Road Trip 2014 | The Half Marathon

Oct 17, 2014

A Utah road trip was in the plans for summer of 2014 since returning home from Road Trip 2013. The wee ones and I had so much fun last year that we just had to do it again! But this year's trip was a little different than last year's... instead of staying just shy of two weeks, we were in Utah for three full weeks so that my lungs would have time to adjust and I could end our road trip by running a half marathon!

I am not a natural runner. I am not even remotely athletic. Bruce Wayne will tell you- watching me play sports is actually painful. But, I do like to exercise and be healthy, I have just always managed to do that without running Ü

At the beginning of the year Bruce decided he wanted us to run a half marathon together. He asked me what it would take for me to agree to this. I told him there was nothing he could offer me that would even begin to tempt me to run for 13.1 miles. He started to offer me all sorts of things but I declined everything. Then he mentioned diamond earrings. For practically every anniversary, birthday and holiday, when Bruce would ask me what I wanted, I would reply "diamond earrings". In nine years, those diamond earrings never materialized, but here he was, promising them to me in exchange for running a measly 13 miles? Psssh. Done!

On January 1st 2014, I strapped on my shoes and headed out the door. I ran for 3 minutes. Then walked for at least that many before running a few minutes more. It took me a good long time to run 1 mile and I was beat. Slowly but surely, I built up endurance and by April, I could make it 4 solid miles without even stopping to walk. By late April, my longest run reached 7 miles and I started searching for a half marathon to run. I knew it would have to be out of state since all races cease to exist in Arizona from about May to October. I looked in Utah and in California. I even looked up in Oregon where KJ lives. I finally settled on one in Utah that happened to fall close to our already planned road trip. Unfortunately, Bruce was not going to be able to join me for the race as it was squad change at work that weekend, but I had worked so hard to get to this point that I was determined to run something, and do it soon, before I could chicken out. So I paid the fees and started to panic.

In June I ran my first and second ever 10 miles runs and hoped that I was adequately prepared. At the end of June I arrived in Utah and began to train there, allowing my lungs to adjust to the much higher altitude. By July 12th I was as ready as I was going to be. I was also scared out of my mind. What on earth had possessed me to sign up for this!?

The morning of my race started bright and early. I think my alarm went off somewhere around 3:30 in the morning. I got up and put on my race gear. I stretched and tried to eat a little something. I then headed to Springville High School where I boarded a bus that drove me up into the canyon to the starting line.

It was super nerve wracking to be there by myself. In some ways it would have been really nice to have had a friend there with me to help calm my nerves, but then I am really glad that my first  half marathon experience was a solo one. It ended up being a super spiritual experience for me, one that I will definitely treasure in the years to come.

All during my training, I had listened to General Conference talks while running. Music just doesn't do it for me. I get so bored! But Conference talks grab my attention and help keep my mind occupied. Over the course of my training, I listened to almost all the talks that were available on The Mormon Channel app... almost 10 years worth of talks! I heard some amazing things during my training and felt the Spirit strongly on many occasions.

The day of my race, I started with the Priesthood session from the April 2014 session of Conference. It totally grabbed my attention and helped to calm me as the race started. As I ran down Spanish Fork Canyon, I couldn't help be but in awe of the beautiful world we live in. The views along my run were breath taking and I just felt so close to my Heavenly Father as I listened to His inspired words and enjoyed His beautiful artwork. I had many tender mercies throughout the race- from the friendly girl who I sat next to on the ride up the canyon, to the fact that they served purple Gatorade the entire race (the only flavour of Gatorade I can stomach!). Around mile 7, my knee started to act up really bad and for a brief moment I thought I was going to have to bow out of the race. It was extremely painful and I was scared I would do severe damage if I ran on it for another 6+ miles. I prayed and prayed hard and Heavenly Father poured out the blessings. The last half of the race was very difficult and I walked more than I wanted to, but my knee held out, I was able to finish the race, and I was given strength far beyond my own. I even managed to finish the race at a 12 minute mile pace (2 hr 38 min finish time), which is about what I had gone into the race anticipating. I still can hardly believe I managed to hit that pace while struggling with my knee. My knee could have slowed me down considerably, but really, it didn't. A 12 minute pace is exactly what I had been training at.

Coming to the finish line was such a neat experience. As I ran in, I quickly spotted my parents and children and my sweet girlies darted out, grabbed my hands and ran me across the finish line. I still get teary eyed thinking about it. I loved having them there to help me finish up what was by far one of the hardest things I have ever done.

I received my finishers medal after crossing the finish line, got a massage and enjoyed a French toast breakfast. Originally I thought the idea of finishers medals was kind of dumb. I don't subscribe to the "everyone needs a trophy" school of thought, but now the medal hangs on the wall near my desk, and I get great satisfaction out of seeing it there. I did something hard! Really, really hard! I trained for months and stretch myself more than I ever knew possible and I finished! I wasn't the fastest. Not by a long shot. But I finished, and that is definitely worth rewarding.

The next day I was incredibly sore, but it was kind of the best sore ever. Sure I cringed with every step, but it was just a reminder of what I had accomplished the day before. I swore I never needed to do another half marathon again, but by the time I arrived back home to Arizona, I was ready to sign up for another. And I did! In just a few hours I'll be getting in the car with a few friends and heading to Lake Powell to go through this madness all over again! And eventually, Bruce and I need to run one together, since that was the original plan. So it looks like, in time,  I'll have 3 half marathons under my belt. And to think, this from a girl who just 10 months ago, hated to run. Ü

1 comment:

  1. You are an inspiration!! I am so dang proud of you. You are going to do amazing in tomorrow's half!


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