It came! The day finally came. And it was magnificent. Not perfect, but hugely meaningful for me. I got to run it with my dad, who is an almighty example to me of seeing things through!
First things first: my dad! He’s the best! This was the second year we’ve completed this particular marathon together (3rd we’ve run together) as racers and his 5th year running it. At 55 he finished strong and happy! He is my hero! I only hope to live up to his example of keeping on doing the things he loves!
We started out at 4:30am. Caught the shuttle up to the starting line where we waited for probably an hour and half. Cold and nervous we hung around smokey fire rings until people started gathering along the road to the start.
Race time came and went.. 20 minute delay. It was excruciating! But finally, it arrived and we got to start. My dad and I ran together for about a half mile. Our goal times were different so we said our goodbyes and ran together in spirit.
Things did not go perfectly, but I maintained a positive attitude. Having not taken the last opportunity to use the porta (hoping it was just nerves) I found myself having to wait in a line to use the bathroom 3 miles into the race. I wanted to stop again by about mile 10, but.. Every. Porta potty. Had. A. Line. For almost the whole entire race. And there were toilets at every aid station (dare I say, every mile? Don’t quote me, but there were lots!) To combat this frustrating time lagger, I told myself I was as hydrated as I could have possibly been! Glass half full kinda crap 😜
The aches started to hit around mile 10. For a moment I worried I was a goner, but again tried to not get carried away. It was a freezing cold start (for me) and I didn’t warm up until 25-30 minutes in! Stiff muscles and such.. somewhat out of my control. So I decided to not let it ruin my race.. Chose to focus on the positive.. remembering my family I was running for.. staying excited for my music I’d be saving for later miles.. focusing on the beautiful red rock formations and perfect weather conditions.. It’s funny how easily we can forget that piece when it’s nice. If it’s nasty weather it can be consuming.
Mini aside. I saw a tarantula on the road! A lady had stopped for a photo and I wish now that I had. It was so cool. I wish I took any photos on the race itself. At the time I didn’t want to waste a second, but it might have been worth it because of my finish time. Elaborating later.
The hills slowed me a little, especially the first one at mile 8. I slowed way down to a 12 min/mile. I definitely could have gone much faster, but I was afraid of how it might derail my race later. That fear was probably the most influence I allowed negativity to have on me. My mind lost that battle unfortunately. But all was not lost.
By about the halfway point, I was beginning to worry about the trouble I was having settling into my stride. I considered turning on my music early, but held out. I waited until mile 16. And I’m so glad I did. When I finally turned it on it was exhilarating! Having only listened to my marathon playlist a couple times before the race, they were fresh song I LOVED! A few made me extremely emotional, conjuring up thoughts of my loved ones, motivating me further.
Around the time I started my music I came up on the 4:15 pacer. I was a little bit confused because I wasn’t aware I was so far behind my goal of a sub-4. But by the time I came up on her I was flying.
Mile 17-20: a consistent tiny nag ate at me that “the wall” was coming.. any second. So far, no crash.
Progressing faster and faster along the course (👆), I accumulated slightly more pain, but by the time mile 22 came along I decided there was no such thing as “the wall” for me on this race and pushed even harder.
At this point I was extatic. I’m sure people thought I was crazy-encouraging spectators to cheer on the groups of runners I was with, including myself. Screaming silly things like “let’s make some noise!” and “lemme here it!” Hahaha it made me feel good to encourage those around me because I know it did. Often times, people I could see struggling would straighten up when they noticed a bystander cheering for them. It irked me a little when people wouldn’t cheer at all.. like “do you know how hard this is!?.. Who cares if you don’t know me!.. It’ll be more fun for you too if you cheer more than just for the 1 person you came to see for 5 seconds..”
But there were plenty of stellar spectators too! It’s one of the reasons this course is so special. One lady comes out every year and passes out mini cokes. Excellent for settling upset stomachs from gu’s and GI unrest from extreme aerobic strain. Kids handing out otter pops. These awesome ladies that doled out free butt slaps! Butt slaps that were advertised for miles leading up to it! Hahaha that was definitely a highlight. I declined, but it was awesome to see a couple sillies go for it! Tons of people with creative, funny signs, people ringing cow bells, high fives… it was amazing!
My favorite sign I saw was a little quote I’ve heard before and one that I repeated to myself several times throughout the race. When I saw it I was instantly choked up.
“When your legs can’t run anymore, run with your heart.”
Yes a million times over!
The marathon is just as big of a mental game as it is a physical one. And I annihilated that one, except for that first hill when I was a little scared. I finished the race in 4:00:04.. my slowest goal was a sub-4 so that was the slightest of bummers. Missed it by 5 seconds! But I pushed as hard as I could up until the very end. The only thing I might have changed would have been to skip the bathroom if I could have and just run a tiny bit faster in the beginning. I was scared of going out too fast, but I am very happy with my solid and strong negative split. I far and above reached my goal of finishing strong! My form never wavered and the hubs told me I looked like I could have gone another 5 miles at the end! Ha! Fooled him! Hahaha
Loved this little graphic the results site provided.
But check out this follow up one for the 2nd half! So rockin! I even remember that dude that passed me, and he looked pretty strong! Haha
For the last few miles, whenever I’d pass somebody, I cheered them on saying to keep going and that they were doing awesome! It helped me to know I was encouraging others, helped me forget myself and any pain I was in. Honestly, I barely remember being in any pain at all the last few miles! Race endorphins never left my side and I was soaring on a runner’s high for sure. It was remarkable!
Me and one of my inspirations! (One post back here)
And that’s pretty much it! I loved watching my dad come across the finish line and scoring so many treats after the race. My race shirt fit great, the rest of the day I was absolutely exhausted, and I haven’t been able to walk down the stairs normally all week. The whole ordeal was extremely satisfying and the cherry on top was the hubs being so psyched about running with me next year! My dad and I want it to be a tradition and the more the merrier I say!
Thanks for reading through with me. One final quote I’ve always loved…
“The man (woman) who finishes the marathon is a different man (woman) than who began it.”
The marathon changes a person. Not just the race itself, but the commitment and dedication in getting there too. There’s nothing quite like it and it’s definitely one of my favorite things!
QOTD-have you ever had any similar experiences like I had on this race!? Comment with a link to any of your marathon synopses! I’d love to read about them!
One foot, then the other! ❤️