Finally after waiting an eternity, we crossed the start line and took off running.
I was a gazelle! We were passing people! We were running! We were awesome! That lasted for about five minutes before
We kept up a mix of alternating walking and running for the first few miles, and I obsessively looked over my shoulder to make sure that we were not last. We crossed over a bridge, wound our way through Vancouver's Chinatown, and hoofed over to the port. Right before we hit our first water/aid station, we were cheered on by paddleboarders in the harbor:
And serenaded by a gospel choir singing "Let the Sun Shine In":
Once we hit our first aid station, I gulped down a cloudy glass of what tasted like extremely watered down lemonade but was actually a cup of electrolytes. I've never in my life been so glad for any liquid beverage as I was that day. The magical electrolytes were an instant jolt of energy, as was the half a banana that the volunteers offered to me. I was rejuvenated! Onward we went.
We curled around city streets, climbed a hill, and began heading up what I now know is called the Burrard Bridge, but right then, I had a much different name for it. Let's call it, for the sake of any young eyes out there, the Bridge of Death. Throw a few expletives of your choice in there and you have a pretty close approximation of what I actually called it. At this point, I was cranky. I was tired, I was pissed off, and I was climbing a hill. We were about 8 kilometers in (what does that even mean? Silly Canadians and their silly kilometers!), and I wanted to cry.
Actually, I wanted more electrolytes.
Mr. Goodlaff and I came down the bridge hill and met LK, who was about to head back over the bridge. She gave us the good news that another hill was in our future. Perfect. Then she took this picture:
Mr. Goodlaff was just being funny. Well, mostly.
So, up the hill of death we went, past cheering crowds and awesome signs--"You've got the eye of the tiger--and legs of Gisele" and "You are 2 legit 2 quit". We passed a group of Beliebers (Justin Bieber fans), who for some unknown reason, got up early to cheer on half-marathoners. I guess they have to keep their lungs conditioned for when they can actually scream for Justin Beiber.
The aid station at the bottom of the hill was kind enough to fill my water bottle, give me more electrolytes, and pass another half banana my way.
And, even though I knew it was coming, I wasn't ready to cross back over the Bridge of Death. I ate a packet of goo, which is a specially formulated, runny Jello-like substance that is supposed to help you keep your energy up if you can force it down, which I did.
We kept on trucking, finally getting to the edge of Stanley Park, which Mr. Goodlaff and I had toured a few months before. Unfortunately we knew what we were in for. Even the drag queens cheering for us couldn't quite lift my spirits.