Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I DID IT ... I REALLY DID IT!!



Two weeks ago I participated in my first ever Half Marathon. I've told you before, but I'll tell you again ... I've NEVER run in my life. Well, once ... when I was a teenager and was being chased by a bear. For reals! My counsins and I had walked about 7 miles across the fields to our other ranch in Montana, up in the mountains for a day of fishing and lunching. My cousin caught a fish and a nice, ole bear smelled that fish and proceeded to chase after him, until he threw the fishing pole and fish down and ran. The bear was more interested in the fish, thank heavens! I think we ran the entire 7 miles without stopping and didn't dare look back.

Anyway, a few months ago I shared with you how I was crazy, but was going to train for my first race. I faithfully trained, following the Jeff Galloway 'walking' schedule for the half marathon. I can't remember how many weeks we trained, but it seemed like it was forever! My daughters would come to the house early Saturday mornings for our long runs/walks. I began to dread our Saturdays because it took up most of the morning. But I loved the talks and associations with my girls.

The night before the race we met at Mimi's Cafe for a pasta feast. Well, mine wasn't much of a feast, because of my small tummy, but it was good and we had a great time laughing, chatting, eating, and geting our minds set for the big race the next day.

My baby sis and her daughter from Idaho came and joined us for the race. They too had been training. My oldest daughter Angie, and middle daughter, Laurel have both joined Weight Watchers and have lost 60 pounds. I'm soooo proud of them, and they raced with us, as well. My darling daughter-in law, Camie and my niece, Nancy joined us too. (Nancy qualified for the Boston Marathon so we weren't quite in her league. And Camie is running a Tri-athalon in a few weeks. She's not only a racer, but a biker too.) So we had a great group to train and motivate each other.

The day of the race dawned bright and early! I was sooo excited, but nervous for the un-known. I was certain that completing the race wouldn't be an issue, but I wanted to complete it in 3 hours. That would mean keeping a pace of a 15 minute mile, which is pretty 'clippy'. The furthest we had walked was 10 1/2 miles in our training. What's another 2 1/2 miles, right? The course started up at Primary Children's Hospital, on a hill ... thank goodness. There were over 10,000 people in the race! Can you believe that? We made our way to the back of the pack. Our race number on our chest had a chip in it, and when we crossed over the start line, it started tracking our speed and time.

I promised my daughter Angie that I wouldn't leave her and we would complete the race together. What a wonderful time we had. I remember seeing the first mile marker and we cheered and raised our arms in the air, as if we had just completed the marathon. It was exciting! There was a LOT of energy around us and it was a perfect morning for a race. The skies were overcast and the weather was perfect for a long sleeve top, with just a little threat of rain in the air. Not too hot, not too cold. As we made our way along the course, I noticed gloves, hats, jackets, and scarves thrown on the ground, left abandoned, waiting for the owners to hopefully retrieve them at the end of the race. Runners were already warming up and discarding their extra clothing. Thanks to Camie and the use of her top, "I was perfect ... not too hot, not too cold, just right", as Goldilocks would say.

We were told that the race would be marked every mile, and it wasn't. It was disappointing because neither of us had those fancy Garmin watches to tell us how far we had gone and how fast our speed was. We were trying to calculate from our watches. But the best site of all was coming down 2700 South, which is just a few blocks from my home and hearing our baby daughter yelling and screaming for us, and seeing Lynn and Dieter and Lindsey waiting for us and cheering us on. It makes me cry just remembering the scene. We were still going strong and feeling great, other than we needed a 'potty' break. We would run some, walk some, and when I would lag behind, Angie would spur me on, and vice versa. We were sooo good for each other.

We probably waited in line for the 'potty' at least 15 minutes. We were tempted to 'squat' behind a bush, but my dignity just wouldn't let me! Some runners who ran past us, looked like they had just went in their pants ... probably did ... that's what I'm told the serious runners do. I guess I'll never be a serious runner! After waiting all of that time for the 'potty' ... Ang decided that she wouldn't go, which caused us to have another potty break down the road.

Who would have ever thought that I could walk from Primary Children's Hospital to my home? This was amazing! And I was still walking ... still had a long way to go. When we arrived at Liberty Park, we found another wonderful site ... Lynn, Dieter, and Linz cheering us on. It was exhilarating seeing the red, 23 mile marker. The red signs were for the full Marathon runners. The route split at Sugar House Park and then joined up just past Liberty Park. When we got to State Street and looked UP the hill, I thought, "Wow ... I never imagined State Street was soooo steep." You don't notice it when you're riding in a car up the street, but you sure do when you're walking it. Those last three miles weren't difficult at all. The hill was great! I had good tunes in my ears and was dancing and singing and 'egging' Ang up the hill. Later she told me that she was having a hard time and every bone in her body hurt. I had no 'hurts' at all ... not one little whit. It was amazing!

We did have a good laugh when several good looking, fit, buff men ran past us. I thought, "Wow ... you mean we've been in front of these guys the whole race? Man ... we're really haulin'!" After a few more ran past us, the lady next to me said, "Those are the marathon runners!" Deflated I said, "Ohhhhh...."

Coming down the home stretch was so energetic. Thinking that we were going to run right into the Gateway behind the Union Pacific, and then finding out that the route turned south for a few blocks was discouraging, because we had started running thinking it was the Finish Line. And of course there were thousands of our fans cheering us on, we couldn't stop running now .... we had to keep going, and we did! Our finish time was 3 hours 21 minutes. I figure that we made our goal of finishing in 3 hours because we stopped twice for a potty break.

If you would like to see more pics of our race along the route, check out the website marathonfotos.com, put in my last name, Hansen, and choose the Salt Lake Marathon race and our pictures will come up. The 'sweat' on Angie's shirt is NOT 'sweat' ... she spilled her water.

Well ... end of race, end of story. But wait ... there's more! I've signed up for the Halloween Half Marathon in October, running down Provo Canyon. It's downhill all the way and is supposed to be a beautiful run. Come join me if you're in the area. I'd LOVE having you. We have a group on Facebook where we motivate and encourage each other with our training program. Now, I've got to get back to training during the week. I've been a 'slacker' lately!

7 comments:

9 2 midnight said...

WOWWWWWW, that's AWESOME STUFF Linda, Sounds like you had a lot of fun and heaps of POSITIVE ENERGY around you. 2 thumbs up and CONGRATS for doing so well. YOU look FABULOUS . I'm so glad I got to meet you at the SU convention (we had your lovely company during dinner) in Brisbane, Australia 2008.

Bev Dahl said...

I can not even imagine running that far. I am so very proud of you! Congratulations!

Butternutsage said...

CONGRATULATIONS LINDA!!!!!

Jacki Montgomery said...

congratulations on a wonderful accomplishment!

Phyllis said...

Way to go Linda!! That is one heck of an accomplishment! You look great and looking forward to seeing you in July!! Keep up the awesome work! :-)

fern said...

Yea!! You guys are AMAZING! Way to go!!!!

Jan said...

You are an amazing woman, Linda Hansen!!! I enjoyed hearing your re-telling of the half marathon story. I would have lost a LOT of time waiting in line for the potty...and how is it that it never occurred to me what runners do for a potty break? Clearly, I am NOT a runner! But I am very proud of you none the less!

Hope to see you in SLC....will you be attending convention this year or just hooking up with some of the old gang at the dinner?