The week leading up to the marathon was hard. My neck and shoulders hurt, I felt as if a cold/virus was stalking me, and it was difficult to sleep. In fact, I told a few people that if this is how I could expect to feel right before every marathon, I wouldn't be running any more, I do have a life to live outside of running.
(me in the car, feeling pretty stressed a few days before the marathon)
The truth is, I was sitting on the couch 6 months ago. I was busy and did yoga occasionally, but I really, seriously hadn't really "run" in about 18 years. And the truth really is that as much as I wanted to train hard, my lack of a baseline, and the responsibilities I have on my plate right now wouldn't quite allow it. I kept getting injuries and just felt exhausted. So my training was limited to 2-3 times running every week. Which is fine, but it made me nervous.
Friday, I drove to Ogden in the afternoon with one of my partners, Suzanne. We, of course, got caught in traffic. We finally reached the Expo in downtown Ogden at about 6, and met up with Carina (my other partner) and another friend.
We picked up our packets, walked a few blocks, met my sister, and ate dinner.
We then planned to meet in the Lobby of the Ben Lomond at 4:40 the next morning (the buses picked the runners up at 4:45 outside of the hotel.) I checked into Ben Lomond all by my lonesome (first time) and went to bed. No ghost stories to report, although it is a very old hotel.
I didn't need to be woken by an alarm because sounds of showers woke me at 3:45. So, up I was. I met the girls downstairs, hopped on the bus, and took the long ride up to the start.
By the time we reached the start, it was light, there was frost on the grass and a few thousand people excitedly standing around in a beautiful field billowing with frozen breath. Before I knew it, it was time to strip down to tank tops and skirts and freeze in a huddle at the starting line. With little warning, the gun went off, with barely any detectable movement. As the pack started to thin, I found my pace and settled in. It was chilly, but it was so lovely up on that mountain.
The first 20 miles were pretty effortless and fun. Men flirted with me (no joke), the weather was perfect, and I felt good. I stopped for 3-5 seconds at each aid station, it was my first marathon after all. I felt like a well oiled machine climbing the big hill at mile 14, and smiled for the spectators and photographers that I passed. Once we started to head into the city, it got hot, and I became sick. GU sucks. I had to stop at the bathroom at mile 21, and when I started running again my IT band locked up, but it was OK. Around mile 23, my brother Tim jumped in and pulled me along for the last 3.2 miles. My family was waiting for me right around there and those last 3 miles were the longest of my life but I finished in 3:43! My first marathon after only 6 months of training and I qualified for Boston. Yea, for me!
I'm pretty happy. I'm so grateful for my training partners, they listened to a lot of complaining and saw me through. Life isn't bad when you have the support of great friends, a good husband, and children who think you've won.