I stopped checking the weather forecast at some point on Thursday, when it kept calling for a rainy day on Saturday. It didn't matter anyway. I was going to run my race no matter what. Thursday evening we made the 2 1/2 hour drive down to Salt Lake City, making a stop in Ogden on the way to pick up our race packets. Friday we spent the day with our friends, visiting, shopping at Wasatch Running Center and then having a great pre-race meal at a quaint little local pizza and pasta place. I was in bed by 8:30pm on Friday night with a full belly and an anxious mind.
I woke up at 12:30 and tossed and turned until about 1:30am, only to be woken at 2:30 by my obnoxious alarm. We had to be at the shuttles by about 4:30am and it was an hour drive to get there. After I got dressed and ready, I went downstairs where I found out that my race companion Marsden had come down with a nasty virus and was feeling miserable. He wasn't sure he was going to run, but we loaded up in the car and started the trip to the shuttles. As we were on the freeway, the rain started pouring down. Marsden's friend was driving us, and together they decided it might be worth risking driving up to the starting line area on our own, rather than taking the shuttles. While it is pretty much a race no-no, it saved us from having to stand out in the rain for over 2 hours waiting. We took the risk that there would be race officials or police at the turn that goes up the canyon to the race start telling us to turn around, and as luck would have it, we were able to make the turn and went up to the start and parked the car and waited...and waited....
At 6:30am I got out of the car and hopped into a port-a-potty line with a billion other runners. I finished with about 5 minutes to spare. It wasn't until that last minute that Marsden made the decision to at least start the run with me. As the race began at 7:15am, the rain was still coming down pretty good, but the positive energy from the thousands of runners was keeping us all pumped. The first few miles went by quickly, though my hamstrings tightened up almost immediately. And even though I had made use of the P-o-P's at the starting line area, about 3 or 4 miles in I was feeling like I needed to make another pit-stop. Every time we passed more P-o-P's though, there was a line and I would put it off thinking that I would stop at the next aid station. I kept running, despite having a few stomach cramps and feeling a little "off".
Finally at the half-way point, there were enough potties that I didn't have to wait in line, so I stopped. While I felt better after the stop, it cost me some time. My clothes were so soaked that I had some trouble getting things back in "place". I didn't want to start running again until I had everything properly situated and comfortable. Well, as comfortable as I could get, being completely drenched head to toe.
After the half-way point, we took off again. Marsden, who had seriously considered dropping out then because he was so cold and wet, had luckily come across a warmer jacket that someone had tossed to the side of the road under a tent near an aid-station. Having a dry jacket to put on made all the difference for him and he was able to continue on with the race.
With every step I could feel my feet squishing in my shoes and I knew I was getting blisters on both of my feet. I tried not to think about that though, and just focused on keeping a steady pace. Right up until about 20 miles we were able to maintain a consistent pace of right around 10:20-10:30 min/mile, and that's including taking a 1 minute walk break after every 5 minutes of running. The last 6.2 miles were almost completely downhill...steep downhill...as we ran through Ogden Canyon. That downhill really kills the quads and the knees, even though it feels good to have help keeping the momentum going through gravity! Due to the pain in my legs, especially my knees, my pace slowed a little. And I honestly, I was so over the stupid rain!! For over 4 hours we had not had a single break from the wetness. Not even a few minutes to dry out a little. Blah. As we made the very last turn and had about a mile left in the race, I finally felt a glimmer. The sun came out ever so briefly and there was a break in the rain. We skipped our last walking break and took it home to the finish line. Inside I felt like crying, my legs were hurting so badly, but I held it in and just kept telling myself that the pain was only temporary. I knew that if I allowed myself to let up at all, I would regret it later. Those last few miles are what makes marathons so very difficult. The body hurts, the muscles are out of fuel and tired and the mind is intuitively telling you to stop. You have to force yourself to change your thoughts and ignore the pain long enough to keep going and finish. It never gets any easier, but there's nothing like the satisfaction you feel when you finish.
My official chip time was 4:49. And unfortunately we didn't get many pictures along the course this time. Hopefully I can get my hands on the few that Marsden's friend took for us and there may also be a few coming later from the course photographers.
Today I am limping around a bit on incredibly sore legs and lots of blisters on my feet...but still, oh-so-happy. :)