26.47 miles (my Garmin was way off the whole race) (I'm using my Garmin times)
4:23:03 (my slowest marathon yet, but an average pace for a training run...go figure)
So today I ran a marathon (or a long training run). It hadn't been in the original Ogden Marathon training plan, but I'm heading to Europe next week and didn't want to run 22 miles on a cruise boat TM. Hence plan B.
My main goal was to not get injured. So I decided to do the Jeff Galloway run/walk thingy (it is very official). Too keep it simple, I ran a mile and walked two minutes at the mile marker. I made a deal with myself that I had to follow this plan or risk some dumb injury (who knows....maybe it won't work). But I'll stick to the holding back during this race to defend off injuries.
(They had this sweet Boston sign at the race expo.)
This is my first marathon that I haven't run with Karen. I missed her sweet spirit and optimism today. But I was grateful for her encouraging texts yesterday. I also had several texts from other sweet friends (HI Collette and Kellie) and they brought me good luck treats. They are the best! Also, a big shout out to Tim for once again supporting my habit!
Onto the race:
I woke up at 4:25am, got ready, and headed to the 1300 S Trax station. It was raining lightly and for a split second I thought of leaving my rain jacket in the car (thankfully, I brought it with me). The running shoe company Altra was handing out sweet Boston t-shirts at the station. So I got to wear one during the race. Thanks Altra!
At one of the Trax stops, two officers had several of the passengers get off the train. They brought their bomb sniffing dogs in to check out the train car. Though they were polite, there was no monkey business!
We finally arrived at the starting line and I made a bee-line to the POPS. Thankfully, the lines were shorts and I could take care of business quickly.
I was VERY impressed with the race organization. They had police EVERYWHERE, large tents for rain protection, food and water, and a ton of volunteers. It was finally time for the start of the race and I threw my drop bag into the truck. I found Allie at the start and said a quick hello! She's fast!
I found Rachel with her sweet 4:09:32 pacer balloon, but didn't see Lowell anywhere. They played Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" just before the gun went off. I love Neil (and even saw him in concert last summer).
Mile 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (9:47, 10:55, 10:01, 9:43, 9:40)
I'll admit, it was very demoralizing to start walking at mile 1. I had a few people say, "keep going...you can do it". I know it wasn't meant to hurtful or unkind, but I had a certain plan that I HAD to stick to today. Ironically, I did see a lot of other people doing the run/walk thing early in the race. It did take me awhile to warm up and find my groove. Ran through Sugarhouse Park. Took water at every stop. I saw a guy pushing a son/friend (?) in a wheel chair...go Team Bart! There were a lot of people wearing USA and Boston shirts too.
Mile 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (10:09, 9:41, 9:26, 9:33, 9:27)
I took a GU at mile 6 and started to feel my legs come alive. The thought did cross my mind to keep running through the mile markers, but I stuck to my plan. There was literally an officer every 400-600 meters. I made a point to tell every one of them thank you. They were standing in the rain all morning!! The rain continued to fall and the wind was picking up. Brrrr....
One of my favorite parts of running races is the spectators. I love it when little kids hold signs for mom/dad and freely give out high-fives! There were a lot of great spectators and signs today despite the pouring rain.
Mile 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 (9:10, 9:13, 10:28, 10:07, 9:24)
I spotted a guy with the signature Lowell hat. Sure enough, I found him at mile 12. It was so great to see a friend! He was running with Susan and also doing the Gallo-walking thingy. Lowell is such a great chatter and it took my mind off how many miles I still had left. Took another GU at mile 12. I lost them at the water station around mile 15. Sad. My legs were still holding up quite well! Rain stopped for awhile.
Mile 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 (9:25, 9:31, 9:44, 10:21, 9:31)
I found the couple that I sat next to on the Trax train. We chatted for awhile and I told them about my crazy race plan. I was hoping I could run with them for awhile....they were great company. I was relieved to hit mile 16....only 10 miles to go. GU at mile 17. Bathroom stop at mile 20.
Mile 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.2 (9:56, 10:33, 9:59, 10:27, 11:14, 10:45, 4:41)
The reality of the marathon started to set in. My legs/hips were getting very sore. My mental state was tired. The rain started again and I was getting cold. Water was dribbling off my visor and soaking my tights. My nose wouldn't stop running. I lost the Trax couple and I was now running alone.
It was getting harder to start/stop walking at every mile marker, so I just ran. Occasionally, I would walk through a water station but it was very painful to start running again. I knew I still had 50+ minutes of running even though I was ready to be done for the day. Mind over matter.
The volunteers at the aide stations were incredible. So cheerful and positive. But I felt foolish to be cheered for. I was slow. I was shuffling. I looked like a wet rat with mascara running down my face. Why would anyone cheer for me? But they did and it brought tears to my eyes. My mental demons were fighting hard and the volunteers gave me hope that I could finish this race.
Around mile 24/25, I came upon a young girl walking. I asked her to run/shuffle with me. I needed a buddy to help me through the last mile - I was fading fast. At first she ignored me. Then I could hear her breathing behind me. I asked her name, Laura. She was using the marathon as her long run too. She told me she had recently lost 120lbs. She explained parts of her success story. She was an angel sent from heaven to help me for the last 13-14 minutes of the race. I was so grateful for her company.
I finally saw the finish line. There is something so surreal about seeing that timing clock, banners, balloon arches and a sea of spectators. The emotional reality of just completing 26.2 miles is all unleashed at that very moment. The mental demons ran away and a flood of tears flow freely.
I grabbed my medal and a bottle of water. I quickly looked for the bag drop area. I was starting to shiver uncontrollably and wanted to change my wet shirts. Sorry for all you innocent folks who had to witness that!
Liberty Park (the finish area) was one big mud pool and I wasn't interested in hanging out. The rain was still coming down and I was freezing.
As I walked to the shuttle, I passed by several bomb unit trailers, SLPD, SLFD and many race officials. Thank you Salt Lake City for keeping us safe today!
(Sick of the cold rain! )
So now that I've eaten (an In n Out burger on the way home...mmmmm), showered and taken a nap, I've realized once again that 26.2 miles is to be respected. As much as I would like to take the bull by its horns, it is still a beast.