It really started a few years ago, when I drove to Logan, Utah to watch my brother Keith run the Top of Utah marathon. It wasn't his first or his last, but standing at the finish line waiting for him changed me. I watched a Marine cross the finish line, having carried a full-sized American flag 26.2 miles. I watched countless people cry as they crossed and I watched one guy jump impossibly high in celebration, on what must have been completely spent legs. I watched my brother cross and by then I had been crying for some time. Never had I seen such a concentration of human triumph.
Up to this point, I had been running a little (all on a treadmill, all at the gym and only 2-3 miles in a go). After this point, I determined to try and run a 5k. So, I kept running, registered for the Strawberry Days 5k in Pleasant Grove, and pushed myself a little harder at the gym. Jeff ran the race with me and we both came in around the middle (beating out the senior citizens and the people with baby joggers--yeah!) and it was around this time I started getting to know Kay. I mentioned to Kay that I wanted to start running (like, really running) and she offered to be my running partner. We were a little unevenly matched, she the Arabian purebred and I, Ol' Glue Stick from the pasture.
Kay is very patient.
She pushed me through the summer to prepare for the Provo River Half Marathon. We completed the race in fairly good time (for me, not her!) and I was amazed, even while running, that I was able to run so far. Afterward she asked, "So, a marathon next summer?" And a year ago next Saturday, we ran the St. George marathon together.
...at like 3 in the morning!
It was freezing last year. We wore pants and jackets up to the starting line, where they had bonfires and hot cocoa.
I wasn't sure if Kay would want to run the whole thing with me, since it was my first time and I was so much slower. But, in her words, "We train together, we run together!" And I love her for that!
This is mile 21? 23?, where we finally saw Jeff and smiled for some pictures.
In the last mile of the race, Kay kept saying, "It's just around this corner. The finish line is just around the corner." So we finally rounded the corner, and WAAAAY down the street was the finish line. That was the hardest distance of the marathon for me; the last quarter of a mile.
Kay and I have a million inside jokes, now that we've gone so many miles together. I never could have done this without her. She was the best coach/motivation/friend.
I thought maybe I'd cry when I finished- but I didn't. I was just happy- and pretty tired. I wore my medal for the next two days.
P.S. Kay is running St. George next weekend and hoping to qualify for Boston. Good Luck, Kay!!
Summer Adventure #4-Utah
2 years ago