WOW. What an experience. What a race. What a moment. Even after a couple days as I write down my thoughts and feelings I am in awe of the support and celebration I received throughout the race and at the finish line. It really still feels surreal.
I don’t really want to rehash a lot of the feelings I had going into the race, I pretty much did that on Friday’s post. But, the morning of the race as I met up with Tim and Elsha the reality of what I was doing was really starting to sink in. I had emotions of excitement, humility and MAJOR reflection on the previous 99 races.
We started at 5:30am with the walkers and other strollers because I knew we were going to be somewhat slow. I didn’t want to have Elsha out in the heat for too long because it was suppose to get hot … fast! And, with Tim and I nursing some small injuries it just seemed smart to start early.
We started with about 20 or so other people just as the light over the mountains started to emerge. Besides the small amount of people the start was just like any other regular race, but as I crossed the starting line I took a DEEP breath and gave a small prayer of gratitude for this moment. Not just running race #100, but sharing this moment with my close friends Tim and Elsha.
We got about four miles into our run before we started getting passed by the runners who started at 6am. It was kind of a fun experience, because as we ran along and saw the leaders go pass we all kind of judged each runners gait and posture and predict whether or not they were going to maintain that pace or slow down. I’ve never paid much attention to that aspect of running before, but I won’t lie … it was actually kind of fun.
The course was pretty much flat and hilly. Not an easy course. But, Tim, Elsha and I kept each other laughing and having a fun time. About mid-way through the race as the sun started to rise fully above the mountains we started to do more run/walking between bus stops.
The heat was becoming an issue, especially to me. I think part of that was from my experience at Ragnar with my heat exhaustion. I’ve noticed I am a bit more susceptible to the heat as of late. But, I kept the water and Gatorade flowing and took salt tablets when needed. That seemed to help some.
Even with making sure I was hydrated and properly nutritioned I was a little frustrated with how I felt speed wise. I know a lot of factors went into it, but I wanted to go and FEEL faster as well (this wasn’t just a dawning thought, but something I’ve dealt with for over a year with my thyroid issues). Whenever I push Elsha or someone else I usually plan on an extra 5-10 minutes, the heat was also an issue and the flat course. But, really my current fitness level was where my frustration was felt.
I’ve struggled with it over the past year with my thyroid issues and having gained an unwanted 40lbs. because of those issues I felt it every mile. I’m not going to rehash those frustrations here, but I felt more of a motivation during the race that I wasn’t far off from regaining the form I had a couple years ago. I have and know all the tools to get there, which I have been working on the past few months.
But, during the last couple of miles as I ran towards the finish line and reflected on my journey, it’s been a journey of ups and downs. And, I appreciated those moments even more. Whether it’s been dealing with thyroid issues, injuries or emotional family issues (ie-My Mom’s cancer, family deaths, etc.) running has helped me get through those difficult times. Whether it was out on the course or through the friendship of others I’ve met within the community.
I won’t lie, the last couple of miles were rather emotional thinking of all this out on the road.
About less than a mile from the finish line I was greeted by my friend Jim out on the course. I was a little surprised to see him out on the course as I didn’t really expect to see him there. He had made any indication he was coming. I wondered if something was up, but kind of dismissed it.
About a quarter of mile later a couple of runners showed up to cheer us on. They were carrying bananas with them and encouraged me on by name. I didn’t know them and that’s when I wondered what was going on. I wasn’t expecting anything special out of being greeted by my family and some friends at the finish line.
But, as I turned the corner to the finish line I saw a MASS of people lined up on both sides of the sidewalk cheering and yelling my name. Not only that … they were ALL holding bananas in their hands. As I passed through this tunnel of people holding up bananas I got a bit overly emotional. I couldn’t believe it. The PA announcer called out my name and congratulated my accomplishment as I crossed the finish line.
I was blindsided by the reception.
As soon as I crossed the finish line my family was there and I was greeted by my mother who then promptly threw a pie in my face. All out of love, mind you. This wasn’t the first time she’s done it either.
But, after I took a deep breath and licked the pie off my glasses I just tried to take it all in. I really hadn’t expected such a reception at the finish line. And, compared to my first half marathon at the same place four years prior it was COMPLETE opposite. That first race I simply crossed the finish line, got my medal and then some water.
I had later found out that Jim was instigator of putting this whole thing together. He went out and bought 100 bananas to give me a “100 BANANA SALUTE” at the finish line and then worked with the PA announcer to recruit runners to wave the bananas. He wrote on the sidewalk with chalk motivating signs for me and really just went OVER THE TOP. I am still very touched by what he did.
What can I say … I have awesome friends.
I am still processing the love and support I received at the finish line. It just means the world to have friends like Jim and many, many, many others that stuck around to cheer me on. It really gave me a lot of positive energy moving forward to my final 80 races (which I will blog about later this week).
While I am now moving on to focus on my next race, I will never forget this race. I will never forget this moment. I will never forget the love and support I received from my friends and family, even from my mother’s pie. I will never forget it how I felt. It will always be a cherished moment for me. Always.
And, with that I thank ALL of you who had a hand in putting that celebration together. Even those that weren’t there and have been a part of my journey, thank you! I felt all that support and love out on the course and at the finish line on Saturday!
NEXT RACE: Timp Half
Race #101 will be this weekend. And, I am going to be sweeping the course while pushing my friend Josh. This will be our third race and first since the Lagoon Half in April. I am excited about this race for a number of reasons. Mainly, because I LOVE running American Fork Canyon. It’s such a gorgeous canyon.
EPISODE 01: THE UTAH RUNCAST
If you haven’t heard the pilot episode of The Utah Runcast, you can here …