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Saturday, October 29, 2016

St. George 2016

This year marked my 11th time running the St. George Marathon and it may have been one of my favorites.  Not because it was my fastest time - it definitely was not - but because I had a fantastic race and felt good physically and mentally from the starting line to the finish line.  After having run two good half marathons, I was anxious to repeat the experience at the full but I really tried not to put any pressure on myself.  I followed my pattern of running based on my heart rate and only checked my average time once - at the halfway mark.  When I finished I was excited to see that there was only a .1 difference between my pace at the half and at the finish, meaning I ran a very consistent race.  I really think that is what allowed me to feel so good.  It was great to run without feeling exhausted or being mentally defeated.  This was my 21st marathon and after some tough races in the past few years, I was thrilled to have rediscovered my love of running and to really feel like a "marathoner". My overall time ended up being a 4:47 which was at least a half hour faster than I had expected.  

Tim definitely went into the race with no pressure or expectations...he didn't run consistently all summer and only did a few of his planned long runs.  In fact, the week of the marathon he had not completely decided if he was going to run.  He obviously did and, of course, ended up being the fastest one in our group.  

The expo is almost as much fun as the race.
We love a good photo op.

Cutest little future runners ever!

As we drove to the bus loading, it started to rain....hard!  We all panicked a little because no one was prepared for a wet race.  Luckily it calmed down quickly and by the time we got off the buses it was clear and just a little cool.  For the last two years my dad has not been with us at the start and I had really hoped he was going to make it this time.  It doesn't feel right to run this marathon without him and I feel especially bad because I think spectating with my two kids is probably tougher than just running the entire race.  The starting line really has the best energy and is so much fun.  This year it felt like we arrived a little earlier than most years so we had plenty of time to get prepared. 

Tim took advantage of the time to nap

Jesse and I were more concerned with our hands.  "Run Happy", "Find your Strong" and "Find Your Edge"  I kind of laughed at Jesse the first time I saw her do this, but during that race I found myself looking at my hand and feeling inspired just imagining the words.  Since then we have both raced with our mantras easily visible and I have loved it.  Having the words in front of me helps me to keep my mind focused on the positive, and distracts me when the race gets tough.

I don't normally take photos during the race, and this one didn't even turn out that great, but it was a moment that I didn't want to forget.  As I got midway up one of the steepest hills, I came upon a man who was pushing a wheelchair with a teen/young man in front.  They were going quite slow and I chatted briefly with both of them as I ran along side. About the time they really seemed to lose steam, two girls came running up behind and each took a handle and started pushing.  It was clear that they didn't know each other, and they didn't say much, just smiled and stuck with them until they crested the hill.  It was a simple act of kindness, but it had a big impact on me.  It reminded me of how much good is in the world, and that sometimes the best thing you can do is just step up and lend a hand and offer a smile. 

Favorite thing post-race...
Sweaty reunion with this guy

Fun to watch Jarin come across the finish line

Best cheerleaders ever
Along with the adults that brought them all

We didn't get any post race photos with all of us
Not our style, normally we have way too many
At least I have some shots of everyone who ran

The traditional "show me how many" shot

Seemed like a great idea
21 marathons for me, 10 for Tim

After 26 miles, still Running Happy

Part of the weekend tradition now include attending the banquet for the Ten Year Club.  This year was long and we all got a little restless.  But I love seeing the diversity of the runners, and having a chance to celebrate with so many other people that get the crazy love of running.

I think this was post "cheers"

Dancing to "princess" music.

My kids love race weekend just as much as we do because it means they get to stay with the cousins and have a non stop play date.  Family time is one of the best parts of the tradition.

Family time is especially fun when it is at the pool.




On our way home we decided to detour through Cedar City Canyon to see the leaves and stop at Cedar Breaks.  It was stunning.  We were amazed (and the kids a little scared) at some of the views. The scenery is amazing at any time or season, but this fall it was especially beautiful.

It is always cold at Cedar Breaks
Luckily I found some hats and gloves in my car

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