My alarm went off at 4:20 am, on Saturday. I’m always tired on marathon morning. It’s one of the few drawbacks to running- you tend to find yourself inconvenienced by alarm clocks. Quickly we dressed, said goodbye to Mom and Wendy, then drove over to the St. George Temple to park.
The lines were insane. More people than I ever recall, all winding and weaving around Worthen Park. The beginning of the line finally dumped into a pile of disorganization. I’m not sure what happened, but usually things are more organized than this.
We boarded the bus and made friendly chit-chat as the bus climbed up the hill. When we got off of the bus, I could hear the music at the starting line. I always wince a bit at this, knowing that Dad isn’t going to like walking past the blasting speakers.
Fortunately thought, we didn’t have to wait very long for the race to start, since we had taken one of the last busses to the starting line. This year, because there were so many people, the race was started in waves. Dad and I were toward the back, but finally we were released across the starting line, where we started our watches.
I stayed with I Can Only Go One Speed Dad, as he blasted down the mountain. He would run an 8:30 pace (too fast!), only to be caught in traffic, run off the road to get around a couple of people, then back on the road to blast off, again, only to be caught behind slower runners. This makes me crazy, because I’m convinced we’re wasting energy. But it’s how Dad runs and I was pacing him and not the other way around.
We did this for a couple of miles, but at mile three, fate caught up with me, so I told Dad I was going to stop off at one of the Port o’ Johns and catch up with him later. He said he’d be in front of me, so not to get concerned that he was behind me.
10 minutes and TMI later, I emerged from my undesired cubicle and started off, again. I decided that I’d be able to catch Dad within about 30-45 minutes. I’d lost a lot of time, but I also knew that Dad was going to slow down later on.
But I will be danged if I could not find him, even 7 miles later. I had powered through Veyo (didn’t walk the hill) and felt that this would be where I’d find Dad. But I never did. I ran over another, smaller hill, expecting that, at any minute, Dad’s white tank top and green shoes would arrive in the distance. For miles and miles, I’d see a white tank top and think, “Oh, there he is!”, only to realize it wasn’t him.
When I finally started to get really concerned, I pulled out my phone to see if I could use the runner tracking, but the SGM app is over 100 mb, so I couldn’t download it without a wifi connection. Instead, I went to my Chrome browser and finally found him. I wasn’t thinking very clearly (I was tired), but somewhere around mile 19 I realized that he was behind me by a few miles.
Around mile 22-23 someone was giving away cold, small bottles of coke. I took them up on the offer and probably felt a little better after I consumed every drop in the bottle. In the end, I’m not sure how helpful it was, except maybe to settle my stomach, which was sort of hurting at this point.
I decided to just keep going and not wait for Dad. If I waited while lactic acid pooled in my legs, then finished the race with Dad, I’d be in bad shape for a few days. So I went on with a cloud of some guilt hanging over me. The last five miles were hot and I wasn’t feeling terrific. I found myself walking, cursing the extra 25 pounds I was carrying, cursing my lack of core muscles- basically cursing my stupidity for making things hard for myself, overall.
In the last two miles I was sprayed with water, given a cold wash cloth, but still felt like I was a bit in the red zone, heat-wise. The last mile ticked off in slow motion and I just tried to hang on while my feet pulled me over the finish line.
When I found Mom and Wendy and the kids, I was able to learn more about where Dad was. He was about an hour behind me, so I relaxed for a little while in the finisher’s area, had a popsicle, drank some DP and just tried to get myself back together.
I tried to find our drop bags, but when I walked into the area where they should have been, I couldn’t find them after a cursory search, so I gave up and sat back down.
I started to think about Dad and how he’d promised that this would be his last marathon (spoiler alert: Dad is probably going to break this promise), I realized I wanted to finish the race with him, so I walked all the way around the finisher’s area and down the street to wait for him. When he finally came into view, I was happy to see that he looked ok.
We joined up for the last 1/8 of a mile and walked together until the girls joined us across the finish line.