REGINA, CANADA — When I set out to pick a marathon back in the fall of 2008, I had a few things on my mind. Of course first and foremost, I wanted to find somewhere flat to go, where I might be able to run a good time. This would be my first competitive full marathon in more than two years and I wanted to stretch out my legs and see where I could get myself in terms of time. But I also was intrigued by the wide world of marathon running opportunities out there and what I might find that would offer something new.There were obvious choices, big marathons like Chicago with its flat course jump to mind, but I’ve been there and done that. I’ve either run or traveled to most of the big marathons in the United States, so an international destination seemed like it might be fun. And on top of that, I thought it might be nice to try something I really hadn’t ever experienced: a race in a smaller city where — to steal a phrase — “everybody knows your name.”
The opportunity was quite literally dropped in my lap back in January when my cousin Shari Mombourquette and me met up at the PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona marathon. She suggested that I should come to Regina — smack in the middle of Canada — to run her local marathon. “Interesting,” I thought to myself. And then she went on to add, “it’s really flat.” She had my attention. If she had gone on to mention that the race entry fee was like $55 Canadian, I would have been instantly sold. But the seed was planted and plans started to form. I put my training plan together for the year and found another nice thing about the timing of the QCM (as it is called here): the early September date might allow a second race later in the season if things didn’t go quite as planned. Done! I was sold.
September 11th arrives
My trip to the QCM got off to a seriously rocky start, somewhat reminiscent of my 2008 Boston Marathon travel day when I almost missed my flight and only made it because my wife Stacy was already on the plane and took her time gathering her stuff to get off to give me enough time to get through security (it’s a long story!). Our travel this year immediately hit a snag when we found out that our two year-old son Luke needed a passport to get in to Canada and we didn’t have one. Who knew that the law had been changed back in June to require passports for EVERYONE. (Apparently, everyone else, but not me.) Stacy and Luke stayed behind, but I traveled with my mom here despite the set-back. Another example of how supportive family needs to be to allow us to participate in our sport. (Thank you again Stacy for being so understanding and supportive. I love you!)
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