Running has been such a blessing in my life. It has taken me places I never would have imagined possible. I’m not talking about the destination races I’ve ran (ie-Disneyland Half, Surf City USA Half, Vegas Rock n’ Roll Half, etc.), but more of the paths that have led me into other people’s lives. Which is more proof that running is more about the journey than the destination.
When I started running, I did it as a challenge for myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do hard things. It started with a 5K and this desire to improve on my time. Soon I was running faster 5K races. Then I challenged myself to run longer races. Soon I was training to run half marathons with an eye towards tackling A marathon. It was tough. It takes dedication to stay on track with training and goals.
When I started out though, I went my races by myself. I didn’t really know anyone else there. I just kind of showed up, put my headphones in and ran. That was heaven enough for me. But, when I started training for my first marathon two years ago I knew I needed deeper and stronger roots. Marathon training is a beast. And, for that first marathon I basically ran by myself. This included my 15+ mile runs and the grand daddy of them all … the 20 miler.
I won’t lie, it wasn’t that fun. It was rewarding, but running by yourself can get kinda old … especially when you are an extrovert. But, I did it and I am glad I did. My first marathon was a mental and physical challenge for me. Exactly what I needed at that time.
But, it was around this time that I started making friends out on the course and at races. Meeting Susette two years ago introduced me a group of runners that quickly became my running family. And, then it kind of snowballed from there. The bigger the group became the more people I was introduced to and race mornings weren’t done in silence anymore. I had people to run with and it made a world of difference to my running. Now that I knew that I could do hard things, my focus changed to making friends and enjoying everything I learned to love about running.
This past year my running group got closer as most of the group was planning on running the Ogden Marathon. We planned training runs that felt more like parties than anything. Whether it was running down Little Cottonwood Canyon, around Liberty Park or all around Emigration Canyon the marathon training plans were MUCH more fun than my first marathon. Plus, I got to get close to a number of my friends in the process … Becky, the Gabicas, the Ridings, Christy, Robert Merriman and many, many more I feel like I should mention here (so consider yourself mentioned).
These past few months of marathon training have not only changed my running … but my life.
I know that these people were meant to run into my life. They have been here to life me up as much as I life them up. We laugh, we motivate, we run, we run more and then of course eat. I’ve never been surrounded by so many positive and uplifting people in my life before.
That’s why as I am down to my last few long training runs before the Utah Valley Marathon I am getting more and more excited. This past Saturday was one of those days of running that helped me get even more excited for the UVM. In the morning a group of about 10-12 of us met to run down Emigration Canyon to the Corner Bakery off Foothill Drive in Salt Lake City. It’s about a 10 mile run. A beautiful DOWNHILL run mind you.
We all started off together and then kinda broke out into smaller groups. For most of the run it was just me, Becky, Sonja and Susie. There was a lot of laughing. Lots of talking. And, of course, lots of fun. I can’t emphasize that enough. I really have some awesome friends. Not just running friends, but FRIENDS.
After a quick breakfast at Corner Bakery I had to shoot up to Layton for a 5K that I was running with my friend Elsha. We have been planning on this race for the past couple of weeks. We became Facebook friends in early May as I was looking for more running friends. We kind of just became INSTANT friends. I think it helps that we’re both SUPER chatty, LOVE U2 and have a thing for race medals.
But, quite honestly Elsha is an amazing person. She has a sly sense of humor and is BEYOND positive. But, her heart and determination are her two greatest qualities. In fact KUTV 2 News here in Salt Lake City did a feature on her last week. It really gives you a great appreciation of the type of woman she is …
Booking it up to Layton was an anxiety filled experience for me. The race started at 10am and I knew I was cutting it close. TOO CLOSE. Luckily, the directions to the race weren’t that difficult so I found it with ease, but I got to the park at 10:01am and RAN to the starting line as fast as I could. Luckily, they hadn’t started and with a panicked look on my face I found Elsha and her family anxiously waiting for me as well.
We had a couple of minutes to compose ourselves and get some pictures before it was time to run. It was a great run. It was HOT, but really fun. Elsha and I talked non-stop and laughed and carried on like most of our Facebook conversations. She talked about her experiences meeting Bono and the rest of U2 during their recent trips to Salt Lake City. We both talked about how much we admired Bono and his giving personality. Throughout this all I was still getting used to her cart and apologizing for the bumpiness. Elsha was too kind in saying it was okay. I’ve got a lot of improvement in that category.
But, then with about a mile left I took out my phone and blasted out U2 for the rest of the race. It was sublime. We started out listening to Where The Streets Have No Name which is the PERFECT U2 song to run to. Gosh, it still gives me chills just typing about it. It was a great, somewhat religious experience. Especially when you can relate to the lyrics so well.
Once we crossed that finish line I really didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want my time running with Elsha end and I didn’t want to be done running with my friends down Emigration Canyon either. My friendship and relationships that I’ve gained running mean the world to me and there is something about sharing the gift of running with those that you care about that makes you wish it would never end.
This is probably why people get into ultra marathoning? But, I digress.
Running isn’t necessarily my life, but it has helped give it depth, meaning, clarity and joy. That’s why I often don’t want the running to end, because the moment is too surreal.
Total Mileage Breakdown for 20142014 Training Miles – 402.3 miles 2014 Walking Miles – 30.45 miles 2014 Race Miles – 146.4 miles
2014 Total Miles – 579.15 miles Monthly Total Miles for 2014 January – 100.0 miles February – 100.0 miles March – 130.0 miles April – 140.5 miles May – 108.65 miles