"There is always joy after sorrow"
I signed up for the 2017 Ogden Marathon very quietly not knowing if I would be able to actually run it. After I graduated from physical therapy for my hip scope and ACL reconstruction, my physical therapist told me that if I ever wanted to make it to a starting line of a race, I needed to only run three days a week. I needed to let my body recover between each run.
This philosophy went against everything I had ever believed in regards to running. But I knew I was essentially starting over with running and had nothing to lose. I lifted weights and did physical therapy every day. I did the step mill on the days I didn't run. I finally lost all the surgery weight and my fitness was starting to improve.
I had a few hiccups along the way, but for the most part, I felt good. I maxed out at 45 miles a week. I ran a 12 - 11 - 22 mile runs. But I had no idea how this would translate into running a marathon.
My goals for the race were as follows:
Goal A: Run as hard as I can and be happy with the results.
Goal B. Run a 4:10 marathon
Goal C (moon shot goal): Run a 4:00 marathon
Collette and I headed up to Ogden on Friday afternoon. We ate at Slackwater Pizza and headed to the race expo. We went to bed early, but hardly slept.
We took the buses to the start and headed to the staging area. I started to see so many familiar faces; probably 20 different friends. It was such an added bonus to such a beautiful chilly morning.
It was finally time to head to the start. I started just ahead of the 4:00 pacer, but was not committed to staying with her. My pacer experience in the past has not been good.
I thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of Huntsville and Eden. But I could tell I was running too fast. I didn't look at my watch, but kept trying to slow down.
We ran by the "Here Comes the Sun" guy blasting his music and then around the corner came the beautiful pack of horses (mile 8). I was still trying to keep my pace under control and my legs were starting to get a bit heavy.
I was grateful to finally get to the halfway point. Legs still feeling a bit heavy, but I kept playing mental tricks -- make it to mile 12 -- make it to mile 14.
I did look at my watch at mile 13 and it said 1:55. I was nervous that I had gone out too fast.
The hill at mile 14 came and went without any major problems. I felt bad for the young kid waiting for the sag wagon back to the start at the aid station. He was not well. I passed Rachel, Becca and Janice. It was so great to see friendly faces! I love finishing the Pineview Reservoir stretch and dropping into the canyon. It is so beautiful and I was grateful for the downhill.
I was feeling good (as good as you feel during a marathon) at mile 18 and visualizing my 8 mile route at home. I kept trying to figure out my splits for mile 20. HA! My math skills are horrible while I'm running a marathon. My IT Band was really starting to hurt. It only flares up while I'm racing, never during training. I kept thinking, "Time to grind. Time to grind."
We finally hit the large overhead water canal, exited the canyon, and started on the paved trail. The little up/downs on trail and brutal on tired legs. I was getting weary and kept telling myself to make it to mile 24. Then reassess. Mile 24....mile 24...mile 24.
The wheels came off during mile 25. I looked at my watch to see if I could still PR. And then tried to work my fuzzy math skills to see what the slowest pace I needed to run to get a PR. The tears started to swell and it was pure mental will power to run that last mile. Every single body part hurt.
Mile 25/26 is down Grant Street and the finish line is at 25th street. Those last 5 blocks were SO long. It took every bit of will power not to cry. Not to walk.
But finally the large finish arch appeared and the clock read 3:55:11 (AP: 8:56). A 3 minute PR!!!! I couldn't believe it. I started to lose my balance and immediately had two volunteers grab my arms. I guess it takes a second for my heart to slow down and my legs to stabilize. The volunteers walked with me for a minute till I got my bearings straight. I grabbed some water, a creamy popsicle and sat on the side of the road. My body HURT!
I saw a few friends at the finish and we celebrated each other's success. I didn't have a lot of time to spend at the finish line as I had to get to Georgia's dance recital. But I also wanted to soak in 100's of hours spent rehabbing my poor broken body that just ran a PR marathon.
I hobbled back to the hotel to take a shower. All the Gu's that I had taken during the race were revolting. Weird muscles were spasming. It required so much effort to take off my shoes. I'm sure that sounds dramatic, but I had used every iota of energy that my body had. I literally had nothing left.
I'm grateful for my training partners who constantly believed in me. Who told me that I could things that never in my wildest dreams I really believed I could do. They've seen me fall apart on the side of trails. And have witnessed my mental breakdowns. Yet, they are still my dear friends.
I'm grateful for my physical therapist, massage therapist and chiropractors who kept my poor body working. I'm most grateful for my family. They listen to my recap of running podcasts, articles, training plans, and put up with my frequent naps.
I still have a lot of work to do with the marathon distance. But at least I'm moving in the right direction. It's time recover and let my body heal. Way to go 38 year old body. Way to go!