There is a joke among runners.
"How do you know if someone has run a marathon? Don't worry, they'll tell you!"
I am a verbal processor. Lots of processing going on. If I don't dump it my head may very likely explode. Or I'll just keep talking to myself and people will continue to think I'm crazy.
And yes, we are looking at multiple installments, I'm still waiting on race pics.
All things considered, I should probably be shouting from the rooftops about how incredibly awesome this race really was.
Not only did I make it to the start line, I made it to the finish line, and not only did I not hobble across in last place, I managed to pull off a PR by almost 10 minutes.
Pretty amazing, right?
It gets better.
The course was gorgeous, I got to see Aaron at the halfway mark, and I had zero back pain the entire 26.2 miles. What?! NO pain. Now that's amazing.
So it's incredibly frustrating that I am not over the moon elated about Saturday's run and have even shed some tears.
Why oh why can't my brain just stop?!
This race was huge for me in many ways. It was a big learning experience in many ways.
Between all of the efforts of fast-tracking my back to recovery, I was still very nervous about how it would fare over such a long distance. The longest I ran during my taper weeks after this whole thing happened was 8 miles. Though I felt ok during those 8, afterward I was fairly uncomfortable and a little concerned about how it would hold up for the long haul. After chatting with a friend about her use of KT Tape, I decided I had nothing to lose if it didn't work, so I would attempt that as my last ditch effort. One last adjustment on Thursday afternoon left me feeling good, but I still had that lingering stiffness and soreness in my back. Not enough to be a nagging pain, but enough to be a constant reminder that things had been bad. Friday morning I went to the dr I saw for ART nearly 2yrs ago and had him work his magic with the tape. The result was this:
It left me feeling pretty tough. And pleasantly surprised with the view of myself from the back.
But the real kicker was that a couple of hours after the taping I realized that I had no pain. No stiffness, no tenderness, no inkling of any discomfort. Seriously?! I was blown away. For the first time since April 29th I wasn't constantly aware of the state of my back. I feel like a bad infomercial because I am seriously so amazed by it that I keep talking about it. 100% sold on this stuff. I hoped and prayed that it would be the case on Saturday-the first real test would be waking up Saturday morning and climbing out of bed. Those first steps in the morning over the past couple of weeks have been a good indicator on how the day would feel.
Aaron and I headed up to Ogden on Friday afternoon. Originally my plan was to just drive up on my own and have the fam come and meet me after the race because of other commitments Aaron had. Plans changed making him available on Friday night to come with me, and not only that, but the nursing company he works for ended up needing another runner for their marathon relay team. He volunteered since he would be there anyway, so not only was he there to keep me company, he was there to run! I was so excited for him to get to experience the whole big race atmosphere as a runner!
*WAIT! Big, HUGE detail that hasn't been shared! Aaron surprised me two weeks ago by sharing the news that he had registered for the St George Marathon lottery. Oh. My. Word. This man of mine who keeps saying he isn't a runner signed up for a marathon?! I had no idea. Coolest surprise ever!! Even better, not only did he register, but he got in! And so did I! So he is officially running his first marathon in October!*
We hit the expo, where we rode the event adrenaline and signed up for another race, so we will now be running Big Cottonwood in September as well. Aaron has gone from doing a couple of 5k's, to doing his first 10k on a whim with no prep, to running a marathon relay leg, planning on Ragnar in a month AND registering for a full and a half! Wow. I was riding the race high and signed up for the full, but I think I'm going to change that to the half since it is only 3wks before St George.
We went over to find the bus loading area so I could see the proximity to our hotel and where I would be headed in the dark of the morning. Just a couple of blocks away. Awesome.
You see that sky? Perfect marathon weather. Nice and cool, just a little breezy, and overcast.
I prayed that it would hold for Saturday.
We went back to our hotel room to chill and get to bed early.
Everything was laid out and ready to go.
But I didn't have the race nerves.
That kind of freaked me out a little, but helped me sleep well!
3:55 rolled around and I rolled out of bed.
Back felt good. Awesome.
Coffee maker in the room meant I could do my oatmeal, though I didn't have much of an appetite. I choked down as much as I could.
I sharpied my arm with my chosen mantra for this race, hoping my brain would shut off enough for me to embrace it.
Dressed and ready to go I headed out, leaving Aaron there to start prepping himself. (his bus didn't leave until an hour later than mine)
Waiting for the elevator at the hotel the man standing next to me struck up a conversation. "So I hear it's pouring down rain out there."
I was so bugged with myself for debating stopping by the store for a box of garbage bags the day before and not following through.
Stepping out into the hotel lobby revealed a mass of runners, most in pants and jackets, hats and gloves, and ponchos-or the makeshift garbage bag poncho. Others were tying plastic shopping bags around their feet to keep their shoes dry. Not a good sign!
I figured I had nothing to lose and I was going to get wet anyway, so instead of mulling around like everyone else I just headed out to the bus loading. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was raining, but certainly not pouring. I did great at avoiding puddles before getting on the bus, and was glad I had stuck with my original wardrobe choice, because it was mid 40's-not warm, but not all that cold either.
I spent the next 40ish minutes on the bus chatting with my seat buddy who was running her first marathon. It was nice to glean a little of her giddy excitement because I seemed to be lacking any of my own.
I was just ready to get out and start running.