Text Message: Yes! I AM SO DONE! I did it!
This was the message that I sent a few minutes after I slowly ran across the finish line of the Salt Lake City half marathon. Of course, that was after I wiped the tears from my eyes. About two blocks from the finish line the SLC Marathon turns north on an open shopping mall (Gateway Mall) and there were at least a couple of thousand people cheering you on. I found my emotions were getting caught in my throat about a half block through this entire crowd. People were clapping, yelling, whistling, and cheering YOU to the finish. (Above photo- taken with my cell phone before the start of the marathon.)
It was something I had never experienced before, and I was overwhelmed with the emotion of it. A block and a half later as I crossed the finish line, I was bawling! Shortly afterwards a volunteer slipped a finishing medal over my head. Then, another volunteer got concerned as tears are running down my face and asked if I was okay. “Yes, I’m okay.” I said that I was over come with emotion. These were tears of joy! I finished it! Then I hugged a friend who had finished the half before me.
It’s been almost two days and I still can’t quite grasp the reality of it. (Though, my muscles are grasping the reality of it quite well.) I managed the feat, my first official half marathon, in 2 hours 50 minutes and 15 seconds. I finished about 5 minutes later than what I had planned. About 4 blocks from the finish the “I’m TOO Sexy” song played on my MP3 player. It should have been my finishing song but I was beyond worrying about what song the MP3 player was on. I was just trying to concentrate on finishing.
The last mile was the hardest. (Why is that? It’s the same way in cycling too.) It’s as I’m running along State Street (the main drag) in Salt Lake City with the Capitol Dome shining in the distance that I come to the hardest part of the run. You can see all of the runners ahead of you and there’s a slight incline in the last block before you turn left. I continued to run up the incline though my feet are really starting to scream. But this wasn’t a run anymore it was like a fast paced march up the hill. As I turn to head west towards the Gateway Mall and run south along Temple Square, I decide I need to do segments of walking and running. I count out 20 foot falls of running then 20 foot falls of walking. So thus, I’m counting along as I enter the Gateway Mall. Then I lose all concentration, and become an emotional mess!
The day started with a slight chill in the air up at the Legacy Bridge up by the University of Utah. It was still dark outside as I breathed a sigh of relief escaping from the sardine- like packed Light Rail train that dropped the runners to the start. I cheered on the last batch of cyclists as they started their event with lights and fluorescent vests on. I got in line for the start. Not too close to the start; I didn’t want to get trampled. As I waited for the start I got to watch the dawn come up over the mountains as I stood among thousands of runners. It was rather an amazing feeling.
The starting horn blared and for the first 5 minutes everyone was walking across the starting line where the timing chips were acknowledged. Then it was a slow run, and then I finally managed to set off on my 12 minute average pace. It was rather interesting seeing traffic stopped like parking lots waiting for all of the runners to pass by. Some you could tell were angry while others got out of their cars and stood and cheered on the runners. The runners were claiming half of the roads. There were people in lawn chairs along the way with signs and names of people. Cow bells were commonly shaken. Then there were photographers with cameras. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find a couple of good shots of myself on the site in a couple of days. So instead I'm leaving you with a poor shot of me taken by me before 5AM that morning....
Oh and did I mention that...
I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT!