Kristen’s family has a camp (in southern Ontario we call them “cottages.” My friend tells me in Newfoundland they call them “cabins.” Who knew?) in Echo Bay called the Berger Pit. I love the Berger Pit. I think it’s one of the most peaceful and relaxing places to go. Every year, her family organizes a 5k run known as the Berger Pit Fun Run, Walk or Bike. They go all out. They have a great spread of food, they give out finisher certificates and medals, and they give out goodie bags full of candy. The best part is, at the end of the 5k you return to the Berger Pit and jump in the lake to cool off. Then Sue (Kristen’s mom) gives you a nice refreshing mimosa to celebrate your achievement.
I ran the Berger Pit Fun Run on Aug. 15, 2010. It was my first 5k. As you might remember, I had only recently started running with Kristen as part of our training for ultimate frisbee. Keep in mind, at this point I had no idea that I would be running a half marathon. Ever. So this 5k was a big deal for me. When I arrived at the Berger Pit that morning it was pouring rain. Not the nice kind of summer rain that you can run in and welcome because it cools you down, but the kind of rain that consists of big fat drops that hurt when they hit you and feels like it pounds at you relentlessly until you give up and go back inside. I’m not exaggerating. After about 30 minutes of waiting the rain slowed down so we all headed outside and took a group picture of everybody pretending to start off on the run. Apparently this is a tradition. There were approximately 15-20 of us that year so the picture was a lot of fun.
After that we were off! Kristen and I ran together the whole way. Our friends Nicole and Lindsey decided to walk (Lindsey has bad knees and Nicole opted to walk with her). I have to tell you, running felt like torture. Because it rained earlier it was ridiculously sticky and humid. The sun was also out so that didn’t help our situation at all. To top it all off, we had to run a monster hill. To this day, whenever I tackle a big hill I get shivers and feel like I have flashbacks to that moment.
Kristen and I tried to make the best of the situation (everyone else was much faster than us and had run ahead. If we were to do it again today we’d probably be with them near the front, though I’m still slow). Because of the heat and the sun, we kept switching what side of the road we ran on to try to stay in the shade. Basically wherever there was shade is where we ran. We ran to the stop sign that Kristen had signalled as the mid-way point of the 5K, slapped it with our hands and turned around. Everybody else ran to the bridge (they ran more than 5k though, just for fun. That’s the type of people we were running with!).
For the second half of the run I had Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer stuck in my head.
The only explanation I have for this is that Kristen said “We’re halfway there.” when we hit the stop sign. I know, I get songs stuck in my head easily. We finally made it back to the Berger Pit (a few faster people who had run all the way to the bridge passed us on the way back, but whatever). Jumping into the lake was the best feeling in the world after that run.
We spent the rest of the day eating and hanging out at camp. There was so much good food! I would have taken pictures of it, but I was too busy eating it all. Kristen’s dad Paul always says to me: “Remember, if you leave hungry from The Berger Pit, it’s your own fault.” I personally think it’s impossible to leave hungry from The Berger Pit.
To this day, I’m still intensely proud of my first 5k. I still have the medal and certificate as a nice souvenir of this first step to my running addiction.
Stay tuned for my next race recap – Bay to Breakers (12k) in San Francisco!
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