Monday, April 22, 2013
Five days after the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, I laced up my running shoes, put on my "storm fit" Nike Jacket, and made my way to the starting line with 5,000 other runners. 4 hours and 55 minutes later I crossed the finish line. cold. wet. tired. and wishing for nothing more than dry feet and a hot shower.
once upon a time I wrote an epic play by play of my experience running the St. George Marathon. I am not sure I have the memory to recreate this marathon in the same way (it all seems a blur) but I will do my best.
The Monday Before: 5 days to race day
The fear and feeling of stupidity started to set in. While I had tried to be good about training- school projects and finals had sneakily stolen my time that would have been spent running. Not to mention a random night of being sick preventing one of my last long runs. I was feeling like I was going to die. Being the comical person I am I posted on facebook about my fear of my eminent death. something along the lines of "countdown to marathon: 5 days countdown to funeral: 6 days." An hour later I was sitting in class when a girl next to me turned to the people around her and told us about the bombings at the Boston Marathon. I was mortified by my facebook status- what was meant to be funny now seemed to be more of a callus comment. I quickly went and tried to rectify the comment, eventually hiding it from my facebook. Now I was left with questions about what would happen with the SLC Marathon, would it be cancelled? what were they going to do?
The Friday Before: 1 day to race day
The stress from the week made the race anything but top priority. I was stressed, and the marathon took backseat. With St. George the marathon had engrossed my thoughts all week long- I almost forgot I was about to run a marathon. Finally on Friday life seemed to slow down and I was able to think about the next day. It still seemed surreal. That day for supervisor meeting we went to Pizza Pie Cafe to say goodbye to those supervisors leaving at the end of April. Happy Carbo Loading. I ate, talked, and tried to eat some more. Then it was off to work where I realized once again how I work with the best people in the world, and then it was home to pack. Jackson had to take an OChem final before we could leave, but he was done before 6 and we were on our way to the expo.
Embarrassing moment of the day: We went into the wrong parking garage and had to flip around. I didn't turn wide enough and successfully got my car stuck. Jackson was trying to coach me how to reverse and fix the turn but I kept failing. Laughing, and wanting to die. I finally gave up trying and made Jackson switch me. By this time I am pretty sure there was a car waiting to try to exit from the exit that I had successfully blocked. Jackson is magic and reversed and pulled through in a matter of seconds.
We met up with Mike Pulsipher in the parking lot and went in to the expo. It was surprisingly little and empty. We picked up our packets, Jackson switched to the half instead of the full, we signed the Boston Memorial Banner and then headed to dinner.
We convinced Mike that he wanted to come to dinner with us and that he wouldn't be a third wheel. We got in the car (I made Jackson drive after the fiasco in the last parking garage) and made our way to Trolley Square to eat at the Old Spaghetti Factory (The last time I ran the SLC half marathon that is where I had eaten with my family... tradition in the making). We all fell in love with the Old Spaghetti Factory that night. They won us over with bread, salad, and a delicious pasta- but what made us go from having a crush it to full out being in love was the free ice cream at the end. We talked, laughed, watched the news on Boston, and talked to our waitress about how she plays Quidditch (real life).
Saturday: Race Day
The alarm went off way too early. I rolled out of bed, turned off the annoying chime, and made my way up the stairs. Breakfast time. I tried but the last thing I want to do was eat. I managed to get half a piece of toast down before giving the other half away. The weather outside wasn't promising. Half asleep I got ready for the race. I layered to stay warm, and decided that I would just try to remember my "dedication list" rather than writing it on my arm under all the layers. Mike came and joined us at my aunt's and my padre drove us to the starting line. We reached a road block on the way and talked to a kind police officer about how to get to the start with all the closures for the marathon. We made it there just in time for Jackson and Mike to drop off their jackets and make it to the starting line.
The starting line was great. Everyone there excited for the race to come, and there was also a sense of reverence for Boston. We had a moment of silence and then they played "Sweet Caroline." Yes, we sang along. It was also comforting to see the bomb squad at the starting line. They had added security and made it known.
The gun went off and the race was underway. Jackson, Mike, and I decided to run together. It was so fun running with them. Our pace was perfect in my book. We told stories, talked, enjoyed the people around us, Mike enjoyed his first "race" experience, and we handled the wetness.
My mom and Dad were troopers and handled the rain to come out and cheer. We saw them around mile 2 and it made my day. They cheered for me, they cheered for Jackson, and they even cheered for Mike who they had met on the way to the starting line. Mike turned to Jackson and I and expressed how Bill and Cate have his eternal allegiance. I ended up getting to see them about five times along the course. It made my day. It was a hard course and a hard day for running. It was cold and rainy meaning you were soaked and there was no way to get warm. My feet were wet from the rain and hurt from being so soggy (gross word). It seemed as though the course was all up hill and the course wasn't through very exciting areas- so seeing them along the way saved me. Along the route my water belt started to bother me and I was able to hand it off to them. huge tender mercy.
Mile 4: For the first time in a race I had to go to the bathroom. bad. however, i have this whole not wanting to waste time standing in line- so I didn't stop. My goal. Mile 8 when the half and full split- I figured with less runners the lines would be smaller.
Mile 7.9: .1 miles until Jackson and Mike split for the half. Jackson turned to me and asked me how I was feeling. I shook my head. not good. I might have cried slightly. It was raining. My feet were wet. and I had to run 18 miles by myself. Jackson told me he would walk back and run the last little bit with me and gave me words of comfort. A quick hug- and he was gone.
I made friends with a guy named Jason. He was my new running buddy and kept me from stopping. My pace slowed to a little over 10 minute miles (I no longer had Jackson and Mike keeping my pace up). I asked Jason questions about his life and he told me about his adventures. He was from Minnesota, single, working for the state- his hobby: running marathons all over. He would fly different places and make a weekend out of it. He is not your "typical" marathon runner. He was well over 6 feet, and probably 250 pounds. He was a big guy, and I am sure we looked like quite the pair running together. I saw my parents it once again made running so much easier- they even cheered for my new found friend, Jason.
Mile 15: The rain finally stopped. I was freezing and my fingers were the size of a hot dog. (Note to any boy ever: never propose at the end of a marathon... there is no way a ring could fit.) My "Storm Fit" jacket had failed and I was soaked to the bone.
Mile 18: I started playing intense mind games. I had Jackson's Garmin (he is an angel) but I refused to look at the miles (also it was hidden under my now very wet jacket). Instead I tried to convince myself that I wasn't as far as I was. I convinced myself I was at Mile 17, and then when I reached Mile 19 I was extremely happy. The sad thing is I kept doing it and it worked.
Mile 20: The 4:30 pacer passed me. I had been on track to make my secret goal but I had slowed considerably as my feet became more and more painful. It was the feeling you have after sitting in a hot tub for WAY too long. I had been running for over 3 hours with wet feet and my feet were letting it be known that they weren't happy with me. When they passed I tried to pick up my pace to stay with them but the pain increased and I couldn't do it. My legs felt mind but my feet were winning the battle with my mind.
Mile 21: The mind games continue. I had told myself that I would get to see Jackson in about three miles and then I would be almost done. I planned to give him the Garmin and make me finish strong. I tried listening to music but I had my moms headphones and they were weird and wouldn't stay in. I eventually gave up.
Mile 22: JACKSON WAS THERE. He was the nicest person in the whole world and had walked back four miles after his half. I was so happy to see him. In my mind seeing him meant I was done. Wrong. I still have 4 more miles which equates to at least 40 minutes of running. I handed him his garmin and told him to push me. This lasted for about .2 miles before I begged to walk. We walked a lot. Mentally I was dead. Then the embarrassment set in. I felt weak mentally and therefore pathetic (oh the dumb things of our mind... i was running a freaking marathon and felt pathetic!) I would try to run for a bit but then needed another break. My feet were awful and all I could think about was being dry. It felt like the end would never come.
Mile 24: The slight drizzle turned back into a downpour. The water was washing the sweat off my forehead and into my eyes. I kept trying to remind myself that I was doing this because it was enjoyable. It was not enjoyable. We passed what looked like an aid station- luckily I had Jackson who warned my that it was actually people passing out alcohol to the runners. I was so confused- who wants alcohol while running- we also had a free beer coupon on our bibs. Seriously? That is exactly what I want when I finish a marathon.... false.
Mile 25: Best. Aid. Station. Ever. There was music, people cheering, amazing signs (Jackson's favorite was "Your feet hurt so bad because you are kicking so much a**), and a woman passing out pretzels and gummy bears. Nothing has ever tasted so good.
The finish: It came sooner than I thought and I was so excited. It was pouring but I saw my dad and life was perfect. I finished. Got my metal. Grabbed a water bottle- and realized I couldn't bend my hot dog fingers to open it. My mom offered an umbrella but I realized there was no sense because I was already drenched. Jackson and I got interviewed by a reporter for the newspaper and BYU. We were on the second page later that week, with a very attractive picture. I looked like I wanted to die. We walked around and I felt like a baby- I was helpless. I felt weak and was carrying nothing while everyone else had their hands full. The best part about running the full with a mainly half marathon race is by the time you are finishing they are trying to get rid of all the extra food. We took home a huge box of Famous Amos cookies and Greek Yogurt.
The aftermath: We made it back to the Barker's house, took showers, and then got in the car to head back to Provo. Jackson and I fell asleep in the back sleep. We were both exhausted (He had ended up running around 18 miles). The parentals wanted to take us out to lunch at Bangkok Grill to keep the tradition alive. We got back went to lunch and then hoped to both take a nap. No such luck. That night was full of fun festivities including a pine wood derby ward activity (Jackson's roommates car had a C02 cartridge- it was AMAZING), pizza and family time at Matt and Keri's, and a friend's birthday party. We got to bed late and exhausted. Church was early the next day and Sunday was just as busy as Saturday night. We had family lunch/dinner and then hosted a party for a friend moving out of the ward. I found myself extremely grumpy that night, I just was upset at the world. The next morning I woke up with the desire to be happy but it wasn't coming. I hurt. My legs hated me. My back hated me. I had finals. and I was Oscar the Grouch. I took a final Monday morning and had some time to kill before work. I decided a nap was much needed. I slept for an hour. I woke up feeling a thousand times better. Life was great for another 4 hours but then the grumpiness started to come back. After work I decided another nap was needed. I woke up from this nap and my legs felt good as new. No longer did I notice the pain as I walked down the stairs. I was the happiest- and this time it stayed. So moral of the story: Get enough sleep after you run a marathon.
Despite the awfulness of the course and weather I still want to run another marathon. The bug is real. And the best thing is Jackson is running his first full in a month, and I get to be on cheering detail.
*pictures to come*