Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Oh, are we supposed to run?"

Well, for those of you who want to know how the Salt Lake City Marathon went, here's the rundown.

So we couldn't have asked for better weather the morning of the race. Just gorgeous. Really. Here's a pic of the beautiful sky as we drove up to the start line. The race starts under this bridge which is at the U of U.

I met up with Karolee, my training partner, before the race so we could start together. We found Stacia and her husband Chris who was running also.
Karolee and I are all bundled up but we chucked all those layers as soon as the race started.

So things went okay for a while. My knees started hurting at the first part of the race but that wasn't alarming because my knees always hurt when I run. I actually had a really good pace and I was on track to do better than my last marathon. I had to take it easy on the downhills though because that's how I got hurt.

But then, as I got further and further into the race, the pain came more intense than ever. I had to switch to run/walk. Then I noticed that it hurt more to start running after I had been walking than it did to just stay running. So I ditched the walking and just tried to keep a somewhat non-humiliating running pace for a while.

I met Dale who was waiting for me at a street corner and I told him that I was just going to do my best and then at the last 3 miles, I was going to give it everything I had. I just kept thinking (and I read this somewhere) that the pain is going to get to a certain point and not get any worse. Don't ever believe that, it's a stupid lie, the pain can always get worse! Around mile 18, while I was still trying to "run" I felt a POP in my left knee and then came the excruciating pain. It stopped me dead in my tracks. Okay, time to re-evaluate this mess! I decided long ago that I was going to finish this so of course, the shame van was not an option. So any hope of any decent time went right out the window as I walked 5 miles. Not that I am a fast runner by any means but it was a little hard on my ego to see all the people who would normally finish behind me just whiz past me. Ugh. Longest 5 miles of my life!

You can see by this picture below just how miserable I really am. I laughed when I saw this picture because my face says it all. I remember wanting to rip the race photographer's camera out of his hands and smash it on the ground while yelling "Do you enjoy taking pictures of suffering athletes?" "I don't see YOU out here running!"
Anyway back to the story. So I hobbled up until mile 24 and that's where it became do or die. It was only 2.2 miles to the finish but it may as well have been 100 because I pretty much assumed at that point I had torn a ligament or fractured my knee cap. But I had to run. Every bit of me just wanted to take off sprinting so bad. Just erase the pain somehow and go. But all I could muster was a sorry little jog. So with tears streaming, I willed myself along. It was honestly one of the hardest, most unbearable things that I have ever experienced but I wasn't going to cross that line walking.

Dale was right on the other side of the finish. I grabbed my medal (you get one for finishing) and said I needed to go right to the first aid tent. I could hardly walk over there. I was half expecting Dale to swoop me up and carry me but he must have sensed that I wanted to hold on to the single shred of dignity that I had left and supported me while I walked over there.

While they ice-wrapped my knees, I couldn't help but feel like a big fat loser. I know now that sounds lame but my time was awful and I couldn't shake it. Nobody else out there knew my knees were ruined. To them, it just looked like I was slow. But then as I came down from my emotions and I became more rational, I realized that I never did this for anyone else but me. This wasn't for them! I kept going when most others would have quit.

Hey, I set out for it, and I accomplished.

On a much lighter note; Shout out to my girl Karolee with her kick butt time of 4:35:25!

Wanna hear a cute story? While Dale was waiting for me to cross the finish line he was standing near another guy who was also waiting. When the girl he was there for came down the last stretch, he got out on the course right in front of her and got down on one knee and proposed! Awwwwww! Then they crossed the finish line holding hands! Awwwwwww!


Karolee said...

I have ran with you for a long time and I can vouch for how fast you really are and I do know how hard you truly worked for this. I am so proud that you ran the marathon, busted knees and all.

You still finished, you didn't get in the VAN, and you will always rock in my book! You are really incredible Alys. Good job!

Adele Heslington said...

What a great accomplishment! I used to be a runner, now I probably couldn't even run a mile. Hopefully someday I will get the motivation to run again. I hope that your knee gets better soon.

Cresta said...

You have worked so hard - be proud!! I LOVE the running skirt (:

Lil Beck said...

DUDE!!!!!!!! I am so froozin' proud of you! (can you say froozin' on this blog?) That's my sister out there, everybody!

You're like a machine! I will cheer you on even after you get your total knee replacements... some of the best people I know have artificial joints!!!

Heidi Ann said...

I LOVE that picture! I'm still laughing, not that your knee injury is funny but the picture says it all. I love the skirt, so girlie while sweeting and stinking!

Chad & Nicole said...

I wouldn't be able to walk 26 miles let alone run it with a broken knee. You're awesome!

Camron & Lauren Howell said...

Lady you are incredible!