The St. George Marathon was, hands-down, the best running day of my life. Everything aligned perfectly and the result was a perfect race—could not have asked for anything more.
Training for this marathon was tough, and different than any of my other marathon training plans. We did a lot more work at Marathon pace, and we also had tough long runs. Our longest run before the race was 22 miles, with the last 6 miles run at marathon pace. Kim McConnell coached me through this training cycle and her advice and expertise were invaluable.
I must have checked the weather forecast 10 times a day in the week leading up to the marathon. And the temp kept dropping and dropping. It was a brisk 34 degrees at the start line, but a perfect 50 degrees when we finished.
Amber, Kummi, and I caught one of the last busses up the canyon. This didn’t leave us with much time when we got to the starting area. A wait in a long porta potty line, quick bag drop, and we got to the starting line just in time to see the 3:40 pace group go by. We jumped in and started running. It was a hectic way to begin, but worked out just fine. I went to turn on my Garmin only to discover that it was FROZEN. Nothing was working. Couldn’t reset it, couldn’t push any buttons, couldn’t get it to respond at all. I started to panic a bit. Mile one went by. Little more panic. Mile two went by. Full blown panic. I was running with Amber at this point, but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stay with her speedy self. I said a quick prayer in my head. I told Heavenly Father that I knew in the grand scheme of the universe that a frozen Garmin did not matter in the least. But it mattered to me at that moment very much. A few min later I heard the most wonderful sound in the world….my Garmin beeping to life. Relief and thanks flooded through me.
The first 6 miles flew by. And then it was time for the dreaded “Veyo Hill.” It is about a mile climb and it is tough. The worst part is you can see it stretching before you the entire way. There is no fooling your brain because you can see the WHOLE THING.
But honestly? It wasn’t that bad. I attribute that to living and training in hilly Vista Ridge. We climb mile long hills all the time 🙂
The next 4 miles were at an uphill grade. But I knew they were the toughest 4 miles of the course, and if I successfully came through those miles I’d have plenty of time to relax and recover coming down the hill on the other side.
At about mile 14 the course enters Snow Canyon. The scenery is breathtaking, and you start running downhill at a pretty steep grade. It was easy just to leg my legs go and enjoy the view. I kept thinking how lucky I am to have a healthy body that can do amazing, challenging things. I couldn’t stop smiling as I realized my dream to qualify for Boston was firmly in my grasp.
The next 4 miles flew by, and before I knew it, I was at mile marker 18. I thought….I think I can push a little harder. And so I did. I decided not to focus on my Garmin at all for a little bit and just see what happened. When I looked down awhile later I was running about 15 seconds under my goal pace, and felt great. I decided to see if I could keep it up for a few miles. Miles 18-23 had a few hill climbs, but I was able to maintain my pace. I just kept telling myself…”Don’t slow down, you are doing just fine. You have earned this. You deserve this.” Got to mile 23 still feeling great. I kept waiting to bonk or for my legs or hips to tighten up, but it didn’t happen. The last 3 miles felt like a dream. The crowds thickened, all the spectators cheering you to the finish line. I hit mile 26 and was beaming from ear to ear. .2 later I crossed the finish line (3:29:03) feeling more proud of myself than I have ever felt before. I put my hands on my knees and just kept saying “I did it! I can’t believe it! I did it! I’m going to BOSTON!” I looked around for someone to share in my joy, but no one was paying the least bit of attention to me 😉 Check out my giant grin.
It took me awhile to find Amber (who finished at 3:24—my hero!) and then we both watched Kummi cross the finish line. Amber’s parents were meeting us there but we had neglected to designate a meeting spot and my phone had zero coverage. We spent about an hour looking for them, and by that time I felt kinda like a zombie. Nothing that a warm shower, warm peach Veyo Pie, and a warm fuzzy “Going to Boston” feeling couldn’t fix 🙂
After that, we were off to Vegas in our incredibly mini car. Weekend in Vegas = food (mmm….Sunday brunch!), sleep, and some well deserved laying by the pool. It was an amazing day, one I’m sure will go down in the books as one of the greatest days in my life.