,000,000. It’s hard for us to wrap our heads around the size of a city that houses two-thirds of the population of Canada! The football stadium itself holds 80,000 people, but there were “only” 18,000 there for yesterday’s game. Evan said it was hot when they first got there, but then there was a rain shower, so they got soaked! Sao Paulo won the game 2-1.

I was thrilled today when Francisco shared some photos:

Gabriel, JV & Evan outside the Sao Paulo Football Stadium

They arrived early and toured the stadium before the game was to begin.

The stadium seats 80,000 people!

Fans arriving - only 18,000!

The Sao Paulo team enters the stadium.

The Sao Paulo mascot

A Bumpy Road to the Rainforest

Not a long report today, as we didn’t really get a chance to connect with Evan yesterday. The daily email this morning comes from Irene:

“Hello everyone, Yesterday, we went to a rainforest and then we went to the soccer museum. The village in the rainforest we went to is called Paranapiacaba.  Bumbiest road ever before you get there. Irene”

Evan sounds happy – he posted a status update on Facebook this morning which said, “Churros are so good! Now I get to go surfing today!”

One of the chaperones, Jennifer, posted some photos, which were great to see!

Irene, Erin, Evan & Scott


Evan, wearing his Jean Piaget uniform

The Canadians at the Santos Football (Soccer) Stadium!

The group somewhere in Brazil (no caption with this one!)