Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We did it!

Well, I am happy to tell you all that WE DID IT! And not only did we finish, we had the time of our lives! K and I ran the whole race together- which was AWESOME! The morning was not as cold as usual, so our 2 layers of sweats, hats, scarves, and gloves were just perfect! We saw the elite runners jumping around and doing "I'm an expert" type stretching and posturing. We were suitably impressed. Our warm-up consisted of standing in line for the porta-potties until AFTER the race started. By that point, the announcer who had previously been playing fun music and generally psyching up the runners was literally saying things like "To finish the St George marathon, you must BEGIN the St George marathon". No kidding. We were cracking up. Your individual race time does not begin until you actually cross the start line, and ends as you cross the finish. There is a chip on your shoe that tracks each runner. It's genius. So, true to every other run we have ever done, we spent plenty of time messing around, taking pictures, and generally annoying every one around us. When we finally did start- it was an adrenaline rush! We were back with all the people who STARTED the race limping, no joke. I decided that since I would not win the race this time (ha ha) I would instead go for the Miss Congeniality crown. Every runner we passed we told them how great they looked, how awesome they were running, and how cute their outfit was. K began telling people to vote for me at the end for Miss Congeniality. I think the other runners wondered if we were confused between Miss St George, and the St George marathon. No wonder my evening gown looked so out of place! So as you can tell- this was no different from any other run. We were well practiced after months of training in obnoxiouness. And as you know- Run how you trained!!!
The miles seemed to rack up so so fast. before we knew it we were hitting Veyo- mile 7. It's a small town that EVERY person who lives there comes out to cheer- it was AWESOME! We of course primped as we were running toward the crowds. We knew our hubs were supposed to be there, and we wanted them to think we are cute. I swear to you over the course of the race I asked Kristin at least 50 times how my hair looked and if I still had lipstick on. As we entered Veyo- they had the school band out jamming in a parking lot. It was a riot. I shook it, and K shimmied. We wouldn't want to disappoint! Right across from the band were our first fans--- the ever faithful hubs! Can you believe they even had made signs?!? Adam had a sign that said "Run Danna Run!" and on the other side it said "Run like a girl!" His absolutely adorable little smiling face above the sign was one of the highlights of the race for me. He is THE BEST! I ran right up and jumped on him and wrapped my legs around his waist. Seriously- I am so madly in love with him it's got to be wrong! He said that he had several pics taken with women and his run like a girl sign. He said the guys all said- "yeah- that's exactly what I'm doing." Matt had a sign for K and was ALMOST as adorable- but I'll let K tell you about that. After we left the boys we kept saying to all the runners around us- "Aren't our husbands the cutest EVER!" I think they all actually agreed. I told a group that I felt sorry that I was the only one who gets to be married to Adam. (Well, if you don't count his first wife, but thats another story!) It was just the perfect kick in the shorts we needed to get up the biggest hill of the race- VEYO! You often hear runners refer to it as suicide hill because it is over a mile long. It's a killer alright, but you know us- when we got tired, we walked. No ego's at work there. During the hill huffing and puffing, we talked with a woman who had dedicated the race to her daughter- she had been diagnosed with cancer a couple of weeks prior and was currently at Primary Childrens. She was so cheerful and grateful to be running. She was such an inspiration.
We looked forward to mile 10 where we knew K's Dad, Mikelle, and their friend would be waiting. One of the things about the race that was surprising to me was the way we LIVED to see our next group of cheerleaders- which we could not have planned any better than how it just worked out. It was so fun to look forward to seeing them and talking about each group. K's fam had bananas for us and lots of cool signs and yelling. K's dad even ran with us for a few minutes. They were great cheerleaders and at the perfect location. We spent time over the next long stretch pointing out runners peeing on the side, and commenting on different beautiful red-rock formations. I only had shin pain the first 7 miles or so, and still I'm waiting for it to hit hard. I'm sure me self-medicating and doubling up on my prescription celebrex had nothing to do with it! Poor Dr Toronto- we were so bossy with him. "I'm doubling my meds" I told him. He laughed and said it really didn't matter what he said did it? I have a mini crush on him.
We kept correcting each others running form. K was great to keep reminding me to not lean forward- my bad form habit. "short strides!" "shoulders back!" "Slow down the pace a bit!" We were our own little coaching team, and it worked great. We ate our goo, doled out our clif bars, and drank, drank, drank Gatorade and water. I swear to you I did not come out one single calorie ahead when it was all said and done!
I kept texting our many promoters where we were and we got a lot of texts encouraging us to keep going! We even talked to Suzy on the phone. She had prepared probably about 100 inspirational quotes on teeny slips of paper for our pouches that we took turns reading to each other. How cool was that!
Our next support staff was trained and ready at mile 16- Rosie, Mitzie, and Renee! They were yelling and screaming and waving. Everyone around us was so jealous of our run like a girl team. We liked the jealousy. Sorry- but true. Don't anyone tell Larry Payne, but Stan- Mitzie's husband and Rosie's dad had smoked us about an hour before. Oh well- our hair was still perfect. The girls ran with us for a while. Such a cool boost. We have a new special little love for them forever now!
The miles seemed to pile up so fast. Really I didn't feel tired, or sore, or anything except elated! It seemed like we were at 20 before we really knew what was happening.
20 is where is starts to hurt for most. At the pasta dinner the night before we sat and talked with Moe, and his wife Carol. He said he had lost count long ago of number of marathons he had run. They were fun people. Moe told us the first third of the race you run with your head- telling yourself to slow down, not to get carried away by the excitement and make early mistakes you pay for later. The second third you run with your personality. You enjoy the adrenaline of running your goal of many months, you talk to other runners, you have a good time. The last third you run with your heart. You have to dig down deep to find the strength to keep going, and the will to finish. I thought that was about as accurate an accounting of a marathon as I've ever heard. 20 for us was still feeling good, but the small aches, and negative thoughts start to creep in. My left knee started complaining, but we used our many practiced techniques to quiet each traitor. I knew my family was at 23. I was LIVING for 23. At 21 we started talking about that only really- getting to 23, seeing my family. As we came over the hill- We were swarmed with close to one million nieces and nephews who yelled, screamed, waved the best signs of the race. They were yelling- "you're doing it! you're doing it!" Their faces are forever etched on my heart. I started to cry. Which of course makes Kristin cry. They CARRIED us down the hill, running with us, jumping and shouting, to my sisters and their husbands, my dad and my mom. I stopped to hug each of them. It makes me cry still to remember the scene. Never have I felt so loved and supported. It was an experience that I will look back on for a life-time as one of my most valuable. That day was an example of all that families are created for. I am so proud of THEM. OK- pull it together D. I'm on a plane right now headed for NYC and I think- true to form- I'm scaring the other passengers around me with my crying.
So- as we left the fam, my mom ran with us a little- of course making tracks. She is crazy amazing. K said- your mom is a good runner! See mom- Run with me! Let's train for a marathon together! You would be AMAZING! She left us as we headed out of the canyon and into town. There were starting to be a lot more people on the route. We were starting to feel hot and a little worn-down. We appreciated their cheering. K's sister and fam were at 24. We ran and ran- no longer taking any walk-breaks for quite some time. We were so glad to see them. I'll let K write about that, but was so fun to see Karin with her baby belly, run. They kept us going.
After 24 we knew that now it was tough and we had only ourselves to rely on. We really were still feeling pretty good, but ready to finish. My knee was now screaming. It felt a little like it was disconnected from the rest of my leg. Weird sensation. We kept watching our distance on the GPS watch and waiting to see signs of the finish line. Those moments with Kristin bonded us forever as we supported each other through the last minutes. We turned the last corner and saw the huge finish line. Big red and white balloons created a huge finish line that became consuming. We are slow enough that my family and our friends had all made it to the last stretch. We waved as we ran as fast as we had left in us down the chute. My brothers and their wives were there- actually yelling. My brothers don't really ever even talk- so to see them yell-- I almost fell down! K and I ran holding hands as we got closer and closer. As we crossed the finish line we both had our arms above us and we yelled, "We did it, We did it!" What a defining moment in a life. I will never forget it.
We walked through the misters a few times, and then someone put my medal on my neck. I felt so proud of my self, Kristin, our husbands, and families. A goal achieved by the efforts and support of so many. Everyone took pictures, tried on my medal, and re-hashed the race. What a great, great day.

I won't dwell on the EXCRUCIATING ice bath after the race, the blisters, or the weird way I have been walking since. I also will only briefly mention that the winner of the 70 years old and plus division finished only 4 minutes after us- our time was 5 hours 34 minutes. Don't read that part Larry!
Adam took me to Vegas where I sat in a pool in the spa for two days. I ate at the buffets until they were bankrupt. I am on a flight from Vegas to NYC to have a weekend with my college girlfriends. I brought my medal for them to try on too. Have you EVER heard of a girl with a better life??? That's what I thought too.


Jena said...

Ha! I am the first commentor. Congratulations Danna! I'm so glad you've accomplished this goal. I feel like I've trained and run the marathon as I've read your blog. It's been a great proxy experience only without the Vicky:thirty mornings or the fabulous ice baths afterwards. I wished Lance and I had been able to come and cheer you on, we are so proud.

Love, Jena

Anonymous said...

Hi Danna,
I'm am so happy for you, what a great experience to have in your life. Adam is so proud and has kept us all up-to-date on how dedicated you were to reaching your goal. You're inspiring.

Carrie Diaz

Ryan said...

Danna! I don't know you but I just read your story and wanted to say CONGRATS!! I have been trying to talk myself into running a marathon for the past 5 years but have never had the courage to do it! You have just convinced me to do it! You both are super amazing and examples to all! Thanks for your story!!
Ryan Werner

Suzy said...

Danna!!!! You made it! I knew you would! I am so glad to finally read your story. I've been wanting to call you all week but didn't want to interrupt your NY plans. I am so proud of you! Thank you for getting me to run a marathon too. Your post made me get a little teary thinking about your family and about all that you've been through to accomplish this. I've had several people from church ask how it went for you. They are proud of you too!

Kristin said...

What a great post Danna! Your best post ever, actually! Matt and I just read it together (my 4th reading of it) and I love re-living it! WE DID IT!! What an amazing day. What an amazing 6 months, actually. I even cried on a couple parts of your post. Now I'll have to get my act together and start my own post!

Adam said...

I am so proud of you. You did a really good job. Not only are you a marathon runner, you are a multiple marathon runner. I love you,


Anonymous said...


Three words for you:



Monica said...

Danna: Congratulations on running a bold race!! I loved reading your funny, heartwarming post. I especially like the quotes idea...that's a great runner tip. So what next? Can't stop now!

Sarah said...

Wow Danna! You are amazing! I absolutely loved getting to read that post, you truly are amazing! We love you and we are so proud of you!