Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I Did It!!

I did it again! This time was different though. I didn't train. I was undecided if I was even going to come in the last two months leading up to the marathon. My life got busier and harder. I was gone a lot and feeling a bit buried by what life was throwing at me. If I ran twice a week it was a good week. I got in an almost 8 mile run in France in June and didn't run further than that until two weeks ago. A month ago I started running 3-4 days a week but only between 3-4 miles each time. I ran 9 miles with my sister and friends two weeks ago and the following week I ran 4 miles with one friend and then two hours later ran another  7 miles with another friend for a whopping 11 miles and not even all at once.  This, my non running friends, is not the way to train for a marathon! I knew there was no way I was going to be able to finish.
(missing my 2009 charm)
I have run in the St George marathon every year for the last 7years.  I had finished it 3 times, twice I had gotten to mile 21 and had to stop once because of an injury and once because I passed out, and last year I got to mile 15 when I called it quits. I had come down with the flu and spent the next 2 days in bed at the hotel! I didn't want to come and have another incomplete marathon. Something about having more incomplete races than finishes bothered me.  

As I thought more and more about missing out on one of my favorite weekends of the year I knew I would be so disappointed if I didn't at least come out. As if the lure of Swig cookies and shopping at Pan wasn't draw enough, I decided I was going to come and at least start the race! I'm running another Ragnar relay in three weeks and my last leg will be 8.1 miles of hard. I decided to consider my St George run on the course a training run for Ragnar. My goal was to make it anywhere between 12 and 15 miles, just because that would be longer than anything I've run in a year.

I was so excited to be there with my sister and Jason and supporting my friends Jill and Sam who were running their first marathons. Jill had trained the way an athlete trains because that's just who she is. She also happens to be lighting fast. I was so excited to see how fast she could do this! 
We had a blast at the expo. Jill left her credit card with a vendor and had to sing head shoulders knees and toes into the expo's sound system to get it back, and I had the pleasure of being one of her back up dancers. 
We took silly pictures at the green screen, 
bought running belts, shirts and shoes, sampled all the newest Cliff products and even attended the first timers clinic!
We drove the course so Sam and Jill would know exactly what to expect.
I even practiced my start ;)
And of course we went out to dinner to load up on carbs!
We went back to the hotel and made final clothing selections, pinned our bibs on our shirts, made a few last minute purchases to add to the music play list, and I even topped the night off with a shot of NyQuil Zzzzz just so I could get some rest.

When we left the hotel at 4:45 and headed for the buses I was sure I hadn't slept more than a handful of hours, making the entire trip exactly like every other St George Marathon weekend I'd had to date.  The only difference this year was that I knew I wasn't going to finish. Only there was this nagging little part of me that just wanted to try to anyway.
There are times in life where it seems that everything is going your way and there are times that you feel like you're paddling upstream and the only option is to keep paddling or drown. The last few weeks I hadn't been sure which of those two options would be worse. I wanted to prove to myself that I can do hard things but I knew it was totally unrealistic. I am several pounds heavier than usual, had no real long runs under my belt, emotionally drained, and physically exhausted.  This left me with zero expectations but with a hearty dose of desire.
I met up with one of my college roommates at the starting line
We waited in line for the port a potties and dropped our clothes bags into the truck, danced a little to the music blaring from the sound system and then it was time for the race to start
I ran the first 4 miles with my sister. 

Then I stopped to wait in a line for the bathroom and she kept moving.  I stopped to take pictures of the sun coming up over the mountains, 
the thousands of runners in bright colors covering two lanes of highway,
 and the guy carrying the American flag all 26.2 miles.  
I gave high fives to the toddlers holding out their hands along side the road in Veyo.

 I took a video of the guy with the belly revealing sweater and curly haired wig banging on a cow bell to cheer on the runners. I ate little banana pieces at two different aid stations and thanked the volunteers.
I got one of my calves rubbed down with Bengay, ran through every single misting station, and took pretzel pieces a bystander was offering to runners.

As I came into town and went to give a high five to a lady on the side of the road we realized we knew each other and instead went in for a giant bear hug! I was thrilled to see my dear friend Sherri  and even happier still to see all of her kids just a few feet ahead on the side of the road. I stopped for hugs and took pictures and continued on. The miles were adding up and I was getting closer to the finish line.
I got a popsicle from a sweet family handing them out to the runners as they passed in front of their house. I said yes please to another family who had brought their hose out to the street and offered to help any of the runners cool down as they passed by. I slowed down to enjoy the grouping of 7 standing house fans one resident had plugged into extension cords and brought out the street. And then I was on that final stretch of the course, about to finish the race.

For a minute I ran behind Mark Scoffield and Sherri who joined him for a minute on that last stretch. And then it was just me and one other guy in front of me. I don't know what possessed me to decide it was necessary, especially since I had stopped so many times along the course for silly reasons, but for whatever reason I just had to catch and pass that guy.  I caught him less than 50 feet from the finish and dang it felt good!

I stifled back a sob after I crossed that finish line and couldn't hold back my smile.  I was and am still shocked that I finished. I felt better than I ever have after running that course.

I found my sister in the finishers area and learned she had come in just four minutes ahead of me! So lame that we could have run the whole thing together and were that close to each other! She had bigger problems though, namely, dehydration. Lucky girl got a bag of IV fluids right there laying on the grass!

Jill had finished in 3:02 qualifying for Boston in her first ever marathon. Sam finished in 3:56 and Tara and I were 5:05 and 5:09.  We were finishers.
Jason teased that the take home from this is just not to train. I've been trying to decide what it really is though. Maybe just taking the pressure off and removing the expectations we have for ourselves or we think others have allows us to see what we are really capable of. Or maybe its just that while we may not always feel up to life's challenges or that we are prepared to handle the things that come our way but if we have the drive and desire we just might surprise ourselves. Either way, there are two things I will definitely be bringing home from this weekend though, sore legs and a finishers medal!