In the coming years, when I look back on the 2014 St. George Marathon, I will remember it as one of the greatest races of my career and one of the most impressive things I have ever physically accomplished. Not because of my time, but because I never should have been able to finish as well as I did with the lack of training time that I had put in. I checked my training journal to see just how undertrained I really was. I had run a grand total of 14 times in the seven weeks leading up to the marathon with a long run of 10 miles one week before the race. As I typed that last sentence, one thought ran through my head. What the hell were you thinking?! There was no eating healthy. There was not one week where I had run more than two to three times, and there were no long runs of 20-23 miles. A reasonable person would have called off the race. In fact, I did call of the race in a post I wrote on September 5th. So why did I end up running a race that I knew I was not ready for?
I ran because I felt like a quitter for calling off the race.
I ran so my daughter will know that her dad does not quit when things get hard
I ran because I wanted to see my running family
I ran because I wanted to continue on the path toward running 10 St. George Marathons so I won’t have to go through the lottery process (this year was my 6th St. George).
I ran because, quite frankly, I wanted to see if I could rise to the challenge that running a marathon so physically unprepared presented.
Finally, I ran because I wanted to prove to myself that I could still run the marathon distance, even if I am about 50-60 pounds overweight.
Still smiling as I enter the expo.
With my grandfather and hero at the race expo. My grandfather ran four St. George Marathons, starting at the age of 58. He was the one that took me to the track when I was 14 because he was worried about my weight. Although my weight has fluctuated up and down over the years, my passion for the sport he introduced me to has never wavered. Quite simply, he is the greatest.
On the bus ride to the start.
Anxiously waiting to line up at the starting line. Needless to say, I was more nervous than usual. Marathons hurt. Running a marathon untrained undoubtedly was going to hurt more.
I was lucky enough to run with my good friend London Riding from mile 3 to mile 13. We took this selfie at mile 4 or 5 (eat your heart out Joshua Snow Hansen:). I have to give a shout out to London. Although she did not feel good during the race, she pushed through and broke her previous marathon PR by two minutes!
About half way through the race.
Victorious! I fought off MAJOR cramping muscles for the last 10 miles and ran every step of the race to finish in 4:02!
I posted a picture on Facebook the night before the race accompanied with text that read “tomorrow we will see how true the saying running is 90% mental and 10% physical is.” I have always agreed that running is affected by your mental strength but I didn’t know just how much until I ran this race. When the pain started to set in around mile 16, it was the memories of my other marathons that let me know I would be OK if I kept running. When the pain really started to kick in around mile 18 and 19, I kept my mind off the pain by thinking of my Daughter and wife.
When it felt like all the muscles in my legs were cramping around mile 22-26.2 and my body was crying for me to stop, it was the knowledge that stopping would hurt a lot worse than finding a way to keep running would that pulled me through to the finish.
When my friend Ty found me laying on the grass in the shade after the race. He immediately asked me how I did. “4:02”, I replied. Ty immediately blurted out, “you ran a 4:02 marathon off the couch?! That’s amazing!”
Ty’s comment got me thinking. I should start a couch to marathon training program. The concept is the same as the popular couch to 5k program but is much less complicated. Step 1: get off the couch. Step 2: run a marathon. Simple, right? 😉
All in all, I am extremely happy that I decided to accept the challenge of running this marathon underprepared. No matter what my future marathons hold, St. George 2014 will always be remembered as one of the best races of my life, for no other reason than I didn’t quit when it would have been very easy to. For now, I am perfectly OK with being short, round, and perfectly adequate.