The last 5 months have been filled with preparation for 26.2 miles of struggle and triumph. I have had moments that have brought me to tears both good and bad. The training was just as valuable to me as the finish line. I was able to take time for my spiritual and physical nourishment. I began to understand more fully how our Father guides us along our path if we let him. I have learned to trust and let go. That if I feel impressed to do something I will be given the strength to accomplish it. It is as if I needed to train for this marathon so I would learn that exact thing. Let go and let God, then enjoy the process.
Along the way I have learned that I am stronger then I think I am. That I can do hard things even when I don’t really feel like it. When I have made the decision ahead of time moving forward no longer becomes something I need to contemplate doing.
The Wednesday morning before the marathon I woke up with some pain and had no idea what was wrong. I was feeling really discouraged and nervous about the marathon and this new pain. Ryan gave me a special blessing in which I was given council to trust and to be at peace. At this time I was thinking I didn’t want to go to the dr’s until after the marathon becasue I was worried about being on antibiotics while trying to run for that long. IBS and antibiotics don’t really go well togtehr.
I set out on my easy 3 mile run. I ususally listen to mormon channel while I run. It is a radion station filled with inspirational talks and interviews and gospel discussions. This morngin one of the first things I heard was Elder Henry B Erying. I will hopefully never forget what I heard. What I heard through my head phones was, “Jesus walked that long and lonely road alone so that you don’t have to” I knew He would walk and even run with me during the next few days. I knew I would be able to finish the marathon. I knew I was loved beyond what I deserve. And my mind was set at ease. I was at peace. I was running with tears pouring down my face, not for the first time during my training.
And all at once I realized I had a UTI. I had not even thought of that becuase the pain was so minor and in just the beginning stages of it. I knew at I needed to go to the dr’s right away and thankfully I was seen so fast I was taking medicine by lunch time. This was such a tender mercy. I could not imagine what I would have felt like if I had decided to wait just one day more. The pain can come on so fast and so severe.
I was forced to take it easy the rest of the day as I began to feel achy and tired. I knew rest was my friend.
I was so pleased to have been able to get everything done Thursday morning and our trip to St George was so uneventful and we arrived late Thursday night. We got settled in to our hotel and went straight to bed.
Come Friday morning I was slow to want to get out of bed. I just kept thinking that I wanted to be well rested as I knew it was going ot be the earliest morning ever the next day.
Once I finally did get up and going I headed over to the marathon expo. Can I just say how cool that was? I went into if feeling nervous, just a little I should say. But when I left I was so pumped and ready and all lasting nervousness was gone. Everyone was there with the same goal in mind, to finish this marathon. Yes many had sub-goals within that goal but the expo was charged with excited energy. I heard an amazing speaker, Dick Beardsley. He is the 2nd fast American marathon runner and has been for many years.
The notes I took for his talk were life lessons not just marathon lessons.
It is the things we believe as failures that bring us, or lead us to our successes.
I was determined enough and stubborn enough to…
If you are willing to put forth the effort just like you have to run this marathon you can accomplish anything you are willing to put forth the effort in.
You can become as good of a runner as you want to be.
There are no short cuts to the things you really want.
When we don’t think we can take that one more step but we take it anyway that’s when we accomplish something real
“No matter how bad I was hurting I knew I could go one more mile.” Allow myself to stay close to the spirit. That I may hear the positive I need to keep going.
Believe in yourself have faith in your training
See the hand of The Lord in my race
There is nothing I could have done differently. Trust all that I have done in my training.
Hurting is part of the experience. Just like life.
Don’t get to excited in the good and don’t get to down in the hard spots either.
Wake with a smile on face – joy in your heart -enthusiasm in your voice -faith in my soul.
I walked away from his presentation feeling so amazing. The other speaker was there to help ease the first time marathon runner. He was very straight forward. I realized while listening to him that maybe there were some bigger uphills that I did not know about. Nor had I trained for. But I didn’t worry. I had such a sense of peace because I knew I was going to be finishing this race.
We went to dinner with some friends and they talked about those uphills and just encouraged me to walk them. I could do that. By the time we got all settled back to the hotel I was feeling ready. Wishing it was morning and I could go do this. I had so many people write me messages either through text or facebook and it made me feeling amazing. So much encouragement surrounded me and it was exactly what I needed.
I made a running playlist before I went to bed just in case mormon channel didn’t work. Good thing because most the time it didn’t.
Then my sweet husband wrote this on my arm. It was to remind me of all the people who would be cheering for me. My angels both on earth and in heaven.
Just a moment to shout out to my dear man. He was such a support to the whole process. Many times he would help with my duties so that I could get a run in. He often would pick me up after a long run and feed me and let me rest. I can’t imagine my life with out him by my side.
I did not expect to have an amazing night sleep so I was pleasently surprised I slept decent. I did wake up before my alarm and I was just on fire with anticapation. 4:30 AM it is so nice to see you. Our hotel was so great. They had breakfast starting at 3 and they offered a shuttle service to the buses that take us up to the start line. How cool is that! I grabbed a bagel and banana and I was ready. It was so cold when I stepped outside. I had actually been praying for months that it would not be a hot run. I just am not used to running in the heat. During the hot summer I would get up at 5 just to avoid the sun as much as possible. Another huge blessing. I wore my jacket for probably 16 miles of the race. And I was super grateful for the suggestion to wear gloves. They saved my hands from freezing.
Once I got on the bus and subsequently sat there for close to an hour, 30 minutes waiting for our turn to drive up and then the 30 minute drive to the starting line, I got chatting with a sweet older lady. Not old just older then me. She was 55 if I remember correctly. She had run the marathon 20 years earlier and thought why not try it again. It was a good distraction to have someone to chat with.
Once we got to the start line I immediately got in line for the bathrooms which was a huge blessing since it took 30 minutes to get to the front. Like a Disneyland ride. Crazy. I was so cold just standing there. At the start it was in the 20′s and I was not dressed warm enough. Some amazing girls gave me an extra emergency blanket. The silver throw away kind. I wrapped my naked legs tight with that and it helped a ton.
While I was in line I hear them announce to hurry and get ready for the start of the race. Here we go. As soon as I was done I walked to the very back of the starting line. I figured I would rather start there then been in everyone’s way in the middle.
Almost 7000 people. How crazy is that!!
The first several miles went by so fast. I believe I was just so amazed that I was in St George doing it. Me. Just awesome. By 6 miles I had to go to the bathroom so bad I couldn’t hold it any longer. The lines were so long at the early port-a-potties but I couldn’t hold it. But it wasn’t a big deal to some one like me who didn’t care about the finish time. I think my body didn’t realize what we were doing till the hill came. I beleieve that was around mile 7 or 8. I had already decided I would walk when I needed to and so their was no disappointment when I started to walk.
I remember having the thought that I would rather walk now up this hill so that I have something left in me at the end. As the hill continued on and on I was taught a good life lesson. A thought that was not my own said “Sometimes in life you can run. When you can, go for it run and enjoy it. And other times all you can do is walk. Slow down at that point but keep moving forward.” And so that is what I did. And I felt no sorrow about that. I saw that walking was at times what I was capable of and I was proud that I was there, walking.
This was a little downhill before the several mile uphill. I was a little surprised to see that in the distance but I knew I would do it. That was a great feeling.
All throughout the race I would read these amazing signs people had put up to help encourage us. This one was especially meaningful to me. The night before a family friend had reminded me to run with angels.
That saying means so much to me. 9 or so years ago I read the most inspiring book called Running with Angels. That is when I had the spark ignite in me and I knew at some point I would run a marathon. She was so inspiring and her words made me too want the experience of training then running a marathon.
A couple weeks before the marathon my friend Ricki Chambers posted a song on facebook and it goes right along with the idea of running with angels. I have listened to it so many times since. I put it on a special playlist to listen to when things got difficult. The song is called At the End by Lyndy Butler. It was written for a runner who lost his life to early. But for me it helped to liken running a marathon to running the race of life and to focus on the things that really matter and that helped me through rough patches during the race.
When the sun came up it felt so good to have the warmth. By this point I was still feeling ok. I think it was around 8 miles that my Achilles tendonitis acted up. It was bearable but it was beginning. I had expected that and so I wasn’t to worried. I was pretty sure I could run through it.Running down this hill a man asked me if I had Ibuprofen and I was wishing so bad I had thought to take some. I was developing a cramp in my calf muscle that was starting to get bad. I was sure it had to do with the Achilles but oh man I was feeling it. The amazing thing to me was that i was feeling ok endurance wise. up until this point I had never run farther then 18 miles and the fact that I was over 16 and was doing ok helped my moral, a lot.
I can’t remember at what point but I started to really struggle. I just had little left in the tank. I think I still had two or three miles to go and I ended up walking a lot of that last mile. I would try to run and I just couldn’t. It hurt to much. But as I rounded the last corner I kept telling myself I was going to run to the finish. “Just run, just run, You can do this.” Once I spotted my family I had tears and I just felt so proud that I had finished. Joshua and Joseph jumped the fence and ran with me to the finish. I loved that so very much.
We went to lunch afterward and I just felt so much joy that I had just done the hardest thing of my life. I had finished 26.2 miles. Me. I did that.
I had heard how sore your muscles would be but I had no idea just how bad. It was much worse than expected and I am sure that is because of the cramp I developed. I might have shed some tears of pain but it was still all worth it. Very worth it. I can do hard things. I have proved that to myself.
And this is how we drove home. I laid in the back with Betty hanging out with me. So grateful to my amazing family and all of there support so I could accomplish this huge dream of mine.
Last few things I learned while training for and then running the marathon:
Run when you can and Walk when you have to but keep moving forward. Recognize when you have to slow down
People are all running the same race and we are all doing it differently, sometimes they can run when you can barely walk and sometimes you can run when they are struggling. Help each other. Don’t judge and don’t compare.
Take time to enjoy the beauty all around.
Don’t give to much credit to the hard times. Just say “yep this is hard” then keep moving forward.