I started making plans for how I could run it. I promised myself that if I felt ANY ankle pain at all, I would immediately quit and get a ride down to the finish line. I promised myself that I couldn't have ANY expectations of even finishing and that I would have to be o.k .with that. I told myself that it was going to just be fun to run with a bunch of other people in a beautiful part of the world. I knew I was going to hurt. Marathons just do that to you. But I didn't want to miss out on that hurt.
Two days before the marathon I got this quote in an e-mail, "Your mind will quit a thousand times before your body will. Feel the fear and do it anyway." I thought it was perfect and knew that it would be my mantra going into this run. Kind of like "Embrace the Suck".
I woke up marathon morning seeing that finish line. I wanted it. I kept telling myself that it might not happen but the part of me that was o.k. with not finishing was slipping. I really just wanted to finish. I still was firm in my mind that if I had any pain that felt like an injury I would stop. But nothing else was going to keep me from that finish line, no matter how long it took me.
I had lots of little gifts along the way. First, I met up with Mel, who bought her bib the night before and was using it as her last 20 mile training run before Utah Valley. I didn't know if I would see her in that sea of people, but saw her as soon as I crossed the street to load on the busses. I got to ride up with her and chat the whole way. I got to stand by the fires with her and stand in the portapotty lines with her. It was such a blessing to have a buddy.
|It was in the 30's- very chilly. There was frost on the ground and there was a fog over the river. |
Despite the cold, it was beautiful.
I got to see Ashley around the fire pits as well and it was a welcome sight! It was also nice not to be really nervous.
The next huge gift was that Mel and I got to run together. She is a speedy bunny and so we don't get to run together very often. But since she had already put in a lot of miles during the week, she was o.k. with hanging with me for a bit. It ended up being until mile 18. What a huge blessing. I can't even say how great it was running with a friend, getting to know her better, and having a partner for that long.
I had one real goal going into the run. I wan't to run up the hill at mile 14. The first two years I ran this marathon I walked at least a part of it. Last year I walked with someone else who needed to walk. This year, I wanted to conquer that hill for me. And I did. And it felt SO good. After that point stopping would have almost been o.k. Almost.
Next gift, my body was doing great. I was careful to take it easy from the beginning. I was slightly concerned about my right rear end. I strained it doing handstands on the front lawn with the kids earlier in the week and it was just working itself out. I was worried that after all those miles it would tighten up again. While it did a bit, I was able to stretch it out a couple of times and it was good. The calves started to cramp just a bit around mile 20 or so but a quick walking break seemed to help. The worst thing I suffered with was a side ache that would never completely go away. It moved from side to side, up and down, but bugged me off and on throughout the race. I'm still sore from that today and my abs will cramp if I get into the wrong position. Crazy.
Another gift was talking with an amputee about his accident and the marathons he has run since then. He was inspirational and our conversation came during the last mile.
After Mel and I separated at mile 18, I knew I was going to finish. And I did. 5 hours and 5 minutes. And though I didn't have anyone at the finish line for me, by a little tender mercy, there was Ashley and her family. I got to sit with them and eat ice cream and drink chocolate milk on the grass. It was a beautiful day. A good day to be alive.