Warning....VERY long, even for me. But, I hope it's worth the read :)
Today was the most emotional race I have ever ran. I've never felt so much.
Friday night was just kind of disaster control and lets just say I wasn't having any of it. Then to top it off my son woke up the baby while he was getting pajamas on and although I haven't had any problems with the baby sleeping he wouldn't go to sleep! I felt trapped in a nightmare and I just wanted to run away. Baby and I finally drifted off to sleep in MY bed (ugghhh) around 11:30, making my 2:30 wake up call VERY early!
Problem was...alarm didn't go off. I had set 2 alarms (or so I thought) which I have only ever done for one race. I set my phone for the last possible minute to get up as my just in case, and I shot out of bed like a cannon when I heard it. 15 minutes later I was out the door on my way to Provo. Picked up Smooth and we had a great chat about how we were just going to hang in the back and whine and complain the whole way down - misery loves company! Until Smooth (the wonderful woman she is) gave me my mini fireside for the day as we drove down. I was feeling better, but still guilty about being a grumpy/bad mom last night and I was still ready to run my 26 miles away from it all!
The ride up was quite enjoyable chatting with JohnnyV, Matt and Teena. Even though our bus was one of 4 or so that got lost, we still had more than plenty of time upon 'landing'. At the start we found Luz and Cath (who we'd ditched for fear of lines at the buses) and had some wonderfully fun conversations.
When the gun went off I was sitting in a POP. HA! Always good times. It was our second trip there and I needed both due to my rush out of the house so early. It is nice to have a chipped timed race that starts when you do! We were about 5 minutes behind the gun, but between Lowell and the Luz and Cath duo (they'd ditched us as we dropped bags on the way to our late start :) ).
The first few miles were slow and painful, yes literally. Hadn't warmed up or stretched properly before hand and I was paying for it. The hip flexor was doing okay, I was just rusty and creaky all over everywhere else. Lowell caught us just after mile 1 and THAT of course brought up the entertainment factor. I love running with that guy! He makes it SO fun and chats with everyone. However, I got separated somehow at the first aid-station from them and that was all she wrote about running with friends (that weren't strangers). This started my downward spiral.
Running alone can sometimes be a good thing and sometimes a bad thing. Today it was a bad thing. My beaten up mental state took over and by mile 4.5 I was choking back tears and trying to hold it together thinking about my family as well as my dad (who passed 4.5 years ago). Then my phone rang. I was going to ignore it (I had enough on my mind to not add whoever was calling's problem!), but I decided to answer it. As I pulled it out of my pocket I saw it was my sister bye-wing. She had called earlier at the buses (gotta love a time difference that makes that possible!) and I was just SO happy to hear from her and get her encouragement. I told her I was at mile 5 and then it happened. The flood gates opened and I just started bawling uncontrolably. I don't think she realized I was crying and not exhausted she said good-bye I said "I love you" and hung up. Nearly the next full mile (and aid-station) I spent bawling as I was running. No one said anything to me (thankfully!) and I since I couldn't stop I thought maybe my ipod would be a good option. Nope...first song just made it worse!
By mile marker 6 I'd gathered myself and was doing well. Feeling better too. I kept picking people out to chase (another good thing of starting so late!) and I'd run them down. Well, after passing one of my 'victims' she asked if I was Rachel. YUP! It was Michelle from Colorado. She runs with Carolyn and she had a baby a few months after I did last year and was in town for the race. I was hoping I'd see her, but couldn't have imagined the circumstances that it happened under. I had a good chat with her for a bit then left her to tackle the first of the few rolling hills.
Feeling MUCH better at this point I shut off the ipod and blasted up some hills (relatively speaking) and tried to encourage others walking. Then I got another faint "Rachel" spoken as I passed them...I turned to see Luz! Due to the hill we didn't chat much, but I said a few words to her and Cath just ahead as we crossed paths. Life was going great!
True to fashion I wasn't looking at my garmin and just paced along what was comfortable. I knew a PR wasn't possible from the beginning, so I was just there to finish. I lost track of the next few miles until 11 and I realized the next quickly approaching aid-station would be mile 13 - half way baby! Met another good chatty runner Jennifer at this point. She'd also run Ogden, had a good chat for a while!
At the 1/2 point I checked to see my split...2:00:30 yikes, this wasn't going to be pretty! Ogden was faster at 1:57 - and more enjoyable and comfortable. I figured I'd try and open it up and go for that elusive negative split, which has never happened to me.
Somewhere in the next few miles as I kept passing folks down the canyon I would surge for a short time then recover. I was feeling good and put together a good mental finishing plan! Since I got reprimanded the other day about my definition of 'family' I decided that the last 7 miles of the race would each be given to a member of my family that inspires me to run. I knew this would keep me focused on just one mile at a time and the individual and NOT on the pain.
Mile 19: The first dedication went to my favorite pirate...of the quiet variety. I mentioned that to one guy I passed and after 'favorite pirate' he said "Oh, Jack Sparrow" ha! nope! I just finished "of the quiet variety - THE Quiet Pirate." So, everyone I passed I would say "c'mon pick up the pace or ye be walking the plank!" Then I'd raise my fist and give 'em a good "Haaarrrrrhhhh!!!" I'd also shout the "Aaarrrgghhh" at the spectators as they'd cheer. Got lots of good cheers from that :) It was fun to watch the racers faces light up with a smile.
Mile 20: Bye-Wing got this one. My sister working every day to achieve her goal of running the Des News 10K. She may kill me for ousting her as my sister, but I can't help it. I love her! Since Bye-wing is a Thai phrase that means "go run" everyone I passed got a "c'mon, let's GO RUN." I got a few that would latch on and run a bit with me. Doing the dedication of each mile and getting to chat with each person I passed motivated me to run faster just to say 'my line' :) To the spectators I'd say "you know you wanna go run!" Again, good cheers and lots of energy.
Mile 21: Lauren Rachel, my first born. I knew this one was going to be hard, but I had to make my daughter proud of me. The song "Just the Way You Are" came on and I thought about her sparkly eyes and beautiful hair and just how Amazing she really was. She has been running the mile at school and finishing as the first girl and I told her to try and hit 8:30 - my marathon pace, and she did! So, since I wasn't really running my marathon pace my dedication to her was to hit my marathon pace to make HER proud. Huge hurdle came when the aid-station was just after the mile marker. Ugghhh, I had to walk through to get some liquid, but I had to hurry! I needed to still hit 8:30. It wasn't easy, but when the mile hit on my watch I had done it! 8:11! Even with the aid-station! Which means I was most likely in the 7's most of the time. She now has a new goal to hit in the mile :)
Mile 22: David A, my oldest boy. I like to call him Crockett (Davy Crockett?) and so when ever I'd pass someone, I'd tell them "Rock it like Crockett!" Not understanding the words, but feeling the encouragement I'd still get good smiles from the racers. I was just happy to not be running another 8:11! :)
Mile 23: Nathan Craig, my funny guy. Lately this 4 year old has just had one funny thing to say after another. His latest thing is everytime he wants something he'll say "Mooooommm, if you let me (watch a movie, play the wii, etc etc), I'll be your friend!" So, I decided every person I'd pass I'd say "if you run with me, I'll be your friend!" I couldn't believe the responses from this one! It was great! I actually ended up with about 4-6 people running with me. Others would say "you're going too fast" I'd reply "we'll help you out!" I couldn't believe the response!! One girl actually stuck with me and we made it to the end together. SO Amazing!
Mile 24: Adam Dekker, my baby. For my sweet baby as I passed people I would say "c'mon baby!" "you got this baby!" or some other encouraging phase finishing with baby. Kept my mind on my favorite running partner and the days we spent shuffling along together. My friend that was still with me from the last mile I told her "marathons are like labor...painful and horrible, but we do it for what we get when it's all done." Pride obviously, not the medal :)
Mile 25 - finish: Craig, my husband. Since I'd had such a cruddy day yesterday I figured that come what may, this amazing, wonderful man has covenanted to stay with me to the bitter end. Come what may and love it! So, as I passed people I'd proclaim with a raised fit "To the bitter end!" The crowd loved that one too :) As they would cheer I'd shout it out and they'd respond with a little more. He had to take me....to the bitter end.
I finished to a shouting crowd as I shouted back at them and encouraged them to "give us something! We've been running for FOUR hours! C'mon!" It was nice to have an energetic crowd to bring me home.
Starting so late I didn't know how far behind the clock I was, so I had to look at my garmin. I was happy to see that I'd just eeked under 4 hours and achieved my negative split...maybe just barely, but I had.
I cooled down and had some chocolate milk, found Smooth after she'd finished and walked her circles in the corral with her - which I was doing MUCH less painful than I had anticipated! I loved seeing everyone at the finish and hearing their stories - good, bad and ugly (sorry Slick!). Picked up my Grand Slam Schwag bag, soaked my feet in the 'ice tub' (a hot tub full of ice water - SOOOO cold!) and chatted with Becca and new marathoner David about his debut BQ performance and wedding talk. Finally ready to head home I grabbed my drop bag and headed off.
I got in my car and decided to take one last detour. My father is buried in the Provo cemetery just blocks from the finish. I let him hold my medal and talked to him about my day. I know he isn't there...he was with me SO many times during the race. But sitting there and chatting with him was just the therapy I needed. I thanked him for all he had left me. No, not money, notes, pictures or even memories. MY FAMILY! It truly is the best thing I have and the only thing you can really leave behind. If it wasn't for my family I wouldn't have made it to the end...at least in such good fashion and spirits. I need them. Sometimes we run from home: kids, spouses and problems. We run to get a break from it all and sort it all out. We run away. Not today for me. Today...I was running home. I'm comin' home. They'd forgiven my mistakes. It was time for me to come home and show those I love the most just how much they really mean to me. I'm comin' home.
AP: 9:06 splits: 9;56, 8:59, 9:09, 8:48, 9:05, 8:28 (my bawling mile - ha! must've helped), 8;31, 9:39 (hills!), 9:29, 8:44, 8:50, 9:36, 9:10, 9:31, 8:52, 9:24, 9;08, 9:07, 8:49, 9:09, 8:46, 8:11 (Lauren's mile!), 9:03, 9:22, 9:36 (fading HARD! but, still happy), 9:24, 8:22 (funny, this was my goal race pace for this one before injury!) for the last .31 on Garmin.