I am doing this for journaling purposes, and because a lot of people have been asking me about the marathon. Thanks for the support everyone! It really means a lot to know people care. It was a big deal to me, and it is so cool to know that I have a good support group.
So, while it is fresh in my mind, here it is!
We drove to Provo on Friday, June 10th for packet pickup. There was also an expo there with booths and all sorts of running stuff. It gave me all sorts of butterflies in my stomach. I LOVE the bag they gave us. So cute!
The shirts are awesome as well. It is my favorite race shirt so far.
The front says "Utah Valley Marathon."
After the expo, it was off to Olive Garden. We waited FOREVER, but the food was great, as always, and we left satisfied and I left full of carbs to use for the race.
Then it was off to my Aunt Pats house for some sleep....not. I was so worried about sleeping in, and I was so nervous as well. I tossed and turned ALL night. In reality it was only for about three hours because I had to get up at 2:45am, and we got to bed at 11pm.
My worst fear happened, and somehow my alarm did not go off. I just happened to look at the clock at one point, and it was 3:05am!!! My cousin was coming to pick me up in 10 minutes. I literally ran out of bed and threw on my running clothes. Thank goodness my marathon bag was all ready. I did my hair in literally 30 seconds, said a prayer, and tried to choke down some food (didn't happen) and hopped in the car that had just pulled up to get me. I was shaking all over by the time I got in the car. It took me a while to calm down and get in a groove. It was SO nice to be with my cousin Lori and her friend. I hate being alone at these things. It is so nice to have someone to talk to and to be with.
The van picked us up around 3:30am and drove us up to the starting line. We lucked out with the van. Most of the runners rode busses. I thought the race started at 7:00, and found out in the bus, that it started at 6:00. I borrowed someones phone to text Ben that it started an hour earlier. A few minutes later, the phone no longer had reception. I am pretty sure the Lord was taking care of me. Without that text, Ben would have not been there at the finish line on time.
We got to the starting line around 4:00am, and the waiting began. They had barrels set up with fire in them, but we FROZE! The fires were basically just embers, and they weren't very warm. We were up in the mountains at 4:00am, and it was so cold you could see your own breath. I was shivering for a long time, and I was worried because of the energy that the shivering was taking. People started pulling sage brush to add to their fires to make them warmer. Some guy found some wood to add to our fire, and it helped so much. I sat down right next to the barrel, and tried to stop shivering. I set there for the next hour and 1/2.
With a few minutes to go, I filled my pockets with energy bites, hooked up my i-pod, took my running pants off, stuffed them in my bag and threw it into the truck that would take our bags back to the finish line for us. I thought I would freeze in my shorts, but I was so nervous, I didn't even notice.
After a long wait, we made our way to the starting line. I found my mental place and forced myself to stay there. I found my pacer right before the gun went off. He gave us (the six of us) a little pep talk and also said that he would not stop at all, so if we needed to go to the bathroom, we should get ahead of him. He also said that he would run the same pace the whole time, whether we were running up hill or down hill. He was the pacer for the Boston Marathon Qualifying group, for my gender and age division. (no, I would not run in Boston if I qualified, I just wanted to see if I was even close to being able to qualify..just for fun) His finishing time was going to be 3 hours 40 min. A HUGE stretch for me, (the closest I have ever come to that in a marathon was 4 hours 3 minutes),but I decided to at least try. My real goal was to beat 4 hours, which is still very hard to do. Boston was a reach for the stars, but why not try, right?
The gun went off, I cranked up my music, and started running. Of course, there were a little more than 1600 people, so it was tight quarters for a while. My height does not help when this happens and I got squished back from my pacer. Luckily, he holds up a sign the whole time, so after a few minutes I found him. On the down hill, I booked it, passed my pacer, and got as far ahead of him as possible. I really wanted to have some time in case I had to stop or something.
The run went through Provo canyon, and it was gorgeous! It was a very scenic route. I shed my long sleeve shirt around mile three and tied it around my waist where it stayed for the rest of the run.
I felt great for the first 10 miles. I was ahead of my pacer, I felt fine, and I was running about 8 min. 30 sec. miles. I would haul down the hills and try to keep a good pace up the big hills.
I made sure to drink at EVERY aid station. At the first one, I tried to run and drink. That is why I have purple poweraid all over my tank top. It literally went all over my face!! oops
Around mile 12 my stomach started going nuts. Not good. I knew it would happen though, and I was well ahead of the pacer. I hung on until the mile 15 aid station. To my horror, there was a line for the bathrooms, and whoever was in them, was taking a long time. I watched my pacer slowly getting closer. I wanted to try to go two more miles to the next aid station, but my stomach was hurting so badly that I was hunched over. And there I waited. And then, my pacer ran by us, and my heart sank. When I finally got into the bathroom, he was about a few minutes ahead of me. When I came out, I knew it was hopeless.
You don't sprint for a mile in the middle of a marathon, unless you want do absoultely die a few miles later. In my case, that is what I would have to do to catch the pacer. And the next mile was up a big hill. I started running, and then I started having my pity party. I cried. And I cried some more. I was getting all upset, when I fellow runner asked me if I was ok. I told him that I lost my pacer because of the bathroom line. He told me some things that made me feel so much better. He helped me to see how fast I really was running the marathon, and how amazing it was for someone my height and gender, to be running so fast. He told me to be proud of what I was doing, and to stop boobing about what was lost. "Boston Schmosten," he said. I don't quite feel like THAT, but he did give me the proper perspective.
After that I put my chin up, and took off. After all, my goal of beating 4 hours was not lost, and was still something to be very proud of. I put my mind toward that, and went for it. There were four or five big hills, but aside from them, it was a really nice route. In fact, it was my favorite marathon route up to this point.
I hit the wall when we came out of the canyon at mile 19 and headed down University Ave. toward the finish line 7 miles away. I crashed hard! All I wanted to do was lay down on the road and go to sleep. I wanted to do anything except keep on running. My legs were burning and cramping, my lungs were on fire and I was completely exhausted physically and mentally. I have been here before. The other three marathons were the same. Big, giant wall at mile 19. I am not a big cryer normally, but for whatever reason, running marathons makes me cry. I guess I don't cry, but I weap. I don't have the energy to waste on a full blown cry. I was teary eyed from mile 19 to the end. I was just in so much pain, and I was so tired. It is so incredibly hard to keep on running. Mentally and physically, I was in pain. I just kept on thinking about Ben waiting for me at the finish line with open arms. I thought about what he would be saying to me if he were next to me. I also thought about some texts and phone calls from friends and family before the race. The support helps so much, and it kept me going.
At the aid station, I grabbed a GU. I cannot stand those things. I avoid them like the plague, but I was desperate for any energy I could possibly get. I squoze the whole thing into my mouth, and swalled it all down with a powerade, trying not to taste it or feel it. I gagged, but I didn't care anymore. I was desperate for anything.
Then I kept on running. A few minutes later, I got a huge burst of energy. It was awesome! I began to think that I might just live to see the finish line after all. A mile and 1.2 later, I crashed again.
This happened for the remainder of the race. Every two miles (at the aid stations) I would eat a GU and/or a banana chunk. I would get energy for the next mile, suffer horribly the next mile, then start over again.
I had to remind myself over and over and over again, that I had worked to hard to hit my goal and that the only way to do it was to keep on running, and to keep a good pace. I would stare at the ground, think about Ben at the finish line with open arms, kind of go numb, and just keep running.
The last 4 miles are really cool, because there are people everywhere cheering you on. It is really neat. There were also a few mist spray things to run through, which felt wonderful! One lady in the crowd had a squirt bottle and squirted our faces. It was heavenly! There was a band playing music, kids giving us fives as we ran by and lots of signs, people and noise.
I let myself walk once every mile for the last four miles, for about 15-20 seconds. I made myself speed walk, but at least it was some sort of break from running. With two miles left though, the walking time went down to about 10 seconds.
I saw the finish line two miles ahead, and it looked like it might as well be on the moon. It seemed so far away. It was seriously taking every ounce of everything I had to keep on running.
The last mile was surreal. I was pretty much in zombie mode. I looked for my family, but there were people everywhere, and I didn't have the energy to look very hard. Between the full marathon, 1/2 marathon, and 10K, there were 6000+ runners there and their families. I saw a clock at a bank that said 9:55am. I couldn't believe it! I was going to beat 4 hours! It gave me a huge burst, and I ran as fast as I could (which was probably pathetic at that point) to the finish line. I looked up and saw the finish line clock which said 3:55:02, and my heart soared!
I thought I would burst with excitement. I did it!!!! I was so happy. The finish line was awesome. It opened up into an area for the runners, that had bananas, oranges, water, powerade, massage tents, first aid, our bags, pizza, smoothies, ice cream bars, ect. I just kept on walking in circles. My legs hurt so badly, and I knew if I stopped moving, they would cramp to the point of no return. I paced around and around until I finally saw Ben and the kids.
It was so great to get a big Ben hug. It made everything complete. He has been my number 1 fan, and I could see his pure happiness for me. It meant the world to me. The kids weren't to thrilled about being in the middle of so many people so early in the morning, but they gave me hugs too. We talked for a while, watched more runners come in, and just hung out for a while. I got my bag, drank some water, we let the kids play in the bounce houses they had set up, and then we finally headed home.
I got really sick right when we got home, and I couldn't keep anything in my stomach. Which wasn't too crazy, because I had nothing in my stomach anyway. Whatever was in there though, didn't stay long.
We ran some errands in the evening, and then crashed.
Of course, I am incredibly sore today. I can't walk normal, and I literally go up and down stairs sideways. My lungs are VERY sore as well. Suprisingly though, I am still not very hungry. My stomach has been really sensitive.
I am so happy though!!! I am really, really, really excited about completing the marathon, and about my time. For me, that is the best time I think I am capable of. I feel like I ran the marathon my absolute hardest. And that is a great feeling.
Someone told me to shave off the 5 minutes of bathroom waiting time and to just say my time was 3hours 50 sec. That sounds even cooler to me, because it is only 10 mintes from Boston Qualifying time! I actually had a shot at it! I can't believe it. It wasn't such a long shot after all. I am thrilled to have gotten that close, that is a great suprise to me.
So here are the stats.
Time: 3 hrs 55 min. or 3 hr. 50 min. if you take off 5 min. for waiting in a bathroom line.
Half marathon time (my time at mile 13.2) 1 hour 44 minutes
Overall placing. 579 out of 1635 runners (top 35%)
Age group placing: 31 out of 122 (top 25%)
Average mile split time 8min 40 sec. I ran the first half at about and 8 min. 25 sec. mile. The second half was slower after I hit the wall.
And to answer the next queston. Will I run another marathon.
The answer...I don't know.
I feel like I ran this one as hard as I could. I am so incredibly happy with my time. It may be slow to some, fast to others, but to me, I am thrilled!!!! I know that I probably won't be able to run another marathon any faster than this. It would be a great one to end on.
I know me, and I know that I may just get the desire to do another one of these someday. Something about the lure of the challenge to beat myself.
Oh, and yes, I do plan on running a 1/2 marathon in a couple of months. I want to see how fast I can run one. The one I did a few months ago was so much fun! It is a great distance, and I can see myself having a lot of fun running more of those.
Ben and I also plan on getting into those mini-triathalons. They are a great all-around sport.
Right now though, I am going to rest. I am going to enjoy a hard earned week of R&R and heal up my sore lungs and legs. I week of rest sounds like pure bliss to me!
I did it. I trained my butt off. I ran my hardest. I gave it my all. I beat my goal time, and I got closer to Boston that I thought was possible. I am so happy!