It's over! I ran the Utah Valley Marathon this weekend! It was an absolutely gorgeous course, one that would be difficult to match in beauty. I had really been praying that I wouldn't have the anxiety that literally cripples me before races and, good news- I was hardly nervous at all once I got to the start line at 5:30 am (yes, you read that right). It started to rain just before the race began which made for kind of a cold, miserable first half, but there are advantages to the rain too (mostly a decreased chance of dehydration). Anyway, it stopped around mile 11 or so, so I was pretty much dry by the finish. So, the race started in Wallsburg, a quaint little town up the Provo Canyon. At about mile 4, I suddenly felt this intense pain on the outside of my left knee as I was running down a hill. I've never had knee pain before, so I chalked it up to the cold, steep hills, and the fact that I hadn't yet stretched. So, I took a moment to stretch out and then kept on going. Every time I reached a hill (which was 90% of the first 20 miles) the pain would just shoot through my kneecap and keep throbbing until I was on flat ground again. I plugged through, though, determined to keep the 3:40 pacer in sight (that was my goal time and Boston qualifying time). There were a few times that my knee would totally buckle and I would have to stop and stretch (and there might have been some- no, a LOT of crying). But, I would kick it back in to gear and catch up with the pacer again when I thought of all the training I had put in to this for the past year. I did this for the first 23 miles and was right on target to qualify when my knee just completely gave out. Every step I took my knee would buckle and pain would shoot through my leg. I was determined, though to finish this race and did finally cross that finish line at the end of 26.2 miles with a clock time of 3:46. Overall, I was pleased with that time considering the pain I had to push through and the race conditions. Most of all, it was a huge confidence boost for me because I KNOW that I could have finished in 3:40 if it weren't for my knee. So, St. George- here I come!
Post-ice-bath and shower. I know this is a little posed, but you know how some people still look good after a work out? I'm not one of them. (For proof, see past blog posts... I'm not going to put the links up because I really don't want you to go see them again.)