Night before: Left my children with my in laws and drove down to Provo. Upon noticing that the distance between Riverton and Provo is 26 miles, I hyperventilate the entire drive down. Look for steel cut oats at the grocery store and come home, instead, with a large loaf of frosted apple cinnamon dessert bread. Ok, well, actually only half of the loaf made it home. Nervous eater. Jenny stayed up and played cards with me until 1:00 am.
3:45 am: Oatmeal (non steel cut) in hand, phone charged, dressed from head to toe in geeky running gear, Jenny drops me off at (what I thought was) the bus stop. Jenny fusses over me like I'm a kindergartner on the first day of school. Then, I realize that I have been dropped off at the "marathon maniacs" reunion bus instead. Flee back to Jenny.
5:45 am: I don't know if it's runners, or if it's Utah, but everyone at the starting line was really nice. And as far as I can tell, everyone else has run at least a few marathons before. The number of people willing to repeat the experience encourages me.
6:00 am: Get lined up with the balding, smiling pacer wearing a "100 marathon club" singlet and holding a "4:00 marathon" sign. He is full of encouragement and bouncing from foot to foot, anxious to get started.
Miles 1-7: Beautiful. Keep the headphones off and talk to the racers nearby. Wave at the few people who have come out of their farm houses and ranches to cheer us on. Everything is green and smells like earth and I'm making plans in my head to move here someday.
Miles 7-9: What? A hill? I thought this course was all downhill. Untangle my headphones and plug in some hill-killing tunes. This is about the time I start to notice the wind, too.
Miles 10-13: Lost sight of my pacer when I take a quick porta-potty break. Start rethinking my ambitious pace.
Mile 13: Catch up with the pacer around the half marathon mark. Ask "Am I supposed to feel like this only halfway though?" He keeps stride, doesn't move his head and say, "Nope. You should feel great." I am really hoping he is being sarcastic.
Mile 15: I start looking forward with longing to seeing my family cheering up ahead. Start counting miles by how close I am to mile 22 (our rendezvous) and then, by how close I am to mile 19 (when I plan on calling to give them a heads up.)
Mile 19: Call Mom. I am informed that Matt has driven all night to come cheer me on and is now somewhere between me and my family, walking ahead. I am expecting to see Matt waving on the sidelines any moment. During all this, I lose sight of the pacer for the last time. And in an instant, I don't care how long it takes me to finish anymore. I understand that just finishing at all will be an accomplishment.
Mile 20-21: Where is Matt?!? Seriously, how slow must he be walking?!? I vow not to let him catch me walking, but my calves are starting to ache.
Mile 21.5: Finally see Matt, holding a sign up high that says, "I drove all night to see you". I nearly knock him over. He runs beside me until we catch up with my family.
Mile 22: Kids waving cow bells, holding signs. Hugs and smiles. I am so happy to see them all that I just want to quit right there and maybe sit down in their cooler. Matt gets a bike and prods me onward. I burst into tears.
Miles 22-26.1: This is where I learn the difference between saying something will be tough and knowing how tough it is. This is when I pull up every cheap mind trick and mantra I have to keep my legs moving. This is where I begin to form metaphors in my head between running and childbirth. This is where I see the finish line ahead, but feel like I'm on a treadmill because it doesn't seem to be getting any closer. This is where runners are stopping to rub their legs with ben-gay and slug down painkillers. This is where the crowds thicken and a little girl waves a sign that said, "Don't stop now, people are watching!" This is where Matt stays beside me on a bike, holding my popsicles and offering me water and telling me to get going again every time I start to walk.
Mile 26.2: This is where I transform from a girl that runs sometimes to marathoner. I am a different person than I was 4 hours and 7 minutes before.
|Right after we crossed the finish line!|