Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ogden Half Marathon

I did it!

What an amazing experience! I've been telling people it was similar to heaven and hell all wrapped up in one. Next to marriage and childbirth, one of the most challenging things I've ever done and I still can't believe my body did it. 

I realize that a half isn't quite as challenging as a full marathon and that for some, running 13.1 miles is a daily experience and nothing to think twice about. 

For me, it was earth shattering. 

I've been training 2-3 times a week for up to 9 miles. Mostly smaller 3-5 mile runs then a longer one on the weekend. The weekend before the race, Saturday we ran 6 miles and Sunday we did 7. I had been running since the second week of March and still was really struggling with the 6-9 mile runs and had a lot of soreness for the following day. All of these things were making me on high alert for race day. If 9 miles makes me this sore, how will I ever do 13.1!

The plan was to run 2 times the week of the race, well with work and family didn't quite happen. I think I also had the thought in the back of my mind that if I ran, I would realize I hated it, and wouldn't show up for the race. (yes..I really thought that) So that whole week = no running. 

Every time I thought about the race, my stomach would get knots and I felt a little light headed. Looking back, I'm sure it was the unknown that was so terrifying.  Friday I got to work and my co-workers had made me this huge sign and treats with balloons that had this awe inspiring message 

'The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is over. The pain in your legs within days, but the glory of your finish will last FOREVER! We're all so proud!'

When I read the message, words can't describe the feeling. I was so grateful and it gave me just the extra motivation I needed to prepare. I also was a bit tearful which most of them had never seen before (shocking). 

They will never know just how much that meant and how much I truly needed to hear those words. Another co-worker gave me a bracelet that said 'Strive Today', I wore it the day of the race and there were several times I looked down and read that and thought 'C' can DO this.' Many messages on FB, the girls I had ran with a few times and text messages on the morning of all made the world of difference to me. 

I couldn't sleep Friday night and it was raining most of the night. This seem to add to my stress and I kept thinking, it will clear up by morning. Um. NOT.

At 3:15 am I woke up to the sound of heavy rain and my stomach turning, I rolled over and told Cory, I've got to get up and get going or I'm going to bag the whole thing! I mean my first half is one thing but my first have in a freakin Tsunami is just damn ridiculous. So I got up, dressed and ate some oatmeal. I took a peanut butter toast with me and headed to Wal-Mart to see if I could get a last minute poncho to help keep me dry. 

I lucked out and got one of the last ones, as I headed out to my car I kept thinking...can I do this? This is going to be awful. Well it turns out, yes I could do it and yes it was awful!
We got to Ogden and headed towards the buses, the rain was a drizzle but still pretty wet. I'm sitting on the bus and as the doors shut I thought 'Shit, that was my last chance to run out of here and back home to bed'

It took about 15 minutes to get up to Eden and as the bus drove I kept thinking, 'I don't remember the Canyon being this long...I am really going to RUN DOWN this thing!? When we got to Eden park, bus loads of crazies unloaded into the pitch black. I headed to the porta potties and attempted to pee.. in the entire body shivering from anxiety..oh and a poncho. 
We all huddled under a pavillion at the park and there was people who were excited, some sleeping, and one girl who this was also her first race kept shivering saying 'I don't think I can do this! It's so cold! Do you think the bus will take me back down?' I felt like saying, 'Hi! Could you just shut the hell up, you are freaking me out!!' 

Here is me and a stranger making friends while waiting for the race to begin. Still smiling...this is called controlled FEAR.

At 6:45 we headed to the start lines, I knew I couldn't keep up with girls I had been training with the last few weeks so I wished them all good luck and headed to the 9 minute mile pace marker and they headed up to the front. I made my way into the middle of a group of people and started to stretch my legs the best I could. 

They had a woman announcing and she was getting the crowd pumped, loud music and cheering all in the rain at 6:45 on a Saturday morning. I looked down at my shoes and honestly said a prayer. Silly? I'm not sure but at that point, I needed everything I could grasp onto to get my body in the state of mind to get me through this thing. 

'Please God, help me today. Help me be strong, help me stay steady and above all else help me cross that finish line'. 

It might sound cliche, but a rush of calmness came over me. My butterflies settled, my muscles felt warm and as I started my iPod, I thought 'I've GOT this.' The first song that pumped into my ears 'Crazy Bitch' by BuckCherry. I thought to myself, Yes, yes I AM!

They started us off and at first you really can't run because it's wall to wall people, but as the road went on the people thinned out. The first hill out of Eden was horrible and I thought..WHY. Why would they start us at the bottom of a mother effing hill?? So I walked it. 

My plan was to start out slow, doing mostly a jog/walk and keeping energy. After the hill, my pace picked up and the tunes were going in my ears, and surprising enough, I was actually passing people! The rain didn't seem to bother me as much and my poncho was keeping my chest and arms dry. 

It was neat to see all the people on the side of the road cheering total strangers on. Miles 1-4 I don't really remember much. I just kept thinking, I can do this. I AM doing this. I had layers on and decided to stop at the spillway at Pineview to shed a sweatshirt and keep my poncho. I'm glad I did because the canyon was similar to a river and I could feel my feet gushing in lakes in my shoes. 

The downhill portion was nice and I kept thinking to myself, I just want to finish in under 3. I didn't take a potty break at first because the lines were all too long, I did take little sips of drinks they handed out at the different stations and also attempted a package of cliff GOO which was similar to rotten frosting which I immediately spit out onto the road. (Sorry fellow runners)

As I headed down the hill, my muscles started burning. I didn't really notice the shortness of breathe like I had when I was training. Miles 7-8 were pretty rough, I did stop to pee when I was almost out of the canyon and it took about 5 minutes in line and another 2 minutes to peel my soaking wet clothes down, I'm not even sure if they came all the way down or if I just peed all over my pants and poncho. I was pretty numb on the skin just the muscles were talking at that point. 

It was hurting pretty good but I kept pushing, I kept thinking of all the people who told me I COULD. All the motivation, the support, the miles I had spent training. I thought crazy things while I was running and I wanted to see the thought clouds above everyone's heads to see what they were thinking. I bet it would be funny. There were couples pushing each other to go, strangers yelling from stations 'You CAN DO IT!' I looked at my bracelet my work friend gave me and read 'Strive TODAY'. 

There were signs about every 5 miles someone had written for another Kim 'Kim! You can do it! I love you!' I'm not sure who the Kim was but I was so thankful for the commonality in our names. Those signs made a difference to me.There were more signs that said 'Don't listen to your body, you CAN do this'

I thought about my college, how I worked so hard to get my degree and how when I walked across the stage it felt so good to have something that no one could take away. It was then I knew that I could do this. I can do hard things. I can push when my body says stop, because my heart and my will are saying YES. 

Mile 10...the breathing started to get difficult and my legs were noodles. There are tiny little hills that felt like Mt. Everest at the mouth of the canyon as you run through dinosaur park. People were slowing down, one woman had her hand on her hip and extreme defeat in her eyes. I am not a pro runner nor sprinting but I grabbed her elbow and said 'Don't can finish' She was probably thinking 'eff you lady' but still, it motivated me Ü

Mile 11-12 were even harder. Mile 12 I heard someone yelling and I turned around and saw a biker yelling 'Marathoner coming through! Out of the way!' and here he comes...a young man in shorty shorts and a t-shirt. No earbuds pumping Crazy Bitch, no poncho. He was sprinting...SPRINTING at my mile 12 and his mile 25. Wow. Talk about awe inspiring. What had taken me almost 3 hours, he did double in that time. 

I hit Washington Blvd and they had us heading South instead of North and I was thinking why?? Why can't I just run straight to 25th street?? So we cut across on 10th and I turned on Grant. 

I could see the finish line. I could hear the bands, the music and people cheering. I started to get emotional thinking, I am almost done. My eyes started to water and I passed spectators with signs that read 'This is the worst parade ever!' 'Well done! I'm so proud of you, perfect stranger!' The signs made me smile and I started to walk fast. 

This girl came up out of nowhere and said 'Hi! I'm Diane, see that finish line? Let's go get it!' and she started to jog and grabbed my elbow. Then I really started to tear up and I smiled and said 'Ok'. We ran from one block then fast walked the next. People started getting louder and as I was two blocks out I could almost taste the finish line. I knew Cory would be waiting for me, Oh my God, how I just wanted to have him carry me to the truck. I wanted to see his face and show him that I did it. I did this marathon in the rain, all by myself. 

My legs were so exhausted, it was all I could do to push them. I had a goal to finish in under 3, as soon as I could read the timer on the finish line at one block out it read 3:03. Shit. That last potty break did me in! So with everything I could I just burst into a full out sprint, I was scanning the crowd but couldn't see Cory, I saw nothing but the finish line and I'm pretty sure I ran into at least 3 people. 

I burst through the line at 3:04.  

When I crossed, the feeling was surreal. My body lost all momentum and I started to hyperventilate  My fingers were swollen to the size of pickles and I couldn't get my phone out to call Cory. My body wouldn't listen any longer. In the midst of the chaos I heard someone calling my name, I looked to the right and there stood my husband on the other side of the fence. I mean, his face was from heaven and before I could even move to go to him I lost all control of my emotions and burst into tears. 

Like, similar to a Lifetime special drama scene, standing in the middle of 25th street with marathoners finishing around me I divulged into a full on tear fest. Cory just smiled at me and motioned for me to come here. I finally made my noodle legs walk a little bit further and landed in his arms with the fence between us. I sobbed, I couldn't breath and I sobbed some more. I was drenched, shaking and could barely move. He wrapped me up in a big Cory style bear hug and whispered into my neck 'It's alright babe, you did it! I told you could do it! I love you.'

I wanted nothing more than to just be over the fence and on our way home. I made my way through the crowds to find my way out, I didn't stop for a drink, no pictures at the finish line (which I am highly regretting now) Cory all but carried me to the truck. I laid down in the backseat and he took my shoes off. A lake of water poured out from each one and I asked him if all my toes were still there..he laughed and confirmed that although pruned beyond belief all of my toes were intact. 

My legs were pretty sore the rest of the day, if you can picture someone walking with a large stick up their ass then you have a perfect vision of my walk. It lasted into Sunday and by Monday I was feeling good. I am so very proud of the accomplishment from that day, I will be doing it again and hopefully not in the rain. It is amazing what your body can do when you push, push through the pain, push through the challenge and do hard things. 

The Glory of this finish will truly last FOREVER. 


Ashley :) said...

Miss Kimberli you are amazing! You are so inspiring! Congrats!

Heather said...

I am so happy that you want to do another one! It is so amazing how hard it is during it and then you still wanna do it again! That's exactly how I was after my last half, I was crying at the finish and I told Tyler not to let me do another one then I signed up for the Ogden 2 days later haha. I am so proud of you! Especially in the freaking rain! Congrats lady you are so awesome!!

Chris said...

Luv u Kimmie, I'm pretty sure u can do just about anything!!

The Jacobsen's said...

Yes, I am commenting! I am so proud of you, what a great accomplishment, you rock!

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