Charlie and I were watching TV when I thought I heard a knock at the door. I ran to see if it was who I hoped it was. Yes, Arnold stood there so tall and slender. Oh my, he looked wonderful. The coat he could hardly close the last time I saw him wear it was way too big on him now. The shoulders hung down and he could wrap himself in it.
We had a light dinner and away we went. It was so great – just the two of us heading to Niagara Falls and getting ready for the 5K on Sunday. It was raining all the way to Niagara. It was dark, of course. We had such nice chats that the miles slipped by quickly. We got to the Best Western Fireside Hotel at around 9 PM, unpacked and went out to shop for supplies such as water, nuts, orange juice, etc. He takes a lot of stuff. All kinds of protein bars and pills for this and that. I’d never seen so much stuff. We then set up the table in the room as food/drink table and proceeded to get ready for bed. Well, by the time we turned on the TV it was after 10 and we watched Leno. I fell asleep after a while, and woke up around 5:30. I couldn’t sleep anymore so decided to have a shower, make coffee and check my email. I thought I was being quiet but I guess not quiet enough and I got a scolding from Arnold later. He needs his sleep to be in good form for the race.
When he got up at around 7, we proceeded out towards the Falls, parked the car, and he took off jogging. I hung around for a while, then walked up the stairs to the “Secret Garden Café” I wanted to know where the registration was being held for the race. Well, I discovered it was the big Casino Hotel right across from the Horseshoe Falls. I walked back down and in the meantime about an hour had passed. But I looked and saw Arnold jogging towards me.
We drove back to the hotel, he bathed and dressed and we headed back to the Casino. We saw this restaurant inside. I don’t mind telling you, I was hungry. By this time, it’s about 10. Arnold was hungry too. We ordered. He had an eggwhite omelet with smoked salmon and spinach. This huge platter arrived with the best home fries ever and 4 pieces of rye bread AND peameal bacon. I ordered the French toast but wanted to know if I could have softly scrambled eggs too. She said yes and came back with two platters. Oh my. I looked in amazement but poured the maple syrup over my French toast and proceeded to make a pig of myself. Arnold didn’t even finish his omelet and had some of the toast without the butter. I was very impressed. He didn’t touch the bacon. Well, you should have seen me polish off the eggs and French Toast. I had a little of his home fries but was not able to manage the bacon so I asked for a doggie bag, leaving Arnold really embarrassed.
We then went for the registration and he shopped for stuff. There was great excitement in the air. Lots of runners buying lots of things. Everyone was pumped. Arnold went for a massage. I walked out to look at the scenery. God, it was so beautiful from where I stood. Music was playing outside. Every pillar and post had music coming from it. Everybody looked so happy.
I went back in to where we had agreed to meet. We decided to go back to the hotel and unpack things. By that time it was about 1pm and he wanted soup. So back we drove, and this time we parked in the duty-free lot. We walked over to the Hard Rock Café and sat down. He ordered Artichoke Dip and soup. I had most of the dip although he did have some. OK, time to go back to the hotel and relax. We walked to the parking lot and got in the car.
Wait! We couldn’t find an exit. Where we came in is only for Entrance. Where is the Exit? We followed a van, figuring he knew where he was going. We figured we’d do a U-turn and proceed to the hotel.
Wrong! We had to go to the US before we could do a U-turn. Well, the guy at the border asked us all these questions. We had to do some real talking before he gave us the OK to proceed. He said we had to go through and turn around somewhere and come back. We did that. At the first light, we turned right and made a quick U-turn. We hung a left at the lights and headed back to Canada. We had to pay $3.50 toll to get on the bridge. Next we proceeded to customs where a very attractive young woman gave us a bit of a third-degree. She asked how long we had been out of Canada. Arnold answered “about a minute and a half”. He then went on to explain what happened and made sure to tell her we made a legal U-turn, to which she responded with “I don’t care what you did over there” and she said to go ahead. We laughed at our stupidity and headed back to the hotel. Hey, but it was pretty good. We parked for $3.50. But we wouldn’t do it again.
That night we were to go to a “Pasta Party”. Arnold wanted to rest a bit first. When we got the party at the Casino, most people were already seated. It was a huge banquet hall. We gave our tickets, grabbed a couple of plates and piled on salad, legumes, and pasta. It was great but I know that runners are supposed to fill up on carbs the night before a race. We then sat down at a table of very nice people. We ended up talking to the folks from Ohio. He was 39 and weighed 119 lbs. He was running the marathon the following day. We had a nice conversation. They were a very sweet couple.
After dinner we had a very inspiring speech from the founder of the “Running Room”. He was terrific. He introduced people from various parts of the world. As I sit writing this, I remember that my son listed his residence as Mississauga and, as a result, did not get introduced as a person who traveled far to come to this race. After the speeches and the slide show, we bid our farewells, everyone wishing everyone else a good run the following day. We got back to the hotel and got ready for bed. I was asleep shortly after 8PM.
I woke up at about 6:00 feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed. I lay there not wanting to wake Arnold. After all, I had received that lecture about how important it was for him to have his sleep. He stirred about that time swearing that he hadn’t slept all night. He then got up and dressed and went out to feel the cold. It was about 38 Fahrenheit.
Meanwhile, I showered and dressed. I had coffee and was ready for the day. He came back and said he was going to wear his cold weather gear. He looked great. We got in the car and drove to the first set of parking spaces. He had actually wanted me to drop him and then park the car but I’m not insured to drive his rental, so I refused. As a result, he said he’d go on ahead. I said sure. So there I was – a heavy purse over one shoulder (because I had 2 full water bottles in it), my camera bag on my back and my tripod in my hand. I was mother, the pack mule. I followed him as long as I could see him. I had no idea I’d be walking so far. At times, I lost sight of him. At times, I spotted him.
All at once, he was gone. I thought he might have boarded the bus I saw him by. I walked and walked. When I got to the bus, I got on thinking I’d find him there. It turned out to be a bus full of Oriental tourists. Even the bus driver was Oriental. He said. “wrong bus – wrong bus”. I got off. I kept walking, once in a while asking people where the 5K started. Most didn’t know. I looked at my watch. It was 9AM. Next time I looked, it was 9:15. I kept walking. I spotted a couple of girls jogging and asked them where the 5K was. They pointed the way. I kept going and pretty soon, I saw the tents and the people and finally, Arnold. It was 9:20. He was delighted. Hell, I was delighted. He took off his top shirt and handed it to me. I looked for the place where they would be starting and finally found it.
I set up my tripod. I got a couple of shots of him at the starting line. And then they were away to the cheers of the spectators. I grabbed my stuff and went to the finish line. I set up again. I waited and noticed the battery had gone dead. Damn. I took it out of the camera and placed it in my hand to warm up. When I popped it back in, it worked again. Luckily, I was able to take four pictures of him crossing the finish line. They were all dark and
almost in silhouette. Damn. Forgot to use the flash.
Well, after all the excitement and the medals and a few more pictures, we were off again. We walked back to the car. I tell you, I schlepped enough for one day. Now it’s time to bask in the afterglow. Arnold was delighted with how he did. He had shaved off 4.5 minutes off his personal best and came in 4th in his age group. That is just amazing. After all, he had just lost 90 pounds since June and had only started running then. I am so proud of him.
After Arnold showered etc., we went to the “Secret Garden” to have lunch. More food. Oh joy. Well, we hadn’t had breakfast.
Pretty soon it was time to pack and head back. I wanted to take pictures in Queenston but he wanted to see his grandmother in the Home. So, to Hamilton we headed.
Mother’s face was all dry. I put on my lotion first and then the Nivea cream. I pointed the problem out to the nurses. I plucked her chin. Arnold kept holding her hand and talking to her. He massaged her back. She liked it and asked him to do more. He kept massaging. He is so gentle with her. After about thirty minutes, we kissed her good-bye and left.
Arnold said “It’s hard to see her like this but I prefer it to not seeing her at all”.
We got home about 5PM. Charlie had the salmon all ready to go. I prepared the asparagus. We ate and then sat around and chatted. It had been a most eventful weekend.
We got up and dressed. Arnold wanted to go running and I wanted to accompany him on my bike. I took him through the park. He ran around 3 miles that morning. Then it was time to pack, shower and leave. We will be together again come Christmas – at least, Boxing Day. My Christmas will begin when I see him walking through the door.