4:15am wake up call. We jumped in the car and headed to the bus pickup location. Rain started to downpour on our way to the bus location. A marathon in a rain-storm?! That would be a first. Luckily the rain slowed down and by the time the bus pulled up to the marathon start line the rain had totally stopped. PHEW!! On a side note- that bus ride was torture! The entire 45 minute bus ride all I could think about was the fact that I had to run this entire distance all the way back to St. George. Seriously we were driving through the booneys FOREVER! The guy next to me on the bus was telling me about how he was going to propose to his wife at the end of the race! He was carrying the ring with him the whole race. I thought running a marathon was stressful enough- running a marathon with a finish line proposal? Seriously man?! I can't imagine pulling that off so major props to him! At least it took my mind off the seemingly endless bus ride for a minute.
Unloaded the bus, pinned my bib #313 to my chest, laced my shoes up (which took about 10 minutes to adjust the laces to the absolute perfect tightness- OCD I know), and then waited in a long line to use the porta potta. TBH the thing that stresses me out the most before a marathon is that I might NOT have to go to the bathroom. You’re probably thinking “What?!” Let me defend myself here. If I don’t use the bathroom right before the gun fires then I know that, without a doubt, at some point during the race I’m going to need a pit stop- and that isn’t always very convenient… Unfortunately losing bodily functions during a marathon is more common than you’d think… K gross sorry BUT pre-race restroom run was a success so I’ll end this convo here.
I was feeling like a million bucks the first few miles. All smiles till I hit the hill of hell. At mile 7 I looked up to see a mile-long mountain to climb (and immediately reached into my pocket and pulled out a glucose gel pack for some moral support). Survived the hill (although my pace definitely dropped quite a bit). The rest of the race was quite the opposite and actually almost entirely downhill. Don’t get me wrong, I totally embraced that negative incline after the hell hill but I actually found myself performing better when the downhills would level out. By mile 15 I was definitely pretty out of it. I grabbed a glucose gel pack at mile 17 and quickly squeezed it into my mouth without even looking at the flavor. I puked in my mouth the instant the “Mocha” flavor hit my taste buds. Sorry if you’re a mocha fan but those are straight GROSS- I gagged out as much of that stuff as I could. I stuck with Gatorade the rest of the race… in fact I stuck with Gatorade at each and every aid station the rest of the race… I downed all the sugary stuff I could get.
The last three miles of the marathon went great- I was totally motivated by the whole community who were out by the street cheering on all the runners. All of them would say “Keep it up, Aaron!” “Way to go, Aaron!” “Almost there, Aaron!” I kept thinking “How do all these people know my name?!” Is there some sort of app they can download that shows the location of runners and their names? Whatever it was I was feeling pretty cool that everyone knew my name. Recognizing that I was on pace to PR I picked it up the last few miles and fought my aching muscles. I was thrilled to look up at the finish line clock to see 2 hours 55 minutes and 43 seconds. 3 minute PR!! I wanted to collapse but managed to make it to the little photo finish station. The photographer said “Hey do you want a picture, Aaron!” This was when I finally had to ask “How come everyone knows my name!?” Another runner looked over at me, laughed, and said “Dude, its on your bib!” haha I felt pretty stupid I hadn’t pieced that together sooner.
I shuffled over to my wife who supported me, literally, as my legs started cramping up and giving out. We cheered loud in the bleachers as Sam’s rockstar cousins finish the marathon (for all of them it was their first marathon- and they all crossed the finish line looking way happier than I had!) Very impressive.
As I sit here thinking about yesterday’s marathon I can’t help but smile at the millions of emotions I experienced yesterday. My legs are currently extremely stiff and I’m so sore I practically cry at the slightest movement of a toe. But despite all the pain, travel, and lack of sleep it was TOTALLY WORTH IT! If you are considering running a marathon- DOOO IT! DOOO IT! DOOO IT! *me chanting* And if you want someone to train with I’ll be the first to lace up and go for a run with you.
Hopefully this post can benefit you in some way, shape, or form- I mean at the very least you know that pooping pre-race is a big deal, right?
Sweat and smile,