The marathon journey has finally ended and I am breathing a huge sigh of relief. I look back and marvel. Wow! I ran two marathons this year.
Why in the world would I do such a crazy thing?
Well, ummm, I really have no idea. But I did it.
We left Raef and Zach in Reno so that they could play in their football game on Saturday. It was just Rinar and the little ones for the weekend in St. George, Utah. Rinar's brothers were both gracious enough to take Eli, Harry and Julia the night before the marathon so that we could concentrate on running. After a wonderful dinner with Rinar's triathlon buddy Bart and his family, we headed up to a cabin in Pine Valley, which is very close to the starting line. Fortunately, Jason J. was running the marathon as well, and it was his great Aunt's cabin. He let us tag along with him to share accomodations. This was convenient because it afforded us an extra hour of sleep. And I love sleep.
I had decided a month previously to run at least the first part of the race with my friend Johanna. She lives in Vegas and after discovering that we were both running about the same pace, we thought it would be great to have a running buddy.
I wanted to do well in this race and I was a little concerned because my foot had started bothering me on Monday. It was rotten luck, as I had done a prodigious amount of running all year and hadn't gotten hurt at all and then the week of the marathon, my foot starts acting up! Sheesh! It didn't matter. This was my last marathon. I really wanted to run this race and even if I had to crawl, I was going to finish it.
I am grateful that my prayers were answered and I didn't have too much trouble with it. 800 mg of Ibuprofen doesn't hurt either.
The weather was absolutely perfect in every way. Johanna and I started out strong, about 9 minutes after the starting gun. It was crowded and it required a bit of weaving on our part, but we didn't mind. We talked a lot and were cruising along. Johanna is a great conversationalist and it made it easy to keep my mind occupied. After about 5 miles, I caught up to Autumn and Amy from my ward and then soon ran up to Rusty and Rachel. That was fun and gave me a little boost right before the dreaded Veyo hill. We didn't talk going up the hill. All energy was on slaying the hill. Luckily, I actually practiced hills quite a bit and I was able to keep a steady pace throughout and didn't stop at all.
In fact, I was so afraid of my foot falling apart, I didn't want to stop at all. I figured it would just hurt more to have to start again. Johanna let me run with her for about 9 miles and then she was nice and warm and left me in the dust. I just pulled out the iPod and cranked up the tunes. I put myself on cruise control and put one foot in front of the other.
I was really proud of myself because I kept a positive attitude for pretty much the whole race. It is hard to keep a steady stream of positive thoughts when the road is long and endless, but I did it somehow.
I even ran the farthest I have ever run without stopping: 22 miles. Finally, my body stopped almost involuntarily. My time was good and I was hoping to break four hours, but it soon became apparent that it was not going to happen. So I probably walked about 3 times for a good stretch, maybe for about 5 minutes total. Diagonal Street was where it was the hardest. I walked there the most, but somehow, I started running again with about 1.5 to go.
It was funny, but when I was on 300 West I saw some kids that were about Raef and Zach's age and then there were some very inspirational signs along the way. (Not to forget that Nordel and Lyf had both put a bunch of signs up the entire course for us, which was so incredibly thoughtful.) But anyways, I don't remember what the signs said on 300 West, but I almost started to cry. I was overcome by my emotions, but I held it in.
When I finally made the turn onto 300 South the crowd was roaring and the finish line was in sight. I scanned the crowds and saw Nordel holding Eli up to say hi, and then Aislinn and her kids were at the finish line as well.
And guess who gave me my finisher's medal?
Do you recognize this guy? If you are a football fan, you know it is none other than legendary coach Lavell Edwards from that team down south. I thought that was pretty darn cool.
My official time was 4:06:18. It is my best time by far, my third marathon and a great way to end it.
Rinar worked really hard to train for his first marathon. I am sure there will be many more for him. He did so awesome and I am very proud of him. He really had a desire to beat all of his friends' best times and he accomplished his goal: 3:39:42. And Johanna kicked some major booty with a great time of 3:49:20. She smashed her time from last year. The girl rocks!
After the dust had settled, the pain really set in. Whoa. I know I pushed myself as hard as I could with the time and abilities I have. I feel very satisfied with my accomplishment and marvel that I could even do it at all.
That evening we went with Grandma Linda to the waterpark and the kids had so much fun playing and getting wet. We then went on the wonderful new carousel the city has installed in the downtown complex. It is so cool. St. George is just a neat town.
Now I am home, still recuperating. I hope tomorrow will allow a normal gait once again. And I think about this marathon journey. It is hard. But it was definitely worth it. A marathon should be on every single persons bucket list. It is a hard thing to achieve and the process is absolutely brutal. Sometimes I doubted myself and I shed many tears along the way. There was no one out there to do it for me.. I had to dig down deep within myself and vanquish the doubt, overcome any fear, and just hold on like hell. I know without a doubt that I am a lot stronger than I ever thought I was. I have proven that to myself...twice! Who knows, somewhere down the road of life, I may need that strength when it really counts. It is a gift of strength I have nurtured within myself. No matter what challenges, trials, hardships are awaiting me, I can look back on this year of my life and know that I can endure just about anything. I hope I don't forget.
And as my friend Tracy has so eloquently put it, "I can do hard things!"
And believe me, if I can do this, so can you.