This summer I became disillusioned by summer school and I decided I needed to work towards something other than my Masters degree. I never had the desire to run a marathon before, but I decided it was time to give it a shot. I registered for a race, found a training plan to use, and committed that I would at least run the long runs. As summer ended Joe got a new job and had to work on Saturdays. This worked out perfectly for my training and I spent hours on Saturday mornings and afternoons running further than I had ever run before.
The morning of the race Joe and I woke up before dawn and drove to the bus pick up. Joe dropped me off and I boarded the bus with all the other runners. The drive felt long and followed the route of the race pretty closely. I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. I kept reminding myself that as soon as I began running those feelings would fade, and they did.
The beginning of the race felt like a dream. The starting line was on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. It was dark and the full moon had just sunk behind the island, the only light came from the twinkling of the city miles away. As I ran I watched the sunrise and the landscape around me was brought to life. The sun sparkled and danced on the water as the sky became brighter and brighter. The sage brush and rolling hills of the island were familiar and I thought of all the memories I have made there.
Once I started running on the causeway to leave the island things became harder. The landscape wasn’t as beautiful and the stink of the salt water became more apparent. I began to gradually slow down. I started seeing Joe driving around in our car, cheering me on. I was very tempted to catch a ride and just be done with it all. I kept running and as I ran I began to get discouraged as I realized that my goal time was probably no longer attainable, and I ran slower. My legs hurt, I was tired, and I was getting really hungry.
My parents then joined Joe and all of them ran with me for a while. This was encouraging and I reminded myself that this was the longest I had ever ran in my life, I was in uncharted territories. My dad and Joe ran with me the last stretch of the race just before the finish line, and I made it. My time wasn’t what I wanted, but I finished and I’m proud of that.
I learned a lot from this race that will help me if I ever decide to run another marathon. Next time I will try to not be in graduate school so I can get in more runs during the week and not just the long runs on the weekend. I will get someone to train with in order to help push me at the end of long runs and give me more motivation to get out and run. Next time I will have a personal record to beat, which I feel confident I could do with better training.
The above photos were taken by my mom.