For the past 18 months the appeal to another marathon hasn’t been there. After running the St. George Marathon in 2012 I felt like I was done with the 26.2 mile distance. That race was TOUGH. It was gorgeous and beautiful, but I felt like it nearly killed me. Additionally, I got injured which didn’t help things. In 2013 I signed up for the Walt Disney World Marathon, Salt Lake City Marathon and Ogden Marathon, but after the St. George Marathon I decided to downgrade or sell my spots. I took an indefinite leave of absence from the marathon.
So for the past year and a half I’ve been running half marathons like a fool. I love the distance. It’s a perfect challenge and a distance that I know won’t kill me. Plus, there are so many half marathons here in Utah it’s easy to find a race on nearly any given weekend in the summer.
Coming into 2014 I still didn’t have the motivation to another marathon yet. The half marathon was still where it was at in my book. But, then something changed. When my friend Becky decided to run the Ogden Marathon in January it peaked my interest somewhat. A number of runners in our RA group were running it as well. I just didn’t want to sign up. It was a marathon and I wasn’t ready for that, so I ended up signing up for the Ironwill Half Marathon in Bluffdale on the same day of the marathon.
Even though I already signed up for the half marathon Becky was trying to get me to commit to the marathon as well. I just wasn’t mentally there. But, then something happened. Within a week after signing up for the Ironwill Half I got that itch. It was back. Honestly, seeing Becky be nervously excited for her marathon reminded me about my first time training for a marathon. I remembered those same doubts and fears and I wanted to experience that again.
So, I sold my Ironwill Half entry to my cousin and signed up for the Ogden Marathon. It took me nearly 45 minutes to finally push ENTER on the computer, but I did it. Immediately after I started questioning my sanity, but I took a deep breath and accepted my challenge. After signing up for the race I got this tinge of inspiration to NOT tell Becky about my plans. I can’t really tell you why I kept this marathon a secret, other than my love for surprises.
But, for four months I kept this marathon a secret from Becky, a number of other friends and especially my blog and Facebook. This wasn’t an easy task. Especially when you consider my habit of over sharing on the internet. The few friends that I did tell helped me surprise Becky the morning of the race. I won’t go into the whole story because I blogged about it yesterday. But, needless to say she was surprised when I showed up at the starting line of the Ogden Marathon. It was a great moment.
Leading up to the marathon I couldn’t keep my secret entirely to myself. I had to tell some of my friends to not just help me with unveiling my secret to Becky, but to also get my packet and other logistics. The plan was to stay with Christy and a bunch of other runners from our group in a condo on Friday night in Eden. To keep the secret I was simply listed as Christy’s +1 at the cabin. Others simply thought her +1 was her daughter and didn’t question it.
Then I also asked my friends the Ridings to pick up my packet. Knowing that they were going to be at the expo before both Becky and I it wouldn’t be suspicious if I tried to pick up the packet with her around. It worked out perfectly. Plus, I used the excuse of me being at the pre-race dinner as me wanting to celebrate with the group. I even made up a phantom friend who lived in Ogden that I was staying with the night before who running Ironwill with me. This surprise became a complicated web of good intended lies.
Going into the week and even few days before the marathon it was still kind of difficult to process in my mind that I was running a marathon. Even the morning of when others were showing their nerves it still really hadn’t hit me that I was running 26.2 miles. It really wasn’t until after I surprised Becky that it kind of hit me. And, even though I had the pre-race nerves showing somewhat I wasn’t afraid, I knew what to expect because I’ve done this before. I just knew it was going to be a challenge and I knew I was ready. In that lies the confidence of the marathon.
I really didn’t have a time goal for the marathon. I honestly hate time goals for marathons. Marathons have always been more about the experience than the time to me. But, in the back of my mind I felt like I could push for a marathon PR at 5:39. I felt strong enough and prepared enough to do that. But, then on the other hand I would be happy with myself once I crossed the finish line no matter what the clock said.
My goal was to keep up with Kasie and Becky for as long as I could because I had forgotten my Garmin. Their goal was to run anywhere between 4:50-5:20 which I felt was doable. The first 4-5 miles felt great and I was able to keep up with them without an issue. In fact I would have kept up with them if I didn’t have to stop a couple of times to tie and retie my shoes. But, around mile 5 I lost them and that was somewhat frustrating. But, I was able to run with my friend Tim for quite a while which was a blessing … and riot. Tim is such a nice guy who has a WICKED sense of humor.
Then around mile nine we ran into running icon Jeff Galloway who was running his 189th marathon. I spoke with him the night before at the race expo and bought one of his books and he remembered who I was, which was cool. I had told him about my weight-loss and running journey and my goal to run 180 races over 13.1 miles. I didn’t expect to run into him again during the marathon, but I ended up running about 4 miles with him. It was an AWESOME experience to say the least.
We ran into 15 second intervals of run/walking and he taught me the idea and science behind it. He gave me tips the day before, but to apply in person was invaluable. I mean, I was getting running lessons from JEFF GALLOWAY in the middle of a marathon! We even shared running stories about our first marathons (did you know he won his first marathon?!) and I talked about my miserable 30K experience that happened on the same road we were running.
Those four miles running Jeff Galloway were the best four miles I’ve ever ran and it gave me a perspective about running that will always motivate me to share that with others. Those four miles of run/walking also helped me throughout the rest of my race as well, because after Jeff bypassed me at an aid station and I was left alone without a Garmin the method gave me a pace that I could work without knowing my pace.
After my experience with Jeff I was still lingering around the 5:30 pacing group. Which was about where I expected to be. I kept up with them for the most part until we got to the infamous Pineview Hill. The heat suddenly got to me and I had to alter my run/walk into more of a constant mall walk up the hill. I admit I stopped to take pictures with the funny signs on the side of the road and I took my time at the aid station as well, because I knew the course was heading into the canyon portion of the race and it would get faster.
After helping a girl who broke her foot, I picked up my pace significantly as I crossed the Pineview Dam and I just kind of let gravity take me down the mountain. It was a great reprieve. The only problem is that the heat didn’t really go away and that about killed me. I was worried about hydration and fueling so I forced myself to eat and drink something each aid station. Even at mile 21 or so I drank a whole pitcher of water. I mean, A WHOLE PITCHER of water.
I was a little worried about drinking that much and puking it up, but that never happened. I had a few pains for a quarter of a mile, but once it settled my body gladly accepted the water into my system. In fact I never had to pee after drinking all of that which should say something about the heat during the run. After running down the canyon with some strangers, I was surprised to see Becky and Katheryn around mile 22. At first I thought she was done and she came back to run with me. How I wish that was the case!
Becky had hit the marathon wall. Pretty hard. Actually, not just HIT it, pretty much crashed head on the wall at top speed. Around mile 20-21 she nearly passed out and was close to being taken off the course by the paramedics. But, luckily, Katheryn was there and persuaded them to give her a few minutes. I’ve had a couple spells like that during races and they are NOT fun. They are very much scary, especially when you put the heat in as a factor.
But, truth be told I was happy to see both of them. I could tell Becky was happy to see me. In a way I was happy to be able to finish this journey with her, it just seemed fitting. Though I would have been just as happy if she finished earlier without getting sick. The last four miles were tough for all three of us. The heat wasn’t going away, but we were strengthen when Sonja and Meridith showed up at the mouth of the canyon to cheer us on. They were godsends. Then there were Otis Spunkmeyer cookies at one of the aid station. That was another godsend.
Those last few miles were very emotional for all three of us. But, even more so for Becky and Katheryn. This was their first marathon and I could understand somewhat of the thought process they were going through in that moment. As we approached the finish line and got closer and closer the more emotional it got for all of us. It was such a great experience. I let Becky and Katheryn go ahead of me so I could tape them crossing the finish line. And, as you can see … it was emotionally beautiful …
I am so glad that I ran this marathon. Sure I was motivated to run it because of Becky, but the whole journey leading up to Saturday’s race was life changing. I really fell in love with running all over again. My perspective on the marathon changed. It wasn’t just another 26.2 miles it was a journey. A journey that I shared with others. I didn’t train alone. If it wasn’t for Becky or my RA Family I don’t know if I ever really would have wanted to put in the time or effort for another marathon?
Marathons are life changing. If you ever question whether or not you can do one, that means you CAN and MUST! You will change your life as you put in the time and effort while making life long friends. This is one reason why I signed up for the Big Cottonwood Marathon in September. I want to run it with my friends Jill and Mark Gabica, but at the same time I want to go through those 18, 19 and 20 mile training runs again. I want that challenge and I want my life to be changed once again.
Marathons are not easy and I have to give my utmost respect to all of those that prepared themselves and ran the Ogden Marathon this past weekend! You’re all champs in my book!
(SIDE NOTE: I am NOT planning on running the Utah Valley Marathon, that was just a ploy to justify my training with Becky, but now that I am done I am actually reconsidering it. Why not another full marathon? Actually, I’m just thinking this is a moment of insanity … we’ll see).
Total Mileage Breakdown for 20142014 Training Miles – 387.55 miles 2014 Walking Miles – 27.45 miles 2014 Race Miles – 130.3 miles
2014 Total Miles – 545.3 miles Monthly Total Miles for 2014 January – 100.0 miles February – 100.0 miles March – 130.0 miles April – 140.5 miles May – 74.8 miles