Friday, July 8, 2011

Utah Valley Half Marathon

It came. (The Half Marathon)
I conquered! (13.1 Miles)
That's all that matters.
I am content with just the three above sentences posted about this race.  However, I feel I must expound for my own memory sake since I will want to remember this day for years to come and writing it all down will help me accomplish just that. So, this will be a long post because I do have many thoughts about it all.

June 10, 2011
I went to bed rather early so as to get as much sleep as possible.  I laid out my clothes, ipod, chapstick, gum, energy bar, etc so as to feel completely ready in the morning.  I remember tossing and turning most of the night waiting for the alarm to go off at 3:00 am.  I actually had a dream about Porter sometime during the night.  He was alive again and was home and I was so comforted with him being with me.  We were in a room with a lot of other people and he was standing by my side with his head resting on my shoulder.  I was trying to introduce him to people but he never spoke, yet I felt so much warmth with him just being there with me.  I felt like Porter was there to give me strength and encouragement to get me through what lie ahead.

June 11, 2011
3:00 am came all too quickly.  I awoke feeling excited, yet rather calm about the whole event.  I had trained to the best of my abilities and followed through with all the prescribed runs.  In looking through my records, out of the 40 training runs in preparation for the half marathon, I only had a bad experience with 2 of them.  So I felt as ready as I could be.

  A young college friend of mine, JaNae, was running also and her mother offered to drive us to the bus.  I was picked up promptly at 3:30 am and we drove to the Provo Town Centre Mall where we met up with Doran and Jody, some dear friends of mine.  Jody had some major owies going on and wasn't able to run this race. (Next one Jody :)  So she kissed her hubby good-bye and he hopped on the bus with me and JaNae.  We drove for what seemed like an eternity in the dark, on an old yellow school bus, up Provo Canyon to the starting line.  All along the way I kept thinking, am I really going to be able to run all this way back??  Yet, I still didn't feel nervous.  I kept wondering if this was normal that I was feeling so calm?

Doran, Jody, me

We arrived at the starting line somewhere before 5:00 am and had to wait in the cold for over an hour.  There were little fire pits with fires all around and we were able to squeeze in by one of them and enjoy the conversations and warmth going on around us.  I enjoyed watching the night sky starting to lighten and just enjoyed the beautiful surroundings of being in the canyon.  I did see two familiar faces in the crowds of people.  One was Susan, whose daughters take piano from me, and the other was Clint Friel who is a trainer at Gold's Gym and used to be in our ward.  I never saw either one of them again after the race started.  Someday, if I keep this running up I just might get faster.  I can only hope.

With about 15 minutes left until the race was to start I made one last stop in the port-a-potty and got my ipod turned on and headed further down the road closer to where the starting line was.  I didn't see JaNae or Doran after this point and knew I wouldn't since I'm a much slower runner than either of them.  That's o.k. though because I had my tunes and the morning air was beautiful and cool.     

Then it happened!  The race began and the throngs of people began moving down that canyon road.  I got a little emotional at that point and cried a little.  I think it was just for the fact that I now felt completely overwhelmed and couldn't believe I was here at this point in my life running in a race I never imagined I would be.  The tears dried quickly and I got into a nice comfortable running groove and ran and ran and ran.  

The first 6 miles of the race were all in the canyon and were absolutely beautiful.  When I passed Bridal Veil Falls I couldn't keep my eyes off of it.  I kept thinking of Porter and how he had climbed that mountain not just once, but twice, all the way to the top where the old burned down restaurant and dance hall were.  I think he would have said that was one of his most adventurous hikes!  Certainly one of his scariest!

There were many water and gatorade stops along the way and of course I took drink from each of them but never stopped running.  Around mile 6 we got a packet of GU.  I had never tasted one of these so I was kind of excited about trying it.  I was handed a chocolate one and WOW!  It was so delicious!!  I felt like I was sucking on a piece of fudge.  I savored it and ate it sloooowly as I continued running. I Probably enjoyed it for the next mile or longer.  I remember wishing I had a whole pocketful of those things.  Around mile 8 I pulled out a piece of gum and that kept my mouth busy till the end of the race.

Around mile 9 some very dear friends of mine, Annaleesa and Laurie, showed up on the road and started trotting along with me.  I say trotting because I really am a slow runner.  They made me laugh and chatted for a bit and totally buoyed my spirits up for what I had left to do.  They left me a few minutes later and I felt renewed and energized by their visit! 
Laurie, me, Annaleesa
Around mile 10 I had to do some self-talk.  I knew that 3 miles wasn't a hard distance to run and that I just had to persevere.  There were lots of spectators along University Avenue and that gave me a boost as well, even though they weren't necessarily cheering for me.  I saw a poster that kept me going strong to the finish.  It read "TOUGH TIMES DON'T LAST, TOUGH PEOPLE DO!"   Those words rang through my mind throughout the rest of the race.  I thought how true they were.  This race wasn't going to last forever.  I was almost done and I could finish proud!

Around mile 12 I was running past the Provo High School and I saw a car to my left driving by very slowly.  The girl inside had her window down and was waving at me and cheering me on.  It was one of Porter's friends, Katie Andrew, and I immediately felt rejuvenated again.  I started crying as I thought of Porter and how much I love him and how much I longed to be with him.  Crying while running is a bit challenging because it messes up your breathing.  I tried to dry up quickly and the next thing I knew I saw Doran, my friend who rode the bus with me.  He's not running to the finish line but running BACK to get me after he had finished his race and to help me finish my very last mile.  That made me cry again, but I was able to quickly get it under control. 
 In training for a half marathon the longest run you ever do is 12 miles and so this last mile to the finish line was a whole new experience.  I could definitely feel new aches and pains starting and I was so grateful that Doran was encouraging me and keeping me going.  I could see the huge big blue finish line down the road but it felt like 100 miles away.  I stayed focused though and ran proud and strong.  The first recognizable face I saw in the crowd was JaNae's mom, Heidi.  Then I saw my family, Mark, Cooper, Jordan, and Kali.  I wanted to cry again when I saw them.  I love them all so much.  This is my reaction when I FINALLY saw my family.
Jordan, Kali, Mark, me, Cooper
 Then I saw Jody, my great friend who has the great, supportive husband.  My daughter didn't get her picture in the crowd. I think she got lost.

Then my 2 dear friends, Annaleesa and Laurie standing by the black sign wearing blue.
I couldn't help raising my arms in triumph!  I was so relieved it was over!

My mother was out there in the crowd somewhere but she never found me until after I ran through the finish line.  She was disappointed but that's alright with me.  She was there and that's all that mattered.
me and my mama
After I ran through that finish line I felt complete joy!   It was over and I felt satisfied.  My final time on my chip was  2:38:02  of which I ran every single step of the way!
I drank a chocolate milk and ate a creamie and visited those wonderful people who came to support me.

A little while later we waited in a long line and got a massage, (so totally worth it) and then I hobbled to the car and spent a lot of my day resting. 

Now it's time to start thinking about the next race at the end of August. (Top of Utah-Half Marathon) My mind is motivated but now I just need to get my body to agree with my mind.


Unknown said...

I am soooo proud and happy for you. I have to admit, your first picture took me back because I thought you looked exactly like the pictures I've seen of Porter. It's clear that he was with you...I'm sure he's so proud of you too.

Audrey said...

You are SO amazing! What a wonderful accomplishment!

Loralee and the gang... said...

I am so proud of you!

heather said...

You are amazing!! Congratulations!!!

Nikki said...

Susette!!! First of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH for the sweet comment you left on my post! It seriously MADE MY DAY and put the biggest smile on my face.

Secondly...I am so glad I found your blog because YOU inspire me!!! Oh, my goodness, tears are welling up in my eyes as I read this post. I ran that same race with you and I remember feeling the same way...the bus ride taking forever and wondering how in the world I am going to run ALL that way!! haha! And seeing my family at the end was the greatest feeling ever!

Your story about Porter was very touching and added to the sweetness of this race for you. I Loved that! I have cried on many a run and it is so hard to breath!! Ha!

Everything about your recap touched me and inspired me to keep going. I wish I was running the Top of Utah half with you. That looks like a good one. Next year!!

Keep up the great work and Congratulations on that amazing accomplishment!! I look forward to following you and getting to be good friends!!

Mitch and Cortney said...

Way to go Susette!!!

Doran & Jody said...

Woot! Woot!
I wish I could have ran the whole way with you. And I wish I could run this next one too. But I WILL be there taking pictures!

Alana said...

I JUST found your blog. I realized your cute daughter Kali hadn't posted in a long time- so i was looking thru and found yours! So glad I did. CONGRATULATIONS on your Half! you had a GREAT time! I am so happy for you seriously. How stinkin awesome. You posts make me cry..... you are a great lady. Thanks for bein an inspiration to me :) good luck on your next half! I am doing another one too- its the Salt Lake half on Labor day. Keep fightin the good fight you awesome woman you!

kate said...

SO SO awesome. YOu are such an inspiration. How exciting. Keep up the good work.

katie said...

I remember that day so well still, and I remember driving to work. (I was working in down town Provo at the time). Isn't it interesting that I was exactly on the road as you were running? I happened to be working at the place I was working at, on that day, driving that road. I remember driving and realizing half the street was closed for this marathon. Then I thought, I should maybe look for Porter's mom. I didn't even know that you were running it. When I saw you, I got so happy. I hurried and rolled down my window (manual window) and cheered. I hoped you had recognized me. I am so glad you did. Porter loves you so much.