Tuesday, October 4, 2016

St. George Marathon 2016! BQ!

*This post is the same as the one on my Monday Memos here.  I separated it here for easier personal reference.
Marathons are hard. This one was brutal. I have never felt more joy or relief to see anything as I did when I saw that finish line! A boatload of chocolate wouldn't have even compared! I didn't get a PR but I did get a BQ!!! (for Boston 2018!) I went into this race not even sure I would finish due to my injury but thanks to a great doc ;) and PT as well as a blessing from Dave that morning, I survived!

For the few, the brave, the curious.... the marathon (literally) story is below. ;) For the rest of you, just ignore the novel! It's long...marathon long!! 

It was go time! Ready or not!  I set my alarm for 3:50 a.m. but I was awake way before that and so I just got up.  I'm glad I had the extra time because I needed it to process it all.  Unless you have ran a marathon, it makes no sense, but trust me, it is more mental than anything.  Especially with the anxiety I was feeling due to my injury and having NO idea what to expect.  I had a rough week and I was a nervous wreck with anticipation.  I knew it was going to hurt.  I wasn't sure if I was mentally prepared for that or not.

After I got ready, I asked Dave for a priesthood blessing and I'm so grateful I did!  He blessed me that I would be calm and at peace and that my body would function normally.  He also said this race would be good preparation for Boston.  That actually scared me a bit.  But I was calm and felt at peace.  I was hoping for something in there about no pain, but that is probably a stretch.  :)  But, I felt much better after Dave walked me down to breakfast.  At that hour in the morning I have to force myself to eat.  Fueling is SO important in running a marathon that you must have food before the race even if you have to gag it down.  I ate a slice of wheat toast with some peanut butter on it and a yogurt.  I took a banana to eat on the bus.  That might not sound like much, but it's all I can handle.  I threw in a granola bar in case I actually got hungry while waiting at the start since we still had over two hours. 
Robin and Grant picked me up and it was RAINING!  YES raining!  I was SO excited!   First of all, I LOVE rain, and second of all, I knew it would cool things off a bit.  Now, if it was the Ogden Marathon and raining, I would have been crying!  That is a cold and miserable rain. This was a warm one.  It didn't last long.  But the bad thing was it was now not only going to be hot, but humid! UGH!  We got in line for the bus and Rob told us that this was the hottest it's been in over 10 years and to prepare for a miserable run.  We thought he was being a doomsdayer and I really didn't think much of it.  I discovered later he was 100% right I was obsessed with the temperature last year, but this year I was focused on getting through without intense injury pain.  And, I know I can't control the weather!  It is what it is.  
The bus ride up is long.  VERY long.  Just realizing we are about to run that distance with two legs instead of a vehicle is a little unnerving. When we arrived at the start, it was unusually warm!  55°!  Not a good sign!   But I was still not worried about it, just about the injury.
This is the professional photo that they send and if you buy them then you can have a real nice photo without the watermarks across your body, but who wants to spend $25 for a photo? Not me!
We did the porta potty thing. And again.  And again. 
I love the start of this race!  The bonfires are lined up forever and there is just an excitement in the air!
And of course, we took some pictures.  This one is my favorite because Robin's son Andrew is photo bombing and we had NO idea until we saw these after the race.  We had to ask some stranger to take these because we didn't know Andrew was there. The look on his face is priceless.  Too funny!  
Here's another one of Andrew.  Cracks me up!  Then Robin taped my IT band "just in case".  Last year it got to me at mile 18 out of the blue
When it was getting closer to gun time, I ran my drop bag to the truck and the National Anthem had begun.  Right after that it was time to line up.  I lost Grant and Robin and so I just got in line with my pacers. For the first time ever before a race (that I can remember) I took some Advil.  I knew I was going to need all the help I could get.  I was between the 3:45 and 4:00 pacers.  My goal was 3:55 if I felt good (Plan A) and 4:05 (Plan B) if I struggled some.  And just FINISH (Plan C) if I struggled a lot!  
I wrote this on my hand because I wanted to remember why I run when it got hard.  This is why I run.  I run for those who can't.  I run in the memory of my loved ones, especially this guy!  I feel him with me at every marathon.  When it gets hard, I think how much he would have loved to run if he could have.
The gun sounded and we were off.  But not quite.When we got to the pad, they had all the 4:00's stop and wait 30 seconds.  They did waves because of the bridge construction.  I started about 4 minutes after the gun.  They started almost 15 min late this year.  It wasn't as dark as last year, but still dark.  I went out pretty fast.  I knew I needed to slow down, but I didn't want to.  I tried to get in sync and I was feeling really good. No injury pain.  My hamstrings were feeling really tight and tense, but I would take that!  I was staying right on my pace of 3:55. I was excited.  I wasn't surprised because my training was spot on for that. The sunrise was incredible! I was running next to some Brighamites (one is a Bishop in our stake and another a son of a friend) and it was nice to know someone in that sea of almost 6000 runners.  
I took a gel about mile 6.5.  I was fearing Veyo Hill this year because I worried that is where my injury would flare up.  But I did it in a great time and I still was feeling nothing.  I was so excited!  I felt strong and positive.  Just a bit weighed down due to my hamstrings.  I stayed on pace.
I took another gel at mile 13-14.  Dave's uncle wasn't at Diamond Valley to cheer me on this year.  Kinda sad.  At mile 14 there is great downhill and I just let myself fly.  It felt good to not have any hills!  It was the funnest part of the course by far.  
I got to 15 and then 16 and was still on pace for a 3:55. I was still feeling positive and physically good with the exception of the hams.  I knew mile 18 had another huge hill and so I think that is when I took the Tylenol.  I kept wondering why I still wasn't feeling any piriformas pain and I figured that would be the point that things would start hurting.  I ran the hill and still no injury flare ups.  Wow!
My pace slowed about a full minute after the hill, but I was still doing okay.  Then at mile 19, I hit a wall.  Bam!  My time goal of 3:55 was gone so onto Plan B. 
I had a 3:55 AND a 4:05 pace band on my wrist. I tried to rip off the 3:55 but I couldn't get it off and it took too much energy to try any harder.  So, I just decided to run at the best pace I could and keep an eye on my Garmin.

The heat was brutal! My hamstrings were miserable. Between mile 19 and the finish, I stopped four times at the aid stations for volunteers to give me an Icy Hot rub down on my hams to get some relief. The volunteers are amazing on this course! I kept telling myself if I can just get to mile 20 then it is downhill the rest of the way. That was a great mental relief until at mile 20, there was another hill, and another at mile 21, and 22. I don't remember them last year, but there they were! I am not a fan of hills....downhill, yes! Uphill, no! About mile 20, I started getting nauseous and just feeling crappy from mile 21 on. I knew I needed some nutrition and there was NO way I could do a gel so I forced three blocks down.  I thought I was going to hurl.  I had to dig deeper than ever to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I have never wanted to just sit down and cry and be done like I did from mile 21 to the finish (except at my very first marathon).  I saw a runner wearing the shirt that says, "Everything hurts and I'm dying!", which made me grin because that's how I felt!
I was praying a lot at that point and calling on my angels to help get me through. I tried to focus on one or two things I was grateful for each mile but it got harder and harder to concentrate. I saw one runner laying off the side of the road completely collapsed with four or five medics trying to get her to drink and stabilized. There were many runners stopped and sitting or laying down off to the side of the road. I saw several ambulances going up and down with lights flashing. I've never seen so many marathoners walk as I did during those last miles. I'm not sure what the heat index was, but it was brutal. 
Really starting to feel it here in the last few miles. My form is shot and I just wanted to puke.
I kept looking at my watch and that made me keep pushing forward knowing I could BQ (qualify for Boston) if I didn't stop and walk. But I was also seriously thinking of catching a ride with one of the meat wagons at that point. ;) I had to decide right there if I wanted it bad enough to put myself through it. Once I made that choice, I quit thinking about quitting and just pushed forward. I think what kept me pushing myself was because McKay won't be able to go to Boston this coming year because he will still be in Russia, but if I BQ'd for 2018, then he could go and experience it that year. That thought just kept going over and over in my head.  Miles 23 to 26 are a blur. It was a struggle at that point to take each step. The crowds are what kept me going.  I grabbed some Gatorade at the aid station and I walked while I drank it, something I never do. I almost always keep running while I drink at the aid stations.  It was very difficult to force myself to start running again.  My body just wanted to walk.  Somehow I got it to start running again.  I took a piece of RUN GUM at mile 23.  It had 50 mg of caffeine and I hoped it would give me boost I needed.  I didn't notice any difference. For someone that never has anything caffeinated that was surprising. The nausea got worse and I was light headed. I knew those were signs of dehydration. I thought I was drinking enough, I stopped at every aid station to get water or Gatorade and I carried my own water bottle for in between. I have to say the nausea was the worst part. I kept going only as a matter of sheer will.

At mile 25, I heard my niece Tanae and her husband Denver and his mom and dad yelling out my name and cheering for me.  The next thing I know Terry, who is an experienced marathoner (she has run it 27 times!) was running next to me.  She ran me in the last mile. Her son Riley won the entire race!  She appeared at the perfect time!  I couldn't talk much, because I was in survival mode at that point, but she helped me more than she will ever know! I needed her encouraging words and just the relief of her holding my water bottle, felt like a huge weight lifted from me. LOL I credit her for getting me through that last mile. I looked at my watch and knew I was off a bit for a 4:05, and so Plan C came into play. FINISH!  But I also knew if I got in with a sub 4:10, I would BQ!  When I turned that last corner and saw the finish line ahead, I had no idea how I was ever going to get there. It was so far away (only like 3/10th of a mile haha) but I wasn't sure I could get there. 
I kept pushing forward as Terry talked me through it but then she had to get off the road when it corals to the finish line. That's when I heard Dave yelling "Jo! Jo!  You're almost there!  You are doing great!".  I needed his friendly smiling face at that moment.  He looked so proud of me.  He could see I wasn't doing too well and ran off to the side of me the rest of the way to the finish line encouraging me and telling me I could do it and that I was almost there. That was also a huge blessing.  He says I fist bumped him but I have zero recollection of that.  :) At that moment I knew nothing was stopping me from reaching that finish line.  I was almost there. My legs that had trained so many miles, pushed through so many hill repeats, ran up and down Sardine canyon repeatedly, sprinted so many Yasso 800's, held my planks, carried me through umpteen races this training, ran me to several PR's...gave me every last bit of what they had in that moment.  I kept telling myself, "You TRAINED HARD for this!  You got this!".  As I crossed that finish line, I have to say it was one of the greatest feelings of relief in the world!  I was so relieved! My time was 4:06:26. I qualified for Boston again!  
Sometimes you have to fight hard and push through whatever that distance throws at you. Sometimes?  What am I saying?  ALL the time!  Shoot for the moon and even if you miss you'll land among the stars.  I know if the temperature had been what it was last year, a 3:55 was totally achievable, but a 4:06 is good enough for a BQ! 
I was spent!  I just was so happy to be done running!  And in my mind, that meant permanently!  I didn't care if I ever ran again at that moment.  I leaned over with my head down to catch my breath and to rest for a second or two, but when I tried to stand upright again, I was unable to because I was so dizzy and light headed. The volunteers were great to hold onto me and walk me to get my medal and through the misters. I was walking like a drunken sailor!  I didn't feel well.  My stomach was cramping up big time and I was so dizzy. They were ready to haul me to the med tent, but I told them I would be okay. I probably did need an IV because I was clearly dehydrated and felt like crap. But, I knew Dave would keep an eye on me and make sure I got one if I started to look worse. I drank some water and a bit of chocolate milk.  My phone said it was 86°!!!  Whaaaat?!!!  I NEVER run in that kind of heat!  No wonder!  
I knew I had to stop and get the finish photo because I wasn't sure if I would make it back or not.  I was not feeling strong even though the smile puts on a good facade.

 Walking out of the runner's coral to go collapse in Dave's arms.
Early results
When I saw Dave, I just basically collapsed in his arms.  I started to cry a little and told him I was never running again.  I seriously meant it!  LOL  The emotions are so high right after a marathon.  Something only marathoners understand.  It's really interesting to me.  So much emotion built up inside from pushing and forcing yourself to be strong and then when you no longer have to do that, it's like it all comes out.  You definitely don't feel that runner's high right after.  That comes later with a marathon.  I went to the massage tent and had to lay down on the grass while Dave waited in line for me. The volunteers there were very concerned with how I was doing and kept checking on me over and over and sending other people to look at me. I must have looked pretty bad.  They tried to get me to the med tent as well, but I knew I would be okay. They did bump me up to the front of the line for a massage though. :) That was nice! 
This lady came over and just started to cry really hard.  Dave asked her if she was okay and she cried even more.  She said she couldn't get her shoes off.  He was so kind and took her shoes off for her.  Emotions are pretty high at the end of a marathon.  You see a lot of tears.
I had to run (crawl is a better description- from nausea not soreness) to the porta potty and when I got back it was my turn for the massage.  The massage wasn't what I was expecting.  It was a tiny girl who didn't have much strength.  Oh well. 
I was slowly staring to feel much better and I was able to walk without feeling dizzy or light headed.  My legs weren't sore at all!  It was the first time EVER after a full marathon that I wasn't having a hard time with soreness.  Not sure why.  Most likely the Advil before the race. We went and found Robin and Grant and got our photo together and then I got some salty chips in me which helped a lot. 
 These pictures crack me up now.  Both of us were having a hard time standing up straight. LOL  I love our twinner socks and KT tape!  :)
Robin also struggled the last six miles with dehydration as well. If it hadn't been for the brutal heat, we would have both had our best races ever because we were both right on pace for PR's.  Grant didn't BQ but still did great. He felt great as well.  Most of my female friends struggled and most of the guys I know did well.  The heat must be harder on us chicks!  lol 
I am very grateful to this guy for all his support and encouragement.  He is really the one who deserves a medal! 

The car was parked far away and so while Dave went and got it, I had to lay down.  I just wanted to go to sleep and sleep for a year.  It felt so good to just rest. Even on the cement and grass.  He was gone at least 30 minutes. He took this photo when he got back.  Good thing he wasn't a predator!  hah
I found a quarter laying right in front of me when I got up to get in the car.  That was cool!
I told Dave I just wanted to go home and not go shower at Robin's.  I was feeling really crappy and just wanted to lay down.  We stopped at a bathroom for me (I was walking amazingly great!) and then did a wet wipe bath in the car...fun fun....and put on some clean clothes.  We went and got a #12 at Jimmy Johns and headed home
I LOVE this sandwich!  Turkey, avocado, cucumber, tomato!  Mmm..
I couldn't eat anything.  I laid down in the back and curled up in a ball feeling like I was going to puke.  It was a long ride.  We listened to conference and after about two hours, I went up to the front and was able to get down some food.  I didn't feel well the rest of the day.  But I was walking great!  Stairs weren't an issue at all.  That was a first!  Must have been the Advil I took at the start....or maybe all that caffeine!  I figure I took in 170 mg of caffeine during the race. For someone that NEVER drinks or eats anything caffieneated (other then the minimal amount chocolate has in it), that is probably considered an overdose!  hah

It still hasn't sunk in that I qualified again to run the Boston Marathon for 2018! The first marathon I ran (Top of Utah) was not a good experience and this one compares to it in a lot of ways. All marathons are hard, but some are definitely harder. I am still feeling a few of the effects of dehydration today, but I am also feeling so blessed and grateful for all of the earthly and heavenly angels that helped me survive this race! After the race, I told Dave I was done with running! I was serious.  But running is a lot like having a baby and I have a feeling by next week I will be ready to roll again (other than I have been ordered to take off a few weeks to get my injury healed). My Boston training starts in December. I have a hunch that I will be more than ready by then! #bostonorbust #onlyoneblister #toenailsallintact

Wow, if you're still reading and survived that long marathon post, YOU deserve a medal!
But don't forget the hardest part, here's the point two. :) A couple of my favorite running quotes:

"The experience of the race is unchanged: each race a drama, each race a challenge, each race stretching me in one way or another, and each race telling me more about myself and others." ~ George Sheehan

"The marathon’s about being in contention over the last 10K. That’s when it’s about what you have in your core. You have run all the strength, all the superficial fitness out of yourself, and it really comes down to what’s left inside you. To be able to draw deep and pull something out of yourself is one of the most tremendous things about the marathon." ~ Rob de Castell
LOVE the shirts this year!   It was the 40th anniversary of the St. G marathon!
Results from this year:

 My results from last year:

Some fun things on the result website:

*There was another thing that happened during the race that I wanted to remember because of the lesson it taught me.  Around mile six into the marathon, I thought I saw a friend of mine that was running off to the side.  She was on the edge of the road and so I maneuvered over towards her and when I got close I lightly touched her elbow and said, "Hi!".  Before I could even realize it wasn't my friend, the woman yelled, "Ow!!!!"  I have no idea how I hurt her because I barely tapped her.  By her reaction, you would have thought I stabbed her with a knife! (Or elbowed her like in the photo above!) I then immediately apologized and told her that I thought she was somebody else.  She responded with a very rude and loud, "I don't even know you!".  Now, I would have "got it" if we had been at mile 20 or so when things are getting really hard, but at mile six?  I was stunned!  It also really affected my morale!  I tried to not let it get to me, and I told myself she was probably suffering early on and was in a lot of pain, kind of like a woman in labor acts- haha.   However, I noticed that her response affected me more negatively than when in the next mile we ran through a crowd of people cheering us on (one even called me by name) positively affected me.  Those 50 people cheering me on wasn't enough to wipe away that one negative encounter.  It goes to show you that our words have such an impact on others and so we need to choose them so carefully!

*The rest of the trip can be found here.

1 comment:

Nancy Mc said...

I always enjoy reading your marathon posts. I feel like I am right there with you. I loved the 2 marathon quotes you shared.
I feel bad that someone was negative at the beginning. Especially when you were trying to be friendly. I like the moral of that story. We need to be positive with others.


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