8 years ago I got to marry this guy!! How lucky am I? Well you have no idea. So lucky.
If you'd asked him then if he'd ever be doing this
He would have laughed in your face.
In 8 years we've had our challenges and we've had our triumphs; we've endured the journey as well as enjoyed it; we've both had moments where we wanted to give up but were later grateful that we didn't. And I'm sure that in the eternities to come we will have plenty more of these feelings. Such is the nature of marriage.
Sounds kind of like the nature of running.
Once again running is a pretty good analogy to marriage. A lot of of things in life can be compared to running, right? Marriage is like one long glorious training season!
It's not always easy, it takes a lot of work, dedication, and sacrifice. It can burn you out and rejuvenate you at the same time. It is immensely rewarding, especially if you've put in the work! It's something you have to keep consistently up on or it will deteriorate and atrophy. But keep at it and it just gets stronger and stronger. But more or less I've shared this analogy before..... You get the point.
It took me 4 years of marriage to convince Justin to try running. I don't know what finally got him to give in.
My tears? arguments? desperation? conviction? cellulite?
Whatever it was I'm so glad he finally conceded. It has been awesome for both of us, for our marriage and our lives.
It started with training for a 5k that actually ended up being a 10k, and gradually built from there. The rest is history.
And so here we are.
Awhile back we thought of entering the lottery to run the St. George marathon. That was like 9 months ago. We were surprised to get in! It seemed so far away. And now I find that the day has come and gone! Wow.
We opted to leave the kids in Boston and head out on our anniversary weekend alone.
After an exhausting and stressful night of flying we finally arrived in Vegas at like 3am (Boston time). At least once we got to bed we didn't have kids waking us up throughout the night or early in the morning!
We tried to relax on Friday and just take it easy. The expo is always a fun and energizing thing to be at. This one was particularly exciting as I was told to go and pick up my packet at a very special table!!
Hahaha! Well if that isn't an ego boost before a race I don't know what is! ;) (I guess it was my projected finish time that qualified me as "elite" - but don't worry, I know that I'm really not! None-the-less, it was a fun feeling and fun joking about it for a couple of days with my family and friends!)
My parents and my best friend made the trip all the way down from SLC to support us and it was wonderful seeing them and spending some time with them! We had fun at the expo and then we all went carb loading at the Brick Oven for my and Justin's anniversary! Happy Anniversary to us!!
After our half marathon two weeks prior, I had been feeling completely prepared for this race. That was until I tweaked my back on Monday. To make sure it was healing and to minimize the chance of it flaring, I had to miss some of my last runs before the race. This did some damage to my psyche. I was nervous about what my back would do during the race. Turns out, my back was the least of my worries! :/
Justin also didn't know quite what to expect as he had taken longer to recover from the illness that hit us all and he had missed quite a few runs these past weeks. But after trying to get a good nights sleep, there we were at 4 am, loading a bus to the starting line.
They had some fires to keep us warm.
Another awesome surprise was that I got to start with the elite runners, so I didn't have to push my way through the crowds of 7,500 runners! How awesome was that? So awesome.
So Justin and I weren't able to start the race together but we were prepared to run our own races anyway. Probably better that he didn't have to try resist staying up with me at the beginning of the race and having it blow things for him later.
It was a dark start, and admittedly, I was lonely without Justin. My first two miles were right on pace, and I was feeling ok, but suddenly I noticed a cramp forming in my right lower calf muscle. I tried to ignore it, I tried to positive think it away...but I think deep down I knew I was in trouble. It just gradually got worse with each mile. I worked my way up a massive hill at mile 7. Wow. I really underestimated the effect the altitude would have on me going up that hill! Phew! By about mile 8 or 9 I developed another rather bothersome cramp, this time in my right quad. My right leg was falling apart! I realized that no amount of positive thinking was going to fix it and I just prayed that serious pain would delay as long as possible.
Sometimes during races I get to the point where I power through the pain by telling myself I only have to hang on for like 20 more minutes, or maybe even just 7. This time, I started this "trick" when I knew I still had more than 2 hours left of running. Yeah. 2 more hours of pain wasn't a comfort for me. The trick didn't quite work like it normally does!
I must say it was a beautiful course, and I tried to distract myself by looking around and enjoying the scenery. Family and friends were waiting at mile 16 and that invigorated me for like and *whole* 1/2 mile! Then my legs just started to fall apart. Soon enough I had a cramp in my left quad as well.
Many of my family and friends know that for me, stopping while running, especially during a race, is one of the greatest abominations - to be avoided at ALL costs. Yes, I've even peed myself to avoid stopping. I tell you this to really drive home the point of how badly my legs were hurting. During this race, I stopped twice at the aid stations to have my legs rubbed down with Icy Hot. Yes TWICE. Oh the shame of it. But yes, that is just how bad my legs were hurting. Obviously it didn't make them stop cramping, but it made the pain just barely tolerable to keep running those last 8 miles or so.
I really had to dig down deep to keep going and to force myself to not let my pace slow too much. I came across the finish line exactly in the middle of my time goal window and with an amazing new PR.
Justin had a tough race as well. It started out well for him and at mile 16 he was still feeling pretty good. So much can change in 2 miles though. At mile 18 he hit the wall and it took all he had to continue on moving and not stop, but he made it. He finished slower than his goal time but still a PR by a large margin.
I am thrilled with the outcome of this race. But, I must admit I am deeply disappointed that I didn't get to take advantage of the huge down hills of this course like I thought I was going to be able to. I think one of my greatest strengths as a runner is going downhill, and I don't feel like I got to use this specific skill at all during the race. The pain in my legs was just too great and present for just too long for me to be able to rip down those hills. I didn't expect this race to be easy by any means. I mean how could running 26.2 miles ever be easy? But I guess I just didn't think I would suffer quite as much this time around. But hey, I'll take running a marathon with leg cramps over running with bronchotis any day!
These have to be the coolest medals we've ever gotten for finishing a race! I'm in LOVE with them! Each one is different and made of the unique rock found in southern Utah! LOVE!
I really don't know what went wrong with my legs. I've never experienced something quite like that while running.
Was it the altitude? The missed runs during the week? Dehydration (though I had focused very strictly all week on keeping hydrated)? The traveling? What? I wish I could know. Any smarty pants out there want to enlighten me?
If I ever did this race again I think I would only do it if I were training/living at altitude. Or if I could figure out/learn how to avoid whatever was up with that premature cramping! But you never know! I may just do it again for the cool medals :) and to take vengence on those blasted leg cramps!!
It *only* took like 3 days to be able to *kind of* walk normal! :) I'm sure being cramped into cars and airplanes for 12 hours the next day didn't help!
I'm officially burned out and peaked out. I have a few small races to finish off the year and then we'll see. I am acepting that I will lose some of the speed I've developed over the past year, but I just need to step back for a bit. I need to run with no agenda, I need to get a reprieve from training programs. I also need a way to survive what I'm afraid is going to be another horrible winter of running through too! I'll need to find some race to train for eventually, but let me rest for a bit first! :)
Congrats to me and Justin! So proud of us!