The St George Marathon Novel to be more exact. Part one anyway. Yes, there's that much to say.
Even before I finished this run I thought to myself many times "I can't wait to do this again!".
My first words to Aaron when I found him after crossing the finish line were "You are doing this with me next time!"
(side note: I actually got a commitment from him to do one with me in two years! I gave him two years because I want to make completely sure that his hip is all healed and recovered before he even thinks about starting training, and that's a long process.)
It was amazing.
Obviously the St George story started months ago with all the training. I learned a lot about myself through and while running this year. Had some wonderfully awesome moments. Had some low moments. There were a lot of smiles, some pain, and even some tears along the way. All in build up of that 26.2 victory lap.
St George was the finale for our trip. After an amazing week it was the perfect ending.
We rolled in on Thursday night after driving in from Anaheim. We got settled in our (funky) little motel and fed the kids dinner.
Why do I say funky motel? Oh so many reasons. The bright yellow and orangey red wall colors were....bright. We had a two bedroom set up with one little bathroom....the toilet flushed if you held down the handle long enough. It had a sofa bed (icky one), but no sheets, blankets or extra pillows. It did have three Bibles though.
And feet from a broken frog statue.
But it did have a kitchen, which was really all I cared about so it was perfect.
Anyway-I was starving and the Del Taco that the kids ate just didn't sound good (nor did it seem like a wise choice two days out.....I don't trust fast food that much), so I was relieved to hear that there was now a Paradise Bakery & Cafe in St George. Aaron and I were able to sneak out for a quick dinner just before 9:00. A little late, but we made it before they closed so it was all good! I ordered the food that had carried me through an awesome relay back in May, hoping it would treat me well again. Chicken walnut salad on molasses bread. It is totally not something I would eat (which my family and friends can vouch for), not sure how I even ever tried one in the first place, but it is SO good! A big fat bowl of fruit and fresh chocolate chip cookies on the side and I was in heaven. While it took me just slightly over 3 1/2 minutes to inhale it all, it was the best thing I had eaten in days. And chocolate chip cookies (especially from Paradise) are fabulous carb loading. I highly suggest them.
One of the best 30 minute dates I've ever had.
Oh, and did I mention it was NINETY FIVE degrees at 9pm that night?
To quote my friend Hollie, Holy swear word! It was H.O.T.
I really worried about what that would mean for the weekend.
Friday involved sleeping in (yay!) and hanging out.
We had the opportunity to visit with some of our very best friends in the entire world who were also in town for the marathon. We used to get our regular fill of these folks when they lived across the street, which was always entirely too much fun, but since their move to Texas this past Spring we have definitely missed out!! It was SO awesome to see them again! The kids didn't know they were coming so when they opened up the door and there stood Steve and Ashley, they all freaked out. Granted they followed that with "where are your kids?!", but still, they were super excited to see them even with the kids.
It must have been awesome picture day. Please hear the dripping sarcasm.
Were we looking at that fabulous plastic golf bag Ashley?
Do I even want to know what Aaron and Steve were doing?
I have to include this picture of Charli just thrilled to death that they were there.
We did have some cute pictures, but these are much more fun, no?
Steve has run St George 8 times now (only twice more to the 10yr club! so close!) and some of his family lives there, so he is very familiar with the race. He gave me a great run down of everything I could possibly want to know, including that there are a number of hills throughout the course, not just the dreaded Veyo that everyone talks about. This would prove invaluable! We spent a couple of hours just hanging out and catching up, it was so great. I love how seeing good friends just rejuvinates the soul!
Once they had to get going we headed to the Expo. I picked up my packet and we wandered around for a bit, the kids taking full advantage of every "spin the wheel and win!" situation that they could, as well as the candy out at most vendors. I did stop in at the first timers clinic even after my awesome briefing from Steve, which was really quite fun. The guy who does it has run this race 20 something times, it was fun to hear from him and see a lot of pictures from along the course. Some of the questions at the end of his little speech left me feeling very well prepared and a little nervous for some of the other first timers!
The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out at the hotel, just resting and playing in the pool. I did my Freschetta not only for dinner, but for lunch as well, putting down 7 pieces of pizza (that's just one slice short of a whole pizza if you were wondering) that day. Along with some french bread. Yes, it was risky. I knew I'd be ok with 3 or 4, but I took a chance on the two meals.
If my dad reads this he should feel better, he feared that I was either running too much or not eating enough because he thought I was starting to look "gaunt in the face". I was kind of thinking I just finally didn't look like the fat face kid anymore, which I'm fine with. Apparently I don't spend enough time around my dad lately, because anyone who sees me often knows how much I love to eat!
I also spent the afternoon and evening pretending that the cold that I had been hoping to avoid all week (and had been pretending for days wasn't hitting me) was *not* rearing it's ugly head. I was feeling achy, starting to cough and my nose was running like a faucet, but dangit-I would not have a cold! It's all a matter of willpower!
I crashed early, hitting bed around 8:30.
I slept so much better than I thought I would, even though it took me almost an hour to actually fall asleep. I woke up a couple of times with that fear that I would miss my alarm, but otherwise it was a restful night.
And thank goodness, because the alarm went off shortly after 3:00.
Aaron was fabulous to get up with me, and get me off to the bus pickup on time.
I was surprisingly calm the days prior to the race and figured the nerves would kick in that morning. Nope! Still felt fabulously calm as I got dressed and ready to go.
and prepped my almond butter on wheat toast with sliced strawberries.
Food rituals are fantastic. Even when I wear no makeup and have that scary I'm not fully awake yet because it's way too early in the morning look.
So as not to wake the kids I did everything by the light of the fridge.
That way he was with me every step of the 26.2.
Everything was gathered up, I checked my bag for the 7,458th time and off we went.
The bus was only a few blocks away, and though it would have been plenty safe to walk there at 3:45 in the morning as the only other people out were runners also headed to the bus, Aaron drove me over quickly. A nice cop took a picture of us together.
The flash highlights the barricades fabulously.
And then....I was off.