Making memories one day at a time.......and then I write about it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Utah Valley 1/2 Marathon

My medal!  
 Remember this post?  The post where I said I was going to run the Utah Valley 1/2 marathon?   This is a follow up and as you can see from the lousy above picture that was taken from my phone, I did it!!!

I say "I" loosely as I feel quite humbled in where I give credit.  I am a firm believer in a Father in Heaven who loves us dearly and knew His little girl wanted this badly and helped her to achieve it.

My supporters who don't look very excited to be up at such an unearthly hour sitting in the cold waiting for their Mum to run by.  
 The beginning.  I declared I was going to run the 1/2 marathon and started training.  I only had a few weeks to train and no idea how to go about it.  A good friend of our family, Kekau Arakaki took on the giant responsibility of getting me ready for the race and the training began.  After running I would have to text/email/facebook and report to "Coach".  Sometimes it wasn't until close to 11:00 at night before I'd finish.  Knowing that I had to report made a big difference and help.

Early in my training my friend Natalie, who is an awesome runner and has done 1/2 marathons before, told me she would train with me.  She'd had surgery on her foot a few months ago and wanted to get back to running again.  I told her that I don't run.  I sloth along.  I would be holding her back but she was welcome to train with me.  I'm so glad she still wanted to!!!  I had so much fun training and running with Natalie!

Can you all tell I'm still on a runners high from the race?  (Squeal)

Sleep deprived and yanked out of bed.  "This is the stupidest parade ever!!"
 The day before the race came.  Time to pick up our packets and running bibs.  I was fine until I went to where we picked up our packets.  It was so cool!!  I kept looking around at all of the people, the vendors, and marveling that I was a part of this!  Natalie helped me find my number and packet and we walked around to see what people were selling.  We did end up buying some hydration belts which I am so glad we did.  Proved to be a good impulse buy.  I'll talk hydration belts another day.

As I said, I was fine until I went to get my packet.  Then the butterflies started in my tummy.  I kept telling myself that it was just going to be another day of running.  The only difference.  I'd be surrounded by tons of people running in the same direction I was.   My tummy wasn't buying it.

Henny Penny sees Natalie and me and comes running to greet us.
 The evening before.  Time to carb load.  The adrenaline starts to build.  I make a huge mistake!  I eat tacos with lots of hot sauce.  I'm thinking it will help my system clear out because..... ya know..........  that poop thing I have issues with when I run.  I wanted to clear out my system before the race so I wouldn't have to deal with it.  Load up on the salsa baby and grape fruit!!

Flit around the house when I should be going to bed like a maniac because I can't focus.  The SM makes me sit down and make a list of things I need to take the next morning and then get them all ready.  Boy am I glad he made me do that.  I couldn't think or focus for anything!  I'd have forgotten my clothes I'm sure and run in the buff it weren't for him I was so scatterbrained!

Levi and Henny Penny greeting us and Levi telling me he likes to run too!
 Natalie and I needed to leave at 3:30 the next morning to catch the bus that would take us to the start of the race.  Time to go to bed early and get some sleep before I had to get up at 3:00 AM.

I went to bed.  I told myself to get some sleep.  My body/brain didn't listen.  I tossed and turned all night until 3:00AM.  I got up and started to get ready.  My main focus for the morning.  POOP!  Yes, I really do get that much anxiety about pooping before I run because if I don't........ I know what happens.

My anxiety builds.  What happened to all that salsa and grapefruit and the TONS of food I ate the night before???  I'm not pooping!!!

Time to go catch the bus!  Natalie comes and picks me up and we are on our way!!  We sit in the parking lot for a few minutes and eat some more.  I start to feel like hurling.  What goes in....... must come out........  It hasn't yet!!

Taking off our sweatshirts and throwing them for The SM to grab for us and take to the truck.
 The bus ride seemed like it took forever!  I could not believe that in a few hours I was going to run where the bus was taking us and surely the bus took a wrong turn because seriously, it felt like the bus was taking us to Idaho!  I was sure when I got off I'd be in another state.

We arrived at our starting place.  It was still dark outside, the moon up, tons of people milling about, laying around, huddling around fires....  I wish I had a photo of the start because it felt like we were at Wood Stock or something.  All of these fires all over the hillside and thousands of people sitting/laying/walking around.  So cool!!!

I had an hour and a half before the race to get my body to take me seriously and unload!  Natalie and I decided standing around with eyes watering from the smoke wasn't helping.  Maybe walking around.  Nope.

Maybe if we sat in one of the hundreds of biffys my body would get the idea.  Nope!

Time to line up for the race.  NOOOOOO!  I HAVEN'T POOPED YET!!!

Two minutes before the gun goes off, Natalie is calling to me outside of the door of my biffy.  We need to go!  Fabulous..... I resign myself to my doom.

Jackets and sweatshirts off, we re position our hydration belts and keep on running!
 Rather than being caught up in the masses of thousands of runners, we stayed at the back.  We were one of the last ones to cross the starting line.  No biggie.  Our running bibs had computer chips in them so our timing wouldn't start until we crossed the start line.  Being at the back is also great strategy in that you don't have to be depressed as everyone passes you.  You get to start passing people.

We're off and running.  The view in the canyon we ran in was gorgeous!  We ran and took it all in.  The first hill arrives.  I don't want to walk.  I want to keep running.  My goal, if possible, is to run the whole thing.  If I can't........ no biggie........ but I want to try.

We do it!  We top the hill a little winded and enjoy the level terrain.   Aid stations appear along the way.  We grab our waters and keep running.  I pass biffys and marvel that I don't have to go to the bathroom!  Isn't this marvelous!!   I pass another aid station and get my water and pass another set of biffys.  Amazing!! No need to use the biffy!!!

And then......... it hits.......... and I've still got a mile or more until I reach the next biffys at mile 6!  I will be forever haunted by mile 6!!

I came around the corner in hyper drive so relieved to see the biffys only to have my relief sink in horror.  Everyone in the entire state of Utah needed to use the biffy at mile number 6!  I had to sit in line for almost ELEVEN WHOLE STINKING MINUTES because that is when my stupid salsa grapefruit dinner decided to make it's exit!

I can not tell you what it did to my competitive self  standing there in such an agonizingly long line as person after person passed by me.  A thousand people got ahead of me!!!

Moving on.  I promise I won't talk about pooping anymore.  Well, in this blog post at least.

More crazy people getting up way too early for a parade of runners.  
 As I mentioned before, the first half of the race was in the canyon.  We had a headwind but it wasn't bad.  It felt good actually.  Natalie and I chatted off and on.  Not our normal non stop chatter like we did while training.  I was too busy taking it all in.  I honestly could not grinning the entire time.

As we got closer to the finish, people on the side who were cheering would comment that Natalie and I were still smiling!  If they only knew.......... if they only knew what being in this race meant to me!  What I had over come!  Where I had been just a few months earlier!  In bed.  Not enough strength to climb in and out hardly!  A dream I'd had............. out of my reach.........  or so I'd thought at the time!

Yes!  I was smiling!  I was living a dream!

The finish!  Hugging Natalie and telling her thank you for running with me!
 As we came up over the last rise, I could see way off in the distance where the finish line was.  I could see the tall buildings where the finish line was and I started to get even more excited.  I told Natalie that I could see it!  I could see the finish line!

I'm like a horse that smells the barn.  My body started to go faster.  I was so close!  And then four miles to the finish......  the unbearable pain started.  I tried changing my stride to see if it would help.  I knew I wasn't running with good form anymore.  I was using precious energy trying to compensate and keep going.  I was starting to take smaller steps and curl inward.

Pain from where I'd had surgery two years ago.  Oh Nellie!!!  If it hadn't been for Natalie running with me, I'm not sure I could have kept going.  I just kept staring at the finish line and telling Natalie I could see it!  We were almost there.

When trying different running strides didn't help, all I could think of was the faster I get to the finish, the faster the pain will stop!  Kick it into high gear.  And we did!  We picked up the pace.

As we got closer to the finish line I looked over at Natalie and grinned.  GAME ON SISTER!  This was a race right???  I started to sprint.  Natalie accepted the call and sprinted with me.  We went sprinting down the finish gates and as we crossed the finish (me just about cutting her off by mistake) I grabbed her hand and we finished hand in hand together laughing our heads off.

What an amazing experience!!

We're done!  We've got our medals and are coming over to say hi to The SM and The Native's!
 I've never known what a runners high was before.  Boy do I know now.  Couldn't stop grinning through the whole race, even when I was in pain.  Couldn't stop grinning after for hours.  Did stop grinning for a nap...... Started grinning again and continued to grin all day yesterday...........

 Still grinning today!  Which is why........  I have decided.......  to make a goal........ to run the full marathon next year!  I've a year to prepare!  Yes, you heard me right!  Bring it!!



  1. Replies
    1. I love you too! Next year! You're running with me!!! :D

  2. Great story! Even the pooping parts! But my favorite part is - "I am a firm believer in a Father in Heaven who loves us dearly and knew His little girl wanted this badly and helped her to achieve it."
    I can't tell you how happy I am for you....makes me grin that you are so happy!

    1. My favorite part is that you are a kindred spirit in your love for our Father. :D

  3. YOU DID IT!!!!!! HOORAY!!!! I can't stop grinning just in the reading of this. But then you got me all teary there at the end. You have this effect on me.

    You GO, sister!

    1. Even days later I'm still on cloud nine! I still can't believe myself that I did that! It seems unreal now. Just crazy. I'M CRAZY! :D

  4. You did amazing. And FASTER THAN ME!!!!!!!! So you're not that slow. I'm so proud of you, and it was so so fun to see you too.
    Did you have a creamsicle at the end? It made everything worth it.

    1. What you did was unreal!!! Flying alone is so hard on the body. You flying and getting in late, then getting up early, running the race, and then back on a plane to go home and take care of little ones...... I don't know how you did it!!!

      I didn't get a creamsicle. Sniffle. I'm off sugar. I didn't get my chocolate milk either. :( That's okay though, it was all worth it to me. Even without sugar. I can't believe I just typed that!

  5. What would a running story from you be without the dreaded mile 6 waste exit! LOL! I'm so glad you did it!! At least one other person in the world truely understands why i took up distance running at the age of 36, now there are two of you. Congradulations and Ramble on my friend!!
    The Running Geek AKA Skippy ;-)

    1. We're all crazy!!! Insane!!! Madly!! :)

      So true. What is a Rachel running story if it doesn't mention pooping somewhere in it.......

  6. Ps, i'll make you a deal....train together via internet then we both pick an event to crush and help coach eachother, what ya think?
    The Running Geek

    1. Game on!!! And why isn't your blog showing up in my side bar anymore??? Hmmmm. That's irritating...........

  7. You Rachel are AWESOME!!!! I loved this post - laughing, feeling your pain, and getting all misty-eyed at the thought of your finish line joy. What an amazing experience for you and a huge inspiration to the rest of us. Quitting just isn't in your vocabulary is it? Love you Rachel xxx

    1. I think I am too head strong and Kristen will tell you that sometimes that isn't a good thing. :D She's right, but no, I don't know how to quit. I was raised by good parents who taught me how to work hard and set goals. We'll blame them. :)

      I love you too Julie!!!!! The day Kristen introduced me to your blog was a good and blessed day indeed!


  8. I would not have understood this post if I'd read it a month or more ago. About a month ago I partcipated in my very first 5K (I'm a swimmer, not a runner!). It was a tremendous accomplishment, and opened my eyes to why people run and participate in events like this. I think that your accomplishment is wonder-ful! Way to go!!!!

    And may I add that your telling of the story is delightful!

    1. LOL! I never thought of myself as a runner before either! I'm not sure I think I am still!

      Way to go on your 5K!!!!! That is fantastic! Hahaha! You've caught the bug!!! It's a good one. I promise!

  9. I don't know how you did it! I am so glad you were on the "up" side of this thing so that you could, and yes it truly was by the grace of god my friend. I'm not sure how far you ran total, but this is awesome. I had no doubt you would make it. I love you! This is so awesome. Thanks for never giving up. It is never an option! We just can't!

    1. There's only one way that I did it. Our Father's help. You know as well as I do, what I did was pretty much impossible with what we have.

      I ran 13.1 miles. :D

      I hope you start feeling on the 'up' side soon. Makes me sad that you've been shot down so hard again.......

  10. Replies
    1. I don't think it would get published! I say poop too many times. :D

  11. You did it!!! You ran a freaking half marathon! Do you know how huge that is? Sorry about the potty issues. I hate that! I was jumping up and down before the race hoping to move things along. My body isn't used to getting up anywhere near 3 am! Anyhow, way to go! I loved reading this report. Every word. :)

    1. :D Jumping up and down....... twisting this way and that....... walking up and down the hill...... NOTHING! Oh well. I learned something for next year. Even if I don't think I need to go, if I see a bunch of biffies with a short line, STOP and get in line for one of those!!

  12. Way to go!

  13. in love. you are in love. i am too.


    baby you did it!

    1. I KNOW!!!!! Unbelievable isn't it!? And yet, it happened!!

  14. You are an amazing woman. Don't quit fighting!

    1. With you by my side, on my team, I've every reason to keep fighting. You uplift me and support me and pick me up and carry me when I'm down. I couldn't ask for a better companion. I am truly blessed.

  15. So proud of all of you - especially you. Your story is an inspiration. So I had a hard time believing I would go one week without sugar and I've gone - what - 10 weeks now. Maybe if I believed I could run one mile, I could eventually run 13. The problem is I have no doubt that I can do it. I've just never really LIKED running. Even when I did run for a while. Hmmm.

  16. I know! Can you believe it? We were laughing at the idea of making it to June!!! And here we are...... almost to July! For the record, I didn't eat that candy bar. :) Just had to mention that. :D

    I run because I like it. You need to find something that you like that isn't just a winter time sport :D Then conquer it. Part of the enjoyment of running is finding a good running partner. It is way funner, like everything else, if you have someone to share it with and gab the whole time.

  17. He said, as we stood together, waiting, "She has a beautiful stride." He was right. You do.

    1. Ohhhhhh! He always says the nicest things. Even when it isn't even true!


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