April 20th I ran my first marathon, and I got to run it with my best friend!
I have two amazing friends who live in Scottsdale, AZ, I am here in Atlanta, and we love to take “girls trips,” For some strange reason, we think it’s really fun to do destination races. This is the second year in a row we have chosen the Salt Lake City race. Last year we all ran the ½ marathon, but this year 2 of us decided to do the big daddy, full on, 26.2.
My friend and I decided to “virtually” train together using one of the Hal Higdon training programs. I have to admit that I didn’t hate the training, even though I ended up running in some cold-ass weather, I was kinda ok with it. That was a big surprise to me especially ‘cause I’m a giant baby when it comes to cold weather.
Along our training program my sweet friend, Kimberly, ended up with a knee injury, which put her in a serious funk about our upcoming race. She went back and forth about what she should do, but after a few weeks, she realized that she might need to scale back to the ½. I kept up with my training for the full marathon; I got through my 20-mile run and I was getting ready to taper down when a nagging hip injury started taking its toll. It got the point where I wasn’t sure if I could run at all. It was bothering me so much that even walking hurt. One day while walking to the bus stop, my very dear and very southern friend said, “ You look like you gotta hitch in your giddy-up.” Which totally cracked me up because she was right! I had a hitch. And it was in my giddy-up.
SOOOOO…long story short, my friend and I decided a few days before the race that even though this marathon wasn’t exactly what we had planned, we were going to do it come hell or high water. Well, guess what? There was high water for sure…it rained pretty much the whole time! It’s a good thing we like running in the rain and it’s a good thing we dressed in layers! Picture two very wet, injured girls; slowly slugging their way through a long-ass race…we were a sight. I think there were maybe 4 people left at the finish line when we crossed. It was a little anticlimactic, but exciting at the same time. We crossed, then looked at each other and said, “let’s get outta here.” No hanging around to celebrate, no getting that beer we were promised, we just wanted to get dry and warm.
Meanwhile, our awesome friend, Deirdre, who finished hours before we did, because she was the smart one and decided to do the half, was back at the hotel, showered and dry. BUT before she was dry and warm; she was cold, wet and ALONE in an unfamiliar city. She crossed the finish line, decided to wait in line to get a massage…ONLY because it was under a tent where it wasn’t raining, and she was trying to pass the time before we crossed …I mean limped across the finish line. When she finally decided that it was just crazy to wait for us, she managed her way to a warm, dry shuttle bus…. she didn’t know where this bus was taking her, she didn’t really give a crap…she just wanted to be warm. She didn’t care if it drove her around the city for hours it was better than the soggy-ass finish line. Well, the bus ended up taking her to the train station, where she had to go back out into the rain to wait for a train. Again…unfamiliar city, cold and wet and wondering, “Now where the F do I go?” She got off the train as close as she could to where she thought our hotel was. Well, she learned that she was still a ways away from where she wanted to be. Poor Deirdre! Our sweet Irish friend, in her awesome Irish accent says, “ by this point I was feeling so sorry for myself, I just wanted someone to come give me a hug.” I wish we could have been there to give our brave friend a hug!
I think one of the driving forces behind Kimberly and I wanting to go ahead with our marathon was what had happened only 5 short days before at the Boston marathon. The race directors in Salt Lake City did a great job honoring the people of Boston, it was incredibly touching and inspiring! It was so amazing to see spectators standing in the cold rain, cheering their hearts out! Boston was on everyones minds and hearts.
Now, I am hoping this “hitch in my giddy-up” will ease up so I can get back to running…maybe not the long-ass runs like I had been doing, but a nice 5 mile run would feel pretty good right about now!!!
Looking forward to our next destination race!!