Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Race #3: YMCA Famous Idaho Potato Marathon

The mental picture of me passing the finish line and getting one of these medals was what kept me going those last 3 miles!
  I can finally, and happily say that I am a half marathoner. And I LOVE it! As all of you know, Mark and I have been training, on and off for a year, to run our first half marathon. After injuries and other health problems prevented me from running the Rock n' Roll Half in Vegas last December, I thought our goal would never be reached. But thanks to our dear friend Jay for finding us a race by all our family, and our running friends Josh and Ryan for their support and wisdom, we can now say that we are half marathoners. And we couldn't have picked a better first race.
  We had to travel to Boise, Idaho for the race, and there is no better reason to travel than going to a race. We left Thursday night and stayed with my parents in Twin Falls, Idaho so that could break up the drive for Addison and get a little longer in Twin to go see Isabel before the race. Friday we traveled to Boise where we found where we needed to be the next day, picked up our race packets, and stayed with Mark's Aunt Patty, Uncle Dirk, and Cousin Joey. Joey, being 13, enjoyed having a friend in Addison, and we enjoyed being around them. After getting us carb loaded and Addison bedded down in Joey's room, slumber party style, Mark and I headed for bed just after 10PM.
   We got up Saturday at 4:40AM to head to the race. I have never been so nervous in my life, and I did speech and debate tournaments in high school and college! I prayed and prayed while I rolled out my foot that I wouldn't make a fool of myself, that I could finish, and that I wouldn't get hurt. I prayed for Mark. I prayed for the race's safety. I prayed for my brother and niece that were running the 5k that day. Then, I got ready, tummy churning the whole time. I have found that I have better runs when I talk myself up while I get ready. So I told myself that I was going to do awesome. That my legs were feeling great. That I was going to run better than I have ever run. I just was starting to feel calmer, then I was forced to eat. I gagged down half a bagel and took my banana to the start line hoping to feel better at some point.
   Then something strange happened on the shuttle bus. I did start feeling better. And I was feeling pretty good waiting for the race to start. Adrenaline is a magical drug that makes even the worst nerves calmer. I was even able to eat my banana. A warm up walk and some stretching later, we were ready to line up. But Mark and I still had not found Jay, our friend from our days at the College of Southern Idaho. And we couldn't call him, we had no cell service up in the canyon. We were hoping that we could spot him at some point after the race, still I was disappointed. We should have called him while we were getting on the shuttles. Still, by the time the start gun went off, we were ready to run.
   The race for both the marathon and half marathon started at Lucky Peak State Park. There were 1,582 runners all trying to get in a good position for their running pace. The first 3 miles or so were on the road to Lucky Peak. Then we moved onto the Greenbelt, a running path that runs through Boise and several parks. We mostly followed it back to the finish line. I was told on the shuttle up there that the first watering station was at 2 miles. I gauge my walking to running ratios (yes, I still can't run 13.1 straight) based on miles. Unless I am running a short run or 5k, I usually can run 1, then I need to take a drink and walk while I do that. Then another mile, another drink. At around 4 miles, the walks are slightly longer. I usually end up walking about a mile or so of a long run (8 or more miles), but I still get there, and that is all that matters. So I am running and running and thinking "Although I don't need a drink, this has been a freaking long mile!" Imagine my happiness when I discovered shortly after those thoughts I had ran 2 miles! Of course, my speed demon husband was so far ahead of me by this point, I couldn't see him anymore, but there are so many runners, you never feel alone while running. Everyone is now an instant friend.
   The first watering station was actually at around mile 3. I was still going pretty strong and felt awesome. I couldn't believe how much easier those first 3 miles felt compared to a 5k. I had never felt that good running. So I kept going strong. Of course, I am pretty slow at running. My fast pace is 11 minute miles. Because I don't run with a timer, I had no clue how fast I was going, but fast for me is still slow for most runners, so being passed is nothing new to me. Still, at around mile 4, the person passing me took me by surprise. It was JAY! Apparently, he was waiting at the porta potties for his friend so they could start together. But, unbeknownst to him, she started while he was still in one, so he was the very last person to start the race, by like 15 minutes! After a quick hug, he too was off like a bullet from a gun.
  At some point I could hear a rattle snake. But I never saw one and just assumed that little devils were terrified of all the runners that came before me and were staying away. I am glad that I didn't see the (hopefully!) dead snakes my husband did or else I would have sprinted to the nearest watering station, climbed up the tallest person, and begged to be taken indoors and tranquilized. Where there are dead snakes, there are probably some live ones... AUGH!!!!!!! No one wants a DNF because of snakes.
   The miles were coming fast. At some point I stating thinking "I have never ran this far without stopping. Maybe I should walk so I don't over-tire myself." But I also wanted to see what I was really made of, so I kept going. Mile 5 passed. Mile 6 passed. By the time we entered a part at Mile 7, I was thinking that I felt so good I could go the whole race this way! We entered a ritzy subdivision around mile 8 and there was some great joy in making a couple of snobby people in their Range Rovers wait for me to cross the road. I considered walking to just really make their day. Hey, when you have been running 2 hours, you start thinking evil thoughts.
  At mile 9 I met a lady that told me she had been pacing me the whole race. We ran together for a mile and talked about our running pasts. But, by mile 10, I was starting to feel the run. I took an energy fruit snack at the watering station hoping it would give me what I needed to finish. The gel I had at mile 6.5 was helping, but I was starting to feel nasty. I knew I just had to dig deep and keep going. By mile 11, I was getting tummy cramps. I knew I was in the home stretch and I could make it. But I was also starting to panic about the fact that I was in a park and I couldn't see a bathroom anywhere. I met another runner at this time who helped push me to the end. Still, my tummy was getting worse and I was forced to walk, even more than my legs wanted too. I wanted to finish strong. I wanted to break 3 hours. But, my tummy was saying no.
  Then it happened. I ran into some race officials going over the bridge into the finishing line park that assured me the finish line was near. I was running when I met them and they yelled that I was almost done. At the other end of the bridge was my sister-in-law waiting for her own husband and daughter to pass by. She yelled for me and I was able to run a little faster. Then I saw the last turn that leads to the finish line and started sprinting, because the sooner I got there, the sooner I could go to the bathroom. Then I saw it: the race clock. It was at 2:56! I could make it under 3 hours! I really took off then. I then saw all my family waiting for me and yelling and I couldn't help but scream as I passed the finish line "I BROKE 3 HOURS!!!!!"
  My yelling amused everyone around. I got my medal and stumbled out of the race corrals into Mark's waiting arms where I started sobbing. I had done it. I was a half marathoner! Nothing other than the birth of my children had felt better. Mark, completely shocked at my reaction, worried I had gone nuts. I still haven't trained him that sometimes girls cry when they are happy too.
  My official time was 2:56:30. Mark's was 2:08:51. We are both extremely happy at those times. We are also so very thankful for all our family that came to the race. We had quite the group there with my parents, Mark's mom, Mark's aunt and uncle, Addison, and my brother's family. It is so nice to know we have so many people who love and support us. I am also so thankful to all the wonderful people who supported me through Facebook and texts. Josh was the first to see how we did. He was running the Ogden Half, but based on the crappy weather he had, I know that he wanted even more to have been with us. I love each and every one of you. Thank you all!
Showing Isabel our medal. The little duck is just like the one we buried her with and we call it Isaduck. It ran with me in my pouch so I would have that reminder that Isabel was with me. 
   On our way back home yesterday, we were able to visit our daughter again. This time, I was able to lay my medal down on her headstone with Isaduck. I run for her, but I run for me too. I could feel her there my whole run. Every time the running got hard, my music would change to a her song or another encouraging song. I know she was there, pushing me forward, keeping the snakes away. I couldn't have asked for a better run.
  For more pictures of our awesome running adventure, you are going to have to go here.

1 comment:

  1. SO PROUD OF YOU BOTH! I have no doubt Isabel is extremely proud of your accomplishments and journey!


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