Here's the deal with this blog post. It's quite detailed and honestly, probably boring BUT I want to remember all these details so feel free to just scroll through the pictures. If you want to know all the details, then keep reading!
Back in December, December 11th to be exact, Louisa talked me into signing up for the Utah Valley Marathon on June 8th. (This picture was taken just before we went and signed up. We took it because we had a Welsh Choir concert that night and we wanted to remember that. But it just so happens to be the same night we signed up for the race.)
We decided to start training after finals were over. We ran once over Christmas break, wasn't the best start. When school started again in January, we got on a better running schedule. We ran three days a week. Mondays and Wednesdays we ran on the track in the Smith Field House and on Saturdays we bundled up and ran outside.
Everything was going well and we were on track with our running plan until Lousia came home from the doctors with news that she had to get shoulder surgery and would be out for 6-8 weeks, which meant I would be training and potentially running the marathon by myself. It's hard for me to train for a race by myself because I like running with people so I start to slack of. I missed days of running way too often but usually ran my long runs on Saturdays. The longest run I ran before the race was 15 miles.
During training, my foot started to hurt. Every time I took a step, pain shot up my leg. After a few days I could barely walk. I went to the foot doctor and got an X-ray. Luckily it wasn't fractured, but I did have tendinitis. I got some orthotics and was told the only way it would heal was if I didn't use it. So I stopped running for a week or two and it felt a lot better. Then I would go on a long run and it would hurt again. The cycle wouldn't be broken until the marathon was over; I couldn't afford to completely stop running. The orthotics helped a ton but it took some time for my feet to get used to them. The first time I ran with my orthotics was one of the worst runs I have ever been on. It was painful, but a different kind of pain than the tendinitis. Once my feet were used to the orthotics, I could continue running with a lot less pain and when there was pain, it was tolerable.
I didn't feel at all prepared for a marathon. A month before the race, I ran in the Provo City Half marathon. I was worried about my foot (I was barely getting use to my orthotics) but decided it would be a good trial run to see how much it could handle. I ran the whole thing and beat my pervious time by 15 minutes. My time was 2:05.
After completing that race, I felt awesome. My foot was fine during the race and I could barely feel my orthotics. I wasn't nearly as sore after the race as I was the first time around and I felt like I could keep running. This was a good sign! I realized that I could run this marathon. Even if I had to walk the last 13 miles, I knew for a fact that I could run 13 miles straight, and probably even more. About a half hour after I had finished my race, there were sharp pains shooting up my leg again. Feeling a little discouraged, I took a few days off. Taking a few days off turned into a few more days and the longest run I ran after this race was 13 miles, a couple Saturdays later. Needless to say, I was not as prepared for the marathon as I should have been. But the day came...
I woke up the morning of the race at 2:45 AM. Karissa got up and drove Hilary and I to the buses and off we went. I was nervous, excited, and didn't know what to expect
We drove 26 miles up the canyon where the bus dropped us off at the starting line. By this time it was probably 4:30 and the race began at 6:00 so we had some time to kill. I went to the bathroom once while we were waiting. By the time the race started I had to go again but thought it was just nerves and knew there would be porta-potties starting about mile 3 or 4 so if I really had to go, I could wait 30 minutes.
It said, "Go Alexis, Go!" I was excited to see all of them at the finish line!
Well I still had to go to the bathroom and had yet to see a porta-potty anywhere. I was still feeling pretty good when mile 8 and 9 came up. They were uphill (not a super steep uphill, but still uphill). I pushed through and continued running. I still hadn't seen a bathroom yet. By mile 10, I couldn't take it anymore. I had to pee and I had to go now. (The race is on the canyon road so there aren't really trees and bushes to just run behind...) I finally found a bush and was able pee. FINALLY. Unfortunately, someone had just gone to the bathroom behind the same tree and they didn't just have to pee. Lucky me, I stepped in it. I'm still not quite sure how this happened, but it was all up my leg and all over my shoe. Not only was it practically everywhere, but it smelled terrible. So I was behind this random tree, dry heaving, and trying to figure out how to get someone's waste off my leg and shoe. My first idea was to take my sock off and wipe my leg off but then I remembered I still had about 16 miles to run and didn't want to do that without a sock. Then I remembered my water belt that my neighbor gave to me. It seriously SAVED me. I poured the water down my leg and used leaves to wipe everything off. I am surprised I didn't throw up. I have a really bad gagging reflex and it was disgusting. TMI, I know. But it happened.
Anyway, I was back on the course in no time only to find about 50 porta potties at the half way mark, which was about 2.5 miles from where I went to the bathroom. Awesome.
Then Louisa met up with me. I was SO happy to see her! We ran a little past the 15 mile marker and I needed to stop and walk for a minute. My foot was hurting and I was tired. We would walk for a minute, then run a mile or two, then walk for a minute and so on for the rest of the race. We probably only walked a total of 3 or 4 miles though. I have never been so happy to see this sign, coming out of the canyon:
By the time we got out of the canyon, I knew we were going to make it. I had run that route a million times while training and the end was near. There were people on the streets cheering the runners on. That helps so much, especially by the end of the race when you are exhausted and just want to be done. By this time, my foot was in so much pain. I was no longer wearing my orthotic because that hurt my foot too. I couldn't feel anything under my waist and I just had to keep running. Thank goodness Louisa was with me or else it would have been a lot harder for me to keep running; I just wanted to be done.
It was a great feeling when we could see the finish line! New energy kicked in and I kept running. I saw Amber, Andrew, and Karissa by the finish line, taking pictures. I almost started crying because I had done it! It took my 5:18. As I crossed the finish line, they announced my name and all I could do was smile. I did something I didn't ever think I could do.I ran a marathon.
Before I started running races, someone told me crossing the finish line was addicting. I didn't believe them until I crossed one myself. That being said, I will probably run another marathon someday. I know I can do better. My next goal is to run a marathon without walking. Someday I will do that because I know I can.