4:17:20 (as per Garmin)
My love for the Ogden Marathon grows every year I run the race. So when my ankle continued to ache and ache this week, I wasn't sure if I would be able to run. I went to my favorite sports medicine doctor and he gave me clearance to run with VERY strict instructions to take two weeks off after the race!
After my appointment, I immediately headed up to Ogden to get our race packets. While I was at the expo I met the legendary Jeff Galloway. Awesome!
This is the earliest I've ever gotten up for a run/race. Yikes....that is early!
I drove to my good friend Karen's house to carpool up with Jill (Karen's sister), Smooth, Karen. As we drove up to the start, the weather forecast manifested itself. Rain, rain, more rain AND a headwind. We tried to catch the last bus so we wouldn't have to wait in the rain and mud. But we still had a good hour to contemplate the upcoming 26.2 miles!
The start line staging area is so majestically beautiful. We all wore rain ponchos or garbage bags to try and stay dry from the pouring rain!
My main goal for the race was to stick with Smooth and run a 4:30/4:45. I knew with my lack of training and various injuries, I wasn't going to be making any personal records!
MILES 1, 2, 3 (9:48, 9:50, 9:50) (water stop 3) Finally, it was time for the start gun to go off. I started with the group (Karen, Jill, Smooth, Lowell and Susan), but we quickly started to trickle away from each other. Karen and Jill took off.
MILES 4, 5, 6 (9:22, 9:30, 9:58) (water stop 5) I lost Smooth/Lowell and Susan at the water stop, but was able to find Paul and Tiffany! What a blessing to find friends! It made the miles go by SO MUCH FASTER! We talked about gardening and traveling. I was so engrossed in our conversation that I forgot to take my GU at mile 6.
MILES 7, 8, 9 (9:36, 9:32, 10:09) (water stop 7) Took GU at mile 8. Still hanging with Paul and Tiffany. We were having such a wonderful chat and taking in all the beautiful surroundings. Last year, we ran by a field of stampeding horses and luckily, they were there again! Majestic!
MILES 10, 11, 12 (9:53, 10:12, 9:54) (water stop 11) Though I was feeling great mentally (compliments of friends and good conversation), I felt like I hadn't found my physical mojo. I felt like I was really making an effort to keep the pace (slow as it was). I started thinking this could me a long few hours. We had a short walk break.
MILES 13, 14, 15 (10:37, 10:34, 10:00) (water stop 13, 14, 15) We stopped at the POPS at mile 13. It was a nice reprieve from the rain for a few minutes. BUT, I lost Paul and Tiffany. I waited for a minute or two and then took off. The only hill in the race is at mile 14. Last year's feelings from conquering the hill and having a race turnaround came flooding back. I knew I wasn't in last year's "super-star race shape" and I wasn't sure how to process my mental state. I heard a volunteer say to another runner, "Just gut it out". It became my new motto. This stretch is my favorite part of the course. I finally turned on my Ipod.
MILE 16, 17, 18 ( 9:34, 9:41, 9:25) (water stop 17 and 18) I felt my physical mojo coming alive, but I still had a long way to go. I knew my mojo could quickly leave as fast as it came. My favorite songs on my Ipod came on and I tried to just "ride the wind". I happened to run into Maynard (Smooth's friend). I said, "Hello. I don't really know you but I'm glad to see you. If you are a friend of Smooth's, then you are a friend of mine". We hardly talked, but I was grateful for his company. I saw Jill and Karen at the mile 17 POP. I was so surprised to see them. I thought they would be miles ahead of me. So seeing them gave me the mental boost that I wasn't totally bombing this race. GU at 18.
MILES 19, 20, 21 (9:12, 9:36, 9:05) (water stop 20) I really was feeling wonderful and was just trying to keep the momentum going. Maynard had a great pace going and I was hanging on. My body was starting to get tired. My quads, hips and feet were starting to ache. I wasn't sure if I was going to blow up, but I still had about an hour left of running. 60 minutes is a long time to suffer. We started to see spectators and it gave me a mental boost. I was starting to miss my family and kept thinking about them during the next few miles.
MILES 22, 23, 24 ( 9:35, 9:21, 9:58) (water stops 22, 23, 24) I had not looked at my watch the entire race. I had no idea how slow/fast I was going. When we got to mile 22, I asked Maynard (who wasn't wearing a watch) if he wanted to know the time. He said no, so I didn't look. In a way, it was liberating to just run by feel and not time. Around mile 23, I couldn't keep up with Maynard any longer and let him go. I still felt strong, but knew I still had 30ish minutes to go and couldn't keep the pace that long. "Just gut it out".
MILES 25, 26.2 ( 9:55, 9:48, 3:14) (water stop 25) After I had walked through the water stop at mile 25, I had a bit of a mental breakdown. I started to cry (which no one probably noticed since it was still raining and my face was already wet). My body was done. I wasn't sure if I could make it one more mile. I knew I just had to put one foot in front of the other. Literally. I was beyond wet. My clothes were heavy with 4 hours of rain. My feet were squishy in my shoes. My body had been up since 2:15am. "Just gut it out". Those last 1.2 miles was a pure mind over matter moment. One foot in front of the other. Left...right...left...right.
Crossing a marathon finish line is such a surreal experience. My body started to go into shock. My legs started to cramp up and I wasn't sure if I could even walk to the car. The Coke I drank was starting to make me sick to my stomach. I started to shake uncontrollably. While we were waiting for Smooth to finish, I sat on the curb with chattering teeth. A sweet medic came up to me and asked if I wanted a space blanket. It was like manna from heaven. Karen's husband gave me another blanket to help me warm up.
One of my favorite parts of the finish line experience was watching other runner's reaction as they "crossed the line". Friends holding hands, emotional runners bursting into tears as they conquered their own mental demons, giving loved ones hugs, family members cheering with delight, children holding signs for Mom and giving 5's, and some falling to the ground with exhaustion. I just got teary eyed watching their own stories unfold. I understood every one of their emotions.
(Smooth, Lowell and Susan crossing the line)
(Jill, Karen, Smooth and Me)
I didn't have an epic run today. I wasn't even close to a personal best. But I ran 4 hours and 17 minutes in the rain and conquered a few of my own mental demons. Running with friends is much more enjoyable than running alone. And I learned the real meaning of "Just gut it out".