Salt Lake City Marathon '06 {RESULTS 04:09:07}

The Salt Lake City Marathon was a wonderful experience for me. When I got to the event start, I immediately got in line to use the porta-potty. I was in line for about 45 minutes and was worried that I would not make the event start. After about 45 minutes, it was my turn. I finished my business and made it to the starting line with about a minute to spare. They never put enough porta-potties at these events.

Ironman Challenge, I made it to the starting line and powered up my Thumps. I made a mistake with the song selection because by about mile 18, I was sick and tried of the music on my Thump. I would have loved faster, more up-tempo tunes for the second half of the race. However, I powered off my thumps and ran with my thoughts.

I felt great at mile 18. Shortly after mile 18, I hit a wall. It was a big wall. My stomach was bloating and I had to belch continually to keep from vomiting. This lasted about three or four miles. At about mile 20, I stopped running for a brief moment to walk and cool off a bit. A police officer who was wearing a yellow running jersey ran up to me and said "So, you're finished?" This got me so mad. My response to him was "That's not funny!" I started running, left him behind and never saw him again.

You just don't come up to someone who has just run 20 miles non-stop and say sarcastically, "So, you're finished?" At this point, you should be giving athletes as much encouragement as possible. Of course, I understand that I could have taken this guy's comment too seriously, but who could blame me. I was fatigued and suffering "JUST A BIT".

Amazingly, at mile 22 I got a second wind. I felt great again. I felt as if I was just beginning. My pace increased and I found my rhythm again. This is an amazing feeling.

I said to my coach "There it is".
He asked me "There what is?"
I responded "Peace!"
Enough said.

This peace did not last long and by about mile 24.5, I was once again hitting a wall. This is where I learned the most from this experience. The first wall you are suffering. But, this suffering is manageable because you know you can push through the pain and fatigue. But when you recover, and are feeling great, and then have everything taken from you a second time, this is demoralizing and rips every last bit of optimism from you. This second wall is real suffering.

There were times, between mile 24.5 and 26.2, that I truly felt I would not make it! The hope, optimism, and determination was weak. This is when I learned what resolute fortitude meant. I had to find myself amidst the mental noise and separate my thoughts from the noise of suffering. At mile 26 we made a right turn into The Gateway. That 0.2 mile run to the finish line was the LONGEST run I have ever ran.

I saw my family standing there waiting for me off to the left. But, I did not have enough energy to call out to them. I assumed they saw me but as it turned out they missed me as I ran past. I ran past the finish line and I was exhausted. I was followed a bit by a medic to ensure that I was ok. I was directed back to a "finishers" area where I was given my finishers bag and food and drink. Shortly thereafter, Hannah came running up, being the first of my family to find me. A minute or two later, Lora and Robyn came up and we regrouped.

This was a great experience, and the main lesson I came away with is how to continue in the midst of physical suffering.
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