Paul here- Feel free to skip this post and wait for the return of the talented Jessica posts later on. For now...It's my turn. ;)
"I want to thrive, not just survive" started going through my mind back in April of this year. I set a goal and nothing was going to stop me this time.
Rewind back to 1987. I was 6 yrs old.
The "Marathon Moms" was a group of mothers that set out to finish a marathon. My wonderful and inspiring mother was one of those women that set out to finish that daunting task. I remember one morning the news came to interview them as they shuffled their kids out the door so they could go for a run. I was in awe. It was magic to see the news people so interested in what my mom was trying to do. I was intrigued and inspired. From that moment on I always knew I would run a marathon someday. I didn't understand the pain, the suffering, the time it would take, or the sacrifices that would be made. It didn't matter.
After many years of putting it aside, it was finally time. 2011 was going to be my year! I turned 30 in May and figured there was no better year to run a marathon. It started with the gathering of friends. I couldn't do this alone. We tossed the idea around the neighborhood and quickly found a group of 8 or so that were interested. Long hours ensued.
I was running daily- sometimes twice a day. A runners high was all too real.
Enter June 1st and 110 degree heat.
Running in St. George in the middle of the summer was not an easy task. It was hard for me to want to get up at 4:00am with the others, so I would make due at midnight. It was still 100 degrees often. To top it off, we had the most humid summer ever. I don't know what happened to that "dry heat" we all experience down here, but this was downright nasty.
Finally October 1st came. Family came to town to support me, and this was actually happening! I didn't sleep much the night of, and figured I wouldn't.
Race morning was magical. I was determined to run in between 3:45 and 4:00. Part of me said it was OK to just finish...but there was an aching inside to get a great time.
The gun went off, I started out strong. We hung with the 3:45 pace runner.
Mile 5, passed,
Mile 7 and the dreaded Veyo hill,
Mile 13- I was half way there.
Mile 17- The 3:45 pacer went on by. "That's OK" I thought... I'm still WAY ahead of the 4:00 pace.
Mile 20- Now I am reaching a point I have never been too. This was new territory...
I saw a friendly face in Brock as he passed on by. We stretched for a minute and I told him I was done. I could tell he didn't need the negative energy and he kept on trucking. I saw Taylor pass on by and didn't have the energy...or the heart to call out to him. Just let him finish strong.
Then it happened. The runners wall. I had hit it square in the nose. I had had a hard time finding nutrition other than bananas and gatorade along the way... I needed something with some calories. I'm not sure why others were seeming to find food, but I never did.
I started doing the "wander" as I walked for the next 2 miles. Deliriously deciding to stop and stretch on occasion. watching as passing vans picked up other athletes. It was only the thoughts of my amazing family hanging out at the finish line that kept me going.
Mile 24- A voice of encouragement called out. It was my brother-in-law Adam! This was JUST what I needed. A running partner. A fresh pair of legs to help me along. He wasn't racing that day, but ran along side me at a really great pace for the final 2 miles. His words of encouragement will go down in history! I can never repay him for what he did that day. I saw his mom and had her call my parents at the finish line- Let them know I would make it although 45 minutes later than expected. I saw my dad on the corner just a few blocks out! Then came the finish chute! I had done it! ( I have the chills just telling this story) I frantically looked around the crown for my family. Adam had dropped off to let me finish. There they were!! Jessica, the kids, my mom, my in-laws. Everyone was cheering ME on! Jesi jumped in with me and ran the final 100 yards (in flip flops with camera on neck) It was one of the happier moments of my life. I wouldn't have it any other way than to have her finishing with me! I had "finished the course." My goal was complete, and I was a new man. Everyone that can- should experience what I just experienced. You learn to dig deep, find out what you are made of. Thanks to everyone that supported me even if it was just with a phone call the next day. I owe you all!