Monday, September 19, 2011

2011 Top of Utah Marathon

Brace yourselves- I don't want to forget anything so this post is pretty detailed.
Hey look!  I'm running a marathon!!!

Where do I even begin?  I'm flooded with emotion as I think about my marathon on Saturday.  It was grueling at times (although, not nearly as much as I thought it would be), exciting, joyful, and ultimately very fulfilling.  I am once again at a loss of words to accurately describe the event!

In the early morning hours before the race I was awake in my bed listening to the rain splatter against the windows.  I just kept thinking 8:15, 8:15, 8:15 over and over and over again in my head. I wasn't certain how my body would feel and I was hoping that by keeping it easy I would feel good by the end.

FINALLY it was 4 AM. Mindy and I got up to shower before the race.  I thought my nerves were under control until I put on my mascara- my hand was shaking like a leaf!  I had plenty of time to stretch a little, dress, and eat a bowl of oatmeal before heading out the door.

Mindy and I met up with Darcy at the start.  We just started walking towards the bus and before I knew it we were boarding!  The ride up was pretty peaceful.  After getting to the shuttles my nerves calmed down and I just kept thinking about how great my 23 mile run felt and I was excited to get the race started so I could have that feeling again.

We got to the start and got in the long line to use the port-a-potty.  Was it just me and my bursting bladder, or did anyone else feel like the line was soooo loooong?!  When I was in the potty the rain came- but never fear, I was prepared!  I pulled my poncho out of my pocket to open it.  I thought, 'I should close the lid so my poncho doesn't fall in there.' But, you guessed it, I didn't, and you guessed it again, I tore open the wrapper and my poncho flew right into the toilet!!!  So much for that idea.

At the start- huddling together to stay warm.
By the time we finished at the port-a-potties it was time to get to the start.  We took off our warm clothes, dropped our bags in the school bus windows, and lined up next to the 3:40 pacer.  We tried to stretch, but there wasn't room- and then it started pouring!!!  We ran into the heat tent to keep our clothes relatively dry, and when we were in there that is when we heard the start gun for the hand cyclists.  Rain or not, we had to get ready!  We lined back up by the 3:40 pacers and next thing I knew the gun was off and we were trotting along!

Darcy and I stayed by each other for the first 6 miles of the race.  The pacers ended up getting a little ahead of us because we had a hard time making it through the crowd, but our pace was well below a 3:40 marathon so I wasn't worried.  Those first 6 miles flew by!  My body was feeling great for the most part, and I just focused on light and easy steps.  I could feel every one's prayers during this time.  I felt so blessed by my Father in Heaven to be able to be running.

It was so easy to pace myself when I knew I just had to stick with the people with the yellow balloons.  It was awesome to have a visual of my goal staring me in the face.  After mile 6 Darcy and I started to settle into our own pace and I pulled a little bit ahead of her.  I wished I could run with her for the whole race, but I knew that a marathon was a solo event (running together is what a Ragnar is for!).

During mile 7 the clouds broke!  It started pouring rain, and then it started hailing.  Hail!  Really?  I wanted to yell out 'This is so awesome!' but I'm pretty sure everyone else would think I was nuts.  Maybe I was.  All I know is nothing could break my stride. I also noticed that between miles 7 and 8 there was a discrepancy between my Garmin and their mile markers.  Somehow it was off by three tenths of a mile within those 2 miles- before that they were all pretty much right on.  I started asking some other runners, and they noticed that they were off, too. 
I was so excited by the time I hit halfway because I knew that I was feeling good and that I probably wouldn't have any problems with my IT Band.  The canyon was the perfect downhill grade.  It wasn't so downhill that my legs felt beat up at all- it was just nice and slight so that I didn't feel like I had to work so hard.  I was right with the pacers at this point and was itching to move past them, but I didn't!  So proud of myself for not pushing too hard too soon in the game.

Mile 17 and pumped up!!!

Miles 14-20 were my favorite of the race.  I felt so great and having the family and friend support was fantastic.  The biggest problem were my tight and painful calves, and the blisters on my heels.  I tried to stop at miles 17 and 19 for band aids at the aid station, but they didn't have any!!!  My friends Kalie, Erin and Whitney surprised me by coming up to cheer for me and they gave me the biggest boost!  I wasn't expecting them and I got very emotional when I saw them.  My husband, kids, and brother in law Beau were also there at miles 17 and 19- I was super excited and still feeling great.  When I saw my friends is when I finally let myself pass the pacers.
Mile 18- Can you tell I'm emotional
Mile 19- I think I have the same face every time I see my family :)
I stopped to have my calves sprayed with icy hot at mile 23.  They were so painful at this point.  I noticed my bloody ankles from my blisters, but I was so grateful that I couldn't really feel them.  I guess the pain from my calves was bad enough that it blocked the rest of the pain out from other places.  I suppose that is a good thing?!

Then the goin' got tough.  I felt great until mile 23 and then after that I just kept trucking along.  I still had a big smile on my face, but I was definitely feeling it.  I pushed through and I was proud of myself.  Typically at the end of a race I get passed a lot because I gas out too soon- this time I was the one doing some passing!  I never got passed until about the last mile of the race.  I knew I had paced myself perfectly when I was in the last 3 miles.

Seeing my friends and family at the finish was surreal.  As I crossed the finish I saw on the big clock that I was coming in under Boston Qualifying time by a hair- 3:39 and some change for seconds.  I. DID. IT.  It all sunk in and then I couldn't stop crying.

I pushed through hail, rain, bleeding blisters for 10 miles, tight painful calves, an injury before race day, and I was able to pull a Boston Qualifying marathon!!!!!!!!!!!!

I owe it all to an incredible Physical Therapist, great advice from Rachelle after learning so much from mistakes she made during her first marathon, and those awesome pacers and sticking to my plan.

My official time ended up being 3:39:07 for the 26.56 miles that I clocked on my Garmin.  Know what makes me even happier though?  I looked at my time on my Garmin when I hit 26.2 miles, and my time was 3:36:39.  I was 10th in my age division!  My average pace was 8:15/mile- just like I had been envisioning.
Possibly one of my favorite pictures of all time.  Dallas is my number one fan and I know I couldn't do any of this without his support.

Darcy had quite a few troubles- a bruised and very painful foot, soaking clothes that chafed her to hamburger, and a cold.  She pushed through and finished in 4 hours exactly.
Darcy at the finish- smiling in spite of everything!

Mindy- the crazy girl hat decided to sign up to run a marathon only 5 weeks before the race- finished with a time of 4:17.  For a girl that had NO DESIRE to ever run a marathon, she rocked it!!!!  She says she will never do one again.  We'll see...  :)
Mindy is amazing!  I love this girl.

Marathoners!!!  Mindy, Me and Darcy
The texts and messages from people all day were so awesome.  Thank you to everyone for your support and excitement.  I'm so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family!

Will always thinks I win because I walk away with a medal :)
Erin, Kalie, Me and Whit- these are the best friends a girl could ever have.
What would you count as your PR time if the distance was off in a race- your Garmin, or the official time?
Part of me wants to say my Garmin time because it is better, but official time is probably the right one to use.  Plus then I might have an easier time of beating it during my next marathon :).

Are you thinking about running a marathon?
If it's even on the radar, I say you should do it!  It's an experience that you can be proud of for a lifetime.

How long should you rest after a marathon?
I'm itching to start running again!  I want to wait at least a week, but I don't know if I can last that long.


jclay said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You so deserved this!
And I'm so happy for you... I don't know that I've ever enjoyed reading a blog post as much as I just enjoyed this... the whole time I read I just had the biggest smile on my face! You've got me so pumped and inspired to finish a marathon someday and just so happy that I run.
I love all the pictures, but I especially love the kissing shot!!!! LOVE!
You are AMAZING, AMY!!! I hope Boston is a blast!!!
Thanks for being so great!!

Jessica @ said...

oh and I would wait a week, if you could... but I totally understand the itch to run... if you start earlier, go really easy and not too much. :)
(Both of these comments were from Jessica from rerun, by the way. :))

MotherRunner said...

Oh my gosh - your recap made me teary. So happy for you.

I love that you had these issues - calf cramps, heels, etc., and you mention them just as an afterthought. I just get the feeling like nothing could have brought you down.

You EARNED this BQ girl.. you are amazing.

Suz and Allan said...

Love the race recap! You are quite the trooper after all of the pain and rain you had to endure. Enjoy this moment!

Heidi said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome! You are AMAZING! I love your passion for running...if I had even a hint of that, I might consider running a race further than a 10K! Ha!

WAY TO GO!!!!!!!!

sNick said...

Ummm... you put on mascara to go run a marathon? Haha, excellent. I LOVE that picture of Annie looking at your medal and Will looking up at it, too. Way to go, Amy. And yes, I would love to take a stroll with you guys around the Zermatt Resort. Remember - hiking is about who your with, not where your at.

susette said...

YOU ARE AMAZING AND SO INSPIRING! I ran the 1/2 top of utah and loved that so much. I didn't think I ever wanted to run a marathon but after reading your recap it's giving me a tiny, tiny itch to never say never.

ash & diz said...

Amy- CONGRATS! I am so excited for you! So glad you qualified! I am sorry it rained out. That's no fun! Take care of those sore legs. Foam roll, ice/heat, advil, and I usually run a few days after the marathon. (nothing crazy, just a few short, easy, slow miles to get some of the soreness out).

Rachelle Wardle said...

ABSOLUTELY LOVED READING THIS RECAP!! It is perfect and I felt every single emotion right along with you. You did everything right and were so so strong. You ran your own race and didn't let anything besides yourself control your pace. Love it!! SO SO SO proud of you!!

Let me know as soon as you hear from Boston. :)

Julia said...

ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!! you are amazing!!! CONGRATS! love your recap and the pictures are simply awesome! congrats!!!!!

Cory Reese said...

You. RULE!!! This is so amazing. To BQ in your first marathon plus the crazy weather is a huge accomplishment. You definitely deserve a pack of Hostess donuts.

I had the same exact dilemma after this race with my 26.2 time versus official time. I could have taken a few minutes off. But I came to the same conclusion - I should go with official time. (Google "run the tangents" - a good tip for not running too far extra. Obviously I haven't perfected this yet.)

Way to go!!! Simply awesome.

The Hungry Runner Girl said...

OH MY GOODNESS!! I had the biggest smile and goosebumps as I read this. I LOVED your 'seeing your family face.' I am SO happy for you and think the world of you. You look so strong even after the hail, blisters and rain. LOVE YOU and we need to play asap!

Amber said...

Oh I loved reading this, too. We are all so inspired by you, Amy. I wish I could run, but it seems not to be in my cards. You are so tough; I admire you.

Amy @ Run Mom Run said...

I just can't get over how excited I am for you after being injured to make your goal! Fabulous!

Sarah said...

Hi my name is Sarah and you have no idea who I am but I've been reading your blog for a few weeks. I'm signed up to run the Mesquite marathon and on the facebook page had a link to I checked him out he is pretty funny and then I started looking at the blogs he looks at. It was awesome to read about other mothers that run. I'm also slightly obsessed with running right now as the marathon is usually on my mind. Anyway I just wanted to say when I saw that you qualified I was so ecstatic and when I just read your recap I was in tears. I hope I have as good as an experience as you did. I'm not as fast as you but I too want to qualify for Boston. Looking at your times for your shorter distance races I get discouraged but after I did a 9 mile pace run at 8:18 last friday I felt a little better about it. You rock girl and should think about doing the Mesquite marathon on NOV. 19th. Starts in St. George and goes to Mesquite.

matt&cec said...

Dang, I think I put my comment meant for this post on the post right before this one...sorry...

But I'm seriously so so happy for you! Congrats!

Ali Mc said...

what a GREAT post! just found you through rerun I think I've been here before. I just can't wait for my first marathon and I LOVE your BQ photo :D