Monday, May 19, 2008

Ogden 1/2 Marathon

This past week I had a few sleepless nights. The reality of participatiing in the Ogden 1/2 marathon was finally setting in. I had dreams about not packing what I needed, not knowing where to go, getting to the Expo late and not picking up my packet. So when Friday finally arrived I was quite relieved. I just had to sit back and let everything happen. Before Steve and I left for Ogden, my good friend Annette called and said she would be stopping by. Next thing I knew there was a 6 foot bird standing in my foyer holding a sports bottle, a pair of socks and a note that read:
From one old bird to another,
Knock your socks off...
Run like the wind is beneath your wings.

What a great way to get sent off.
Steve and I drove up to Ogden, checked into our hotel and then walked over to the Expo. This was pretty cool. I had partcipated in 5Ks before, but this time I got to walk over to the section that said 1/2 Marathon...CRAZY!!!! I was then given my bib number 5689 and my drop bag for the next morning. The excitement was rising in me.
It was time to "Carb Load". We met up with our friends:Brian, Suzanne, Stacey, Wendy and Tom for dinner and headed to Fazzoli's. Not the best Italian food, but they did have all you could eat Spaghetti for $5.99. We ate and talked, but by far the best entertainment was Tom and his "interesting" stories.
We said goodnight to our friends as we all went our separate ways to our rooms. I laid out my gear and went through all my stuff to guarantee I had everything I needed. We put on our jammies, turned on the Jazz playoff game and TRIED to relax enough to fall asleep. Sleep was not easy to come by all night. I woke up every 30 minutes expecting it to be time to get dressed. Finally Steve informed me it was 10 minutes to 4:00am and I decided it was as good a time as any to get up and get ready. Before I knew it we were out of the room and meeting up with the others in the lobby and we were off to meet our buses. It was then that the Marathoners and the Halfers parted ways.
I sat next to Wendy and tried to carry on a conversation so the reality of how long the bus ride was to the starting line would not be noticed. It didn't work well, I still noticed it was FAR!!! We got off the bus to find it was much colder up the Canyon than it had been outside of our hotel. We wandered over to where the fires were so that we could warm up. We also made a couple of trips over to the Port-O-Potties.

Now ordinarily I would not enjoy the site of a Port-O-Potty, but as nervous as I was it was a welcomed site.

I was then that SOUTH JORDAN SOLE SISTERS (that is what the front of our t-shirts say)made their way to the starting line. Many of the group debated about stripping off the last of their warmer clothing. The sun was just beginning to peek over the mountain, but we were not quite feeling the full effects of that heat. As we stood there at the start line and I babbled as I do in my nervous way, I managed to stick my foot in my mouth and insult someone standing near me. I was definitely ready to run, walk, crawl under a rock...anything so I did not have to be reminded of my big mouth.
And then the race began. I had decided I would be walking. I went our running with Steve a few weeks ago and he informed me that my run is the same pace as my walk...4.0 why put all that effort in to go the same distance. I was quite lucky that my friend Suzanne, who really is a runner, she just ran in Boston last month, offered to walk along with me because she was having some knee problems. So we started our trek out of the Canyon. It was just beautiful: green fields with horses, Pineview Reservoir to look at, and towards the end of the Canyon there was a beautiful waterfall. Suzanne and I got to watch the Elite Runners make their way past us. I did pretty well, but as we came to the end of the Canyon I could feel the impact of the downhill on my knees. We rounded a bend at the end of the Canyon where spectators were standing and not cheering. It was really weird. They must not understand that the runners need that. It was actually kind of uncomfortable to walk by them as they are just looking at you. It was not long after that when my knees and left foot began to tell me that they were done. And then another angel came my way...Nanette and her daughter Jessie. They walked along with us and talked and helped get my mind off the pain that shot into my eye balls every time my left foot touched the ground. It was not long after that when I noticed I only had 2 miles left and Suzanne told me it would be the longest 2 miles of the whole rest. Steve ran by us and we saw another friend Eric go by and continued to hobble along. Many times the thought crossed my mind that I should tell Suzanne to go ahead and run off without me. I was so afraid my knee was just going to give out and I might have a good cry and I did not want to embarrass myself that way in front of people I knew and respected. Then we saw Wendy, who had already crossed the finished line with a time of 2:38 and had come back to meet us. She walked along and told us my friend Stacey who also was a newbie to this racing this had met her goal to run the WHOLE thing had accomplished that. WHOOHOO!!! I just teared up thinking of her. I could see the finish line by this time. And Suzanne could see her husband Brian and asked if I would be upset if she ran in with him...of course not...and then she was off, with her hand on his back as they made their way to that Finish Line. Wendy stayed by my side as we counted he stop lights. when I approached the last set of signals I told Wendy I want to jog from that point. I had wanted to run in...that was my when we got to the light I used everything I had to make my legs move in a running motion. I don't think I was going very fast, but I sure was trying and then I saw Steve and I LOST IT!!! I did, as Oprah would say, the "Ugly Cry". I could hear my children yelling for me, Steve was crying and telling me how proud he was of me. I crossed the finish line and felt so good, pain in my knees and feet, but I felt awesome. I went to where they were handing out the medals and the girl asked me, "do you want a medal?" I was thinking, "Are you kidding me...I just went 13.1 miles...of course I want my medal...I may wear it everywhere I go..." But what came out of my mouth was, "yes...thank you."
It was incredible...I MADE IT...I am not an athletic person. I have always wanted to have that talent, but just have never been good at these kind of things. And I had decided last summer I wanted more for myself. I wanted to live my life and stop being a spectator to it...I wanted to be STRONGER in my belief of my own abilities. I know that there are people that ran that race faster and other that went farther, BUT this was my race to believe in myself. There is a quote that says:
The woman that starts the race,
Isn't the same woman that finishes it.

I can whole heartedly agree with that. I also need to say I am so grateful for friends. They helped me so much: from the 6 foot bird in my house...Suzanne being willing to walk along with me when she proabbly could have jogged much of that course...Nanette and Jessie coming up to Ogden to watch all of the runners and walking along with me and running many of our friends in...Wendy coming back to meet us after having finished her own race and walking/jogging the end with me...and last but certainly not least Steve, my very best friend, who supported me from the time I told him my goal of doing this (even if he thought I had bit off more than I could chew) and then standing there at the finish line crying and telling me how proud he was. I am touched and in awe of all their kindness.


mabel said...

Congrats Nik!! We're so proud of you... I don't think I could ever do a marathon!

Anonymous said...

I cried like a baby when I read this! Way to "rock it" momma! So proud of you!!!

sHaWna said...

Nikkinunu!! You did it! I have to admit my eyes got a little moist also. . What a wonderful accomplishment. You have great friends and a fantastic husband. I think that it's cool share something like this with your sweetie. He knows how hard it is to complete a goal like this!!! Now you are an athlete. Whooohooo!!

Kim said...

You are awesome girlfriend! Way to go!!

Emily said...

great job Nikki! Way to go! Loved reading about your adventure!