Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Inspiration When Needed!

You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement. -Steve Prefontaine

"A lot of people run a race to see who's the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts." -Steve Prefontaine

Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow. - Henry David Thoreau

In that he didn't die at the finish line, he could have run faster" - Tim Noakes

"Running is real. It’s all joy and woe, hard as diamond. It makes you weary beyond comprehension, but it also makes you free."

I always loved running... it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs. ~Jesse Owens

"Enjoy your pain, you've earned it"

Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired...You've always got to make the mind take over and keep going." - George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian

The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed." - Jacqueline Gareau, 1980 Boston Marathon champ

"There are people who have no bodies, only heads. And many athletes have no heads, only bodies. A champion is a man who has trained his body and his mind, who has learned to conquer pain for his own purposes. A great athlete is at peace with himself and at peace with the world; he has fulfilled himself. He envies nobody. Wars are caused by people who have not fulfilled themselves." - Coach Sam Dee The Olympian

"Top results are reached only through pain. But eventually you like this pain. You'll find the more difficulties you have on the way, the more you will enjoy your success." - Juha "the Curel Vaatainen

"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon." - Emil Zatopek

"Some running is good, more is better, and too much is just enough"

"The only way to define your limits is to go beyond them"

"Remember the second most important thing to choosing the right shoe, is choosing the left one"
"If I am still standing at the end of the race, hit me with a Board and knock me down, because that means I didn't run hard enough" -Steve Jones

"Run so hard you come in with bloody feet and missing toenails" -Rob Decestella

"Man imposes his own limitations, don't set any" -Anthony Bailey

"Human beings are made up of flesh and blood, and a miracle fiber called courage" -George Patton

"Sweat cleanses from the inside. It comes from places a shower will never reach."- George Sheehan

You don’t run against a bloody stop watch, do you hear? A runner runs against himself, against the best that's in him. Not against a dead thing of wheels and pulleys. That's the way to be great, running against yourself. Against all the rotten mess in the world. Against God, if you’re good enough. ~Bill Persons

It is better to wear out one's shoes than one's sheets. - Genoese Proverb

The only competition of a wise man is with himself. -Washington Allston

"I may not be fast, but I sure ain't last."

You can never run a hill too hard, you will collapse before hurting it. -Adam Born

"Every man dies, but not every man really lives." -William Wallace

"There is no satisfaction without a struggle first." -Marty Liquori

"Don't fear moving slowly forward...fear standing still." -Kathleen Harris

"It's very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit." -George Sheehan

"If you run hard, there's the pain -- and you've got to work your way through the pain.... You know, lately it seems all you hear is 'Don't overdo it' and 'Don't push yourself.' Well, I think that's a lot of bull. If you push the human body, it will respond."- Bob Clarke, NHL Hall of Famer

There will be days when I don't know if I can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime knowing that I have."

Do or do not. There is no try. -Yoda

"Mental toughness is only the confidence to go on when you can't move."

I run because I can. When I get tired, I remember those who can't run, what they'd give to have this simple gift I take for granted, and I run harder for them. I know they would do the same for me.
Running is my medication when I'm down and my celebration when I'm up.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

"Run the first mile with your legs, the second mile with your mind, and the third mile with your heart."

"Pain is weakness leaving your body" - Marine Corps

"If it were any easier, they might call it football..."

"Pain is nothing compared to what it feels like to quit."

HEART is the difference between those who ATTEMPT and those who ACHIEVE."

"You gain strength, confidence and courage by every experience in which you
really stop to look fear in the face." - ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
It takes a little more persistence to get up and go the distance.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. You never know when you are going to get hungry. - Yogi Bear

"Pain is temporary; finishing is forever."

"It's not 13.1 miles ... it’s seven water stops."

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. - Aristotle

"If you don't feel like you're going to throw up you're not running fast enough. "

Losers look what they are going through. Winners look where they are going to.

What counts in battle is what you do once the pain sets in.

Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.

"Last is just the slowest winner." - C. Hunter Boyd

"Anybody running beats anybody walking, and anybody walking beats anybody sitting." - Tom Bunk

"The Quitter"When you're lost on the trail with the speed of a snail And defeat looks you straight in the eye and you're needing to sit, your whole being says quit You're certain it's your time to die. But the code of the trail is "move forward don't fail" Though your knees and ego are scarred. All the swelling and pain is just part of the game In the long run it's quitting that's hard! "I'm sick of the pain!" Well, now, that's a shame But you're strong, you're healthy, and bright. So you've had a bad stretch and you're ready to retch, Shoulders back, move forward, and fight. It's the plugging away that will win you the day, Now don't be a loser my friend! So the goal isn't near, why advance to the rear. All struggles eventually end.
It's simple to cry that you’re finished; and die. It's easy to whimper and whine. Move forward and fight, though there's no help in sight You'll soon cross the lost finish line. You'll come out of the black, with the wind at your back, As the clouds start to part; there's the sun. Then you'll know in your heart, as you did at the start. You're not a quitter. You've Won!! - Gene Thibeault

"Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic." - Tim Noakes

"The runner need not break four minutes in the mile or four hours in the marathon. It is only necessary that he runs and runs and sometimes suffers. Then one day he will wake up and discover that somewhere along the the way he has begun to see the order and law and love and truth that makes men free." - George Sheehan

"There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win." - Elie Wiesel

"Above all, train hard, eat light, and avoid TV and people with negative attitudes." - Scott Tinley `
"It hurts up to a point and then it doesn't get any worse." - Ann Trason

"Some think guts is sprinting at the end of a race. But guts is what got you there to begin with. Guts start back in the hills with 6 miles to go and you're thinking of how you can get out of this race without anyone noticing. Guts begin when you still have forty minutes of torture left and you're already hurting more than you ever remember." - George Sheehan

"I have met my hero, and he is me." - George Sheehan

"I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we're all cowards." - Alberto Salazar

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"The mind learns the body can go at least a bit farther even though it feels increasingly uncomfortable." - Pritikin

""The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection." - Thomas Paine

"Once that distance had been passed in training, an important physical and psychological threshold had been crossed. It was no longer a question of *if* it could be done. Rather, it became a question of *how fast* it could be done." - Mike Plant

"Self-conquest is the greatest of victories." - Plato

"There is another type of strength. It is being able to extend your energy for a very long distance." - David LaPierre

"If one could run without getting tired I don't think one would often want to do anything else." - C.S. Lewis

"Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we will find the way." - Abraham Lincoln

"The only way to be who you want to be is by being what you haven't yet been." - Sally Edwards
"To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who's never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind." - Jerome Drayton

"The purpose of training is to stress the body, so when you rest it will grow stronger and more tolerant of the demands of distant running." - David Costill

"The most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well." - Pierre de Courbertin

"You can't die from a stomach ache. The worst that can happen is that you'll throw up. Then you can eat some more and start running again." - Jack Bristol

"A man's reach must exceed his grasp, or else what's a heaven for?" - Robert Browning

"Go fast enough to get there, but slow enough to see." - Jimmy Buffett

"Succeeding makes you forget the failures." - Harry Cordellos, blind athlete (2:57 at Boston in 1975)

"No doubt a brain and some shoes are essential for marathon success, although if it comes down to a choice, pick the shoes. More people finish marathons with no brains than with no shoes." - Don Kardong

When you're afraid of failure you're more likely to do it." - Gordy Ainsleigh

"You can sleep when you die." - Roger Rehwald (seen on a T-shirt)

"As long as you keep making RFM (Relentless Forward Motion), you will finish." - Stacey Page

"Find your limits and exceed them." - Lynn Strickland

"Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic." - Tim Noakes

"Decide before the race the conditions that will cause you to stop and drop out. You don't want to be out there saying, Well gee, my leg hurts, I'm a little dehydrated, I'm sleepy, I'm tired, and its cold and windy. And talk yourself into quitting. If you are making a decision based on how you feel at that moment, you will probably make the wrong decision." - Dick Collins

"A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame and money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well." - G. K. Chesterton

"If you under-train, you may not finish, but if you over-train, you may not start." - Tom DuBos

"My doctor told me that jogging could add years to my life. I think he was right. I feel ten years older already." -Milton Berle

"You're better than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can!" - Ken Chlouber

"Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self- satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." - John Wooden


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Big Cottonwood Marathon (#4)

dear big cottonwood marathon, I am SO glad that is over!  I got up at 2:50 a.m. and headed down with Jen and Linda to SLC to catch the buses for the race.  Robin had picked up our packets and so we met her to get them and then her and Linda headed off for the half and Jen and I for the full.  I have been a bundle of nerves ALL week worrying about this marathon.  I have never ran the course and I have been putting pressure on myself to get a BQ (Boston Qualifying time) because if I shave off 14 minutes from my PR then I can qualify.  Much easier said than done!  14 minutes is a lot of time, but I knew I could do it.  Problem is my training hasn't been as good as it was for my last one and I just didn't know how I would do.  I was honestly scared to run it because I know how painful and how much inner mental strength it takes to get through a full marathon.  Half's are much less draining that way.  But a full marathon makes you dig deep and see what you're made of and how much you can endure.  They are tough no matter what.  And you train for four months all for ONE day.  Anything can happen that day and you can have a great day and all the stars are aligned or a crappy one.  You just don't know what will happen.  And then there's the pressure to qualify. Getting a BQ time is VERY tough but a dream for many runners.  I REALLY want to run is my goal.  I was so hoping today would be the day, but it wasn't meant to be.  I ended up SEVEN MEASLY MINUTES shy of a BQ!  Seven!  Oh well.  Guess that means I will have to keep trying.  Not looking forward to that though.  Marathons really take it out of me and training for that long really takes a lot of time.  There were so many reasons I wanted to do it today, but I gave it ALL I had and still came up shy.  That's why it's so hard to qualify and why it's such a coveted thing among runners.  It's kind of like the Super Bowl for runners.  It's my dream though and I really want to run it someday!  I'm soooooooo close!  Anyway, I signed up for this race (Big Cottonwood) because it touts itself as one of the fastest BQ races around. And that is just what I need - a fast course.  That was before they changed the course and made it MUCH tougher!  The first 15 are downhill and fast but then it turns and there is an 8 mile out and back that is BRUTAL!  SO. MUCH. UPHILL!  And so painful to go uphill after going 15 down!  I was surprised how tough it was.  I have never seen so many marathon racers have to walk in a race like I did in this one... ever.  It was that tough.  I didn't walk once in my last two marathons, but this one I had no choice.  Either that or kill over!  I stayed with the 4:00 pacers (I actually really tried to stay ahead of them 30 seconds or so for most of the 15 miles) but on the out and back and uphill I got behind a bit and then more and more.  My friend Adrian was the pacer for my BQ time of 4:00, and when I heard that, I was SO happy because he is one of the funnest people I know and so smart about running.  I couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather have as a pacer.  He kept us upbeat and positive and it was just so fun pacing with him!  I met some ladies in my age group who flew in from Oklahoma to run it.  They went ahead as soon as the uphill started at mile 16 and I was sad I couldn't push it more. I did great until about mile 17 but at that point I was really hurting and felt sick to my stomach.  I kept going though and kept pushing it and gave it all I had. Trying to get down a gel was impossible.  I knew if I did, I would hurl!  But I also knew if I didn't, I would hit a wall and bonk.  So I took some blox that had a small amount of caffeine and hoped for the best.  The out and back was tough as far as the course goes, but I really liked being able to see the other runners going out or back and passing them.  I got to yell and wave at Marci and Sherri as I was going out and then I saw Jen as I was going back.  It was inspiring just watching the runners that were on the tough miles (20 and up) as they passed me.  The looks on their faces was inspiring because I could tell how painful it was for them but they kept on going.  It was like being a spectator at a marathon while running it.  I did like that experience.  Miles 20-22 were tough.  I heard another ask a couple that were walking and limping if they were having cramping and she told them she had a salt tablet if they needed it.  My calves were getting tight and starting to cramp and when they said it wasn't cramping and they didn't need it, I asked her if she had a spare I could have.  Thankfully she did.  I think it helped me during those last three miles.  I kept having the thought go through my head, "Would I rather have a baby or run a marathon?"  When I have thoughts like those, it means I am hurting.  haha But I was still trying to keep it positive.   I was even super excited because I need a 4:00 to BQ but I found out that today and ONLY today if I ran it in that time I would BQ for 2015 and 2016.  AND, since I will be 55 in 2016, my BQ time goes to 4:10 and if I finished today with a 4:10 I would BQ for 2016!  That made me motivated to do it!  10 extra minutes!  But as hard as I tried, and as excited as I was that I knew I could do it, about mile 22, the 4:10 pacers passed me and I sadly kissed my Boston Marathon goodbye.  Oh man that was tough mentally.  Heartbreaking.  But I didn't have enough energy to even think about the loss of that.  I had to just keep pushing and moving forward.  As I approached mile 23, a man cheering for us said it was all downhill from there.  I said, "Really? Is that true?"  He told me it was and so that gave me some extra strength just knowing the uphill was done.  I finished strong with a time of 4:17.  My marathon PR is a 4:14 and so I was very happy with my time, just very disappointed I didn't BQ. I wanted to so bad!  Guess this means I am not done running fulls.  UGH!  I want to be!  That is after I run Boston!  Anyway, I felt good about my time and knowing that I didn't leave anything on the course was also a good feeling. I did my best.  It just wasn't good enough today.  I didn't train as hard as I needed to either like I did for the Ogden.  So, I wasn't really surprised I guess. Just let down.  Oh man did I hurt after that race!  I was really sick to my stomach and dizzy and had to sit down a long time and try and get feeling better.  I am sure I was dehydrated.  I even got a short massage after and that was helpful.  I sat down by Adrian and he told me I did great.  He even went and got me some chocolate milk.  That is the best recovery drink ever!  I ate some other things but they made me sick.  I waited for Jen to finish and was so happy for her because she got a PR and was so happy.  I was so proud of her!  She has had a bad year and turned it around today!  Jen's friend Rachelle and another girl were so nice and fun to talk to after while recovering a bit.  I was really not feeling well.  I just wanted to go home and lay down, but we headed to Jimmie Johns and got a great sub.  It was a good thing to do because it settled my stomach.  I felt a lot better after eating that.  Then I got home and had so much to do.  I helped McKay get ready for the Homecoming Dance and then tried to pack and clean and get Taylor's letter written and this post done.  It's almost 11 pm and I am so stinking tired!  I have to get up at 4:45 a.m. and so I need to get this posted and hit the hay!  LONG day!  I was so stressed and nervous about this race that I breathed a huge sigh of relief now it's over!  
 My supplies all laid out the night before...
Dave was ALSO up at 3:30 to see me off!  He is so supportive of all my races. Too late to turn back now!  I could NOT decide if I should wear my capri's under my skirt or not since it was going to be only 40 degrees at start. I didn't want my legs to freeze for the first two hours.  But I had planned on wearing this new purple lululemon skirt for months!  I opted to be warm and wear it underneath. Big mistake. By mile 15 I was really hot! Isn't it cute in the back?  I LOVE ruffles!  Especially purple ones!

It was SO freezing at the start and so hot at the finish line!
 I did it!  Yea!
 I have such great running friends!  The fall colors are in full swing!

Check out this picture ↓
My friend Jen found a photo of one of them when she was looking through unclaimed photos!  They have my shirt and purple skirts!  I wish I would have seen them, but they ran the half instead of the full.  Still made me smile!!!  GO PURPLE!
I wrote another post on this race here.

I went to the General Women's Meeting last night and Sister Linda K. Burton's talk made me think of how much living the gospel is like running a marathon in many ways.  I have been reflecting quite a bit about my last marathon experience lately mainly because I was so let down I didn't reach my goal that I had set for myself and partly because I was really doubting my ability to do so before even attempting it.

I really want to qualify to run the Boston Marathon.  Ever since I have been running (almost 8 years now), I have looked in admiration at the runners I knew who were fast enough to actually qualify and never thought it would be even remotely in my reach - not even in a million years.  I didn't consider myself in that league in any way shape or form.  To me they were always the ones who were born with the gift of speed and their standard of running was just so fast that it was way out of reach for me.  I felt that they ran at a higher standard than I was capable of.  I was just content to admire their skill and be happy for their accomplishment of making it to Boston.  I never dreamed it could ever become a reality for me.

Until May of this year.

I ran the Ogden Marathon and knocked 23 minutes off of my previous marathon time.  I was beyond thrilled!  I was surprised even though I did train really hard for that race for almost five months and I followed my training schedule religiously, so I was hoping I would do well, just didn't think I would do that well.  My finish time was 4:14 and in order for me to qualify for Boston I needed a 4:00.  14 minutes.  Doesn't sound too tough, but trust me, even a single minute is hard to cut off when it comes to a full marathon.  BUT . . . it was now in reach!  I knew if I worked really hard, I could cut off 14 minutes.  So I signed up for the Big Cottonwood Marathon because it is touted as a fast course and many BQ (Boston Qualify) at it.  I ran the half last year and while watching the full racers cross the finish line that day and seeing so many reach a BQ, I thought I would possibly attempt it the next year.

Training for it this summer proved to be much harder than I anticipated.  Getting up at the crack of insanity to get in a long run before it gets too hot, was tough, as was the discipline required to run my training plan religiously.
Actually, I was usually out and running on long run days by the time set on this alarm.
 I used to love running in the heat until last summer when I got heat exhaustion and now the heat really gets to me.  It was a hot summer this year and even though I didn't follow my plan to a tee, I did my best.  I didn't do my 20 miler long runs as well as I did when training for Ogden, but I did what I could.  I was feeling a little burned out as well.  The course had changed in a not so good way (much harder) than last year and last year's was tough according to those that ran it.  So come race day, I told my husband (and myself) to not expect a BQ.  I also took the pressure off of myself to get one.  I still wanted to finish with a PR (personal record), but I was relieving myself of the BQ pressure.  I just wasn't having very many great runs and my speed wasn't near what it had been before Ogden.  I had a back injury this time and that forced some time off too.  Overall, I just wasn't sure it was going to happen.  So, pressure off!

On race day, I did decide to start out with the 4:00 pacers though and keep with them for as long as I could.  I actually ran ahead of them most of the downhill because I knew if I got behind them I would get very discouraged.  I wanted to be able to stay positive the entire course.
I tried to stay just a little ahead of the 4:00 pace group.
Still feeling strong!  (And cold!)
With Adrian, the 4:00 pacer.  This was when I was starting to pace a bit behind them, but they were still right in front of me.  He had to make a pit stop and he is trying to get to the other pacer to grab the pacing stick.
I was so happy Adrian was one of the pacers.  I love that guy.  He makes me laugh and he has a lot of wisdom about running smart.  I knew if anyone could help me get there, it was him.  Sounds like I still had some hope doesn't it?   The honest truth is, I will ALWAYS have hope. About mile 13 or so, I was talking to a woman who was also pacing with the 4:00's who looked about my age and so I asked her if she was trying to BQ that day.  She said that she was and that she had flown in from Oklahoma with three friends to run it.  We chatted more and discovered we were the same age.  She asked me if I knew that particular day was the "magic day" for a BQ?  I asked her to explain and she said that if we BQ today (and only today) then we get to run Boston in 2015 AND 2016!  And then she went on to say that since we will be 55 at the time of Boston 2016, that we could BQ that day for 2016 with an extra 10 minutes (our qualifying time when we are 55 is 4:10) because we will be 55 that year.  Okay, that made me ecstatic!  I had an extra 10 minutes I hadn't planned on to BQ!  After hearing that info, I really thought it was possible!  I was so thrilled!
The only problem was, if I had known that when the race started, I would have paced myself totally differently and started with the 3:55 pacers.  I didn't dare do that originally because I didn't want to go too fast at first and then bonk after the downhill. But knowing what I do now, I think if I had done that, I could have crossed that finish line at 4:10.  I actually would have had to cross it at 4:08:58 in order to be accepted to Boston (this year anyway - that may change by next year depending on how many apply.) Not everyone that BQ's gets in.  They go with the fastest of each age division until no spots are left.  This year you had to beat your qualifying time by 1:02. Sounds tough, but I think it was doable if I was shooting for 2016.  For 2015 I would have needed a 3:58:58. Ouch!
Still feeling good?  Or just faking it?
Some of the uphill during the out and back.  Those 8 miles were NOT fun!
I hung with the 4:00's until close to mile 15 when the downhill ended.  Not only did it end, but we got to endure some serious rolling hills almost right after the downhill was over.  That first large hill was formidable!  I don't usually walk in a race, but I really had no choice with that hill.  Nearly everyone around me was walking up it - you never see that in a marathon.  It was just too much after all that downhill for our legs to transition so fast.  But, I kept pushing as hard as I could.  I did not give up once.  I did feel some keen disappointment as I watched the 4:00's get ahead of me on that hill.  I kept trying to remind myself of all the training I had done and to trust in it. I had technically been training for this since January.  It wasn't perfect training, but it was a lot of miles and more than I had put in for my first two marathons.  I kept telling myself to trust in the training.  I know training pays off.  One day at a time.  One step at a time.  It just wasn't quite good enough for me to reach my goal.  The out and back part of the race was brutal.  There is no other way to describe it. And not just for me.  Every single person I talked to, every single blog post I have read, every single FB post, every single finisher I talked to after, all agreed that it was B R U T A L!  I also found out that those that had run it last year all said this course was 10 minutes slower than last years.  I kind of wish I hadn't heard that.  Do you know what that means?  If they hadn't changed the course I would have qualified!  I finished with a 4:17 time!  SEVEN measly minutes shy of a 2016 BQ!  I was pretty let down, but at the time I was just so glad I was done running and that it was over, that I didn't really care at the time.
Very glad I was done, even though my face isn't showing it.  I look like crap because I was feeling like crap.  And I also had the worst neck ache for the last 11 miles and I now know why because in all my pictures I was holding it up in a weird way.  I had no idea I was doing it while running and I have no idea why I was doing it.
With Adrian the 4:00 pacer.  He is one awesome pacer!

Now that I have had time to think about it and ponder over it, I am seriously let down that I didn't make it.  Mostly for the fact that now it means I have to train again and keep running marathons until I DO qualify.  UGH!  I am not ready to give up on my goal.  The day of the race, I had decided to maybe check into running as a charity runner for Cystic Fibrosis because that would mean a lot to me as well, but deep down I want to run it because I earned it, because I was good enough to run it.  But I haven't totally thrown the charity idea out the window.  Running for CF would be so inspiring to me!
The real motivation for me to qualify and run it is because my friend Shauna lives in Maine and she really wants me to run it so she can cheer me on across the finish line.  She told me to please sign up and run Boston.  She didn't understand that you can't just sign up and run Boston.  You have to earn Boston.  I have some of my high school buds who have also said they would take the trip over with me and cheer me on.  Now that is motivation if anything is!  Just knowing you have someone waiting at that finish line is sometimes the thing that gets you to the finish line!   This was my first marathon my husband and boys were not able to make it to the finish line.  They had unavoidable conflicts.  So I had no one I knew cheering me on as I crossed.  But that was okay.  I was just so thrilled I crossed!  There are no words to describe that feeling.  No words.  I always get so emotional and so elated that I actually did it and just so relieved I am done!  I think about that moment for almost 26.2 miles.  The moment I can stop running and rest!  hah  This year I also got sick once I finished.  I was very nauseated and dizzy.  I am pretty sure I was dehydrated.  I really didn't drink like I needed to and it got extremely hot during those last 10 miles.  I need to hydrate better so I can avoid that next time.

I am hoping someday I will be able to actually say I qualified.  I don't know if it will ever happen, but I am an optimist and so I am going to stay positive.  Running is such a fragile thing and you never know what is going to happen with your body and injuries.  I just hope this old bod of mine hangs on for a bit longer so I can.
So in a nutshell, running Boston is like the Super Bowl for runners.  If you run Boston, it means you have earned it. Not everyone who tries to qualify does.  Many try each year.  One of my good friends ran 18 marathons trying to qualify!  She finally did last year and missed getting in by 13 seconds!  They have raised the standard higher by only accepting a limited amount of runners and so not even those that do qualify are guaranteed an entrance.  Only the fastest of the qualifiers get accepted. 

So how does all this relate to Sister Burton's talk and the gospel? Well, since you are still here (amazingly) after this marathon post, I will tell you.  Hang in there, you are almost to the finish line!

Sister Burton said because Latter-day Saints come to the temple to receive eternal blessings, it should not surprise them that a higher standard is required to qualify for those blessings.  “World-class athletes and university doctoral students spend hours and days and weeks and months and even years of preparation,” she said. “Daily drops of preparation are required of them to come out on top. Likewise, those who wish to qualify for exaltation in the celestial kingdom are expected to live a higher standard of obedience that comes by practicing the virtue of obedience day by day and drop by drop.”
Going to the temple requires a higher standard just like getting into Boston requires a higher standard.  Not everyone who runs a marathon will be accepted into Boston and not everyone who is a member of the church will be admitted into the temple.  Only those that qualify.  Qualifying is hard work.  It requires daily training.  Daily discipline in order to meet those tough standards.  It means a lot more when you know you have worked hard to earn that privilege.  It's not just something that is handed out to everyone. 

Same thing with qualifying for exaltation.  Not everyone who is a member of the church and not even everyone who is a temple recommend holder is going to qualify to get into the Celestial Kingdom (CQ = Celestial Qualify).  It requires even a higher standard.  Only the best of the best will make it to that level.  You could call that making it to the Super Bowl of heaven☺or the Olympics of running. It's going to be tough to get to that level.  Really tough.  But it is doable.

We are probably going to have days when we will look at others and think that we are not in their league.  We are not as spiritual as they are.  We aren't as good as they are and we never will be.  We weren't born with their gifts.  We might even think it will be easy for them to qualify, but so much harder for ourselves.  But if we really want to qualify then we are going to have to work extra hard even though things may not have been going so well or going according to our plan, and even then, our course may change along the way and we may think it's unfair that our course is harder than someone else's course.  We may even get injured (from sinning) along the way and have to change our plan.  And most likely our training will not go perfectly.  We may get to the point where we would rather just take the pressure off and give up the hope of a CQ.   But, like Sister Burton said, if we practice the virtue of obedience (like daily training) day by day and drop by drop, we will qualify.  It won't be easy and we will have times when we just want to let go of the dream, but if we keep following the plan (the commandments) then we can. 

The best part of the gospel is that just like my friend Marci who had to run 18 marathons to qualify, we will never be told we can't make it as long as we are willing to keep trying and keep training (practicing obedience).  And when we come up short - even when we are so close - there is ALWAYS hope that no matter what we do or don't do, we have a loving and forgiving Heavenly Father who will forgive us and give us as many chances as we need to finally get it right and qualify.  He is our personal pacer and He will never give up on us.  He will encourage us and be there for us whenever we need his support.  He gives us hope when we are discouraged.  He knows we can do it.  We can always rely on Him for help.

And just imagine what crossing THAT finish line is going to be like?  All of our family and friends that have already finished the race will be right there cheering us on!  What a feeling that will be knowing that we earned it after a hard fought fight.  That alone makes all the training and practicing worth it!

And best of all, a CQ lasts forever... for eternity. 

Something else to keep in mind along the way!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ogden Marathon 2014

Ogden Marathon 2014!
Marathon Post (literally!)

Number three is in the books!
Three fulls and 11 half marathons to date. 
  I am going to start this post with what I wrote on Facebook because I think that it basically sums up this experience.  And that way, if you don't want to read the rest of this very long post, then you will have the basics.  Kind of like doing a 5K instead of a marathon.  LOL  I really write these things for me anyway so I can go back and remember the experience as a reference for the next one.  Next one?  Did I really just write that?

Facebook post: 
I DIDN'T DIE! Even finished without a stretcher! And got a NEW PR! Finished in 4:14! I'm beyond excited. One of my hardest runs ever. Running a marathon is hard even if you are feeling up to par, but not feeling 100% makes it so much more difficult. One of my instagram friends said it best: "Marathons tear you down and bare your insides at your most vulnerable times". I had to dig deep and pray a lot. I felt your prayers for me as well. At mile 18 I prayed that I would have help to push me through and I felt a huge relief as I was able to put one foot in front of the other when I so desperately wanted to quit. I felt like I was being pushed by angels. Then I looked down and found this penny I'm holding. It was so hard to reach down and pick it up, but once I did I felt strength surge through my entire being. I clutched that thing with a death grip the rest of the way. I knew Tyson placed it there when I needed it most. Thank you to my angels Tyson and Gina. I KNOW that you were right there pushing me along. After that I was determined to reach that finish line and cross it strong. I'm so grateful for all the support from my family friends, both seen and unseen. I can do hard things because of you! This penny is more valuable to me than my medal!

After four and half months of training, it was finally here!  I trained really hard for this one.  I stayed pretty true to my training plan and rarely missed any miles with the exception of when I thought I had a stress fracture and took about a week off and a couple of other days off when I was afraid I was getting plantar fasciitis.  Other than that, I really worked it hard.  I used the Hal Higdon Intermediate 1 and 2 Training Plan.  I did three 20 mile runs compared to my usual just one, and I made those miles count this time instead of taking it at a slower pace.  I logged in almost 550 miles, which was a little short of the plans, but more than I've done in my past marathon training.

As race day was fast approaching, I was getting seriously nervous because the weather was predicted to be in the low 80's. Runners always start to obsess about the forecast two weeks out.  It's kind of funny because we have no control over it, but we freak out anyway!  Weather is always a HUGE factor come race day.  Last year I ran this race in a downpour for the entire 26.2 miles and ended up with hypothermia after I crossed the finish line, as did most of the runners.  
Just a little memory of last year's downpour!
This year, I had no fear of rain, just heat.  Heat will kill a race (and possibly a racer!) haha, especially when it suddenly arrives before you have any time to acclimatize to it.  You need 7-10 days to do that and since I had only run in temps above 62° three times prior (and those runs were so draining because I wasn't used to the heat), I was becoming concerned.  Most of my training was done in very cold temperatures because spring was a little slow in getting here.  And then if that wasn't stressing me out enough, on Thursday I started feeling like I had the flu!  (Always a good way to take my mind off of the fear of the high temps!)  I was panicked!  Here I train for FOUR and a HALF months for my race on Saturday and two days before I GET SICK!  Noooooooooooooooo!!!!   I couldn't believe it!  Seriously. 

Could. Not. Believe. It.
I never get sick!  When I woke up I felt like I hadn't slept all night.  I was also feeling queasy and dizzy, my brain felt foggy, and I was sore all over!  Not really achy, but if I had already ran a marathon.  I didn't feel like I was going to throw up though until I realized that I may have to run feeling like this!  That was a nauseating thought!  I tried to take it as easy as I could all while trying to take care of Dave who was also sick, (though much sicker than I - but HE didn't have a marathon in two days!).  I would be more than happy to be sick, but just NOT RIGHT NOW!  Argh!  I wasn't feeling any better on Friday when I woke up either.  I felt so weak and worn out.  I had a little bawl fest and was very discouraged.  One of my greatest fears was coming to fruition.  Running a marathon with the flu!  Last year another of my greatest fears came to pass too...running a marathon in a downpour. I survived that and felt very hard core after knowing I had conquered that fear and so maybe just for fun I get to experience another fear just to see if I can push through it too. Sometimes heaven has quite the sense of humor.  Hmm....  I think I better quit having fears when it comes to marathons!  It seems every time I do, that it comes to pass!
On Friday, I had to go to the expo and pick up my race packet. As I walked around, I started to feel less dizzy and queasy.  That gave me some hope.  I got my picture taken with running guru Jeff Galloway.  I wanted to ask him what his advice was about running a full marathon with the flu, but I was afraid he would jump away from me as if I had the plague.  I tried not to breath on him or shake his hand. ☺(hehe - I really don't think I was contagious).
 I was supposed to be carb loading for three days before but I couldn't eat much of anything on Thursday.  I forced my oatmeal down on Friday and by lunch time I was able to eat a rice bowl and Rumbi sweet potato fries.  They tasted so delish! That gave me a lot of hope!  I had a really hard time trying to hydrate and tried to sip water all day.  I had to force some pasta down Friday night.  NOT good.  I worried and fretted and freaked that I was going to totally crash and burn.  But I knew no matter what (short of throwing up non-stop) that I was going to run it.  So I tried to put my focus on how I was going to manage.  The good thing about it is that it took away my fear and worry of the heat on race day and instead I was totally focused on how I would survive being sick.  I put it in the Lord's hands because I no longer had any control of what happened.  I did my best to stay healthy and train hard and the sad thing is that no matter what you do, it all comes down to ONE day.  Just ONE day.  And anything can happen on that ONE day.  Anything...  But usually what happens is one of your greatest fears comes to pass.  At least in my case. 
I asked Dave to give me a blessing right before I went to bed on Friday and that relaxed my nerves some.  I slept pretty well and when my alarm went off at 3:00 a.m. I felt much better than I had when I woke up the previous two days.  I can't even express how relieved that made me feel.  I got ready and decided I was going to do this and come what may, give it my best. I waited for my ride and once they came I hauled all my junk out of the door thinking I really needed a suitcase for it all.  My friend Heather said that we all need a little red wagon to pull with us as we run so we have everything we need. The visual of that makes me laugh!

No turning back now...
Top left: with Heather before she left to catch the bus for the half.  Top right: with cute Marci at the start.  Bottom left: with Jen's Provo running pals.  Bottom right: with John Parrish from our hood.
There were a lot of porta potties!  But with 3500 runners, they could have used a few more!  Too bad I didn't get a photo of myself when I came out of the porta potty with a piece of TP stuck to my shoe.  That was fun.
To do these justice you must click to enlarge

Me and Jen with Adrian. ↓ He is our favorite runner!  
We pace with him with the American Flyers and he is the funnest and funniest runner I know.  He is always smiling and always has something positive to say.  His bright pink shoes were the hit of the day.  He has a lot of fans and made the rounds at the start.  When I was on mile 18, I felt someone tugging on my fuel belt, and I turned around and it was him.  As he passed me, I can't remember what he said, but it made me laugh when I needed it!  I ended up passing him about mile 22.  I think he is coming back from an injury because I never beat him.  He is a speed demon.

This ↑ will always be one of my favorite photos of this race. (click to enlarge) I only wish I had been able to capture it sooner.  All along that fence was a straight line of the male gender doing what the male gender are lucky enough to be able to do in a situation such as the start of a marathon.  I say this because as you saw in the other photos, there are hundreds of porta potties, BUT there are thousands of runners who need to use those porta potties.  When you do the math you can see why the lines are ALWAYS extremely long.  An experienced runner knows that the very first thing you do once you get off the bus is to get in the long line or you may not have time before the race starts. Many runners get right back in line after, because they know they will most likely need to go again before race start.  Nerves...  Unless you are of the male gender.  If someone from that gender is in line, either before or during the race, you pretty much know that they needed to do business of a slightly different nature.  If only I could have captured it a bit earlier, I am sure the photo would have gone viral or something because it was the funniest sight ever.  As far as the girl in the forefront...I do believe she is praying.  Something most runners do a lot of on race day!

On the bus ride up, Jen and I were talking about our finish time goal.  She had printed out a pace band for 4:15 that was course specific.  I had the 4:15 and 4:00 on my wrist because I wasn't sure what I would be capable of doing and I wanted both just in case.  Mine weren't course specific and so I wrote her splits down on the back of one of mine.  It's always better to pace with a course specific pace.  I just knew I couldn't go out too fast at the start, but not too slow either.  I had made another trip to the runner's best friend (porta potties or Honey Bucket as runners call them) and when I came out everyone was lining up.  I couldn't find Jen.  I still wasn't sure what my plan was but I decided to line up with the 4:00 pacers and see how I did.  I stayed with the 3:50 pacers at the SLC Half Marathon for 11 miles and so I was hopeful, but with the circumstances of being sick and the heat, I just wasn't sure what I could do.  Finishing at 4:00 was a dream that would be a real miracle.  I decided to shoot for the moon and be happy if I landed among the stars. 
I got in with the 4:00 pacers.  There is just nothing like the start of a marathon.  The energy, nerves, and excitement is so thick you could cut it.  I love that feeling!  

I'm in there somewhere among those 3500 runners.

It was pretty cool at the start and I left my jacket and gloves on for about the first 6 miles.  Surprisingly, things were not feeling as easy for me as I expected for those first 10 or so miles.  I'm not saying any miles are easy, but usually in a full, those first 5 or 6 pass really quickly without a lot of effort.  Not so this time.  I'm not sure if it's because of not feeling well or if it was because I was sticking with the pacers.  I wasn't sure if I should slow down because I didn't want to crash and burn at the end which happens if you go out too fast at the beginning.  I felt like it was taking a lot of effort, but I kept up with them.  By mile 11 they were getting a little bit ahead of me, but I still stayed with them.  By mile 13, they were quite a bit ahead of me, but still visible, but I was okay to just go at the pace I was capable of.  My dreams of qualifying for Boston did die a sad death at that point though.  I wasn't sure if I could sustain the effort I was currently giving, let alone keep it strong for another 13 miles.    

And then the hill....

The dreaded hill on mile 14.  I tend to slow down on hills, but for some reason I was able to run up that killer without losing a lot of speed.  I was determined to run that thing without stopping once.  It went on and on and on!  Luckily that is where the best posters are.  The hill is loaded with them and it keeps your mind off the pain.  The photo below on the left shows a few of them. Once I reached the top, I could no longer see the 4:00 pacers.  Like I said they don't pace with a course specific time and so they take the uphills the same pace as the downhill, which is absurd!  I never saw them again.
Click to enlarge. I saw the pink one at about mile 24. 
 Some photos I got online of the marathon...

I just kept waiting for that wonderful downhill once you go around the dam.  It seemed like it took forever to reach it this year.  And it was getting so hot!  I kept pouring cold water on my head to cool off.  My feet were hurting like I've never experienced before too.  They were on fire and very tired.  I hope it's not because of my shoes.  I love my Altra's but maybe they aren't that great for long distance.  Finally at about mile 17 or 18, I made it to the downhill.  Prior to that, I wasn't sure if I could keep going at that pace.  I was going pretty fast and I was really looking forward to some straight downhill to give my cardio a break.  I was hurting. I was sick of running.  I wanted to be done.  I questioned why I ever signed up for this.  I wondered why there are so many crazy people that do sign up for these things. I couldn't believe I was one of them.  I wanted that finish line to just pop up now.  I cranked up my music and tried to push all the negative thoughts out of my head.  I started to repeat mantras to myself, "You are strong!", "You can do this!", "Fight!", "Push!", "Your body will give out before your mind will, so don't listen to your body!",  "You are going to get a new PR at this rate!", "Trust in your training., "It is paying off.", "You have family at the finish line waiting for you.", "They will be proud of you."....  All those thoughts and many more, I kept trying to focus on.  They didn't seem to be working too well for me and so I said a prayer that went something like this, "Okay whoever is available up there, I could really use some help down here.  Do you think you could just give me a push for a while so I can regain some strength?  This is really hard and I could really use some help.  Please?".   

I was really hoping for some kind of help.  And miraculously enough, I got it.  I felt a renewed strength and even though I was still dead tired and would have loved to quit at that moment and be done, I knew I could make it a little farther because I felt like I had some angels pushing me along.  It was amazing.  I was still able to maintain my strong pace.  There was also some good downhill at this point that also helped.  My fatigue lifted for a bit and I was so grateful.  I kept looking at my Garmin and was pretty discouraged because it seemed like every time I looked at it, it was reading in the 10:00's and I never felt like I was pacing in the 10:00's.  But I accepted that it would be what it would be and I was giving it my all and I would have to be happy with it.  I never saw the 4:15 pacers pass me either and so even though I thought I would finish slower than that, I wasn't sure why I was still ahead of them with paces in the 10:00's.  Come to find out I only looked at it when it was relocating the satellite or when I had gone a little slower for a few seconds. 
 My favorite aid station (Ogden Clinic). They always do the coolest things!
 Some photos I got online

Once we got to the end of the canyon, I knew I only had a 5K left.  I almost rolled my ankle (twice) on some loose rocks when we ran down the dirt hill into the tunnel.  That really scared me!  I was so grateful I didn't!  I knew those last three miles were going to be ten times worse than all the 23 before and so I tried to mentally prepare for them.  I ate three Shot Bloks that had some caffeine in them on mile 22 and I hoped that would help get me through.  I had really tried to fuel well and stay hydrated this time.  I ate a yogurt, banana, and Cliff bar before the start.  I took my first gel at mile 5 (salted caramel), then another at mile 11 (peanut butter), another at mile 16.5 (salted caramel), and the Bloks (cherry chocolate) at mile 21-22.  I have never been able to do that before.  I learned you have to force that stuff down even if you want to barf while doing it,  otherwise you will bonk.  I also munched on a pretzel or two and a cinnamon Jolly Rancher.   I didn't take any drugs from strangers this year like I did last year either!  haha  Yes, that has been the family joke for a year now.  Some guy had all these pills at the start last year and I was so fearing those last three miles that I asked him about them and he told me they are what him and all his running buddies take to make it those last six miles.  He said it was a No-Doz and it had a lot of caffeine in it.  So I asked for one!  Yes, me the Queen of refusing to take even a Tylenol or Advil unless I am on my death bed, asked for one!  I was desperately in fear of those last miles!  I took it at mile 23 and almost passed out!  I was so dizzy and my head was spinning so fast and I thought I was going to collapse on the asphalt.  I had to walk it off for a bit and then I was okay after about a half mile or so.  NOT smart!  But, I did sprint across the finish line!  I don't drink anything with caffeine in it and so I'm sure my poor system was freaking out. Anyway it's a family joke now.  

However, this year if someone had come up to me and offered me a caffeine pill at that point, I'm afraid I would've accepted.  You get to a point in those last three miles where you want to feel better so bad and want to be done and your brain isn't fully functioning either and so it would be a great place for drug dealers if we runners were carrying any money on us.  haha  No, I actually learned my lesson, and know better now! 

Here are a few of the professional shots taken during the race. Excuse the water marks, but I refuse to pay $25 for a single photo unless there was a really good one.  Which there was not.  I never like my race photos.  I get super critical about my form and everything else.  And these photos always make you look like you are walking instead of running.  I really did run the entire thing.  But these will help me to remember the experience, (with or without the watermark). Besides, PROOF just means proof I ran it right?  ☺  I really wanted to do a jump shot, but I had to conserve my energy.  hah  The smiling took as much energy as I could muster. 

About mile 23, I said another prayer and expressed thanks for the previous help and asked if I could get some more for those last three miles.  I said, "Come on Tys, please help out your Mom".  Within seconds after that, I saw a penny laying on the ground!  I couldn't believe it!  It took all I had to stop and bend over and pick it up, but nothing was going to stop me from doing that!  I knew it was a direct sign from Tyson letting me know that he was there helping me along.  I KNEW.  That lifted my spirits so much!  There was a runner next to me that saw me pick it up and he said, "Good luck for you!".  I said, "Yes!  It's from my son that passed away!".  And it was.  I wanted to put it in my pocket, but doing that took way too much energy and so I just clutched that thing with a death grip so I wouldn't lose it.  What a blessing to me.  What perfect timing too!  I was beaming from ear to ear even though I was still hurting and so ready to be done.  But it gave me a surge of energy that I needed!  That is how I made it those last three miles and finished strong.  

The last mile seemed forever.  It always does because you can see the finish line ahead but it looks like you will never reach it because it's so far away.  And just knowing you are so close for some reason makes it harder.  I kept repeating, "Just one step at a time. One step.  That will get you there.".  Luckily that is where you get some spectators and the cheering helps more than you can possibly know.  I couldn't find a good song on my playlist and I spent half of the mile trying to find a good song that would really energize me.  I turned the volume way up so I wouldn't focus on the distance.  Any little thing to help get there.  Every step was getting harder and I really felt like I had lead in my shoes.  I told myself to remember that this is all mental. No matter what the distance, once you know you are getting close to the finish line, it gets harder.  So I told myself to just pretend that I was running 100 miles like in the documentary Unbreakable that Jen and I had watched this week. That didn't seem to help, so I then I tried telling myself I was running a 30 miler.  It's amazing how powerful the mind is, because that thought really did help me get there a little stronger.  I'm convinced your body will do whatever your mind tells it to do.  It's amazing really. 

 I was almost there!  I heard Dave yell out my name and saw him.  My boys were there and my parents.  I had several friends who were there in spirit that wanted to come but couldn't. 

And without medical aid or a stretcher!  But with a lot of help from angels seen and unseen.  That stretcher did sound good a couple of times though!  haha  And the next couple of days I could have used a wheelchair because it was quite painful to walk!

I crossed the finish line strong at 4:14:51!  A new PR for me!  Wow!  I was so happy, I can't even tell you!  I shaved 23 minutes off of my last marathon time.  I ran the entire way at a pretty steady pace, usually around the 9:20-9:30's.  My overall pace was 9:44.  I was truly excited about that!  I was still a little bummed I didn't make it in 4:00 so I could qualify for Boston, but I think I possibly could have if the stars had all aligned perfectly for this race and it had been cooler and I had not been sick...but it is a very rare race to have everything go perfectly.  So I have no excuses.  I just feel very blessed and very satisfied everything went as well as it did.  The only drawback is now that I am that close to a BQ, I know I am going to want to keep trying to get it.  But 14 minutes is a lot of time to shave off.  If I could maintain where I'm at for three more years, then my qualifying time goes to 4:10.  Yes, I guess there are some advantages to becoming a geezer!  I'm not looking forward to all that training again, but most likely by next week I will be ready to go.  Did I mention runners are crazy?

I got my medal and lots of hugs. And then chocolate milk!  That is the best after treat in the world!  I was so grateful that two of my boys were able to come, as well as my parents, and most of all my husband.  He has been so sick this whole week and I know it took a lot out of him to come.

I wish there was a way to describe that feeling you get when you cross that finish line.  I'm not sure there are words that can even convey the true feeling.  It's not even close to the feeling of any other finish line, even a half marathon.  It's really something so personal and something that no one but you can understand because no one else knows how deep you had to dig to get there.  Not only on race day, but for the 4.5 months of training.  In crazy weather.  At crazy times of day.  No one but you know the thoughts you have during those 26 miles, or how bad you may want to quit at certain times of the race even while knowing that quitting is NEVER an option.  It just isn't.  It's one of those things that you really do have to experience in order to appreciate.  Running a marathon is truly a spiritual experience.  And I have the evidence to prove it!  ↓
With my prized possession penny!  It's more valuable to me than the medal.

This guy is one of those seen angels that has been supporting me the whole way!  He always gives me encouragement when I need it most and never doubted me, even when I got the crazy notion of trying to get a BQ.  He would bring me water on my long runs and was genuinely interested in how my training was going.  He even tracked me the entire race on his phone and wrote down my pace so I could analyze it after.  I think he was almost more excited than I was that I maintained almost a steady pace throughout the entire course.  I really am blessed to have such a strong athletic supporter!  (sorry I couldn't resist!)

I could have not done this without Jen.  Running those long 20 mile training runs alone would have been no fun!  She even shared her training coaches plan with me and we really hit it hard this time.  It is truly a blessing to have one of your best friends also be a runner you can train with.  She was hoping for a better race, but that dang heat got to everyone this year.  She finished strong and with a smile on her face and I am so proud of her.

Found these local pals at the finish line too!
I wish I would've lost the sunglasses for these photos.  I look like a bug.

To say thanks to my boys for coming to support me, we took them to Panda Express after.  I really didn't want to walk inside, but I managed.  I love this picture of Dave and me.  We were two cripples.  He didn't feel well and I was beginning to walk like I was 90. The rigamortis was starting to set in.

The shirts were actually pretty cute this year.  And they really went all out on the medals.  They were extra large. 

Can you tell my kitty missed me?  Ha!  I wish!

You're almost to the finish line of this post!  Don't give up now!

If you actually read all this, then YOU deserve a medal!  Holy cow, that was longer than a marathon!
A few more thoughts... just when you thought you were done...(this is the point two of the marathon - just a little bit more.)   ☺


This really is true....

And now I'm too sore to clean it!  hah

You VS You
I lost mine about mile 20

And now...
I could really use a massage...

You earned one ↑ for making it through this!

Side note:
Come back another day and watch this great inspiring video about marathons and the Boston Marathon.  If you are a runner find 23 minutes when you can watch it.  If you're not a runner, find 23 minutes when you can watch it.  It's that good.

(click to play)

I loved this video.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes from it:
"A marathon is more than just a race. To those who dare to embark on this challenge. It's a gift.  It's an opportunity to experience all that life has to offer in 26.2 miles. They journey thru excitement, camaraderie, happiness, fear, struggles, danger, tears of both pain and joy. The overwhelming accomplishment -these athletes competing not against each other for glory or fame but against themselves.  Forever pushing their limits to find their true potential." 
"Marathons are a lot like life.  In marathons there are good moments and there are terrible moments but all those moments pass and everybody has the same ultimate goal, but our journeys there are so different."

"Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll you someone that has overcome adversity."  - Lou Holtz