I started training for it around September 2009 and, slowly and surely, the long runs got longer. Then I got new shoes that needed to be "broken in". That was about the time that I realized you need "special" socks that don't rub against your feet and cause blisters (and I thought it was the shoes). It also seemed like I got sick every time a very long run was about to happen. That, along with some of the runs that I just could not do for one reason or another (blisters, not feeling well, etc) made me worried that I would not be able to prepare enough for this race.
Then, 2 days before the race (2 DAYS!!!!!), I woke up with some lovely Vertigo (which I think is almost as bad as nausea) and a dull pain on the outside of my right foot. I was convinced I was getting sick (with the Vertigo) and that something was wrong with my foot. Luckily, the Vertigo left later in the day, but my foot pain was still there. My only consolation was that I was still able to walk normally (I did not have to limp because of pain or discomfort). However, whenever I did walk, I could feel it. It was like a bruise but was sometimes there and sometimes not. I did not think it was a fracture for a couple reasons: 1) the last time I had run was on Monday and the pain was there when I woke up on Thursday morning and 2) the pain was not outrageous. After speaking to a lot of people, I thought I'd just wait it out and see if the pain left. Friday afternoon came and the pain was still there. One of the people I work with just told me to go have it x-rayed to make sure there were no fractures, so I did.
The doctor who x-rayed my foot asked me to explain what was going on. After doing so, he just told me to stay off my foot for a couple of days and then see if that helps the pain go down. I then told him that I was running the marathon the next day. After trying to hide a look of "you're absolutely crazy", the doctor said that if there is no fracture, I could try running the race if I really wanted to, but that if the pain increased, he recommended I just stop. We then looked at the x-ray and say that the bones in my feet were absolutely amazing and whole!
When I got home from work on Friday night, I was still extremely nervous/anxious/scared. I was worried that I was going to break my foot, yet determined to run the race because I had spent so much time training for this marathon (not to mention the $80 I had spent to run it!) My anxiety was so bad that I literally did not sleep much that night (I really had only 4 hours that I could sleep because I got home from work around 11 and had to be up by 4 am so I could catch the bus).
Anyway, I got up, got ready, and walked to the Hotel Ben Lomond (to catch the bus). What was really cool was that downtown Ogden actually looked like the streets of New York with all the runners and traffic directors wandering around. There were so many people (and it was only 4:30 am!) Well, I was tired, VERY anxious, and did not look forward to the bus ride. I finally got on and the trip started (and it seemed like a very long trip!) The bus just kept driving, and driving, and driving, and...well, you get the picture. The whole time, I kept thinking "I have to run back to where the buses left!" At this point, I began to realize just how far 26 miles is. Once I got out of the bus, I went for the port-o-potty's and was pretty much dancing in line (I made sure to drink every chance I got while at work so I could be fully hydrated). I then had some powerade and GU--and for those who don't know what that is, there really is no explanation except personal experience. It's full of energy-boosting stuff and if you don't swallow it in one gulp, you're not going to swallow it at all (unless it's the berry flavor).
Anyway, I went and stood by a fire barrel to warm up and then they announced it was time to take off our warm-up clothes so the truck could take them down to the finish line...it was FREEZING! So, I took my warm-up clothes off, put my bag on the truck, and then walked to the start line. The gun went off and the race started. As I walked to the start line (there were SOOO many people), I could still feel the pain in my foot. However, once I crossed the start line and started running, the pain was gone. From that point in time, life was amazing!
It was so hard to not run in to people because I kept looking around at the scenery. The sun was still rising and hitting the mountains with the snow still on it, as well as the river that was running along the road and the trees with the new leaves. I could hear the birds chirping in the trees and the river running (along with my iPod, of course). I kept looking up and around instead of on the road and the person in front of me. Luckily, I didn't run into anyone, but there were some close calls!
The race went on and I was able to get faster. The aide stations were amazing (powerade, water, GU, bananas...I swear, I was full by the time I finished the race!) There was a point in the race where I did need to use the restroom, but I was not going to wait in line for one. I saw a group of port-o-pottys and the first one I ran to had a green box (green means empty, red means occupied). So, I opened the door and it was a bit stuck. On the second try, to my great embarrassment, there was someone in there (why they did not fully lock the door so that the red Occupied sign came up, I did not know). Luckily, it was a guy with his back to me, so it was not as embarrassing or awkward as it could have been. I quickly went to another port-o-potty and the guy walked out telling me his was available. I was already in another one with the door almost shut (mostly to get away from the embarrassment). Then, I realized why his door was still green...those locks took a lot of energy to push the entire way! Anyway, I got over the embarrassment (a little).
By the time mile 18 came around, I could feel my muscles start to stiffen up a bit. During training, it was usually mile 18 where I could barely go any further. I was feeling great at this time because I was still able to keep up a quicker pace. I came to the mouth of Ogden Canyon (AMAZING!) and started the major downhill journey. I was starting to get a bit tired now and was looking for the bridge and water pipe that you see as you're just about to enter Ogden Canyon (coming from Ogden). That way, I knew I was about to get on the river parkway, meaning I was almost done. When it finally came, I saw my family (which gave me some extra umph) and I entered the Ogden River Parkway. At that time, I hit my wall (I believe it was mile 22 or 23). My knee started to hurt, my legs did not want to move, and I was exhausted! Luckily, I had a few songs that were playing that were easy to have my feet keep the beat (and I kept running...in pain). I also told myself not to stop or else I would not start again. I also began to verbalize my thoughts trying to keep my body going. I finally came out on Grant Avenue and saw the painted horses (here in Ogden, during the summer, they have painted horses at designated spots in downtown Ogden). They were lined down Grant Ave (and for some reason, that gave me more umph). I then ran past the temple, which added more umph. At this point, the finish line was only a couple blocks away. I quickened the pace and ran through the finish at 4 hours!!!!!
I was in pain, exhausted, and feeling absolutely amazing! I had just run 26 miles!!! I got my stuff and then went to meet up with my family. No foot pain (well, except for the kind that comes after running 26 miles).
Sunday was a bit difficult. I was soooo stiff. Sitting was extremely painful, I shuffled when I walked, and stairs were impossible! Monday came and I was already feeling better (in fact, I was able to play a couple rounds of Tornado and my quads only complained slightly).
So, there you have it, a Memoir to my running the marathon. I am extremely glad I did it! There's nothing like making a goal and reaching it (although I hate that feeling of emptiness once you've reached the goal...it's almost like loosing a great friend).
Utah Valley on June 12!!!!