"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."

-Henry David Thoreau

Friday, October 25, 2013

St. George Marathon

Man oh man, where to start? I guess I will narrate my pictures some then detail the race.
Zach and I were finally reunited and made good use of our time. We hiked up to Dixie rock and reminisced on the old days of our young love and somewhat carefree lives. Terran, of course, loved hiking on the rocks and trying to go over cliffs and ravines. We hit up my favorite Mexican restaurant, Pancho and Lefty's, and hung out at his parents house for a minute. His mom got really sick so I didn't really take Terran inside much.

As Saturday drew closer, my butterflies were increasing! I was so excited. There were moments when I would wonder and doubt myself, but I decided that the rest was good and I was as prepared as I could be with my injury. I did a short run and a bike ride the week of to prepare. The bike ride actually aggravated my tendonitis and that made me stress even more.

Finally, it was the day before. We planned to go to the expo when my parent's got off of work. To be honest, I was a little disappointed in the expo. Since the St. George Marathon is so big, I figured the expo would be pretty cool. Instead, it was insanely crowded and most of the vendors were other races, which I wasn't too interested in at that moment.

Friday night came and I had everything ready. It was supposed to be really cold in the morning so I had to borrow some of my mom's stuff. Everything was laid out, including Terran's outfit and food for the next day. Zach was prepared to get up with Terran in the night and I went to bed early. Or at least I tried. I tossed and turned for two hours! I was ticked. I couldn't believe I wasn't going to get sleep before running a marathon. So, I mentally prepared. I imagined running, if I got hurt, if I was doing awesome, I pictured finishing, I pictured seeing Zach as I finished.

Finally I slept (after waking to feed Terran once or twice) and it was race morning. We got to the bus, I was jogging ahead of my parents because I think I was a little more excited than them. Long bus ride up, but we were on a later bus so we didn't wait long before the start. We waited long enough to get pretty cold though. I didn't want to waste time stopping to strip off my layers, so I started in my spandex and just a long sleeve shirt. It was chilly! My parents sheltered me from the wind as we waited to use the port-a-potties. It was getting awfully close to starting time, but I went anyway.

The race finally started, and we waited on the side until the 4:00 pacer went by. That was my cue. We started together but I lost my parents soon after. I just wanted to keep those balloons in sight! It was pretty cold but the adrenaline and excitement made me not worry about it. Plus, I had gotten throw away gloves at the expo so it was really just my legs, which doesn't matter as much it seems. Anyway, as I was running, I kept telling myself not to go too fast, my mistake from last years marathon. I thought I might be able to, but I just stayed a few feet in front of the pacer and was able to keep my breathing normal and get into a comfortable rhythm. I shed my long sleeve at mile 3. It was a pain to get off over my GPS and with my headphones, but I hardly broke stride.

I was feeling good and wondering how the Veyo hill was going to be. As I got closer to it, the sun came up and I took that to be my beautiful distraction. I concentrated on breathing steady and watched the pacer up the hill and before I knew it, I was at the top and not winded. I kept thinking about my early hill training in my training plan and knew I was prepared for it. Every time I worried about the hills, I just reminded myself that I was actually almost better at running hills and they were my strong point.

Several times throughout the race I would check my GPS pace, and was surprised to see it in the 7:00-8:30 min/mile range. Whoa, we were going fast! Then I would check it on the hill and realize that was why we needed to go fast. It was 10:00-10:30 on the hills. I needed a 9:09 min/mile to reach my goal.

There were a few times when I felt so good I thought I could just lose the pacer and push faster. I reined in my ambitions though since I am still inexperienced and didn't want to lose everything I had gained in the last couple miles due to rookie mistakes.

At one point I remember thinking, this is really fun! Then I thought to myself "What? Running this far is fun?" But as I thought about it, it really was. The weather was beautiful, I couldn't help but marvel at God's creation as I looked at the mountains and landscape. I was surrounded by a lot of the same people the whole race as we were all trying to hit 4 hours, so the feeling of striving toward the same goal was pretty amazing too.

I knew I would have to go to the bathroom during the run because I couldn't go that morning. I was worried that it would throw off my time. I hit mile 15 and knew the time was now. I had just passed a bunch of bushes and thought "Oh great! That was my chance!" So I kept going. I was right with the pacer so I knew it would set my back. But, I thought if I try to run through it, it would slow me down, so I better just hurry and go. Good thing I had packed some TP in my belt. We were right at the volcano, and there was a little creek thing with lots of rocks. No better place than that, especially since it was totally covered from the course and there would be a place to sit! After I was done, I hurried back to the course and there were no balloons in sight! So I booked it. I knew it couldn't be the best thing to do, but I didn't want to lose them for good. I ran about a 7:10 for a mile and a half and finally caught the pacer. I was really hoping that hadn't burned all my extra steam, but I was happy to be back.

I don't remember what point it was, but somewhere around 18 miles I would guess, I knew I would finish and I knew I was going to make my time. No giving in to tiredness or fatigue now. I had trained too hard, thought about it too much, to let it go in that last hour.

I won't leave out the fact there was also a point where I thought to myself "I could be done now, I'm kinda sick of running." That was around mile 20. But I knew the crowds and the finish were close!

It got really hard with two miles to go. I stopped for just a second because the pacer was behind me. He caught up to me and I used his conversation as a distraction to not think about being done.

With about a mile, I was still struggling. Two guys came up to the pacer and me and asked what you are supposed to think about the last mile. The pacer encouraged us and then said he had to leave us. I believe it was because we were a little bit ahead of four hours. So I ran with those two guys for a minute, again united in a common goal. We chatted for a second and then split up.

There was a girl struggling in front of me. She would run then walk, and I passed her a couple times because she kept walking. I tried to encourage her because we were so close. On the last stretch, but it seemed long! We also parted and I just tried to run hard to the finish. I paused for a minute because I felt like vomiting but didn't want to near all of the spectators. Once I composed myself, it was time to finish. Then I saw Zach holding Terran and taking pictures! I knew I was a couple minutes ahead and just kept running. I don't think I was going very fast, but it felt like all I could do. Finally, I crossed that line! I had to go around a guy who was vomiting, thinking how happy I was that that wasn't me! I walked, looking back and seeing the girl I had encouraged, both of us happy and thankful for the other.

As I walked through the misters toward the yummy food area, I had a huge smile on my face and a huge sense of accomplishment. I had met my goal that I had made, even a bit subconsciously, 5 years ago. I had overcome so many obstacles to reach that point. I overcame injuries, maintained my milk supply, figured out training runs without Zach around, and I was able to prepare Terran for our separation of eight or so hours. And then I ran a sub-four hour marathon, feeling awesome almost the entire time.

I quickly found Zach and hugged my little baby, feeling extremely happy.

I got my picture taken and went to the bathroom, then wandered around trying to feel good enough to eat some of the food. At about mile 20, my body was rejecting the exercise fuel (PowerBar chews, Clif bars, and Honey Stingers) that I had been eating. I had been incorporating oranges for a bit before that, but I remember around mile 20 I had to through out the rest of my Honey Stinger waffle and realize that I couldn't really eat any more of that stuff. I needed real food, but of course, by the time I finished, that wasn't the easiest thing to do.

We checked on the app where my parents were, hoping we hadn't missed them come in. We were right on time to see them coming in to the finish line! They looked so good, side by side, finishing strong. They are such good examples of hard work, love, support, everything that is good.

As is tradition, we got In-N-Out burgers on the way home. I don't know what I was thinking, but I only ordered a single cheeseburger. When they handed us the food, I really really wanted the big Double Double Zach had ordered. And you know what, he gave it to me, no hesitation. Now, that is a good husband.

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