Warning!! Very Long Race Report!!
Wow, I am overwhelmed by all of your comments! Having this supportive group definitely keeps me going. I wish I could write as eloquently as Suzie, but here goes:
Quick Marathon Background:
Newport 2005- 8 months after having Emily, had no idea what to expect, felt really ready, but at mile 7 I couldn't breathe. The last 19 miles were miserable. I cried and was disappointed for 3 days. Time: 5:11
Ogden 2006- Trained hard with my good friend Suzie (and other mommies and Ted!) and had a great run until mile 18, when I had the same symptoms I had in my first marathon. Ran/Walked the last 6 miles. Time: 4:38 I cried again, but now knew that something was going on.
Finally diagnosed with exercise induced asthma!
Green River 2006- A month after Ogden Suzie agreed to run Green River Marathon in Seattle to "test" the inhaler. Made it to mile 25-doh!! Time- 4:45(we got lost and ran 27 miles-oops-did I mention we didn't go to bed the night before-at all?!!)
So, here I am a year and a half later. I was blessed with a "surprise" pregnancy after fertility issues with my first 2 kids. So, I took a break from running from September through June. Somewhere in there I decided it would be a good idea to run a marathon 4 1/2 months after having baby Bryce. I signed up with a group of 13 people, including Suzie Petunia. (She was due to have the baby 6 weeks before me.)
Luckily, I had a great recovery and was able to start running at 2 weeks. I started very slowly and told myself all along that if my body wasn't ready I wasn't going to run the marathon. I just took it one run at a time. There were many times I wanted to give up on St. George, but I just kept going. The asthma was frustrating but I was able to keep it under control with the acupuncture. I had a great group to run with and keep me accountable, even if I had to run at my own pace. (Thanks ladies!!) I had some amazing runs and that is what spurred me on. I finally bought my plane tickets and committed myself.
Finally, here is my race report.:-) Unfortunately, Bryce did not sleep the night before, so neither did I. Having run a marathon on no sleep, I knew it was possible! We made it on the early buses and it seemed exciting and crazy all at the same time. On the bus ride I was noticing every downhill that would be an uphill coming back the other way. I can't tell you how many times I said, "Isn't it supposed to ALL be downhill." I am sure Suzie was sick of it! When we got off the bus, "Eye of the Tiger" was playing which is my Nike + power song. I smiled at Suzie and said, "It's a sign. That's my song!" Suzie informed me, "That's everyone's song, Kelly!" So, we headed over to the bonfires. We still had 2 hours until the official start. So, we tried to stay warm, took lots of pictures and just hung out. What else is there to do at the top of a mountain at 4am? The time flew by surprisingly fast. I finally hit the bathroom when there were no lines. It was taking a long time to do my business but I was not leaving until it was done. I was embarrassed to see a long line outside my porta potty door, so I hid my number and my face and walked fast! We waited until the last possible minute to strip our warm clothes. The gun actually went off and we weren't even ready to go. We had timing chips so we decided not to rush. The plan was to start slow and end faster.
We finally started and it seemed surreal. Suzie, Kirsten and I stayed together for the first little while. I thought we were going slow enough(our first mile was around 8:45 and we were staying close to the 4 hour pacer), but my heart rate was going up quicker than I wanted so I hung back and watched the girls go ahead. I was disappointed, but I knew this needed to by my race alone. After 4 months of training solo, my marathon had to be solo also. It was a sad realization, but it is what needed to be done. It was darker at the start than I realized it would be. As the miles kept going the scenery was incredible. The red rock was beautiful and watching the sunrise was one of the coolest things I have witnessed. I saw the girls around mile 7, just before the "hill." I tried to gear myself up for the hill, so I slowed down and took my time. I never saw them again. Unfortunately, my heart rate was getting high, so I decided to walk a little bit. Mentally, I couldn't let this beat me. As soon as I was ready I began running again. I was very proud that I was able to control my race this way. There were more uphills than I had anticipated. Miles 11-14 were slow and felt like they would never end. The most beautiful moment was mile 15 when I saw the sign that let me know the downhill was around the corner. My heart swelled and I knew at that time that I was going to make it. That downhill was the most fun I have ever had in a race. I was smiling and singing and giggling. All the work felt worth it. That lasted for a few miles and then came mile 18. This was an uphill that I wasn't prepared for. If you ever run St. George be ready for this one. After the awesome downhill that uphill is tough. My quads were burning, but I made it! There was more downhill and then we come into town. It was awesome to see all the people supporting us lining the streets of St. George. I felt like I had a permagrin! I am sure I looked like the biggest dork. I felt a second wind and just enjoyed waving to all the people. Unfortunately this run in town lasts 3 miles and feels like it is never going to end. Every part of my body hurt. It took every ounce of mental strength I had not to stop and walk. It wasn't my breathing, it was my body. But I was determined to finish strong. I knew at this point that I wasn't going to break 4 hours, but I knew I would still beat my last time and that was an amazing feeling. I saw the balloons signifying the end of the race and I didn't know if I could last that long. Luckily at mile 25 1/2 my sweet hubby was there with my baby and my good friend Ellen. They are exactly what I needed to see at that moment. I gave them both a kiss (not Ellen) and then kept going. I had no kick at the end I just had to keep going. I saw Suzie just before the finish line and smiled at her and I knew she knew I was happy. No sad tears for this marathon, just happy ones. It all came together. The training was worth it. Totally recommend St. George. Will I run it again? Ask me later. For now, I am enjoying the feeling of a successful marathon.
4:06:35 And the hardest thing I have ever done!
More pictures to come after I develop my disposable camera. I took pictures while I was running, so we will see how they turn out!